Monday, July 27, 2015

What It Feels Like To Be Hit By A Car

I didn't realize that my last blog "Training Peaks & Valleys" was perhaps a foreshadow to what happened to me yesterday...  As I wrote in that blog, we all go through ups and downs in our training and sometimes we have no control over whether we find ourselves in a peak or in a valley.  This past week my training was going awesome!  I did a swim/bike brick on Tuesday, a hard 10-mile track workout on Wednesday, swam and did a solo century on Thursday, ran 20 miles with 3 fast finish miles on Friday, took a day off on Saturday, and then yesterday headed out on the group ride for another 100-mile dose of cycling.

The ride itself went great!  There were so many smiling faces and it felt SO much better to ride 100 in a group vs. alone.  Plus, the miles ticked by a LOT faster (thanks Ren, Mike, Shay, Sami, Shay, Ken, JR, Walker, Doug, & Lawrence!)  At the end of the ride I said g'day and started riding home since I had ridden to the ride start.

I was 1.2 miles from my place when I entered a roundabout.  I'm circling around and an SUV pulls up to another entrance to the roundabout and does not stop, slow down, or yield at all to moi, who was already the "traffic" in the traffic circle.  I yelled at the car but her window was up and clearly she didn't hear me.  I didn't have any time to react and next thing I knew the left driver's side of her vehicle was colliding with the right side of my body.  The force of the impact didn't really hurt, but it knocked me down onto the ground and that hurt a lot.  My right foot came unclipped, my left foot remained clipped in, and I skidded across the ground, almost out of my intended exit from the roundabout.  I was laying there, moaning in pain, too shell shocked to move or get up.  I saw another car coming into the roundabout and I thought "please oh please don't run over me!!!"  Thankfully he stopped, as did the lady who hit me, and a few other bystanders as well.  I don't think anyone knew exactly what to do, if they should just leave me there or help me up.  The woman who hit me was freaking out and asking me if I needed anything (um yes, I needed you to look to your left before entering the traffic circle and yield to the oncoming bike).  I couldn't help but notice when she opened up the back of her van that there were about 5-6 cases of beer in there and it was approximately 12:30 in the afternoon!  One person called 911 and being that I was literally less than 100 meters from a fire station, the firefighters arrived on the scene first.  I sat up and unclipped and someone took my bike off of me; I couldn't help but worry about whether or not the frame was cracked.  At this point, pain was starting to sink in a little bit and I got up and sat down on the side of the road in the shade, feeling a little headachy and dizzy.  The firefighters performed some preliminary first aid and surveyed my road rash - I didn't like that I could hear them talking about how bad it looked.  I gave my dad a phone call that no parent wants to receive, "Dad, I got hit by a car (but I'm ok)" and he was there within a few minutes.  EMS arrived and ushered me into the ambulance.  They checked my vitals, asked how I was feeling, looked at my wounds, and recommended that I allow them to transport me to the hospital for further inspection.  At first I didn't want to go, but they said it'd be a good idea to x-ray my elbow, which had taken the brunt of the impact of the fall, to make sure it wasn't broken.  They also wanted to be sure I didn't have any head injuries, as there were a few pretty large cracks in my Giro.

I arrived at the ER and it was fantastic b/c there was literally zero wait time.  As I was sitting there on the cot, I started to realize how much the right side of my body (neck, shoulder, elbow, side, & back) were hurting from getting all scraped up.  The nurses cleaned everything out, I got an x-ray on my arm, and they gave me a bunch of pain killers.  They told me that things were going to get stiffer and more sore over the next 24-48 hours and, boy, they weren't kidding about that.  Everything is so stiff, especially my neck, this morning and it kind of hurts to move.  I feel like I've been hit by a car.  Oh wait, I was hit by a car!  Damn it!

The bright side of this situation is that I am not seriously injured.  X-ray came back ok and it doesn't look like I have anything other than road rash & some seriously bruised muscles.  I know I got really lucky to come out of that with just some scrapes!  I'm so thankful that it wasn't worse.  And I'm so thankful for all the kind people who helped me on the scene, in the ambulance, and at the hospital!  Thanks for being there for me Dad!

