ISM Adamo Racing – a product test

The ISM Saddle – we’ve heard a lot about it over the last couple of years but we admit – the rather ‘uncool’ design kept us from putting it on our bikes and testing it. Be honest – the first time you see the saddle you think: ”Not exactly a beauty and who needs added saddle comfort – that’s for old people” At least that’s what we thought.

However, the ISM saddle stuck around and at the end we were way to keen on testing out some new stuff! Traded our Fizik Aerione Tri in and put a ISM Adamo Racing on our bike!

Let’s have a quick look at what the boys from ISM have to say about the Adamo Racing.

”THE ORIGINAL – and still our top-of-the-line performance saddle for triathletes and time trialers. Designed for aggressive riding in the 0* to 30* hip angle position (aero bars). This seat offers superb comfort in a normally uncomfortable position. The Adamo Racing is completely UCI compliant for time trialing. It even sports a nifty transition rack hook on the back for racking your bike.  Uses light weight foam and gel pads with titanium alloy rails. 245mm long and 130mm wide.”

We first road the saddle earlier this year during a training camp on Mallorca – meaning we went from 0 miles on that saddle to a hell lot in a blink. The saddle felt rather unusual the first couple of miles before really starting to hurt about 40 miles into the ride – that’s we’ve heard from quite a few athlete before – most of whom turned their back on the ISM after just a couple of rides, returning to their old saddles.

However, we decided to give a chance and rode through the pain for the next couple of days and after about week the comfort was getting way better. The pain itself didn’t really come as a surprise – in order to avoid the ‘usual’ pressure points on a standard saddle the ISM has a split nose thus producing new pressure points we’ve never trained before. Those areas did hurt at the beginning but after a while we did get used to it. A major mistake we made when initially testing the saddle was trying to ride it like any other saddle – which you shouldn’t. The ISM really needs to be ridden as closely to the tip as possible.

What came as a surprise during those weeks on Mallorca was how relaxed the rest of the body was feeling after the bike rides – at this point we credited this to good core training and solid stretching sessions during the winter. The weeks went by and it was good riding on the ISM saddle but nothing that felt particularly spectacular. The one great thing about the saddle though was – it really took away the discomfort you sometimes experience especially in the aero position.

Back in Germany we returned to using the good old Fizik and that’s when it hit us – sometimes you need to see how bad something is to see how good something else is. The discomfort of the saddle tip stuck between your legs appeared right away again, the Fizik saddle suddenly felt really uncomfortable and our legs where significantly more tired after riding. Somehow the whole position on the bike didn’t feel right anymore and when we checked closer it became apparent. The ISM saddle allowed our hips to open up way better then the Fizik saddle and therefore producing a much more relaxed position when riding aero. The lower back, hips and legs are far more relaxed than on any other saddle we’ve ridden so far.

Summary: Let’s start with the points we didn’t like all that much about the ISM Adamo Racing. 1. The looks but then again: You’re butt is covering the saddle when riding your bike – so get over it! 2. the as they say ‘nifty’ transition rack hook on the back of the saddle. Come on boys at ISM – who really still racks their bikes on the saddle? This hook is a real pain when it comes to attaching rear hydration systems. Other than that for us the ISM saddle is definitely the best saddle we’ve ridden so far producing a much more relaxed and therefore more powerful ride. Less discomfort when riding, relaxed lower back, open hips and strong legs when getting off the bike are just a few benefits of riding ISM. We can’t really say much about the medical facts ISM is offering on their website – stating riding ISM makes you less prone to erectile disfunction. Let’s put it this way – there still seem to be a lot of cycling dads out there who made it happen even after riding some other saddle 🙂 Yet, why take the risk if you can avoid it. Right?
The growing community of triathlon and cycling pros as well as the growing number of podiums achieved on ISM saddles in international races speak for themselves. We’ll keep on riding the ISM cause the benefits are obvious even if you’re not a doctor or a scientist!

Rock on!

More info on ISM saddles: http://www.ismseat.com/index.htm

Hawaii Blog V – the grand finale!

Race Day

It is an early morning on race day – of course. 4am wake up – the plan was to have breakfast with Nicole Leder but I have to admit I ran a little late. 4:30 onto the bike (bring a light – it is incredibly dark out there on Alii Drive before sunrise). We recommend to everybody who is coming to support an athlete to take the bike to the start area. If you park your care anywhere between Queen-K and Alii Drive near the start / finish are you won’t be able to get your car back out for the entire day. (a good spot to park is on Palini just North of Queen-K –  the road on the backside of Walmart) From there it is an easy 5-7 minute walk to transition.

