Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Retro is the way to go, all the way to 2nd. (Race Report)

Sunday was the 30th Anniversary Trideltathon. To Celebrate (and I suspect to alleviate complaints about it being to cold in the morning for an outside pool swim first thing.) the organizers decided to do it retro... Reverse Tri style! Of course, as these things usually go, it was the warmest it's ever been at this race... which I most certainly won't complain about!

UT Aquatic Center and a group of 3xDelta Girls ;)
I often think of this race as a measurement to how fit I am coming into the season that year. It's also a race that has riddled me with a roller coaster ride of results. This year I actually showed up refreshed with no expectations. I knew I hadn't been riding very much since last year (power #'s are down) and I had never done a reverse tri before... so it would be very much "by feel." Fortunately both my Nana and Jenny had high expectations of me (In that way that only people who care for you can.) and they had even infected my mom, who is usually a bit more stoic on the outside (she tries to save my ego in case I bomb.) about this kind of stuff.

I got body marked and set up my transition as best I figured I could, then got a fairly long warmup in. I had a chance to chat with some fellas I hadn't seen since last year (both Terry and Lloyd, who both came away with some trophies as well) as well as the guys from Bearden Bike and Trail, who are nuts, but only in the most awesome way.

Finally we're called to line up for the men's wave to begin. I seed myself at the front with the intent of keeping the first group in sight throughout the run. After the National Anthem plays, we're off to the races!

Yellow shoes, blue kit, red visor. Yes, I am styling.
The Run 19:15 (3 miles)

We get started and immediately the thinning begins. Despite not pushing a very "hard" pace I stay out front for longer than I expected... not where I thought (or wanted) to be. It doesn't last and the "top" runners overtake and eventually leave me strung out behind. By the time we pass the 2 mile marker (and the turnaround point) I get to see where things stand. Everyone is still in view (although a little farther than I'd have liked.) and I've got a pretty secure spot myself. The final larger hill zaps me a bit and I'm afraid to push it too hard so I just continue at what I think is appropriate and let the lead group disappear. Everything is still going fine as I didn't expect to be running with the "runners" at the end.

Coming into transition
Transition 1 0:41

I totally flub my transition. Beforehand I had decided not to "flying squirrel" as I haven't practiced it once this year. That means stepping over and pushing off from the mount line... which is fine (and honestly not all that much slower) but it is made difficult when I realize I LEFT MY RUNNING SHOES ON! Total Bonehead move on my part that costs me a few seconds. I shake it off and quickly I'm out the door.

The Frankenbike sitting in transition
The Bike 17:22 (6 miles)

The bike is short but painful. The last hill before you pass transition is short but pretty steep, making an otherwise fairly fast (if curvy) bike course "fair." I have made a decision that all multi-lap sprints I do are going to be on the road bike (with aero setup of course.) due mainly to needing to be very careful on the second lap weaving through "the masses."  My ride is pretty uneventful other than a guy very nearly stopping(!) at the train track crossing on my second lap. I have to take a very awkward line to avoid him (and the cop standing in the middle of the road.) and it throws me out of whack for a moment. I tried to count the guys in front of me that I passed, but once on the second loop it becomes impossible to tell who was in front and who was a lap down. I figured I was somewhere in the top 5 or 6 though.


Finishing the first lap on the bike
Transition 2 1:01

I come skidding into t2 with a little showmanship (riding on one pedal all the way to the dismount line.) and quickly rack my bike, sling off my Kask Bambino and grab my goggles. As I'm running (the fairly long route) to the pool, Randy (from Bike & Trail) is giving me some encouragement (and running beside me like a madman ;) ) and my mom lets me know I'm in 4th place. I can see all the other guys still in the pool so it's time to do some swimming.

The Swim 7:15 (400m?)

