A Real Man's Saddle

It’s been almost a year since I’ve been on a bicycle and it’s been about 10 years since I’ve done any serious riding. So yesterday afternoon I did a 16-mile ride with one of my closest friends, Dan Westman.

Since January, I’ve been working out at the YMCA. Monday is treadmill and upper body weight training and Wednesday is yoga. With all of this activity I figured I’d fair pretty well overall on our ride. Suffice to say, that wasn’t the case. Instead, I was dragging ass on every hill and every climb. 🙁

It was like I was re-discovering new muscles. Even with all my previous workouts, I simply hadn’t used the muscles needed for a climb. It’s hard to explain, but it was as if I just found some new “interior” muscles in my upper thigh that my body was so happy it found them that is decided to set them on fire. Add to the equation that I was attempting to drag my lard ass up the hill and I think you can begin to feel my pain.

Overall I thought the ride went fairly well. I had the cardiovascular energy to make the ride and I didn’t feel too winded. However, given my poor performance on the climbs, I resolved to begin cycling every morning. Nothing quite like “working through the pain.” Also, I should take a moment and thank Dan again for putting up with me and having to pause his ride every so often so as not to leave me in the dust. Thanks Dan!

This morning I awoke at 6am, had a good stretch and was on the road by 6:15am. I clipped in and rode down the hill from my house standing the whole way. It wasn’t until I left the subdivision that I actually sat in the saddle and discovered a new and profound pain – my ass.

When it comes to cycling, I’m a bit “old school.” For example, although index shifting is now standard, I still have the old friction shifters on Juliet, my touring bike. And when it comes to my saddle, I use an old Brooks Professional leather saddle that I broke in 15 years ago. The saddle consists of leather and metal rails with no padding what so ever. It was broken in by applying mink oil to the underneath of the seat and riding on it. Eventually it conformed to my shape and has been a very comfortable saddle. The problem is that the saddle has been molded to my butt of 15 years ago.

So, feeling like I was starting my second day in prison as a cell block boy didn’t leave me with too many options. My legs were screaming for me to sit down and my bum was telling me standing was a great idea. Eventually, enough alternating left me somewhat comfortably numb and I was able to make the full 8 mile loop without incident. You know, maybe this topic falls under TMI: Too Much Information? 😛