Review: ISM ADAMO Road

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Just got an ISM ADAMO Road Saddle in the post today and so decided to do a session to see how it felt and to make adjustments ahead of the Norwich Sprint Triathlon this weekend. As I’d said in a previous post, I’d bought this saddle having read an article in 220Triathlon on ISM seats and how they’ve have been specifically designed to address the problem of numbness in the, ahem, gentleman region. This they claim is achieved through a  design that includes a gap running along the middle saddle which in theory allows you to avoid compression of the perineum and various arteries. I’d also read a bunch of reviews from people who previously suffered from the same issue but who had bought an ISM saddle and now claim they can ride for an entire day without any numbness. Pretty fit reviewers, I know.

So with much eagerness I thought I’d do an easy hour on the turbo trainer at about z1 which as usual crept into z2 and then z3. My first impression was that the saddle is quite harsh on the sit bone, which isn’t surprising given that the diagrams on the packaging seem to suggest you’re almost supposed to hang off the edge. To be honest, you get used to this quite quickly and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel any numbness for the first half hour or so. Shortly after though I began to feel a bit of discomfort and had to readjust to try with the seat further back and at more of an angle.

After about an hour of cycling the numbness was still there, though perhaps not as bad as usual. I think i’ll have to keep readjusting over a few rides before I pass judgement but initially I’d say this saddle seems better than my normal Specialized saddle but hasn’t eliminated the problem. I’ll update after a few more rides and a few more adjustments. Fingers crossed! Perhaps a proper bike fitting is the sensible option.

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A Delicate Matter of Numbness

So I was cycling on my turbo trainer the other day and had decided after about thirty or so minutes to treat my nether regions to some blood flow as things were getting rather numb down there. Its a strange sensation that’s remedied by riding out of the saddle for a bit but which recurs more frequently the longer I ride. In the past I’ve ignored the issue because it hasn’t been as obvious, since most training has been done outside where I’ll ride out of the saddle more of the time. When I’m on a turbo trainer however I try not to ride out of the saddle as much as  it feels like i’m putting a lot of pressure on the bottom bracket of my carbon fibre bike which I hear isn’t very good for it. Unfortunately this also results in more pronounced and more frequent numbness to the private parts. I have in the past heard rumours this can have long term health implication such as impotence but I’d never looked into this myself.

Turns out there’s research suggesting this is true for both men and women who spend long periods of time on the bike (http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/biking-and-sex-avoid-the-vicious-cycle-201209145290). This occurs as a result of pressure on the perineum which results in nerve damage and blockage of blood flow to the penis or clitoris. The same article gives a number of suggested solutions however these don’t necessarily apply to those people cycling more competitively.

I have however recently come across adverts in 220 Triathlon for saddles specifically designed to address this issue. ISM have designed saddles that ‘support your pubic rami bones.’ thereby relieving pressure on the nerves and arteries in your perinea soft tissue (http://www.ismseat.com). My girlfriend is usually pretty good at keeping me in check when it comes to over spending on triathlon toys, however, this is one purchase she’s more than happy for me to make, so in the next few weeks I’ll hopefully be reviewing a brand new saddle.

Results

After a day spent starring blankly at the Fritton Lake Triathlon website I finally found the results.

Overall: 1:32:39

Swim: 14:19 – T1: 2:53 – Bike: 43:43 – T2: 1:23 – Run: 30:19

Generally these are pretty good results. The last triathlon was 1:28 but the swim was only 400m. The bike results was particularly good as it was 2 mins faster despite the fact it was raining and that it was a hilly course. I put this down to both training and aerobars. The run was about a minute faster but is where I need to make the most improvement as its where I’m slowest relative to everyone else. Also the most room for improvement.

First sprint triathlon done!

Just finished punishing myself at the Fritton Lake sprint triathlon! In a good way of course. Woke up at 5.45 (seems to be getting earlier every time) and made myself eat some porridge. Then jumped into the car and headed off for Fritton Lake, a beautiful country park in the Norfolk countryside. I made sure to wrap up as the weather was absolutely miserable. Second triathlon and it’s on a wet, overcast and windy day. Great! I didn’t even know how to prepare for days like that. Do you wear another layer over your trisuit? Do you wear waterproofs? Do you still wear sunglasses? I had no idea. Baptism of fire. In the end I decide not to do anything differently. After all, I’m coming out of a lake so it’s not as though I’m gonna be dry anyway.