I hit the water about a quarter lap behind 3rd place. Before we make it to the first wall I have overtaken him and put enough between us that I'm sure he won't be catching me. Second place is still a good 1/2 a lap ahead but I can tell I have eaten into his lead so I continue my pace although my shoulders are already on fire. It turns out to be anti-climatic however as he has burned himself out and has to stand up and get some air, letting me pass him and put almost a full lane between us before he gets back in the rhythm. I can see first place from under the lanes, but at this point we're at 250m and he has a full lane advantage on me... too much to catch up in 150m. At this point I slow down and just cruise into the finish, (since I can see everyone behind me) and come out of the water almost feeling fresh.

Fresh... if drowned rats can look fresh.
Finish Time 45:32 (2nd Place)

So that was my race. I was almost a minute behind first place and I feel like I could have definitely given him a run for his money if I had done a few things differently, but for my first reverse sprint I was happy with the results. Of course, many of the tough fellas in the area didn't show up either, so that helps.

There are definitely some things I need to smooth out before the big races this year. My cycling fitness is returning pretty quickly, but I need to be stronger than I was last year. I also need to perfect my t1 approach.

Anyways, I get my hardware and that's the end of the 30th Trideltathon.

Cobb Mobb (and a vintage beer visor) representing

Next week (actually, Friday) I'm off to beautiful 30a... to warm weather (it's °35 right now...wtf TN) and to get some solid miles in on my bike. Unfortunately, no Triathlon in Panama City, but I think I may have found a 5k to do... or a Calabash Buffet to destroy if that fails. Anyways, that means there may be a short (or even a lacking) post next Wednesday. 

Regardless, I'll be back for sure the week after, so until then happy racing and safe training.

Thanks so much for reading
-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Moving Forward(er)

So I managed to break a 1:30 HM. (If only just barely)

Must...Get...Monkey...Off...Back...

A big weight, if only a self imposed one, has been lifted. I CAN run with some work... at least at a non-embarrassing level.

Monday morning of course I was reminded (somewhat comically) that I'm supposedly a triathlete. Of course you wouldn't know it by the miserable bike ride I had. To say I'm a little out of shape on the bike is possibly the biggest understatement so far this year! (It's still early though.)  I'm sure riding at 5:30 in the morning isn't the best time for setting power records or anything but bleh! Monday was nasty.

Tuesday went a little better. Another ride, this time in the afternoon. Feel and power were again closer to normal (well, normal for the fitness I've currently got) and the world was right once more. Swimming has been going pretty well also, and now hitting 7:30 / 500m sets feels like a pretty leisurely pace. Shorter sets are holding well under 1:20 / 100's.

The start of the season for me always revolves around doom and gloom. I am always invaded by those negative thoughts like " I haven't done enough this winter" "I'm fat and out of shape" "I'm losing it" and other helpful inner dialogue.  Hitting my goal time at the Knoxville 1/2 certainly helped, but until I've gotten a couple of races under my belt I won't have the eased feeling of normality that I usually have for the latter part of a season. 

My first tri of the year, and my first reverse tri ever is this weekend. The Trideltathon will be Run, Bike, Swim... something I'm not sure I agree with (seems like a lot of opportunity for a mess in the pool towards the middle or back of the pack) but something I'm eager to try out. Heck, I might even beat my side stitches at this race if I start off running. (fingers crossed.) At the very least it will be a good gauge of how much my cycling really has dropped off and how much my swimming / running has improved. I will be doing this race on my Cannondale I believe... the hills around UT campus (and the twisty nature of the course) mixed with it being two laps makes me want to have a little better access to my brakes and shifters. (Having a compact crank might also be a good thing)

Sadly, the next weekends tri in Panama City has been canceled. No chance at redemption after nearly freezing to death (and throwing up...and pulling the plug) this year. I'm trying to find a 5k or something else to do that Saturday so that the extra days I paid for aren't a total loss. (Well.. I'm going to be at the beach... so it can't really be a TOTAL loss...right :D )


pre-drowning last year.
And as it's likely about time for the rest of you to be racing as well (heck a lot of you have already got a couple under your belt.) I guess we'll throw in a quick checklist before your first race.

