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A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams

Date

May 2, 2015

Sella Italia Lady Saddle

For the last week I’ve been riding around on this lovely saddle.

It’s the Sella Italia SLR Lady Flow in black with silver and pink detail.

On the colors alone I want to own this saddle.

Comparing it to my Mantra, you can see it has a seriously beautiful cutout and a wider, flatter flare at the back. At the same time, the length of the cutout is actually shorter and the nose a little bit wider. Riding it around gave the type of feeling one would expect from such a set up.

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My butt was clearly happier on the SLR Lady Flow than on the Mantra. I could feel my sit bones resting smack on top of the smooth, flat platform of the saddle. At 185 grams, you’d think it would be made out of a single sheet of carbon fiber, but it actually has quite a bit of padding — not squishy, but firm and supportive.

I put about 250 kilometers on this saddle. Fifty of those kilometers were a single, long, interminable hill climb out in Yamanashi prefecture. The rest were my usual commuting mix of tempo, sprint and general spinning. I do a lot of dicking around on my cross bike (Pikuro) and so I’m in and out of the saddle a lot, even on the road. I track stand every stop light.

At this point I have to qualify my review. I’m giving it a “5/5” review because it was every bit as comfortable as the Mantra. What’s that, you say? I thought you said your butt was happier than on the Mantra? It is. But my clit is not. Despite the beautiful cutout, something in the shape of the saddle constantly tipped my pelvis forward. My clitoris and upper labia were squished up against the front edge of the cutout and no matter how high I tipped the saddle back (embarassingly high), scooted it forward, or tried to tuck my pelvis under consciously as I rode, my genitals were subjected to that same frustrating numbness that makes me fear for their continued viability.

As a final caveat, I should also mention that my bottom is a veritable wasteland of saddle sores and razor burn. I’m training for the longest ride of my life (by a factor of two!) and I’ve put more miles in the saddle in the last two weeks than I would average in a month at any period of time in my life before ever. So there is a decent chance that if my butt wasn’t already trashed that I would be more willing to weight it, thus taking the pressure of my genitals subconsciously. It’s also possible, and I know this happens to me with fatigue, that my recent training has done a number on my form and my core muscles’ ability to support my pelvic area. For these reasons, and because the saddle is exactly the colors that I want!, I am considering buying it anyway even though the overall performance does not actually improve over my current setup.

女子練!Girl Ride!

Today I had the privilege of joining the Kunitachi Giant Store girls’ morning practice. Tired of getting dragged around by boys who always wanted to ride courses that were too steep, or who wouldn’t wait for them, they decided to organize a special practice. Compared to what I usually put my body through, it was a walk in the park. We did a 25 km loop around Saiyama lake, which is a lovely shaded, winding, slightly rolling bike course. It took about an hour and a half, so slower than I usually ride, but still enough to get a sweat going.

Part way through the shop owner had to take off for some work that he forgot about, and so the last 40 minutes or so was just us girls. That was when I finally got to see their true colors. Far from having no desire to ride, they mostly just felt overwhelmed. No matter how hard they tried, it was never enough for the boys — a girl just can’t keep up, and it’s unfair for a boy to expect them to.

I felt like I had finally found people who could understand me. We were all struggling against the same obstacles, and like so much else in the world we were made to feel like we were lacking because the bar, and all the rules, were set by boys, for boys.

On the way home it dawned on me, the solution to all of our problems. The boys make the girls feel bad about themselves because they don’t give us any credit for trying despite an extremely unfair disadvantage. The girls in turn wear the boys out because they are reluctant to subject themselves to more machismo. I, however, am both male and female and I can speak both languages. I can tolerate the boys’ crazy training concepts, learn from them, and make my own body stronger. I can then give what I learn to the girls in a way that I know will preserve their desire to ride, and maybe even grow it. The shop wins because it gets staff that know more and care more about bikes. The girls win because they get to practice without the pressure and abuse. And I win because I get to say that someone has to train me (Thunder, I’m 100% talking about you, here!), and I get to get faster while at the same time finally having people to ride with.

And I get to be team captain! Duh.

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