Wednesday, April 5, 2017

More Seat Shimming - Fergus' 16" Eurolite

For past info on "Things I Have Done", refer to these two posts:
Fergus Saddle Update (scroll down to "More Tweaks") and
Saddles - Work in Progress (scroll down to "Shimming the 16" Specialized Eurolite")



Cantle Bolster:

Fergus' new Specialized Eurolite felt great for Virginia City 100, but by the time we got to 20 Mule Team 100 it wasn't doing quite as well. A last-minute (literally - I added it on the Friday afternoon before the 100 miler - figuring I could always pull it out at the first vet check if it wasn't working) addition was to velcro my half-moon-shaped (Sensation) cantle bolster under the seat.

Despite the miles I'd done in this 16" saddle, I still felt like I was swimming around in it so thought this bolster might help for those accelerating-moments Fergus has occasionally (the ones that flip me off the back of the cantle). It probably makes the saddle a little too snug now, so I maybe have to make something similar that isn't quite as bulky, but at least it helped a bit.

Cantle bolster velcroed behind the seat. I raised it a little for NV Derby, so it was slightly less bulky,
but probably still need something a little narrower - right now, this is still a bit too much. 


That said, at about mile 55 on 20MT, my right IT band started to get whiny and by the end of the ride—despite repeated stretching whenever I was out of the saddle—it had seized up altogether. No more trotting for us. Luckily we were riding with Brenna and TWH Sky, so did a lot of big-gait walk, but it was disappointing all the same to no longer be able to trot at the end.

The only other time I've suffered from this problem was riding Roo on VC100 - never with Fergus before, so that was a bit of a mystery. Until I started thinking about how my feet are a lot more underneath me when I ride in my Sensation on Roo - and with the addition of the cantle bolster to the 16" Specialized, I was effectively moving me forwards in the saddle and bringing my stirrups more underneath me. Huh.

So another adjustment this month was to move the stirrups forwards on the Eurolite. I don't have them screwed in to the tree, so figure they'll self-adjust somewhat. They felt fine for NV Derby 50, but like I say, I only had the problem after about 55 miles, so that might not be significant.

* * *

Seat Comfort:

Whether it was because we walked/gaited more during 20MT 100, so I was in the saddle more, or whether the padding I'd added for VC100 had already deteriorated, I'm not sure. Either way, my delicates and seat bones suffered greatly. So for the last month or so, I've been putzing around with some ideas.

The first option was to try using Supracor as padding. Ash had a strip lying around from another project so kindly sent it up to me. I cut a narrower strip to go under the seat and rode in it. Too wide under my adductors. So I shaped it somewhat and rode again - still too wide. I think Supracor is the wrong material for this - it works well as a sheet, but doesn't taper well at the edges, so was too bulky under my leg, instead of fading subtly into nothingness. Rode once more with that set-up and decided it wasn't going to work - too much padding - so took it out:

Holding the Supracor up, so you can see the Specialized shims underneath

Holding the Supracor up, so you can see the Specialized shims underneath
Supracor flopped into place and fat pommel bolster added.
You can see my attempts to shape the Supracor under my adductors


Supracor flopped into place and fat pommel bolster added
You can see my attempts to shape the Supracor under my adductors

Seat flopped down on top. The purple things are my Sensation knee rolls,
velcroed to the underside of the unfastened (at the front) seat

So I removed the Supracor and readjusted the Specialized shims under the seat a little and it gave me enough twist to work fine for the 50 at NV Derby last weekend:

Flat strips of Specialized shim to add twist to the front of the saddle.
The object of the exercise is to raise up the center, so your legs aren't being spread so widely apart.
With more bulk in the middle, your leg can hang slightly straighter.

Flat strips of Specialized shim to add twist to the front of the saddle (and the fat pommel bolster). 

Once the seat is down, who would know you had all that stuff under there?
unfortunately, the velcro on the pommel bolster peeks out of the front slit in the seat,
so it still needs the sheepskin on the top:


Sheepskin added and - voila - enough twist

Sheepskin added and - voila - enough twist

But the seat is still way too hard. No matter what, Fergus' way of going will never be described as "smooth" and being repeatedly slammed into the saddle for 50 to 100 miles is taking its toll. When asked "how is your ride going?" the correct answer is probably not "My crotch is on fire" (which was my response). 

On Sunday I prodded Brenda's new Specialized seat and - huh - that is way cushier than my old used one.

So I have two choices - apparently Specialized have some discounted leftover seats from random sources. If I trace my seat and send them the tracing, they will try to match it as best they can. This might be a good option, since I may be able to get something that will cover the knee rolls a little better (the attachment-velcro still pokes out the front a little and I keep snagging my rope reins on it).

Or Option #2 is to invest in one of these $55 Thinline Seatsavers. This might help. But it might not. But it's probably cheaper than the Specialized seat. And money is tight right now.

Still musing on my options, so will see. Leaning towards the new Specialized seat.

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