- Check tubes and tires for the race wheels. For some reason, if my latex is going to have a problem it's always at the beginning of the season.

- Clean that chain and cassette. I'm guilty of it. Also, upgrade to rock & roll gold lube, it should save a couple of watts.

- Check your brake pads, and upgrade to something good in wet and dry if you haven't already. (I run Salmon pads on my bikes - that's not carbon surface braking though.)

- New Cables and possibly housing. Be a cheap skate... learn to do your  own tune ups.

- PRACTICE YOUR TRANSITIONS. If you haven't doing a flying squirrel since last September... maybe you should warm back up to it before the first race.

- Make a checklist for race day. First race of the year I almost always forget something... even with a list. I imagine I'd show up naked without one.

- Oh yeah... HAVE FUN! That's why we do it.

So next week I'll have a race report (hopefully a happy one with butterflies and rainbows.) and then I'll likely be MIA the next week, since oh yeah... VACATION!

Oh how I miss the surf and sunburn.
Anyways... as always, thanks for reading. Sorry if this week is a bit jumbled... work is putting a whooping on me.

Until next time, be safe and keep the rubber side down.

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Running down a 1:30 Half Marathon (Knoxville 1/2 Race Report)

The looming wig shop above the start line
 
The Knoxville Half Marathon is sort of my "how's it going to look this year" race. Last year I made some huge strides in my performance, bringing in a 1:31:52, right at 7min/miles. This year I was looking to break 1:30, with 1:28:xx being my perfect day goal. Of course, that meant averaging 6:49/miles the entire duration... something I have done in training but not for a consecutive 13 miles... so to say I was a bit anxious is a generous way to put it. 

Although all of my training runs were on target, I was a bit worried that sub 7min/miles felt fairly tough, especially when strung together (my 30' run at race pace was a gut check a week out.) Of course as David pointed out I was supposed to feel beat up a week out. The week leading up to the race was pretty easy volume wise, and by Thursday I was feeling fairly good. Saturday's run was an effort to keep it easy as I was feeling pretty great at that point. Nervous still, but good. Saturday night I had a giant chicken breast and a baked potato (dinner with the always charming Jenny... who as usual is nothing but supportive) and got to bed around 8.

Sunday started at 3:30a.m. with Coffee, breakfast and then more coffee. Jenny arrived and we waited on my parents (who were late... ;) ) and then we all headed over to Knoxville. I got there with just enough time to find the bathroom, down a Lar Bar and head up to the bridge to be herded into my Corral to await the gun.

Jenny sacrificed some weekend sleep to be cold and support me ;)

-Rant-
I've mentioned this before... but good lord does NOBODY know how to seed themselves in a running race? The race organizers tried to fix the problem by having everyone sorted by corrals (set up by your projected finish time) but still... when you are falling off pace within the first mile... you didn't have realistic goals set. Are people really so clueless as to what they can finish a race in?
/ Rant


The Race

Somewhere around 8,000 "runners" on the bridge.

The first 30" or so are just shuffling around trying to get through the mass of people. I can't imagine what it's like farther back. Finally I actually cross the start line and find a little free air (on the sidewalk) to move. The strategy is to take the first 10k relatively easy, take a gel (at aid station mile6) re-evaluate how things are going and then either maintain or start head hunting around mile 8 if I'm feeling good.