From a preliminary inspection, my bike looks ok.  The carbon fiber base bar is chewed up on the right side and pedals are scratched, but I think my body took the brunt of the impact and actually protected the bike!  I won't know for sure though until TrySports Charlie looks over the entire thing from head to toe.  This will most likely affect my training for the next few days.  The doctor didn't give me any restrictions to working out, so I'm assuming it's to be done as tolerated by pain.  So, this accident has transported me from a training peak to a training valley, though hopefully this valley is just a small one ;)

Cyclists, as always, please be careful out there.  And to drivers, please please please be on the lookout for cyclists and other pedestrians.  It's not worth running someone over to get to your destination 30 seconds faster!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Training Peaks (and valleys)

It's hard to believe that Ironman Chattanooga is less than 10 weeks away!!!  It's scary actually cause I don't feel ready.  After Over The Mountain my training sort of took a nose dive down to around 10 or fewer hours/week.  I kept skipping workouts, was sick for a week where I basically did nothing, did some traveling for work, and couldn't string together any consistency.  There was a 2-week stretch where I didn't swim at all!  This left me feeling unfit and also bummed because prior to OTM things were starting to come together again and I was feeling especially good on my long runs.

Well, I'm happy to say I've turned the training train around and have had a few solid back to back 17-hour weeks again.  I'm feeling fit, though I know I don't have too much time left to get to the point that I had originally hoped to when I signed up for IM CHOO.  That's ok though because I've been immensely enjoying training and am so thankful to be able to be out there doing what I'm doing :)  Here's a quick SBR breakdown of where I'm at:

The Swim
As before, I am still not putting a huge emphasis on the swim since the race is supposed to have a decent current.  Now I've heard rumors that the powers at be are not going to open the dam as much as they did last year - damn it - so my strategy could ultimately backfire.  I usually swim 2-3 times per week around 3000 yds per swim.  I've been swimming in various outdoor pools, which have all been about 85+ degrees, making it more difficult than it needs to be.  I've been too scared to swim in the channel after all the shark attacks on the NC coast this summer, but most of the outdoor pools I've been swimming in don't have lane ropes so that's similar to open water swimming right?!  Thankfully, the YMCA just opened again today so I'll start going there next week :)

The Bike
I have REALLY enjoyed the weekend group rides leaving from Poplar Grove.  It's so awesome to see 20+ Wilmington triathletes showing up for these 6 am rides and it always makes me smile.  I've had the good fortune of being able to ride with some really fast ladies & sick fast dudes which I believe is making yours truly faster!  Plus, I love being able to knock out 80 miles in under 4 hours!  That being said, I know I'm not going to have all these great cyclists to draft off of in my race so today I did a solo century and it took me 5 hours 20 min.  Definitely not where I'd like to be, but it's improvement so I can't complain.  I'm feeling super duper comfortable on my IA and I can't say enough great things about that bike.  *LOVE* it!  My saddle situation is under control thank GOD.  I've also gotten very comfortable riding in the wind, which used to be my nemesis.  Hopefully I can continue to increase my endurance on the bike over the next 2 months and pick up a few mph!

The Run
The run has been rough lately.  Prior to my training hiatus, I was going out on 20-22 mile runs and feeling great.  I'd run for 3 hours and feel like I could keep going forever.  More recently I've been having trouble going the distance.  I keep getting these side cramps under my ribs, which makes it hard to take deep breaths.  Maybe this is due to the heat a little bit or maybe it's due to me running out of my PowerGels and using other gels to get by until my next shipment comes in.  At this point I've worked my long run back up to 21 miles.  I was supposed to do some pickups in my last long run, but it was a victory to just get the mileage in.  In contrast to the long runs, my track workouts are going great!  I keep hitting my paces and have had some good training partners out there which always makes it 1000 times better!  I've got a 20 miler tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes - I'm sure my legs will feel fresh after riding 100 today...

Next up for me is Lake Logan Half, which should be interesting.  There are about 20 open women & masters open women signed up for this race which is going to make it really exciting!!  I haven't raced a half since White Lake back in May.  I'd like to beat my time from then, but then again I recall Lake Logan being a really hilly course.  I'm uncertain how I"ll perform in the hills, but I'm certain that It'll be a good pretest for Chattanooga!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Race Report: 3rd Annual SetUp Celebration Time Trial

This race was over a month ago, but it still deserves a write up because it was really cool!  Every year SetUp Events holds a FREE celebration time trial to thank their race participants.  It starts at the Coast Guard Station and goes straight down Banks Channel w/ an incoming tide and finishes at the sandy beach on the channel side of the The Blockade Runner.  

