02/25/15

Cobb Cycling Saddle

Let’s face it… Americans find themselves sitting more times than not, right? In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting on a chair at the dinning room table.  When my wife and I first bought these chairs, they didn’t have cushions on them.  They functioned okay and holding us while we sat, but they weren’t comfortable, so we added some seat cushions and now our rears are much happier while sitting eating meals!

I’ve also owned/sat in several different chairs, couches, Lazy Boys, etc. and some of them I just don’t care for, or fixed them to make them more comfortable for sitting and relaxing.  Another thing I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on is my bike saddle.  I’ve been riding bikes and racing triathlons since I was a teenager.  The first bike I got had some cheap saddle on it that functioned (giving me a place to sit on the bike) but it wasn’t comfortable.  After about 15 or 20 miles my rear wasn’t happy.  At the time, I figured that was just part of riding a bike.  Saddle soreness and other things that probably shouldn’t be posted on a blog!

I then moved on a triathlon specific saddle by Selle Italia.  It was better but the issue of saddle sores and other unmentionable things still happened, albeit much less.  The next bike I purchased had a Fizik saddle on it.  In my opinion, I took a step back as far as comfort. But again, I figured it was just part of the sport.  I had a hard time staying in the aerobars due to the discomfort.  Finally, I had the revolutionary idea of finding a saddle that worked for me and was comfortable.  I discovered the John Cobb V-Flow Plus and have been riding it for several years (probably about 4 year now).  I have never… no exaggeration… never… had a problem with it.  It was comfortable from day one and due to the memory foam in the saddle, it only got better.  One thing I learned about these saddles recently during the Maverick Multisport Preseason camp is that the saddles that Cobb designs have a naturally swirling air pocket that forms under the saddle that basically acts as an air conditioner to keep your under area nice and dry (which keeps the skin from breaking down).

So… if you’re riding a saddle that doesn’t feel well, I encourage you to make the switch to a Cobb Saddle.  They have a guide on their website to help you find the best saddle for you.  Just like the chair I am sitting on wasn’t comfortable and I found a solution for it, there is a solution for your saddle not being comfortable.  If you’re not comfortable, how can you be fast?

If you are interested in purchasing one, email me at mike.s.hermanson@gmail.com and request a coupon code for 5% off and free shipping.

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02/3/15

Training in Groups

When I first started getting serious about triathlons, I did most of my training on my own. I hired a coach and pretty much did everything to get race ready solo. I had a lot of room for improvement and the progress came relatively quickly. But in the last 18 months, I came to the realization that if I wanted to get faster I needed to start training with people that would push me, challenge me every day, and maybe even humble me a little bit. I slowly got outside of my own training bubble and began searching out other groups to train with on a regular basis.  The purpose of this blog is two fold: 1. Encourage people to find a group of people that will challenge/push you to new limits in training (or any area of life), and 2. A small way to say thanks to the groups I train with in Louisville on a regular basis.

Maverick Multisport connected me with the Lakeside Seahawks, a local swim team in Louisville, KY that has consistently ranked in the top 10 in the nation for kids swim teams. Simply put, these kids can swim! Not too many kids that are literally half my age (some less than that) can deflate your ego in the pool outside this swim team. Between the kids challenging me outside my comfort zone every week and the coaches being more than helpful with critiquing my swim stroke and providing crazy swim sets, where I was in the pool and where I am at now is literally night and day. So, thank you to all the kids on the team for allowing a 27 (almost 28) year old triahlete take part the lane. I don’t think you all know how much you’ve helped me develop into a better swimmer/triathlete.

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Moving along in the order of the race, I started seeking out cyclist in Louisville (Purple rides group) that are Cat 1 and Cat 2 riders around the middle of last season. They were kind enough to allow a guy with aerobars show up to their group rides and not turn me away. They definitely helped me stay motivated on the bike and push through discomfort that I wouldn’t be able to get through on my own. So, hopefully I’ll be seeing more these guys in 2015 once the weather warms up.

Most recently, I started running about three times a week with Spalding University’s Cross country and and track team. Coach Kevin and Coach Sowder were okay with me showing up to their practices as they fit my plan given to me by my coach, Brian Grasky. I feel like a big part of what I was missed while training on my own was the track and speed work that we’ve done on the track recently. I’ve noticed my aerobic runs have gotten faster, my tempo runs have become faster and I have more confidence in how fast I can run. The guys on the team have been great in not only pushing me outside my comfort zone, but also helping me enjoy running more than I ever have.

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Of course, I have to say thanks to my coach Brian Grasky for looking at these training schedules from the swim team and cross country team and telling me when it is good to join them and when workouts can be tweaked a little to fit the plan to get me race ready. Otherwise, I would be aimlessly training. He has gone above and beyond already this year to help me use my local resources to get faster while taking his vast knowledge of racing and performance to know when I need to do things on my own.

World Class coaching from beginner to elite athletes

So thank you Lakeside, Purple Riders, Spalding XC/track team, and Brian Grasky for making training my fun, motivating me, humbling me, and contributing to the success I’ve had thus far.  And making training much more enjoyable than training on my own.