Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Uncomfortably numb - time for a new saddle

Increasingly, I've been experiencing numbing of the 'nether regions' while on rides. It started on the road bike (with a Felt performance carbon injection saddle - see pic) but I've also been noticing it on the mountain bike on relatively short (but hilly rides - using SDG Bel Air ti) and on the CX bike (with a WTB Laser V ti - probably the most comfy saddle I've used).

Doing a little reading, it appears to be a common problem, and I decided to get get a saddle with lots of middle relief - basically a saddle with a big hole, or channel, in the middle.

Shipping around I short listed it down to the Specialized Evo Pro and the Selle Italia SLR Superflow.

The Spesh is marginally lighter (173g vs approx 200) and gets great reviews, but has carbon rails that meant I'd need a new seat clamp.

5 minutes on eBay and I was the proud soon-to-be owner of a super-light eXotic carbon seat post, and a couple of days later a new Specialized Evo Pro from Sigma/Specialized Concept Store in Kingston.

Fitting underway and reports of (hopefully) improved comfort to follow!

The new Specialized Evo Pro... fingers crossed!

My aging WTB Laser V

 The Felt saddle

Friday, 3 May 2013

Aiming to lose 8-10% of my bodyweight - respect to the mountains!

So, hauling my sorry ass up 4,000m (or thereabouts) of mountains in the Alps is going to be no small undertaking. Everyone tells me that the mountain climbs are all about weight - the less you have, the easier it is!

My first reaction was "OK, where can I save weight on my bike!" There had to be a few hundred grams I could potentially shave off - lighter tyres, lighter saddle etc.... But the hard reality is that most of the weight of the total 'package' isn't the bike; it's me. Take a look at this chart from Cervelo (who apparently know a think or two about bikes):

OK, I'm not 100kg (I'm about 77kg), but the truth remains the same... 90% of the total weight is the rider, not the bike. A 150g weight saving equates to a paltry 0.25%.

So, time to take the alternative approach - shed some kilos on me!

I've only ever dieted once before (to lose weight for a sailing event a couple of years ago). My diet of choice back then was very effective, so I'm going back on it. Basically, it involves cutting out all sugar, fruit, dairy and almost all carbs. Full credit to iDave on singletrackworld.com, the diet is as detailed below. I'll post updates on the weight loss as I get thinner (hopefully!).

For reference, my starting point is 76.6kg, ~19% body fat, as of 15 April 2013.

RST Low GI fat loss programme (AKA the iDave diet)
This is not a ‘diet’; rather it’s a fresh approach to what and how you eat. It is not calorie restrictive, nor is it reliant on high volumes of activity. It is effective because it is designed to target the insulin response to food rather than calories. It’s proven, safe and effective.
If you follow it closely, you can expect to lose around 2kg per week – obviously the results will deoend on the level of training you’re doing. 

Green light
Unlimited vegetables 
Unlimited legumes; lentils, chick peas, butter beans etc Unlimited lean meat

Red light
No white carbs eg – bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, or any whole grain variant. No cereal or cereal derived foods
No dairy
No fruit 

Portion sizes should be normal, this is not a calorie restrictive ‘diet’ – it’s a new approach to eating, not just for this period of training and weight-­‐loss. Our experience suggests that you will self-­‐regulate your body weight when you get to 10-­12% body fat. 

No drinking calories; acceptable drinks are ice cold water, red wine and black tea/coffee and green tea. If you normally have coffee with milk and sugar, replace milk and sugar with a pinch of cinnamon. Drink cold water throughout the day. 

One day per week you eat whatever you want and as much of it as you want. This is as important as all the other days. If you love Sunday roasts, choose Sundays, if Friday night is curry night, make all day Friday your freedom day. Don’t hold back – eat whatever you want.