The first 3 miles are the most dangerous in the whole race in my opinion. There's a ton of opportunity to think to yourself "this is easy... why am I not running faster?" and then burning yourself out with half the race ahead of you. Also when you get into a mass of people it's easy to let them dictate your pace, which usually also leads to the above. Around mile 3 I find two other guys who are holding roughly the same pace I am and I decide to work with them. We stay together all the way through the 10k marker (though Sequoyah Hills, which has the best support / signage of the whole race.) at which point the race starts to take on it's more serious tone. As the plan was set, I was going to take a gel at the 6mile station and have a little fuel in the tank for the "gut check" sections... unfortunately there was no gel at the station... damn. I grab two cups of powerade (spilling most of one of them on myself) and decide to start taking powerade at every station now. At mile 7 the true "F-you" climb* of the race (Noelton) comes up, and it is absolutely miserable. After a very steep section, it levels off and then gives you more of the same. My two compatriots fall off as we crest the top, but I know I don't have the luxury of dropping very far off pace at this point, so despite hurting like hell I have to leave them... I'll just have to trust I can recover on the flatter sections. Nonetheless, at mile 8 I've dropped from 6:4x's to a 7:01 mile... something I can't afford. Fortunately I start feeling better and run into another guy who is holding a 6:30-40 pace.

Faster! Time to PR


At this point headhunting is out. I just need to maintain and save a little something for mile 11. (which is almost exclusively a steady incline grade.) Again, the guy I'm working with starts falling off and I'm forced to set out on my own again. Turning back onto campus the uphill starts again. This time it catches up with me in a bad way and my pace drops to a sluggish 7:17 mile (my slowest mile of the day) by the time I hit mile 12. Now I'm counting seconds in my head. I need to run as fast a final mile as I can to hit 1:30... and even then it's going to be desperately close.

Digging Deep does not describe mile 13. There is a hole... I have a shovel... and I am digging in with reckless abandon. When the shovel breaks I move to digging with my hands. "Tunnel Vision" isn't something I've ever experienced in a race before... but I had it here. If the UT cheerleaders has been standing naked on the side of the road with Giraffe doing back flips on a trampoline I would not have noticed... All I saw was the chunk of road about two feet in front of me. Mile 13 is a 6:33 mile... the fastest mile I ran all day. I see the top of Neyland Stadium looming over me and I pour what little bit of gas I've got left on the final cruel hearted climb to the entrance. I pass through the gates and see the line...and the clock.

Dodging around 5k participants as I sprint for the line.


1:29:59
1:30:00
1:30:01
1:30:02
1:30:03

NOOOOO!!!!

So close. Despite my final mile and all the suffering... 3 seconds off.
I fume for a moment before I realize my chip time may very well be different. I get my picture taken and find Jenny and the parents and hunt down the online results.

1:29:55

YES!!

It turns out digging deep did pay off in the end. It wasn't my perfect day, but it was a big step for me. Running an average of 6:48min/miles was something I would have hoped for in a 5k a few years ago... now it's my half marathon pace! Consistency does work.

In the end I finished 50th overall and 10th in my age group (tough crowd!) but more importantly I learned some things about myself... and found a new level I *can* go to when I have to. That was more important than the results in my opinion.

/Race Report

So that was my exciting race weekend. The rest of the day was spent with me playing dark souls 2 recovering and scarfing down as much food as I could get my hands on. My calves are a little sore but otherwise the body held up remarkably well compared to the last few years.

Unfortunately my revenge on the White Sands Triathlon on the 19th will not be happening... due to the Easter holiday they couldn't seem to get enough roads closed...so race cancelled. I'm not sure how a race organizer lets something like that happen (I have already booked a room a night early... at a fair expense for nothing more than a room to sleep in a day early) but at least they are trying to make it right and give a refund. So now I am on the hunt for a race somewhere in the Destin/SoWal/Panama City area on the 19th... I may have found a 5k but would have preferred a triathlon. Oh well. If anyone out there knows of something let me know.

Hopefully everyone is ready for race season. (and warm weather) As always, thank you all so much for reading. Until next week.

