The winner gets to go from Banff to AW, the loser(s) get to visit ebay…….I had some minor saddle discomfort by the end of the Stagecoach 400. Not too bad, but bad enough to convince me my current saddle would not be adequate for 20+ days of TDR mayhem. So I resumed some saddle research and test.
According to everything on saddle fitting I could find online my current saddle width (140mm) is simply too narrow for my sit bone width in a full upright position. I used the SQLab’s home fit procedure to take sit bone width measurements. Using SQ's procedure I determined that I would use a 140mm wide saddle for a race or aero position-- however I could use a 150mm width for a full upright position.I tested three wide saddles:
155mm Specialized Avatar Gel http://www.specialized.com/us/en/ftb/saddles/roadtriathlon-saddles/avatar-comp-gel150mm 611 Active Short http://store.radsportusa.com/product_p/611actshort.htm
153mm Selle Italia Trubomatic Gel Flow http://www.selleitalia.com/en/prodotti/road/pagina_turbomatic/Testing consisted of several multi-hour rides each. At the end of the day I found:
1. Specialized Avatar was only comfortable in the full upright position. Overall it was to ‘hard’, especially in the race and aero positions. Basically this saddle just did not work for me except in one position
2. SQLabs 611 Active was extremely comfortable in the full upright position, best of all three tested! The elastomer shock absorber is a real winner!! And the 611 is ‘ok to acceptable’ in the race and aero positions. The nose is a bit narrow and hard for my taste. Unfortunately the ‘middle’ position on the 611, sort of between race/aero and full upright is simply unacceptable. I really wanted to make the 611 work but despite numerous micro adjustments I could never find a sweet spot in that middle position. It was bad enough I felt I was bruising the area around my sit bones. So unless I was fully upright or fully race/aero the 611 was noticeably uncomfortable.
3. Selle Italia Turbomatic, ah yes an old school shape covered in classic leather. The Turbo is ‘almost’ but not quite as plush as the 611 in the full upright position. In the race/aero it’s quite good, the cut out area does concentrate pressure and this might eventually be a comfort problem. In the middle/transition position it’s flawless. The smooth leather is also nice as it allows seamless micro positional adjustments. Rather than the 611’s two distinct comfort zones the Selle Turbo feels infinitely adjustable. I can simply slide forward or back just a smidgen to find the perfect spot. Rather than be locked into distinct positions I will be able to move the pressure points around just a tiny bit. And as the hours and days add up this will become more and more important.Bonus Photo Section (my training over the last two weeks….)
On Route at Island Park Montana (as of last week, still lost of snow on route)
Robins Roost Store, on route in Island Park—in 2010 this was a key resupply point for me. Store will be open till 9:00pm (maybe 10pm in summer) Small but full grocery store with more than just chips and candy.
Snake River Idaho, Massacre Rocks State Park (just a tad drier than Island Park to the north)
Caprock rails to trail, West Texas, perfect testing grounds for the Selle Trubo saddle!! Selle Turbo saddle passed this bumpy rocky/gravel with flying colors! I am happy camper--hope the Selle works as good as expected come a real multi-day test in May