Simple Things — Saddle

by klassman

Much of what happens in training for a triathlon is simple.  Simple acts are repeated over and over and over.

Swim — Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe.  Stroke, stroke, stroke breathe (on the other side).  Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe.  Repeat.

Bike — The pedals go around and around, and then they go around.  Take a drink, eat a gel, take a drink.  Then the pedals go around some more.

Run — Run, run, run.

The simplicity brings me to the saddle of a bike.  It is unadorned.  It is a seat, a place to sit.  There are no moving parts.  It is affixed with straightforward bolts to the frame of the bike.  It is a stable platform from which power can be delivered through the legs which are in constant motion.  It is the point from which the torso can balance and where the body grounds itself on turns.

I ride on a Selle San Marco Ponza.  It is a high quality saddle but not the flashiest or even at the high-end of the market.  Tonight I rode an hour and twenty five minutes on the trainer and the plan called for riding with a cadence of 100 or more.  Typically, I’ll ride with a cadence between 88-93.  Tonight, I rode nearly the whole time between 96-99.  As soon I hit 100, the bouncing would begin.  If I pushed the cadence even a little — up to 102 — the bouncing would radicalize and I’d thrash about the bike.

There is a fine line and beyond it, the subtle beauty imbued in a storied Italian brand — a balance of stiffness and flexibility, gentle curves transected by rigid rails — was transformed into a horrific tool better suited to the Spanish Inquisition.  It was like pogo-ing on a hockey puck but without the joy.

Note to self, improve my riding form or else keep the cadence below triple digits. It is that simple.