Let me tell you about my saddle. A review, if you will, of the ISM Adamo. First, however, a disclaimer. I am not one of those famous bloggers who get sent free stuff in exchange for telling you all about how awesome that free stuff is, and how of course no one could live without it. I'm pretty sure at least two people read my blog, but above that, I'm not sure. So I don't think I've hit celebrity-blog-worthy-of-swag. Dang.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, my happy butt. I have never been a fan of riding aerobars; I've always found the aero position quite uncomfortable on long rides. On rides of over the 4 hour mark, the discomfort had always been brutal in the "downstairs" area (if you know what I mean - scientifically known as the front of the perineum). Apologies if this falls into the too-much-information category. When I was training for Ironman a decade ago, there was this one day where I called Jason from the middle of my ride to meet me with a knife. We made a roadside alteration to my saddle, cutting out part of the shell (yeah, now saddles with cutouts are common, I'll take credit for starting it all...).
I've ridden many a saddle, some I've loved and some I've hated. Years ago I was excited when I first saw Terry's brand-new seat with the cutout right through the whole thing, the first to do this, and snapped one up. Hated it. I got through Ironman Canada 2000 on a Serfas Dual Density, which was all right but I spent a lot of time sitting up to relieve the pressure.
My saddle doesn't bother me on my road bike (I ride a Fizik Vitesse) or on my mountain bike and cyclocross bikes (both sport a WTB Rocket V Race). I've done a 2-person 24 Hours of Adrenalin on the Rocket V, and even riding 12 hours on that saddle was no problem. The problem only appears when I ride aerobars for extended periods. I assumed it would always be this way, my own personal albatross around my neck. Rather, around my groin.
Then I saw this weird thing. Jason was racing Ironman Canada last year, and I saw a lot of pro women with a totally bizarre looking saddle on their bikes. An ISM Adamo. Very strange looking indeed. I have this thing that bikes should be beautiful, so I immediately wrote that saddle off. Didn't really matter anyway, as I hadn't done a long-distance tri in years and wasn't really planning to anytime soon.
You know how things go though, you find yourself watching a race and instantly thinking "I should sign up". Almost as soon as Jason finished, I was thinking about doing an Ironman again. Which meant I would be riding long on a TT bike once more. Then when I landed on Arizona as the race, I knew that being comfortable in the aero position was going to be very important.
I wanted to try the ISM Adamo, but having been burned by saddles that seemed like a great idea I was a little gun-shy to fork out the dough. The local rep assured me that I'd love it, and if I didn't, I could return it for a full refund. Good enough for me. When it arrived I puked a little in my mouth with how ugly it was, but hopped on. OH. MY. GOD. No pressure whatsoever. This saddle is a keeper.
My ISM Adamo Road saddle, set up on the Specialized Transition.
I love riding in the aero position now. Love it. I find it more comfortable than sitting up. I'm a total convert, and cannot imagine riding anything else on a TT bike. I can now ride the trainer in the aerobars for a couple of hours, which beat the 10 minutes I used to last on a traditional saddle. Yeah, it's still ugly, but I guess when I'm sitting on it no one can actually see that.
Big cheers to the people over at ISM for messing with a design that hadn't been messed with for a really long time. Thank you for making my butt happy!