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review! Cobb SHC170

Locked and loaded on the Cervelo ready for miles.
I'm a Cobb Mobbster. (here's your plug... check out what's up on Facebook) Therefore, I'm not going to blame you to immediately judge me and this review as "propaganda." It's human nature to be suspicious. When it comes to believing what you read about "gear" that goes on your bike, you had D@%$# well better be suspicious... there's plenty of people/companies out there trying to get your hard earned cash... at any cost. (the best puns are the easy ones)

Nonetheless, you'd be wrong if you were one of these judgmental fellows. There are plenty of things you could "fake" a review on. A saddle that you actually use is NOT one of those things. Immediately moving to my point about companies after your dollar... Cobb Cycling is hands down the fairest company in the saddle business. Ninety (~3 months - 90 days - 2,160 hours - 129,600 minutes - a...lot... of seconds) day guarantee and free shipping to your door (if you don't have an LBS selling Cobb products) so you don't have to trust me or anyone else, you've got time to find the solution yourself.

Of course, if you wanted to see some name dropping on fast people who ride this saddle... how about one of the guys who had a lot of input on it.

Rappstar is a fast dude with a slick saddle choice :)


So, now that we've got that out of the way, lets' get to the actual review of the saddle.

---------------------------------------

Everyone has some specific needs addressed when it comes to their body and saddle fit. For me, the issue has always been the width of the nose and the length of the saddle/rails. I've always pedaled with my knees very close to the top tube, so my inner thighs do not comply with a wide nosed saddle. The original Blackwell Adamo I had required the "zip tie" mod to keep me from leaving the trainer with bloody thighs. Eventually I settled on the Arione Tri2, as it was readily available and long/narrow enough to cause me no issues, as well as firm. (I can't stand a soft squishy saddle on any bike.) And so, as the apathetic among you can relate, I thought my hunt for saddles was done. I was able to put in long mileage on a Tri2, so why continue the search? And so time passed.

Enter the demo phase.

I want it all and I want it now!

It started innocuously enough. I went to my LBS to pick up a road bike saddle. (The HC170) While I was there we got to talking about Cobb saddles and they told me they had some demo's in the back. So, after some elimination process at the store (they wouldn't let me take ALL of them.) I settled on trying the Gen2 and the SHC. (The other demo's available were the V-Flow + and Max and the JOF... from my eyeball test they all seemed less likely to fit my style than the other two.)

After a few days on the Gen2 (which ended up being right on the cusp of too wide at the nose) I mounted up the SHC.

Here's the spec rundown for SHC
$199.00
202grams total weight (a little less than half a pound)
35mm wide at the nose (I actually measured just a tad narrower)
260mm long
75mm of saddle rail

Mounted up for the maiden voyage
If you listen to people talk about searching for the right saddle, you will often hear about one just clicking. The "right" saddle. I had personally thought that was a bunch of hogwash... a bunch of nancy boys (and girls) whining that their saddle didn't feel like sitting on air when they were crunched down in an aero position. I'm not saying my Arione was a painful ride, but it felt like I thought a saddle should in an aggressive position... tolerable.

That first ride was an eye opener. One thing I like to do when I'm trying out a saddle is give it an hour ride in "race mode." That is, tri shorts with very minimal chamois and little/no Butt'r. I do that because I believe most saddles can be made tolerable if you are wearing good bike shorts/bibs and enough cream. However, tri shorts are usually very thin and I've never actually pre-applied cream before a swim... I always figured it'd be pointless. After an hour of 5x5 sets, I came to a conclusion... this saddle is SICK. Pretty much it was all the things I liked about my Arione, but with more attention to the details of making the saddle work for a long time in an aero position... which is something that is really noticeable on the trainer. (where you don't get micro breaks for adjustment like you do on the road.) The cutout and memory foam were both especially welcome additions for comfort that didn't compromise the "raciness" of the SHC.