Anyway, I registered and racked up my humble road bike next to some seriously nice looking triathlon bikes and then wandered around hoping to find someone that could tell me where I was supposed to be. It’s at that point I realised I hadn’t really digested the race summary and was feeling like I had no idea what was going on. I hung on every word at the briefing but was overwhelmed by the amount of information they were giving us. i decided not to stress and just to follow the crowd. An added incentive not to get left behind.

We wandered to the lake and I swam out a few meters pretending to warm up but really so I could pee. In a way I guess I was warming up. This was a much bigger wave than at Eton. Eton must have been about 30 people in one go. This was over 150!! There were lets and elbows flying everywhere. It was almost impossible not to get hit. After about 50m it thinned out a bit and once again I’d decided to start near the front which helped. I was also able to get into a group swimming at a similar speed to me which helped with both pacing and navigation. Sighting seems to be getting better.

I finally got back to the banks and started jogging to the transition area. I felt pretty exhausted. Once in t1 I was so disoriented I actually needed my girlfriend to point out where my bike was. Mental note, by a colourful towel. White isn’t helpful. I’d planned to save time by not wearing socks or mitts but in the end I still spent ages putting on cycling shoes because I couldn’t find my balance after the swim. I finally got it together and ran to the start of the bike ride.

About a km into the bike ride it started to feel really difficult pedaling. I made the decision to dismount and play with the break pads which I thought might have been shifted in the car ride. I don’t know whether that specifically solved the problem but the bike was moving properly again. I’d just bought some aero bars this week and could tell they were making a big difference. The rain and puddles were making it pretty unpleasant but I was actually overtaking people, unlike in the first race. By the end though the rolling countryside was wearing me down and the tailwind near the end was incredible. I finally got to t2 in what felt like a respectable time but was probably passed by more people than I overtook. That’s the disheartening effect of being strongest on the swim. It means you’re constantly being overtaken on the bike and run.

T2 was okay but again I couldn’t find where my stuff was so again my girlfriend was a godsend. I also accidentally took off my helmet before racking so got a bit of a telling off. I haven’t seen the results yet so still waiting to find out if I’ve been dq’d.

The run was ridiculous. Having rained all morning this had turned into a mud run. It was a proper trail run with branches hitting me in the face, exposed roots to trip over and knettles stinging my legs. Also, I was worried I didn’t have enough in the tank to get to the finish but eventually settled in after about 2km. I was getting overtaken by so many people which really brought the point home. I need to work on my running! I eventually made it to the end which is a massive bright side with this being the longest event I’ve done and there are lots of lessons that I’ve learned from what were rubbish conditions. Now just waiting for the results.

Second Sprint Triathlon: Fritton Lake

I’ve been training pretty well lately. The last few weeks have gone really well, however, I’ve been training without any race in sight which has meant I’ve felt like I’ve been working but without any short term goals.

With that in mind, today I decided I’d have a look for any upcoming events on the British Triathlon website. Coincidentally, the first one to come up is being held at Fritton Lake. A leafy course in the rolling Norfolk Countryside near to where my parents live. I entered immediately meaning I’ve now just entered my second triathlon… and this one will actually be a proper sprint triathlon rather than the first which was only a 400m swim.

Bit nervous about the run though considering how drained I felt at the end of the first triathlon!

Open Water Challenge

Open Water Challenge

Thought I was being sent to a conference in the middle of nowhere. Turned out it’s right next to the Royal Docks, so a great opportunity for some open water swimming and probably a spot of dysentery.

I’d only had a few days to train this week and wanted to work on my endurance base since although I’m just entering sprints this year, ultimately I wanna be doing Olympic distance triathlons. The week started with a longer (for me) 7km run and an hour and a bit on the turbo trainer. For today’s swim session I’d decided, perhaps stupidly, that I’d do the 750m course. Previously I’d only swam 400m in open water, but thought, he who dares and all that jazz. To be honest, I didn’t think it would be an issue since wetsuits are so buoyant and since there are always people in kayaks scanning for drowned bodies of overly ambitious swimmers.

The swim actually went great. The middle course is 750m but I must have diverged quite a bit as I ended up doing 950m in about 15.30. I followed that up with the shorter 400m course in 6.40 for good measure.

Looking forward to entering a proper sprint triathlon now that I’m sure the 750m swim won’t be a problem and also looking forward to trying out the 1500m course although maybe after a bit more training!