Chashing the route with the shadows.

So, winter is long gone here in Greece and it’s getting hotter by the day.  As a result, I mostly ride after 18:00 chasing the shadow trails and fire roads avoiding the sun.  Nevertheless, my legs killed me that day, I could hardly stand up on the bike when descending the trails.  You see I added lunges to my strength training workouts and my legs were toast. 

Plus, I’m taking on the Return To Earth 30-Day Trailforks Ride Challenge.  Check it out they are giving away a Trek Slash, pretty cool if you ask me.  

Below is a video of Wednesday’s ride.  



SQ Lab 611 Ergowave Cromo

This SQ Lab 611 Ergowave saddle is much better than the ones I tried in the past.  In the beginning, it feels like you have to think where you have to sit because of the “step down”. But if you forget that and just sit on the saddle you settle in fine.  The truth is that you have to tinker with the saddle angle to get it just right for you, but after that, all you have to do is ride your bike.  I prefer the saddle nose up just a few degrees. One thing that bothered me is that sometimes the saddle squeaked.  So, I removed the saddle cleaned the rails and seat post clamp and the 95% squeaking is gone.  Now it only makes noise if I sit too far forward or back while descending trails. Here are a few pictures of the saddle.

The box it came in
All that was in the box




In search of a comfortable saddle part 3

So, I like the Fizik Aliante better than the Gobi even though it is a road saddle.  The raised rear part of the saddle is more comfortable for my lower back.    Everyone knows numbness is not good.  The Aliante has a rounded shape which I feel presses the soft tissue making it a bad fit for me.  The pressure from the saddle’s rounded shape doesn’t feel right.   Having said that, after extended time in the saddle the numbness still returns.

Anyway, my temporary solution is to pedal standing up for a while to relieve the soft tissue area.  Another tactic I use to prevent numbness is to add lots of trails during my bike ride.  I stand when descending trails so that also reduces the time I’m sitting in the saddle.  I also stand while descending fire roads for the same reason.  This all helps but its not a solution to the numbness its a bandaid solution.

The Meteora MTB race I looking forward to is 5 weeks.  There are extended climbs in this race.  That means there will be a lot of time sitting in the saddle.  The last thing I want is to get numb or having to remember to stand up.  I want to focus on my performance and have a great race.

The next saddle I’m going to test is from SQ Labs.  More on this saddle later.

In search of a comfortable saddle part 2

As you’ve seen I’m looking for a new saddle.  I tested the Fizik Gobi last week for about 9 hours.  The saddle felt very hard, but I got used to that.  During the last ride on the Gobi, the numbness returned after about 45 minutes.  This means I have to look for another saddle to test.  However, during the talk with the local bike shop owner, he suggested that I also test out the Fizik Aliante 140mm.  The fact is the Aliante is a road bike saddle, but what does that matter if it fits.  So, after I washed the bike today, I mounted the saddle for tomorrow’s ride.  

Furthermore, I called another local bike shop that sells Fabric saddles but did not get through to anyone. 

The Fizik Aliante
The Fizik Aliante

In search of a comfortable saddle

I’ve been using the Bontrager saddle that came with my bike for 4,000km without any problems.  Now, I get numb and looking for a new saddle.  After searching online for causes and solutions to this problem I decided to just try some saddles out. 

The current test saddle on my Trek is a Fizik Gobi M3, 13 cm.  After three rides I can say it is much better than my old one, no numbness, but it is HARD.  We all know that I must adapt to it.  The Fizik is much narrower which means its more comfortable to pedal.  Having said that, I felt some pain behind the knee and moved the saddle closer to the handlebars.

Other things that have crossed my mind are bibs.  Do they ever wear out?

Other saddles that have caught my attention are Selle Italia and SQ Labs.  Selle Italia is very popular and I might be able to test one out before buying.  SQ labs, on the other hand, I’ve only seen online.   However, they seem to be the answer to the numbness.  They have a very interesting design might work.