That's the good. The bad? I think you'd be hard pressed to find many dislikes from this saddle (if it's the right saddle for you.) but if you had a gun to my head the one thing missing (from Cobb saddles in general) is a lighter weight option and a fairly limited number of colors. Of course on my Aluminum P3 the ~20 or so grams that could be saved by going to carbon are nil, (as is weight in general on a tri bike in my not quite humble opinion) but nonetheless it's an option many of the big saddle companies offer if for no other reason than "bling" factor. Likewise, the color options are limited, so making your ride perfectly match may be an issue. (Although with Black/White being available, you are still safe by "the rules.")

Besides that your only concern is whether you need (or want) a more aggressive saddle. Many very fast guys I know heavily prefer a more padded/supported saddle, and that's why it's important to try out a variety and pick the one that's right for YOU. I will say, if you are like me and have been content with something like the Arione (the San Marco and older Specialized tri saddle also come to mind) then I would suggest having a look, or better yet, a demo, of the SHC. You might find a new favorite seat.

That only leaves "the ugly..."


Just showing off the power between my legs...
(If your mind is in the gutter...well this is the blog for you I suppose...)

So I'll end the review there. This weekend is the Knoxville Half Marathon, my first race of the season. With any luck I won't embarrass myself and with a good amount of luck I'll be back next week with a race report about my PR. (Fingers crossed.)

As always, thank you all so much for delving into my thoughts, I really appreciate it.

- Christopher Morelock


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking back (new thoughts on old stuff)


I guess we start this weeks post with a look at my run from Sunday. The purpose was to get 20' at race pace after the halfway point, with the rest of the run at a smooth easy pace. I think I nailed it pretty well, so with any luck I'm going to have a very good Half Marathon at the end of the month.
 
Check out my run and make fun of how slow I am below!
 
 
Passing those thoughts, I figured I'd take a little time to give some updated thoughts on some of the stuff I've been using now that it's gotten some age on it. That and I know the real reason a lot of you people show up is to see the reviews of some of the more obscure stuff. So, to feed the wolves...

Oysmetric Chainrings (The review here)

I've had these installed long enough have started thinking of them as "normal." I'm still not convinced that I'd want them on my road bike (although the new versions have ramps that likely improve shifting) but for my TT bike I'm pretty much sold. I ended up rotating them to the suggested (by the tests linked in the review) position and I like it a little more than I liked the "stock" one, but that may be something everybody that ends up with them would need to determine for themselves.

The shifting is something that you learn to live with. It's not wonderful by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not in the same realm as something like the Wickwerks chainrings, but it's more than adequate for TT'ing or triathlons. I've only experienced a dropped chain once, and it was completely my fault for not having the K-edge (I do think that this is a necessary component for the Osy's) properly set up after adjusting the front derailleur.  It's also worth noting that the Osy's are loud, primarily in the small chainring (when the chain inevitably slaps the top of the FD cage.) or when you are crosschaining (I know... you shouldn't be) Still... I like them and will probably stick with them when/if I move up to 11 speed on my TT bike.

Here you can see the changed angle (note where the safety chain pin is... not hidden behind the crank arm)


Microshift White Group (The Review here and here)

One of the hottest debates seems to be whether Microshift is the genius move for a group or an utter failure. At $260 for the drivetrain, I still stand of the "genius" side of the river. I've given it Crits, Road Races, Training and Triathlons and it's still going strong. As a matter of fact, the only sign of wear has been the coated shifter cables (the coating is now worn off) and the fact that the white hoods are starting to turn more of a parchment color. No, these aren't Dura Ace / Red / Record level shifters, and yes I still think the throw on the Front shifter is too long... but as far as performance to value ratio goes... these things are amazing. Of course, with 10 speed starting to phase out it's not unrealistic to imagine high end 10spd components from the big 3 dropping into this price range, especially if you don't mind "slightly used" being tagged onto the Buy it Now button... Something to consider.