I rode the bike and this way was able to ride almost all the way up to transition. It was a pleasant surprise to run into a friend and club mate from Hamburg – Micha Dohse, who was followed around by the Germany Tri-Mag the entire day for some documentary. We shared a few good guesses for what the pro race will look like and while we were standing there at the Pier – people all around us trying to find the best spot to watch the pro race go off at 6:30am, a sudden announcement turned an otherwise lively and cheery place into complete silence. Did we hear right? Chrissie Wellington pulled out of the race before it even started? Yes we did. No Chrissie Wellington in the race! Official reason – she is sick and can’t start! Of course it took only seconds after people recovered from the news that rumors made the round. Positive drug test, mental issues, she lost it to the pressure and so on. Well, it’s all wild guessing – if you wanna find out: go ask her.

Of course that completely changed the odds for the race. Who could make the race. The incredibly fast multiple 70.3 winner Julie Dibbens, Mirinda Carfrae – the womens uber-runner or Germany’s Sandra Wallenhorst? We were to find out about 9,5 hours later.

People quickly got back to their routine – a lot of chatter, the sun was rising over the pier and the warm feeling started crawling up inside. Ok – this is what makes the mythos Ironman Hawaii. Or is it the other way around? Does it only feel special because we are constantly told about the mythos and now this is what we think it must feel like? Which way ever – it was a great feeling watching the pros getting ready the last minutes before their start with the sun still rising. Of course the music did the rest. The power of music.

Just after 6:30 the pros were off – the Ironman Hawaii 2010 had officially begun. While it was all about the victory for the pros for a lot of the age groupers starting their race at 7am (the put more time between the starts to assure a fair race with less drafting in the womens pro field once the strong age group cyclists make it into the mix) it was all about hearing ‘YOU ARE AN IRONMAN FINISHER’ when crossing the finish somewhere between 8:40 (fastest age grouper) and 17 hours after starting the race.

Clemens Coenen on Palani Road

A good spot to be is just outside T1 where Alii and Palani meet. This way you get to see the athletes head out onto the bike course, come back down Palani and then a little later make it back up Palani (it’s a steep incline and you can get a good look at most of the athletes). After that it is all about waiting until they get back into T2 – unless of course you want to make your way out into the lava fields and catch them again out on the bike course. I opted for the ‘jumping forth and back between Starbucks and Jamba Juice on Palani and check the race online’ option. It is the perfect time to catch up with friends, exchange ‘old war stories’ from other races or simply make new friends when sharing your screen and news with them.

It was Chris Lieto and Maik Twelsiek making the the pace on the bike – closely followed by Vanhoenacker and a German connection with Bocherer, Bracht, Stadler and Raelert. In the mix as well former World Champ Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack.

When they got into transition I caught Macca and the smile on his face with this ‘game’s on’ nod when he recognized me sent a shiver down my neck. I don’t believe I have ever seen that kind of confidence on an athletes face. It was clear – Macca was going for the win. By the time they got back to Palani and up that hill again (the same spot I mentioned for the bike is also a good spot to watch the run) and passed the 10mile mark Macca had taken 2/3 out of Lietos lead and just after Palani he passed and let the race. From here you can either take your bike and head into the infamous Energy Lab or cheer on the many age group athletes – this way you stay close to the finish. Being at the finish for the arrival of the first pros was definitely worth it. You get to see the live action on a huge screen – and action it was I am telling you. About 22miles into the race Germany’s Andreas Raelert – last years 3rd place – caught up to Macca and an epic battle began. I don’t even want to imagine what must have been going on in their heads – running shoulder to shoulder for the next 3 miles at the absolute limit until Macca finally managed to break away and run his way to his second World Champion title. You should have seen people during those 3 epic miles of Ironman running. People were turning away from the screen cause they couldn’t watch it anymore.

After that I stayed around for a little to watch some of my friends cross the finish before I moved on to the best part of the day – heading up to the Hannes Hawaii Tours tent on Queen-K just across from Bike Works. Music, cold drinks and a whole bunch of crazy Hannes Hawaii Tours supporters pushing athletes up that last hill on the run course. We were singing, dancing and cheering on people. Yelling at them, helping them to activate the last energy and reminding them to embrace this last mile of their race of a lifetime. It was long dark by the time Kitty – the last amateur athlete in the field made her way out of Kailua towards the energy lab – with still 16 miles to go. You can’t imagine the inspiration you experience out there watching and celebrating all those athletes. This is what makes our sport so special!

I personally finished my day of – still totally psyched from the great experience – with a 8 mile run home through the dark, a quick dip in the pool and then off to bed! I was wracked and not a chance I would make it back to the finishline party!

Back out of bed in the morning I cycled to the pier for a last swim – enjoying the great variety of sea animals and quickly catching up with some athletes who were already back in the water. It was most rewarding to receive their thank you for pushing them up that last hill the night before. Even if they don’t have the strength to tell you right then – whenever you have the chance to attend a race as a spectator – stay around for the age group athletes and show them your support. It makes a huge difference for them!