I figured this would be a great workout, plus any triathlete who's a triathlete in Wilmington does this race.  Logistically it's simple; you park at the finish and they shuttle you to the start.  I loaded into the trollies with a few buddies :)  

 The race started with the national anthem and then the oldest swimmer had the honors of being the first one over the timing mats.  From there it's up to you where you'd like to start.  They give you a timing chip so you can start at the front, at the back, with friends, wherever you want!  I started in the middle cause I didn't want to get swum over top of by the real swimmers in the bunch.  I got into a good rhythm early on and just held race pace the entire time.  I drafted a little bit, but nothing too appreciable.  I made the bad decision towards the end of the swim to veer into the center of the channel, which was a dumb idea b/c it only added yardage to the route.  The fastest course would have been to stay as close as possible to the docks.  Here's my route:

At the end of the swim you run up the little beach area and through a mini finish line!  It was pretty fun!  There was also free food from Epic Food Company, which is one of my all time favorite places ot eat in Wilmington!  Yum!

I ended up coming in 10th out of the females and 4th in my age group of 30-39.  However, I actually felt pretty good about that b/c my age group was stacked with Kristen Smith & Jenny 2.0, so 1st & 2nd place were basically predetermined before the race started lol!  As per my Garmin watch, total distance was 2,447 yds and total time was 32:05 (1:19/100 yds).

It was a great way to start the day and I highly recommend this race to anyone!  How often is it that you get to do a FREE timed and supported open water swim with free food, music, & all of your friends!?!?   Thanks SetUp :)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Surfberry Organic Cold Pressed Juice Cleanse

A few weeks ago I was looking for a way to reboot my system and get back on track to super healthy whole foods plant-based eating.  I came across Surferry's organic cold pressed juice cleanse and decided to give it a whirl!  For those of you who live in the Wilmington area and haven't been to Surfberry yet - what are you waiting for?!?  They are located at Wrightsville Beach and I've been going there for a while to get their awesome smoothies & acai bowls.  What I really like about this place is that they are all about clean, fresh, organic, natural, whole, healthy foods.  There aren't any additives, syrups, or extra sugars that go into their smoothies or bowls - instead they are made with real fruit, fruit juices, and almond or soy milk.  Basically, the same ingredients that I would use if I were making a smoothie at home in my Vitamix.

I gotta mention the acai bowls for a sec cause I'm kind of addicted to these things.  My understanding is that they originated in the surfing community as a way to refuel and replenish after long days out on the water.  Acai berries are a superfruit found in South America and they contain beaucoup d'antioxidants.  Acai bowls are made by blending frozen acai puree with almond or peanut butter and soy or almond milk.  Then they're topped with granola, shredded coconut, fresh fruit, & a drizzle of honey!  Sooo delicious!  I sometimes eat these instead of cooking a meal :)

Ok, so back to my juice cleanse.  I had been feeling the effects of toxic hunger.  Don't know what toxic hunger is?  Then this article is a MUST-read!  I wanted to get back on the quick track to healthy eating and feeling fantastic.  Surfberry offers 1-, 3-, and 5-day juice cleanses.  Each day consists of six, 17-ounce bottles of cold pressed, fresh, organic juice:

*3 Green:  kale, spinach, cucumber, romaine, parsley, ginger, green apple
*1 Root Veggie:  carrot, beet, orange
*1 Citrus:  lemon, cayenne pepper, filtered water, maple syrup
*1 Almond Milk:  raw almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup

There are 1145 total calories in the six bottles of juice, so if you are an athlete, you need to time the cleanse with a day that you don't have a big workout and/or supplement with additional bottles of cold-pressed juice.  I waited a couple days after Over The Mountain b/c I wanted to recover a little bit before doing the cleanse.  The recommended schedule for drinking the juice is every 2 hours, starting at 9 am.  This actually worked out perfectly because it seemed like after 2 hours I would start to get a little bit hungry and it was time to drink another juice. I never felt like I was deprived or hangry.

