Saturday, December 8, 2012

Adamo Peak Review

The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” could take a modern twist of necessity being the mother of incessant internet searching. After Hernia surgery, I was not able to get comfortable on my traditional bike saddle, and knew there had to be some other guys out there who have had the same issue. Surprisingly there was little information to be found out there on the topic, so I dug into the world of split saddles thinking this would be a fantastic starting point. I stumbled upon the ISM Adamo product line which looked really promising. It claimed several things which caught my attention such as “soft tissue pressure relief in men and women” and “blood flow in the perineum remained at 100% throughout the test”. I corresponded with  ISM and decided to give the Adamo Peak a shot. 
ISM has answered the mountain bike bell with 3 saddles specifically designed for the mountain biker in mind, the Adamo Peak, Breakaway and Prologue. I threw the flagship MTB saddle, the “Peak” on my trusty steed and went about putting it through its paces. The fitting of this saddle seemed to have a lot of focus on all of the internet media I found. Various websites have technical advice about how to fit this saddle, and the ISM team offered their services if help was needed. The biggest and best piece of advice from the manufacturer was "don’t be afraid to take your wrench on the trail and tweak it in the setting it is being used in."

Before I go any further, I need to make clear I am not a small guy. I’m 6’0 215lbs and wore “husky” jeans as a kid. I do not have a road biker’s physique and could be described as “chunky like peanut butter”. I say that because most of the media I saw had skinny guys sitting on these saddles talking about the fit and the “Sit Bones” that are at the core of why this saddle works. I thought to myself, “My sit bones are padded naturally, so I’m not sure how that’s going to relate to me”. Instantly upon sitting on the saddle, I could feel my sit bones finding their home on the saddle.

Finding the sweet spot was not that difficult. I raised it a little here, slid it back a little there, pitched the nose down slightly, turned it on its axis a bit, over-corrected it a bit, and then it happened. I was about 30 minutes into my 3rd ride and I realized I hadn’t even thought about my seat. What else could you ask for? I wasn’t focused on shifting from side to side, fore or aft. I had found this sweet spot that felt like sliding your feet in an old pair of Nike's you found in the closet…except these weren’t feet that were feeling so comfortable. Over the remainder of my ride, I kept reaching under my seat in disbelief. The nose of the saddle, by design, stops just behind your soft parts. So my man parts were resting just barely in front of the split of the saddle nose.

Technically speaking, the saddle weighs in at 313 grams. It’s approximately 1 inch shorter than my Specialized Body Geometry Riva. That said, there is plenty enough of a nose there to use your inner thighs for control on technical areas. The Peak saddle allows you to climb more forward on the saddle and ride off the back of the seat for descents and get back on without catching your clothes. The back of the seat has a smooth round transition to accomplish this. It uses gel and foam padding, and the sides are reinforced with Kevlar. It comes in black or white and measures 255mm long and 135mm wide. With a price tag of around $185 MSRP, it can present a little sticker shock, but after riding with it, I would spend the money time and again. You can sleep on a pillow from Wal-Mart for 7 dollars, but that 80 dollar fluffy goose down pillow from Bed Bath and Beyond sure is more comfortable...same thing applies here. The time spent in the saddle is improved in both quantity and quality. Time spent not focusing on your undercarriage is time spent enjoying your ride.

 Many thanks to the ISM team for the opportunity to learn about this product and share some of my opinions. They are truly a customer service oriented organization and were available at a moment's notice to answer questions, but more importantly, they're cyclist who get the questions that are being asked of them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Comeback Trail

I rode for the first time, again, yesterday. It was amazing. I had hernia surgery in October and have been out of the saddle since September. I have been riding the local green way for about a month trying to regain and retain some leg strength, but was worried if I would ever be able to go full speed again in the woods. I purchased a sweet ride while I was out, and deep in the back of my mind, I was worried it was going to be a bad buy. All of that was erased yesterday. I rode a monstrous 4.5 miles on what can only be described as the "kiddie trail" at my home trail system but, man it sure was good to be back out in the pine straw.

     I was unsure of what the day was going to hold, if the mildest climbs around would prove to be too much, or if the handful of rocky and root sections would take a toll on my frame. It would have broken my heart to have to hike a bike out of the woods...I am very glad to announce the big guy held up just fine.  I learned after my broken arm last year that slower is better while recovering, and pushing yourself too hard when north of 30 years old is ill advised. So despite my burning desire to go ride before work over the next 2 weeks, I will reserve it for off days, so I can rest properly before and after these sedate rides.

