My Rides

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brooks B17 Honey

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Brooks Saddles B17 Standard Bicycle Saddle (Black Rails, Honey)
Put >800 miles on the bike this winter in my first real training/endurance program.  Went through a spell where a new saddle was starting to seem like a medical necessity, but it was decided that new bike parts would have to wait for tax return.  Made a lot of little adjustments, and I think my pedaling form improved, so I was bouncing less, so it's been better the last few weeks.  After 2 hours on the bike, the prospect of a 3-4 hour race this fall has me convinced I need a better saddle.

The original saddle on the bike (Cannondale branded) was shot on my first serious ride- the rails just collapsed (shut up).  I was in Toronto on business with Taku (over from Japan), and popped into a bike shop.  They had this SQLab 611 saddle (don't think you can get it in the U.S.) with thick firm padding, and elastomer things connecting thick chromoly rails to the back of the saddle.  It was a huge improvement, but spending 6-8 hours per week revealed it's shortcomings.

I was convinced for a while that I wanted a Sell An-Atomica, but I contacted them after reading that the saddles sag for heavier riders.  I explained that I was considering a Brooks B17.  They advised that for a mountain bike, the Brooks may be a better choice.  They can "upgrade" a Brooks with their patented slot.  I've read that the Honey leather saddles are a little firmer (probably about right for a big guy) , and if they look anything like my first baseball glove after oiled (I'll stick to the Brooks Proofide or Lexol), then it'll be a beauty. 

So a Brooks it is.  Ordered it from REI, it will be here Monday or Tuesday.  Hopefully I'll get a few hundred miles on it before my first race before March end. 

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Workout Hydration, Carbs, and Electrolytes on a Budget

Based on reading (Chris Carmichael's Food for FitnessThe Time-Crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week)on workout & recovery, and, I hate to admit, after spending Thanksgiving in the hospital with "severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance" I'm taking pre/during/post-workout nutrition and hydration a lot more seriously.  Not only that, when I follow the recommendations I have more productive workouts, and feel/recover better afterwards.

I'm not discounting the advantages to the "best of breed" products, but I'm not competing at the level where the few extra percent advantage is going to make a difference to my experience or the results.  On workout days I'm going through 3/4 gallon of Gatorade pre-workout, during-workout, and post-workout (recovery).  What the best-of-breed drinks add are proteins, a greater variety of carbs - including more complex carbs, vitamins & minerals, and sometimes caffeine.  I get these from my pre and post workout meals & snacks.

The savings, for me, add up to about $20-25 per month (4 workouts per week x 4 weeks per month x 96 oz. per workout).  Here's my analysis (I chose GU Brew for comparison because I consider it a good value "best of breed" - it's what I would buy if/when I spend more).

GU Electrolyte Brew Gatorade G powder
$ per serving $0.43 $0.17
Price $14.99 $8.38
Price Source
(35 serv. canister, free prime shipping 1/2011)
(51 oz. canister, Commerce Twp., MI 1/2011)
Serving (g) 26 (2 scoops) 30 (2 Tbsp)
Servings Per Container 35 48
Calories 100 100
Sodium (mg) 250 200
Potassium (mg) 40 60
Carb (g) 26 28
Sugars (g) 8 28

Order of sugars in ingredients Maltodextrin Sucrose

Fructose Dextrose