Check back fro our summary of the Hawaii trip, recommendations for your trip and things to look out for in the next couple of days!

Rock on!

Hawaii Blog IV

After the island has been quiet and nice the first week and a half during the last week prior to the race it started getting real busy. Most athletes seemed to come in between Saturday and Tuesday before the race!

Swimming at the Pier can’t really be recommended in the morning anymore. Of course it is nice and almost a must to swim out to the Coffees of Hawaii platform to get your shot of coffee on the ocean or dive for one of the Blue Seventy swim goggles the drop into the ocean – if you can dive for them they are yours! The other days try to get into the water some time after 9:30 – most athletes are gone by then and it is much more relaxed to swim and it also appears that more and more beautiful fish show up during the later hours of the morning!

If you don’t take the time snorkeling – you are missing out on an unforgettable experience.

Overall it is a great atmosphere when the tension in the air is picking up – athletes are trying to show off a little and for a couple of days a year there is triathlon in the air. Just make sure you don’t get pushed to much by the atmosphere. I have the feeling some people were pushing way too hard the last 2 days before the race!

Of course – as everywhere – there were some people trying a little ( or a lot) too hard. When you start riding your bike to the public pool (which by the way is free admission year round. How cool is that!!!) to start a run from the pool, come back and ride off after stretching out a little at the pool – without swimming at all – your are trying way tooooo hard!
Same accounts for when you’re riding up and down Alii Drive for the 6th time of the day and sit next to the Lava Java (still one of THE hotspots during race week) for the 10th time this day!!! WAY TOOOO HARD!

During mid-week the race expo opened and there was some great stuff to see! You could test run natural running shoes by ECCO, test ride FELT, CERVELO and other bikes or get inspired by the latest in triathlon gear and nutrition. If you time it right you even find a lot of pros at the booths giving autographs.

Don’t hope for too much free swag though – the guys there at the expo are experienced and know how the game works 🙂

One of the coolest things is the different ‘aid stations’ along Alii Drive set up during race week. GU, Cliff, PowerBar and many others set up little stations where you can refresh yourself during your run / ride session down Alii Drive. So no need to cary a water bottle when running. There is plenty to drink. Which you will need by the way. Sun on Hawaii is completely different story to many other places in the world. It’s less the heat than the intensity of the sun. Don’t let vanity get in your way and make sure you use sun screen all the time. You’ll get tanned enough anyways to show off – at least in Europe around that time of year 🙂

Thursday before the race we took a boat trip with Hannes Hawaii Tours – super cool guys – you gotta hang with them when on the island. The boat trip takes you out on the ocean – following Alii Drive and after about 45 minutes it ankers on the ocean- Plenty of time for you to snorkel (equipment is offered on board), take the water slide off the boat into the ocean or jump off the 15feet platform off the boat! If you’re an athlete racing on the weekend though – try to catch one of the trips Hannes is offering Monday and Tuesday. The sun and the ocean suck your energy and I wouldn’t recommend it 2 days before the race!

So far for now! Race Day report and our summary with suggestions of what to do on the island, how to prep yourself for IM Hawaii, etc will follow!

Rock on!

Hawaii Blog III

After 5 days on Hawaii Big Island it is no less of a blast than it was on day one or two. Of course the days still stand in the sign of – adjusting to the time difference and getting over the jetlag.

The last 2 days we spent a lot of time in the water or running Alii Drive and it is a good choice when you’re coming here around the time of the race to be in the water at 6:30 – this way you still avoid the main crowd and you can watch the sun rise above the mountains to your left. We didn’t have the pleasure of swimming with the dolphins yet but watching all the different species of fish underneath you is a real joy – slightly distracting from what you’re supposed to do so: Swimming 🙂

The other day we took a trip into the lava fields just past Kona International Airport – what a great and impressive place – we highly recommend renting a 4×4 when you get here. After just a few hundred yards the road turned into a seriously bumpy ride leading through the black lava fields to a beautiful beach with coconut trees, coralls and beautiful sand.

We found some great little places to visit when coming to Hawaii for the first time.

– Crazy Shirts – to get good quality shirts with great prints and logos to remember your trip to the island

– Bike Works – legendary bike store that offers everything you’re looking for – not just for cyclists

– Kona Mountain Coffee of Queen K – great coffee and more great gifts to bring home – like a new leisure bag for the ladies made out of coffee bags

Those are of course popular and slighlty touristy places on the island but nevertheless worth checking out.

Time to cook some fresh fish now, listen to our favorite radio channel 101.5 KWXX and relax while the sun is setting over the ocean!

Aloha!

The Hawaii Blog – I

Ironman Hawaii – a race more talked about than most likely any other race in the world – and we are taking a 3 week trip to see for ourselves!