Anyway, I will see how the Fizik fits after a few more rides.

The Fizi Gobi M3
The old saddle

The newest neewbie

The fact is that I have no idea how to shoot and edit videos.  I took a shot at post-processing videos according to the Loam Rangers’ how to use DaVinci Resolve.  I wanted to tinker with color correction, highlight, and shadows just to get a feel how things work. The truth is I knew less than I thought I did.  I’m such a newbie at this that I couldn’t even “load” a video to DaVinci Resolve.  The good news is that there is always help and it’s called YouTube.  So, I found this video Learn DaVinci Resolve Basics – Part 1 (Project settings and how to import media) and it helped a ton.  Now at least I can tinker with the videos I have on my phone.

As new as I am to this fascinating world, I can now adjust the shadows, highlights, color, and sharpness of the videos.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that I can make or edit a good video, but I’m I hope I’ll get there.  Hopefully, soon enough I’ll have some mountain bike footage to work on. 

Having said that, another rabbit hole I will go down is camera settings like resolution, framerate, the field of view and aspect ratio just to mention some.  Put simply I have to learn a lot. 


Week five, longest ride ever, bad weather

Unfortunately, last week I only managed to ride my MTB once.  Having said that, I rode over 47 kilometers, which is my longest ride ever which is not too bad.  Obviously, that was a fun ride because I rode with my friend.  Everyone know riding bikes, especially down trails, is much better with good company.
Furthermore, I also trained with kettlebells twice last week, swings and Turkish getups.  We both know that cycling doesn’t really work our hamstrings, so it’s a good thing those kettlebell swings killed my hamstrings, they are still sore. 
The weather forecast for next week is not good, its gonna snow.  I hope they are wrong because I want to get some more time on the bike.
I’m also looking into a GoPro and post video editing software for my MTB related time but also for the family.  Not to mention the hardware itself, camera, various mounting gear but also how to shoot videos, angles, cinematography, and resolution and framerates.  I’ve viewed a ton of GoPro Hero 7 reviews trying to decide which one to get. 
Man, this is an entirely new world, with lots of rabbit holes to go down.  Here are some resources I found helpful for a newbie like me, check them out. 

Make sure to read this Digital Trends article

Here is a video that compares all the GoPro Hero 7 editions black, silver, and white

After you decide on a GoPro, here is how to set it up so you can later improve the footage with software.  Here the “Loam Ranger” shows how to set up your camera.  He recommends an older GoPro but everything is relevant to the current GoPro’s, minus the gimbal.


And don’t forget, this video, the “Loam Ranger” explains how to post-process videos the easy FREE way.


Week four: good weather, long rides, and resistance training

After all, this was a good week.  The weather was good, especially the end.  I managed to train for 10 hours which is my target.  Furthermore, Friday’s weather was amazing.  It was like a spring day, I could not get off my bike,  I rode for 3 hours and 27 minutes.

We both know that we should supplement out cycling training with resistance exercise.  So, I started working out because my upper body felt weak on the bike.  My triceps and upper body got tired so I started the following bodyweight routine.

Pull-ups 3 sets: 7, 7, and 6 reps
Ring dips 3 sets:  2,3 and 4 reps
Barbell deadlifts  3 sets: 11, 12, and 11 reps
Rings pushups 3 sets: 10, 9, and 7 reps
Hanging keen raises 2 sets:  10 and 10 reps

The rides mantra was:  While uphill look ahead all the way to the top.  Descending:  look ahead and heavy feet light hands.



Third ride in a row

Yesterday, was the third ride in a row.  However, toward the end of the bike ride, I was starving and craving chocolate chip cookies with milk.  Even though I had some almonds with me they were not enough.  This means I must rebuild my fitness level again.  If the weather keeps up and lets me train, I’ll be fine in a few weeks.

Riding was a bit better with the saddle angle nose increase.  Nevertheless, I will investigate buying a new Fabric saddle.

Because of the muddy trails, I must wash the bike, especially for the drive train and suspension.