The taste of the juice was very refreshing!  The green juice tasted like Mean Green juice that I have made in my Jack Lalanne juicer at home.  I learned about Mean Green juice from the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, in which a trucker is sick and tired of being sick and tired.  He installs a juicer in his cab and only drinks the juice of fresh produce from stands along the routes of his trips. He ended up losing a boatload of weight and reversing just about every one of his chronic diseases.

I also liked the flavor of the root veggie juice because of course y'all know how much I like my beet juice :)  The almond milk was the perfect juice to end the day with because it tasted like a dessert!  However, my favorite juice of the day was the citrus!  The combo of the tartness of the lemon combined with the peppery cayenne has me stopping by Surfberry from time to time just to purchase this juice by itself!

The purported benefits of juicing include:
*More energy
*Improved sleep
*More balanced moods
*Clearer skin & brighter eyes
*Better digestion
*Weight loss
*Less belly bloat
*A clearer mind

For me, I experienced no stomach issues and I'd say I had a lot of energy during the day and clearer thinking.  I also lost a few pounds, though I suspect this was from consuming fewer calories than normal and having lower glycogen stores ;)  My favorite thing about doing this juice fast is that it got me ramped up to eat clean again.  After doing a day of the juicing and only putting healthy nutrients into my body there was no way I was going to ruin it the next day by eating vegan junk food!  It got my system running cleanly and I've been eating A LOT better ever since!  I'd be happy doing this monthly and trying a longer cleanse next time.

Happy 4th of July to everyone and if you need a way to re-boot your system after eating and drinking too much this weekend, it might be perfect timing for you to try Surfberry's juice cleanse!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

DubSmash This

Just in case you need one more app to help you waste time, you should really check out DubSmash!  It'll give you lots of laughs and ensure that you don't get too far up on the productivity scale.  Here's how it works:

1.  Download the app.
2.  Select one of the thousands of 10-second clips from movies, songs, tv shows, political speeches, etc.  (Or upload your own sound bite.)
3.  Use the app to video yourself dubbing the clip.
4.  Immediately share with friends via text, Facebook, Twitter, or email!

If you still don't know why you would want this app, here's some motivation for you to go back to the App Store (like you need it).

At the very least I hope this gave you a few laughs :)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Race Report: Over The Mountain 2015

Sometimes things just go right.  And that's what happened this weekend.  I started having a good feeling about racing at Over The Mountain about 1-2 weeks ago....a feeling like I knew I was going to do well and I believed that if I had a good day I could win the race.  I've always loved racing at OTM and it is definitely my favorite course of the NCTS series.  The bike course is beautiful, challenging, and just pure fun!  The day before we left, I was tuning up my bike and grabbed a rag to get some of the grease off my chain.  As I was almost done I turned the rag right-side-out and noticed that I had just so happened to be using the 2013 OTM t-shirt!  I felt like this was definitely a sign and a good omen since I won the race back in 2013 :)

On the way to Kings Mountain I felt nervous but it wasn't because of the race.  The awesome folks at Beet Performer had arranged for me to do a live TV interview with WBtv in Charlotte on Friday evening to talk about fueling for triathlons.  I have done a few interviews but they've always been with a reporter who has his/her own camera and we've been able to do multiple takes if need be.  I've never done a live interview and I had no idea what questions they were going to ask me.  When we got to the tv studio I got even more nervous because everything looked so legit like you see on tv!

Despite my nerves the interview went really well!  The anchor & I had good rapport and I even got him to taste beet juice on air!  Thanks to Kurt for coming with me because when I was talking to the anchor and I looked over and saw Kurt smiling it made me feel relaxed and a lot more comfortable on camera - thanks for your support Kurt!!!  Here's a link to the video clip!  After the interview was over it was later than I'd have liked, but I felt calm because now all I had to do was race!

Race morning came early and because OTM is a point to point race there are a few more logistics involved than a typical triathlon.  We picked up packets at swim finish and oh hello!  My bib number was #1.  That's never happened before and I felt like it was another sign that I was going to come in first :)  Swim finish/T1 is on the other side of the lake than swim start and T2 is down town.  So after you set up both transitions you hop on a bus and they take you to swim start.  It sounds complicated, but this race has been going on for so long, it's all really smooth and easy.  On the way to the start, Kurt & I reminisced about the race - OTM was our first triathlon that we ever did back in 2008!