Day one took us to Los Angeles – after just over 11 hours we touched ground at LAX and moved into the Viceroy hotel in Santa Monica. Great place to live we can highly recommend to anybody traveling to LA. After a welcome Champaign we were off to grab some dinner and meet up with Chris McCormack and Paul Amey who just came back from an endless bike ride with Faris and some of the guys.

The next day and a half we took it as easy as possible, meeting some great people and making sure to get our daily coffee fix at Urth Cafe! (Still one of my favorite coffees in LA next to Corral Tree Cafe) A day later and many orange juices at Jamba Juice later it was time to board again – Hawaii, here we come. No doubt, traveling to Hawaii this time of year is a lot different to any other time of year. The plane was packed with bikes, transition bags and people were trying to flash as many Ironman logos as they could possibly wear at the same time. (Shirts, shorts, visors, etc)

Contrary to popular believe the flight from LA to Hawaii is still a long flight for a European. 5.5 hours but let me tell you – looking out the window when we finally reached Hawaii made up for all of it. Out of the plane, grabbing the bags and into the car is a very quick process on this otherwise extremely relaxed island. No long waits, a few brief words with all the familar faces at the airport – Hannes Blaschke from Hannes Hawaii tours was waiting for the first athletes traveling with him this year, Mirinda Carfrae was still waiting for her bike and Rasmus Henning was ready to head over to the Specialized homes.

Talking about homes – our places at the end of Alii drive is an absolut blast. Great view on the ocean, next to the golf course, 3 bedrooms, a great kitchen and an even better patio with our own pool! Welcome to Hawaii!

The jetlag was taking it’s toll on us the first night though and it is up to the first day – today – to check out the island!

We will keep you in the loop!

Rock on and Aloha!

What is Natural Running?

Natural running – what is that? Is it a revelation, is it getting back to the roots, is it a genius marketing idea? I believe it all depends on the way you look at it!

The questions has to be: How natural does natural running have to be? According to ‘thefreedictionairy’ part of the defintion is: Not altered, treated, or disguised.Isn’t the simple fact of putting shoes on a disquise or altering our feet and our appearance? So is running barefeet the solution to being a natural runner? Not sure: If natural running means we can’t alter our appearance it would basically say – only a naked runner is a natural runner! Taking that into consideration we might wanna define a ‘modern natural running’ – so all of you who just stripped of their clothes and ran right out the door – get them back on!

If we look at a modern version of natural running there is many concepts that promise better form, faster run splits, less injuries and some even a happier life and personality.

Newton running – from their website: ”Landing on your midfoot/forefoot is the most natural way to run. It is also the fastest and most efficient way to run. Newton Running shoes are the only shoes that were developed specifically for Natural Running.” – I totally love the last sentence. REALLY??? The only shoes that were specifically developed for natural running…hm….

VibramFiveFingers – from their website: Vibram® FiveFingers® is different than any other footwear on the planet. Not only do they bring you closer to your environment, FiveFingers® deliver a number of positive health benefits–by leveraging all of the body’s natural biomechanics, so you can move as nature intended. – sounds to me like they were developed for natural running as well…now I am confused!

Similar claims are made for Ecco Biom, Leguano, New Balance and many other producers.

Yet most natural running shoe producers offer stability shoes – which in my opinion is taking away from your foots natural ability to strengthen and return to a natural and healthy state/foot position!

So the question remains: Big revelation or marketing genius?!!! What’ya think?

Another Shoe Test – Saucony Kinvara – A First Impression

Ok boys and girls – it is time for some more testing. Today: The Saucony Kinvara!

A first impression before we take it out for a run:

We have to admit – the first ‘look’ is not as convincing as the Type A4 we testet last time. The shoe comes in many different colors ( we have the red version) and by just looking at it… it appears like a heavy shoe – which it turns out not to be. Weighing in at a mere 213grams thanks to the new ProGrid Lite.

The outer sole is looks fairly thick and like it’s not building a real unit with the rest of the shoe but slipping into it the shoe actually feels very much like one unit and thanks to the Yankz laces the shoe provides a perfect fit ( the laces are standard issue with the Kinvara )

The upper of the shoe is made of lightweight mesh but there is some sort of ‘plastic looking’ cover over it. We did not figure out the reason yet but we are hoping it does not influence the breathability in any negative way. We’ll know more after the run.

Saucony is promising a lightweight racing shoe that provides unbeatable cushion thanks to the super light ProGrid Lite as well as superior traction and durability thanks to their XT-900 rubber. If that’s what the shoe turns out to be – it’s one of the best surprise packages we’ve seen in a while. A little like compression socks – it takes some getting used to the look but the advantage ( may it be mental or physically) is outweighing the look!!

We’ll let you know more after the run!