Also worth mentioning is that the new 11 speed (Centos) group has been spotted, with a new (and odd looking) shifter system.

interesting button design

Wickwerks Chainrings (The Review here)

Not a big fan of mysterious upgrades shrouded in pseudo-science? More of an instant gratification type rider? Then the WW chainrings are the ticket. I noticed notably smoother front shifting both on the road and on the stand immediately. If you already use fairly high quality chainrings it's hard to imagine it getting much better... but it can. Necessary? Ehh, I think of them kind of like a comfortable chair... not necessary by any means, but something you are glad you have pretty often. If your current rings are in good shape, I'd probably hold off, but if your old rings are getting worn down, I can't recommend the WW's enough.


And those are the big 3 (from my view count anyways) from my reviews. So there, now you have some long(er) term thoughts on each one.

Next week I'll hopefully be feeling really good about the impending 1/2 marathon. I've got one more weekend run with 30' of race pace... hopefully I nail it and it's smooth sailing all the way through the end of the race :)

As always thank you all for taking the time to read through.

-Christopher Morelock

Monday, March 10, 2014

System shock!

Over the weekend I ran into some system shock. I went by a few of my close bike shops and saw some guys I was riding with last year. I kept thinking to myself... "holy crap, these dudes have got FIT." No kidding, I'm talking ~20lbs or more for each fella. I immediately got home and dusted off the old scale...

It can happen to us all...
152lbs!

Ok. I know I might be sounding a bit over-dramatic. Sure, sure, I hold a relatively similar level of fitness year round (or so I think) and maybe some of the guys I hadn't seen in a while had more to lose... but still. These guys have been busting their @$$es to crush face this season. This season which starts at the end of this month... What have I been doing? Have I REALLY been hitting it hard? Or have I been enjoying House of Cards and Japanese Whisky a little too much? (House of Cards is really addicting you have to admit...)

Don't get me wrong. I've been putting in some miles... but I've also been slacking... I know it deep down. Maybe it's been the winter, maybe it's been the booze, maybe it's just been a slump.
Nonetheless, it's over.
Monday was back on the straight and narrow. The drinks are going back to water, the diet is going to get a little more "athletic" again and the motivation is running on FULL. The best way to start that was with a 5x5 Bike ride into a 30' run brick. It's no secret that I don't enjoy bricks... never have...never will. That's not a good reason to avoid them. I've got some serious goals this year... they aren't going to make themselves happen.

So maybe you're like me... maybe you need a wake up call. Well here it is. Get up off your butt and make your dreams a reality. Nobody else is going to do it for you. Hell, nobody else even cares if you do it yourself.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Ok, I really didn't mean for this post to turn into a motivational poster, but it did and that's that. However, all the motivation in the world is worth what it costs to type it out. We'll see in a couple of months whether this was all hot air, or whether I am still hungry. (You all know I'm still foolish.)

On a different note, I am happy to say my first couple of rides on the Cobb SHC saddle are VERY promising. A week isn't really enough time to give a full review (although that is coming) but I have to say I'm very impressed with this thing. It's basically all the things I liked about my Arione Tri2 without the things I didn't like.

A new love affair? Don't tell Jenny...
So, give me a little time on this thing and I'll have a good old fashioned review ready to roll. (and some updates on my thoughts on the HC170 as well.)

Well, while I could spend a lot more of your time rambling on about random stuff... I'll just condense it to some sweet bullet points (everyone loves bullet points!)


  • The new Sanderson book is awesome
  • House of Cards and Game of Thrones are the best shows ever
  • Swimming at 4a.m. still sucks
  • I can't wait to return to the beach
  • I'm not a very good car mechanic
  • Winter is almost over!!!!
There... the short version of what I was going to draw out :)

As always, thanks so much for reading. I'm about to go for a run!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Saddle Up

First, to take a total left turn from anything even remotely related to triathlon... "Words of Radiance" (2nd book of the Stormlight Archive, following "Way of Kings.") hit the stands yesterday. Sanderson is an amazing fantasy writer (Robert Jordan - Wheel of Time - chose Sanderson to finish his series after his death.) and this series is supposedly going to be his epic saga. (that is...lots of big books) I can't recommend anything he has written enough. If you're on the fence for fantasy (maybe you like Game of Thrones on HBO) then this is a good place to dive in.