      I did make it a point to sit on a bench at about the halfway point, for about 10 minutes to rest even though I was feeling fine (I heard my wifes voice in the back of my head). I found myself playing some video games on my phone. Shortly after my second game of Internet checkers I thought, "WTF am I doing? I've been DYING inside to get out here, and now I'm playing checkers?" So I put devil instrument back in my pocket and lay with my face in the sun. I heard an army of squirrels burying nuts and whatnot's. There was what had to be a deer lumbering around behind me which I never saw, which lead me to think "these woods feel really squatchy".

     This was also the biggest ride for the new Adamo peak bike saddle. This thing may be one of the most magical items I've added on my steed. I was on the hunt, post surgery, because my "boys" were were not happy after the surgery while on a traditional saddle. I will write more about this saddle at a later date, but while it looks simple in design, it works for so many complex reasons. You forget your sitting on a bike and staying comfortable is not part of your thought process, because you don't even think of the seat. Its the feeling of sliding your feet into a pair of favorite old sneakers, except your rear end and soft parts get to feel that way.

     So it was 4.5 miles in 30 minutes or so. No where near King of the Mountain, or a personal best, but it was in the top 10 of important rides completed at this point for me. The confidence is coming back, the problems that come with hernia surgery are getting resolved and I am excited at the prospect of spring biking season being a few months away.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why I Ride

     When I was a kid, as most people my age, I learned to ride a bike. I learned a little later than others, but when I did, it was a new freedom for me. My childhood best friend, Michael, was an avid "freestyle" rider who's idol was Martin Aparijo with the Grant GT team, with aspirations of joining a team of some sorts himself. He was good..a little reckless, but good. He would enter competitions from time to time, and had a 1/4 pipe in his back yard. Me, I wiped out any time I tried some silly trick and never understood exactly why anyone needed to be able to stand on their handlebars while moving. I just wanted to ride in the woods and explore areas of the neighborhood. Magical areas unbeknown to the lay pedestrian.  There was the "Grand Canyon", a washed out drainage gully with rumors of Lizard Men and creatures unknown to man...the "drop off" which was just that, about a 5 foot smooth drop that was really, really fast and spit you out on the 8th hole of the local golf course...the abandoned golf clubhouse that was left on the 9th tee box when the local golf course upgraded. The abandoned building was littered with graffiti, but not in the sense of gang graffiti. More like "Bon Jovi Sucks- Dokken Rules!",  "Ratt" or just random profanities, as if to stick it to the man when our parents tee'd off on the last hole for the day. The roof had long collapsed and the building long rumored to be a safe haven for devil worshipers. All of these destinations were very "Goonie-esqe" and were no where near as deadly as they were billed. Mostly you would find old noody mags and left overs different substances capable of being smoked.
      We rode in the woods. The woods in between these little pockets of neighborhoods held great secrets. First kisses, first smokes, broken bones, fist fights, and who knows what else. These woods were our social outlets. There were trails and routes created not by shovels and spades, but with tires. This was a network that could essentially allow us to ride all over our little town and only use the paved roads minimally. It was great to run into friends in the woods en route to other buddies houses and stop and talk with no concept of time. We had no where to be, no cell phones to interrupt, beepers were for our parents and no one really worried about us until it got dark outside. We wanted to shoot BB guns and curse without fear of repercussion. I stashed Skoal Bandits out there so I wouldn't get busted with them. We practiced our sniper skills by burying ourselves under pine straw, unaware of the concept of red bugs, and shot our BB guns at the school bus when it drove by. There were often pick-up bike races that just happened. The routes used the landmarks described above. "So go up the climb, over to the drop off, back up to the club house, over to short street, around the loop and back here to the big tree to finish". I don't recall if anyone ever stuck to the race routes as agreed, or if anyone ever claimed victory without controversy. Seems like controversy surrounded the biking community even for 12 year olds.
      This is my love of biking. Somewhere in my late 20's/early 30's I was focused on getting up the next rung of the ladder and working 50+ hours a week. I was looking for some sort of release. I fished, only to find that age old adage "the happiest day of your life is when you buy your first boat, the second happiest is when you sell your first boat" to be true. I spent countless hours and dollars working on this P.O.S. only to be disappointed in a mechanical failure more often than not. A friend of mine mentioned riding trails, and it immediately stirred up the "good old days" feelings in my loins. On our first ride, when I took off down a hill with a drop off, I was hooked, again.