Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Building a new position

My Speed Concept has been finished for a couple of weeks now, minus some small adjustments to the brakes (which again, are a pain) and going back over all the bolts with a torque wrench. And as next season starts to enter my thoughts I think it's about time to make sure the fit is dialed in.

Normally and historically I have used an excellent local fitter. I trust his judgement and he understands that fits aren't static... that they can evolve over time. Unfortunately, he has not returned my phone calls for the past couple of months. While this does sadden me somewhat, it is also an opportunity for me to work on my own fit skills. It doesn't hurt that the Cobb Mobb is run by none other than fit legend John Cobb... so I do have some pretty good guidance (even if it's not in person) to keep me from going too far astray. I also keep copies of all of my fit records, so it's not ALL that difficult to build something with my admittedly "so-so" grip on all things related to fitting. 

One unfortunate issue I ran into was not being able to get low enough using the Tririg Sigma stem. I was forced to resort back to my trusty Ritchey adjustable to get the desired drop, which is a real shame because the Sigma is such a beautiful piece of kit. The hope has always been that Nick would make a version with a deeper drop, but I've read before that he believes optimal fit can usually be found with a flat stem. (or a little rise) It is also probably a logistics problem to incorporate all the features and the drop. (tightening the "hidden" bolts might be impossible) Besides not looking nearly as slick, the Ritchey is perfectly fine and hopefully whatever watts (if any) I'm losing using it over the Sigma I'm more than making up for by being able to get into a better position.

My fit has changed a lot over the years. For the last few years (after my trip to A2) I have used a slightly modified mantis position as it tested very good for me. So the question might be why would I move away from that. The quick answer is since my focus is now shorter TT's and not long distance Triathlon I plan to focus much more on holding the "optimal" turtle position. If you've ever tried turtling... it's not pleasant for extended periods. Actually it's just not pleasant in general. So the bar setup changed a bit to accommodate so that I can focus on it exclusively. I'm still not 100% tuned, but here is close to where I expect to end up.

Well... at least it looks fast.

Now the key is lots of sets at threshold in that position. Good thing that, to quote Ned Stark, "Winter is coming."

Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it. I also appreciate all the well wishes for the imminent 1+1 of the Wit household :) Our combined bikes will need a bigger garage...

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review! Cobb Cycling HC170

I've been doing more training and racing than ever on my road bike since my "return." There were a lot of things that took some time to re-adjust myself to... some old "creaking" and some new "aches" that you'd expect from a return to endurance training. However, there was one thing I didn't have to worry about, and that was my nether bits. That's because I still had my trusty HC170.

Minimalistic doesn't mean uncomfortable

Again, full disclosure is that I'm a Cobb Mobb athlete. That said, I'm not required to do reviews, and as a rule I only do reviews on things I have tried and liked, but as always, use your own judgement to determine what you believe on the internet!

With that out of the way let's talk about this saddle. First, it's intended for roadies, not triathletes / time trialists (to my dismay, it's just a little bit off working. The SHC is a good saddle as well for those purposes though!) although it's been serviceable for me in that capacity when I've "rigged" my road bike up for short sprint races. That said, even I think it would be fairly spartan to try to ride on it in an aggressive aero position for long distances.

A short course tri setup is fine for the HC170, I would just avoid the longer stuff
Of course, as I said above, this is a roadies saddle, not a triathletes. And in that respect it excels. Feeling the saddle in your hands it's hard to imagine that it's comfortable to sit on, there is nothing there! And that's the beauty of the HC170... it just disappears. Admittedly, I'm generally against the modern trend in saddles to be much "fleshier." I have never been a big fan of super soft saddles, and I am especially not a fan of wider saddles. No worries here!

The HC stands for Hard Core, and the 170 is the weight. Even the (old) Cobb Website (the HC170 seems to have been discontinued unfortunately) warned that this saddle was for lightweight MEN who were competitive racers, not long distance tourers. I can't comment on the saddle for women, but I've logged over 6 hours on it, a couple of times on a trainer. If you've never done something as stupid crazy fun as ride on a trainer for six hours, take my word for it, you'll find out just how good or bad your saddle is for long rides. I can happy exclaim that after many of these long rides (and with no chamois cream might I add) I am still saddle sore free. It's easy to forget that despite being a minimalist design, this is still a V-flow saddle at heart. The cutout does an excellent job of relieving some pressure even with no nose padding.

The "disclaimer" to this review (and the saddle) is that it likely is only a solid solution to a certain group of people.  If you are a bigger rider or have wider sit bones, it's easy to imagine this saddle not working for you. Pretty much the truth of every saddle (and every saddle review you read) is that it will be very tough to find your perfect saddle off of someone else's experience. Most of my friends (that log pretty heavy miles) would not recommend the HC170. Of course, I can't think of any of them that have actually tried it. Most give it a look, see it's fairly minimal design and say "not for me." I'm guilty of not trying a lot of saddles myself based on looks (keep all the stub nosed short split saddles away!) and it could very well be keeping all of us from trying our perfect saddle! (I tried the Randee not so long ago and loved it on my tt bike, despite it not looking my style!)

So, if you are a racer or rider who stays in a fairly aggressive road position (I've found this saddle really shines when I'm in the drops or the Sphinx position, which generally means slid pretty forward on it) looking for a less bulky, lightweight saddle, this is an excellent choice. I would also suggest the SHC (review of it here) as another fairly minimalist choice from Cobb (the SHC does have more padding) or, use the new Cobb Cycling website Saddle Finder.

The HC170 strapped to the trainer ready for some mileage

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Wit +1

Probably the most excited I've ever been writing a blog post. So much cool stuff has gone on since the last time I wrote. Kona crowned us two new champions, Canyon announced they would be selling in the USA, records were set in Chicago, I went to the beach... and oh yeah, most importantly... She said yes!

I admit, though I was mostly confident, the couple of days leading up as it became a bit more "really about to happen" I started sweating it just a little bit. Fortunately she was as happy and excited as I was, despite my fumbling through the whole "will you?" part of it!

That of course was the icing on the cake of an already great vacation. A chance to unplug and not think about selling cars, training, eating healthy, bikes or social media. We (again) stayed in beautiful 30a, this time in a very nice house in a development section (and I do mean development... it's a good thing I get up earlier than builders anyways...) which was entirely too big for two couples... but nobody ever complains about too much real estate, so neither will I.

The view... you can just see the ocean down that driveway!

I'll be honest, I was a lazy bum. I went on two very short runs with the missus (who was kicking my butt through them) swam in the ocean a couple of times and went on a few short bike rides on rented "cruisers." Besides that, the most physical thing I did was lift 12oz cans and walk on the beach... which was an awesome mental break as much as it was a physical one.

The "integrated cockpit" of this fine beach mobile.
Next week we'll be back to "normal" (that is, less mushy how awesome was my trip bragging and more...whatever it is you expect from this blog...) but let me take a moment to thank you all for stopping by and checking out what has been going on in my world. I really appreciate it. Jimmy told me that with popping the question it was the end of "my" life. There's some truth in that, and I hope that "our" life can be even better! 


Thanks for reading!

- Christopher Morelock