Just showing off some of Michael Whelan's amazing art.
Ok, nerd blurb over... but continuing the trend of not talking about triathlon... here's a picture of my Corvette, post installation of a new air intake.

More of a pain to work on than your average tri bike.
While I have to admit I'm not all that great of a car mechanic (although the Internet helps immensely)  so far I haven't screwed anything up and I'm more than willing to experiment on my own (and my braver friends) cars. Of course changing an air intake is pretty low on the wrench scale, but baby steps. I didn't want to pull the top of the motor on my first go :)

Anyways, back in the world of relevance (as if anything on this blog was relevant) it's new saddle time at the Morelock Stable.

Of course, if you weren't already aware (possibly those of you reading this blog in braille.) I'm a Cobb Mobb(ster) this year, so it only makes sense to be riding Cobb Saddles. The first saddle I ever purchased (that is, didn't come stock on my bike) was a Blackwell Research ISM Adamo (a blue one... to match my blue S32) that I used to the point that it had to be retired (left saddle rail of any saddle I keep for an extended period of time eventually sags. Weird problem I know.) I also had a short stint with a HC170, although it was sold to a local rider when I started taking my Scott apart for it's rebuild (which... I swear... is the next thing on my list to finish)

That said, I liked my time with the HC170 enough that I knew it was the Cobb saddle I wanted on my road bike.

Nothing but me, the bike, some fans and a workout.

When I had originally built my "budget" Cannondale, the saddle was the final afterthought. Since I was already ordering Nashbar brakes, I just threw in a $15 Nashbar saddle to go with it. I mean, the bike was only going to be used for short(er) rides and Crits anyways, right? Well, as it turned out I ended up using the CAAD quite a lot, so I think it's fair to say it (or is that I) deserves a nice saddle.

The HC170 probably isn't the saddle for everyone. I have always liked a minimalistic saddle (hell, my Zipp's saddle is nothing but a hard piece of carbon.) and especially so on my road bike. Minimalistic doesn't mean uncomfortable, despite often being misrepresented that way. I've only put about 100 miles on this HC170 so far, (all of them on the trainer, which for me is always a good gauge of how a saddle is going to work - hot spots, chafing, etc.) but I can happily say I haven't had any issues. Like everything else when it comes to contact points though, it's terribly important NOT to listen to what the guy on the Internet says and instead see what works for you. That said (shameless plug?) Cobb does give you 90 days to decide if it's the saddle for you, guaranteed... so there's no need to take anyone else's word for it, especially considering I can usually tell within a ride or two whether a saddle is going to work or not.


Not to be left out in the cold, I also planned on upgrading the saddle on the Cervelo. Unfortunately my LBS was sold out of the SHC... I opted to take a demo home with me while I (eagerly) await the white one heading my way. (Green just isn't working on this bike...don't you think?)

I guess if there was a category for bikes with most garish color combinations

So with new saddles on the whips (whip is such an underused term for bikes... and cars, and anything non-Xzibit related) it's time to get my lazy butt back in shape on the bike. I sense plenty of 5x5's and 2x20's in my future.

I also signed up for the White Sands Triathlon again this year. You may remember I nearly died on vacation last year at this race... so I'm a little hungry for some payback. I will be bringing my wetsuit with me this year as well :) Since being an iceberg of bad choices isn't on my list of things to repeat. The Trideltathon (one of my favorite warmup races) is the week before, and this year is a reverse tri... so I'll like hit that up as well.

Anyways, that's for reading through my mess of collective consciousness. Hopefully you've found some tidbits of usefulness in this mass of messy thoughts. I'll be bringing some more in depth thoughts on the Cobb Saddles (especially the SHC) in the future.

Until next time, thanks so much for reading

-Christopher Morelock