OTM Swim Start 2008
OTM Swim Start 2015

The Swim - 1500m - 26:40 (1:38/100 yds)
Every year that I've done this race it's been wetsuit legal.  But there's always a first time for everything and this year the water temp was 82 or 83.  No wetsuits!  Thankfully, on a whim I had tossed my speed suit into my bag so I decided to wear that over my tri kit.  The swim is in in-water start and as we were waiting for the gun to go off someone said, "So who's going to lead this swim?  Who are the fast swimmers?"  No one responded.  I knew I wouldn't be leading the swim and tried to line up behind a couple people so I could get some draft.  The swim started out well, but early on I found myself with no one to draft off of :(  I later realized that a few women were drafting off of me! Overall I felt good during this swim, but was a little bummed when my watch beeped for the 3rd time signaling I had swam 1500m and I was still in the water.  My Garmin said I did about 1634 yds so I guess I could stand to swim a little straighter next time, though the graph on Garmin connect didn't look terrible!

T1 - 2:14
I almost fell over getting out of the water because the surface was  little bumpy, but swim exit was pretty cool and exciting because there were 4 or 5 of us women who all got out of the water, ran up that GINORMOUS hill, and into T1 at the same time!  It felt like we were in an ITU race!  We all got out on the bikes and you could see everyone spaced out but together on the course.

The Bike - 1:26:46 (19.3 mph)
The bike is why you should do this race!  I can't say enough about how beautiful it is and how much fun it is to ride through Kings Mountain State Park!  This was the first time this year I've felt like I've been in a race on the bike.  The 4 or 5 of us kept passing and re-passing each other throughout the first half of the course.  Unfortunately, at the beginning I felt like I was getting passed more than I was passing other people.  But then, the climbs started to hit and my legs felt good.  I was spinning up them and felt like all that riding into the wind in Wilmington was paying off.  On the descents I dropped it into my hardest gear and pedaled down.  A few times I felt a little nervous because I got up to 40 mph, but I reminded myself of how many times I've ridden this course and all the descending I used to do in Greensboro.  As the course went on I got more and more confident.  I passed the lead woman at about 20 miles into the bike, though I thought at the time there was still one woman ahead of me.

T2 - ?
When I came into T2 they said I was in the lead for the women!  I still wasn't sure that there wasn't one more lady in front of me though.

The Run - 42:45 (6:53 min/mi)
The run starts off down hill and my first mile was 6:35.  I felt decent and I wanted to catch up to the woman ahead of me.  However, people on course kept cheering me on saying I was in first!  I finally believed it when I hit the turnaround without having seen any other ladies ahead of me.  I felt excited to be in the lead, but I also lost a little motivation to keep running as hard as I was.  Two years ago I got my 10K PR (39:21) on this course because I was chasing someone down and didn't pass her until the final miles.   It's hard to believe I ran that fast on this course because it was a lot hillier than I remembered.  But that probably has to do with the fact that I used to live in Greensboro which is hilly, I trained about 10 hours more per week, and I was a dedicated fruitarian.  Anyhow, on the way back I started feeling really fatigued and it was getting more than a little toasty out.  I just kept it moving and tried to keep it under 7:00 miles.  I ran up the finish chute and they announced my name as the female winner and I was stoked to be done and stoked to clench the victory!!

Total Time - 2:38:24 (1st female)
It feels good to win a triathlon again :)  I feel like everything came together on race day and it couldn't have gone much better!  I met up with Kurt at the finish area and turns out he had finished 2nd place in the Aquabike division!  Way to go Kurt!!!  We chowed down on some delicious local watermelon & cantaloupe.  And of course they had the traditional smoked BBQ chicken for all the meat eaters.  Seriously, the town of Kings Mountain goes all out for this race and that is part of what makes this such a special race!

So now I have about 2 months before I do another race.  I don't really like the thought of waiting that long to race again.  I've got a training camp planned with my coach in Greensboro early June and I can't wait to get back to the hills.  Then in August I've got Lake Logan Half, which will be a real good test to see where I'm at before IM Chattanooga.  So for now, it's time to put all the excuses away and put in some consistent training.  In other words it's time to #GTWD.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Saddle Battle

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now, but I've been waiting to find that magical saddle that solves all of my problems.  Unfortunately if I keep waiting for that, this post might never get written.

Why does it have to be so hard to find the right saddle????  Shouldn't we be able to ride in comfort?  Shouldn't the muscular fatigue in our legs or the burning of oxygen debt in our lungs be the limiting factor to how far and how fast we can ride?  I know I'm not the only one who has been slowed down in a race or long training ride due to the discomfort in the nether regions.   Here's what some of my female friends have had to say about these issues:

"After a long ride I don't want my husband to touch me for a week."

"I've been to the doctor and had a few boils lanced."

"I have persistent hard nodules that flair up after each ride.  It takes a few days for them to subside."

"I get bruising after any ride over 2 hours."

"I just feel sorry for that entire area down there."

Does all that really have to be a part of riding?   I took to the internet to look for answers and I didn't find anything super encouraging.  One blogger said that she keeps her pubic hair "trimmed to about 1/4 inch which helps prevent chaffing."  Um, I live at the beach and I want my friends to continue to swim with me, so not keeping up with the landscaping is not an option.  On another site I found a woman who had had labiaplasty to reduce the amount of soft tissue in the troublesome area, however it didn't completely resolve all of her issues.  Plus the 6-month recovery process sounds painful and is a lot of time off of the bike.

At the moment, I'm on my 4th saddle and I think I'm going to have to settle.  Here's some info on all the saddles I've tried since getting my new Felt IA and then I want to give some tips of things that I have found that actually improve comfort on the ride.

Shimano PRO AeroFuel TT Saddle
Weight:  259 g
Rails:  Titanium
Material:  Carbon reinforced base w/ anti-slide cover

On my previous TT bike I used an Adamo saddle.  However, I always disliked how wide the nose of the saddle was because it gave me chaffing on the insides of my legs.  So when I saw this saddle I though, wow!  This could be perfect!  It has a similar shape to the Adamo, but the nose is considerably thinner.  At first I thought it would work because I didn't get chaffing on my legs and it didn't put pressure on sensitive areas.  In the end the deal breaker was that it is hard as a rock.  Now, I like a stiff saddle, but this one has zero give.  My body never got used to it and it never softened up a bit.
ISM Adamo Attack
Weight:  300-320 grams
Rails:  Titanium Alloy
Material:  Foam/gel padding
My next step was to test out my coworkers Adamo Attack Saddle.  He was curious about the AeroFuel Pro so we swapped saddles for a week.  At first the Adamo felt great because it relieved the problems I was having with the AeroFuel.  Plus, this model is also a little bit narrower than the ISM Racing saddle that I had on my previous bike so I thought it could be the solution.  However, it still caused the same ol' problem of chaffing on the insides of my legs.  If you've ever shaved your bikini line and then ridden this saddle you know the pain and unsightliness that I'm talking about.  After the week was up, my coworker was tired of riding between a rock and a hard place.  And I was still motivated and hopeful in continuing my search for the perfect saddle.

Selle SMP Etxra
Weight:  395 g
Rails:  Tubular Steel
Material:  Synthetic
The next saddle I tried was the Selle SMP Extra.  This is the saddle that I have on my Felt F75 road bike and it is actually very comfortable.  I didn't want to try it on my tri bike at first because it looks clunky, but after the AeroFuel Pro I didn't care, I just wanted to be comfortable.  This saddle has a lot more padding and is softer than the AeroFuel.  When I'm riding the road bike I usually sit back on the saddle, rather than on the downward tilting nose.  On the tri bike, I am positioned more towards the front of the saddle and it didn't offer the same level of comfort.  I was kept sliding forward and the real kicker was that my skin was getting pinched between the saddle and my legs.  Ouch!!!!

Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow 
Weight:  185 g
Rails:  Titanium
Material: Foam cushion w/ synthetic cover
I was extremely excited when I found the Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow saddle!  It had a shape that I had never seen nor tried before.  I truly thought this could be the answer!  And as with the others, at first I thought it was.  But just like the others, while it relieved the previous problems I was having, it came with it's own set of issues.  This saddle is the perfect stiffness and it is INCREDIBLY light!!!  It looked fast on my bike and I liked that :)  I sat on this saddle just back from the nose where the cutout starts.  It was a pretty good position because it relieved pressure on soft tissue but it was also still very narrow - no leg chaffing!!  The problem with the saddle though, is that because the area that contacted my body was so thin, it put a lot of pressure basically right in the crease of where your leg meets your body.  After a bunch of long rides that pressure turned into blistering and swollen lymph nodes.  Soooo, sadly, I concluded this wasn't the miracle I was hoping for and my days of riding this saddle were over.

After trailing 4 saddles and putting over 200 miles on each, I'm left kind of dejected because as one of my friends put it, I feel like I'm "searching for a unicorn."  I decided to order my own Adamo Attack and deal with the least troublesome of all the problems I've experienced in the last 5 months.   Here are my pointers for optimizing your saddle comfort:

1.  Do not skimp on cycling shorts.  I have found that when it comes to bike shorts you get what you pay for.  The pricier shorts are often constructed with more panels and the seams are in better places for a more comfortable fit.  Two sub-points under cycling shorts:

     A.  Make sure you have a good fit.  If you have excess material in your shorts, that means more material that can shift around and cause you chafing during the ride.  If you're not sure about the fit, go to a reputable tri shop with employees who have ridden thousands of miles and ask for their opinion.  I have found that when in doubt, go for the smaller size.

     B.  Sometimes less is more.  This holds true for saddles and chamoix (who knew chamoix is the plural of chamois!).  A super padded saddle may seem more comfortable at first, but what your arse really needs is some support.  As your sit bones sink down into the padding of a cushy saddle, your discomfort will increase over long rides.  With the shorts, sometimes I have found that riding in tri shorts is actually more comfortable for me because there is less material there to get in the way.

2.  Lube up.  I've been using TriSlide for a while because it is extremely slippery and more hygienic since it's a spray, but whether your preference be Body Glide, DZ Nuts, Chamois Butter, or anything else, this stuff helps prevent chaffing and is made specifically for your undercarriage.

3.  Hibicleanse.  One of my friends told me about this stuff and I'm kind of addicted to it now.  Hibicleanse is an antibacterial wash that sometimes medical professionals will clean their hands with before contacting patients.  I use this after riding to wash the insides of my legs where the Adamo causes me chaffing and I find that it helps reduce irritation and prevent any potential bacterial infection.  Word of warning:  it is for external use only and should always be kept away from the eyes because it can cause blindness.

4.  Laser Hair Removal.  I haven't done this personally but it's on my "to-do" list.  One of my friends had laser hair removal around the bikini area and said that it has dramatically reduced the number of in-grown hairs and irritation due to chaffing.  I think this could really help my issues with the Adamo and is a better solution than "let hair grow to 1/4 inch."  A related point to this is don't shave before riding; that will just increase irritation and chances of bacteria/sweat/dirt/grime getting into hair follicles.

5.  Troubleshooting:

A.  Central nerve pain --> choose a saddle with a cutout to avoid sitting on the clitoris

B.  Bruising --> your saddle could be too hard or body contact points to small; choose a saddle with more padding and/or one that gives you more body contact points

C.  Leg chaffing --> saddle nose is too wide; choose a saddle with a narrower nose and/or use more lube

D.  Labia skin pinching --> saddle could be too narrow or cutout not wide enough; look for a wider nose and/or wider cutout

E.  Blistering/skin tearing --> this indicates there is a lot of pressure on the area where this is occurring; try altering the position of your saddle (i.e. tilt, height, forward/backward) or try a different saddle that does not put as much pressure in the same area

F.  It's always a good idea to go to an experienced bike fitter to help put you in the best position.  Bike fitters are accustomed to speaking with people about all sorts of saddle problems in a professional manner, so don't be embarrassed about talking about the specifics of what you are experiencing.  The more specific you are about your problems, the more the fitter can do to help you relieve those problems.

Lastly, here's an interesting article from Cobb Cycling.  I think there is definitely merit to differences in female anatomy contributing to different saddle issues.  However, I'm not convinced that enough research has been done to determine which saddles are best for which hoohas.

What I am convinced of is that a comfortable rider is a fast rider.  Good luck in your search for the unicorn!  I hope you have better luck than me!