16 Mar 2015

16th March 2015 San Marco "Inquisition" Saddle!

Monday 16th 39-50F, 4-10C, windy, early cloud clearing. Forecast to blow to 17m/s later which is about 35mph. The weather is no fun any more! What is the point of it getting milder if it blows all the time? I'd better fit a chinstrap to my fleece scull cap!

My walk was long, eye-watering [despite the yellow glasses] and under a grey sky. A small hare broke cover, crossed my path and then sped off across the nearest prairie. My favourite "tunnel" between high hedges has been levelled! Hardly the best time of year to demolish so many high rise apartments inhabited by nesting birds!  Is that enough exclamation marks for one paragraph? Thought so!

I'm leaving my ride until this afternoon. The wind has already reached full strength but it is likely to become sunnier later. I should have mentioned that the 170mm cranks feel much more natural than the 160s or the 175s before them. Standing up on the pedals, to sprint and climb, finally makes sense again. The gusts were fierce as the wind roared in the trees and hedges again. It feels ridiculous struggling for 10mph on a descent with one's nose on the aero bars! I had to visit another village to try and find stock of normal items but there was none in the second branch either. 23 miles.

Tuesday 17th 41F, 5C, clear, sunny but breezy. It should hit 52F, 11C with gusts to 10m/s, 20mph from the east later. Had a short walk in bright sunshine. The first Starlings have arrived. I am intending to ride to a bike shop 30 miles away to the north west. This should make it easy going but harder coming back. Though not straight into the wind it usually feels like it. Finding a shop within riding distance which stocks any Campagnolo [at all] is rather difficult. I'd just like to admire the stuff in real life. It also gives me a reasonable goal for a decent ride on a forecast sunny day. The problem is dressing for the cold start while limiting discarded clothing storage to the Junior saddlebag. I don't have a very thin, wind-proof jacket. It's just reached 46F as I prepare to leave.

I found a thin nylon "jogging" jacket and layered that with another. It was a bit sweaty and I was glad to take it off after a few miles. Changing from thin, sweaty GripGrab gloves to their fingerless mitts was a mixed blessing. I didn't get far before a loser tried to kill me by overtaking a bus as they approached on double white lines. A strange day of variable, but often cold winds. Particularly on the way back. I seemed to be heading straight into the wind for miles. Though an onshore wind at Fredericia allowed me to climb up to the Old Bridge at over 20mph!

Having chatted to the staff and a couple of shop managers about the complete lack of interest in Campagnolo in Denmark I admired their stock. Every saddle was narrower and more curved than my Brooks. I spotted a cheap San Marco saddle for under £20 without any packaging. Nicely flat spine, reasonably broad with a bifurcated tail. It looked modern, felt good in the hands, was flexible at the rear and seemed very light indeed. I couldn't resist it so I fitted it before heading home. Ouch! It felt as hard as rocks and very unforgiving!

There are some very nasty potholes around Ronæs and Føns on the narrow, winding, coast road! I dropped right into one hole as I glanced behind to see why a car wouldn't overtake. The shock hurt my hands but the front wheel seemed okay. 66 miles in 6 hours dead. Including shopping and stopping to eat a couple of cheese rolls and bananas washed down with apple juice sitting right by the sea. I was starving on the last leg but had nothing more and there were no shops for miles. My sits bones are sore now after 34 miles despite wearing my best bibs. The devil is always in the detail. A day of pig shit competing with industrial perfume and toxic spraying. Just another day in [farmer's] paradise.

Wednesday 18th 48-53F, 9-12C, breezy, weak sunshine through high cloud. No ill effects from yesterday's longer tootle. Not even my sit bones are sore this morning. I was obviously very dehydrated because I drank lots of water, tea and coffee in the evening and still felt thirsty. Started with my usual walk through the woods with a cold wind at times.

I've just weighed the San Marco saddle on various kitchen scales and make it just under 200 grammes. [~185-190g] I think it was so cheap because it had been discontinued. No sign of any prior use. It may have been taken off a purchased bike. Titanox rails must help to keep the weight down.

I really ought to have it on the trike because it was such a bargain! It was much more comfortable when I was leaning forward on the aero bars. So it would make a good short TT saddle even for my ultra-sensitive nether regions. Being so flat it doesn't crush my doobrywotsits like the raised nose of a Brooks hammock when I'm leaning on the aero bars. The problem is getting the trike to Gravely Blighted each weekend to compete in local TTs for last man home. I wonder if you'd need retraining to ride on the incorrect side of the road?

I am still struggling to understand how millions of keen cyclists can last for more than a few yards on these narrow torture implements. I must have seen hundreds of bikes on display and all of them have far worse looking saddles than this one. Including all those mountain bikes where the rider sits very upright while riding on very rough surfaces.

I dragged my old Vetta SL out of storage and it felt much heavier than the San Marco but much better padded and comfortably wider. The SL was the only modern saddle, amongst my unused, recycled collection of some 25, which I could ever bear to ride before changing to the Brooks B17. Even the Vetta felt incredibly light compared with the 19th century Brooks B17 'Special.'

Should I persevere with the agony of a modern saddle for normal rides? Will I eventually break in before I break down and return to 600 grammes of real hide and vintage wrought iron? The San Marco weighs less than 1/3 that of the Brooks. While the Vetta is still under one half. Is there any point in wearing out the San Marco just to go shopping? The difference in weight will be completely lost in comparison with a 10kg/20lb load of shopping. Yet tragically, for longer rides with the trike stripped almost bare, I would best enjoy the advantages of the extra lightness.

Since I was only riding a short distance this morning I took the chance of fitting the Vetta. No ill effects at all! I was expecting at least some discomfort after yesterday's battering by the San Marco. It is odd how fast these narrower saddles feel compared to the Brooks. They seem to spur me on to greater effort. Only 8 miles so far. I hope to be let out again after lunch. I was not warm enough in my thinnest jacket. It is still too marginal at 51F. I was ripped off on discounted organic spuds! Charged full price. Didn't notice until I checked the receipt at home. Grrr. Plus 16 more miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment