I just wanted to take a quick moment out of the day to give a shout out to the awesome company Reflect Sports who sent me a wonderful package last week full of samples of both their Hoo-Ha Ride Glide & their H20 Swim Hair Care!
After getting out on my bike and spending another week in the pool (and ocean) I've been using these products and have been really happy with the results! My body feels like it's had some pampering this week - which after the last hard block of training - is seriously welcomed!
I've experienced the saga of saddle pain & saddle sores. It's no fun. No one really talks about it and you're kind of left to figure it out on your own. However, decide to talk to someone about it and you'll most likely get a lively conversation about how they've had problems too. So if you take nothing away from this short post, please, if you have saddle problems, just ask someone. Ask me. Ask them. There are so many reasons you shouldn't put up with the pain, and lots of great articles about it, but all I will say is it's a problem worth sorting out. You will get an infinite return on the investment.
So, for me, finding the right saddle was a huge relief. Literally, figuratively. After spending a rather large amount of my 2011 lifespan on the bike, I realized even the best saddle, for me, wasn't 100% of the solution. I could ride & put up with the minor pains I got, but I realized it wasn't really necessary - so I tried some saddle creams. To be honest, the creams seemed fine enough, but then I found out that there was actually a chamois cream designed for women - and then it dawned on me that it was crazy I hadn't come across this earlier.
The basic lesson here that I hope your parents taught you is that guys and girls are different. That's the long and short of that discussion I'm going to get into. Call your parents if you must. It's not that a girl's cream is fluffy, has sparkles, makes you believe in unicorns, dance like Beyonce or want to put on a tiara and twirl. It's that it takes into consideration we're built slightly differently, that's all.
So I was quite excited when I was able to get my hands on some Hoo-Ha Ride glide and head out the door.
It's really nice stuff. It is comfortable, it smells good, it lasts a long time - I'm riding 5+hrs at times, a lot in the aero position & hill climbing - two times where I feel sores are most likely to appear. It's protecting you from any possibility of infection, from old sores you have and the prevention of new ones. They have great little packs that you can take out with you & a big tube you can leave at home.
This company has been so friendly and supportive of what I am essentially to them - an unknown athlete looking for the best solutions I can have to reach my potential. Comfort is a HUGE solution on the bike. There are tons of articles on this, I'm sure. I raced Ironman Canada last year with a saddle that at best, kept me in a numbed out state. This affected everything from how much weight I put on the pedals and my hands on the aero/drops, to how I was able to position my pelvis, low back, shoulders, which muscles are utilized (or more to the point, not)…basically everything. Pain deters performance, I think we all know that. So yes, I'm advocating for the saddle again - but in long course racing, you can still benefit from a little extra help in cream. And I'm very happy to have been able to try out Reflect Sports Hoo-Ha Ride Glide, a product I will most certainly be using at Ironman Canada this August. One of those little sample packs is going in my special needs bike bag for sure!
Along with the ride glide came a bag of their Swim Hair Care Samples as well - so another thank you to Reflect sports! What a treat and something I didn't expect at all. The short and sweet is that I've been really pleasantly surprised by how well these products are working with my (totally overworked, under-cared for) hair. I sort of thought, well, I have pretty good shampoo & conditioner so I don't know if these will work that well. Wrong. These people have made a pre-swim/shampoo/conditioner combo that is obviously made to help swimmers with a working knowledge of what those chemicals/sun/caps do to your hair day in and day out.
Like I said, I was using a good shampoo before, but not swim specific - and using the Reflect H20 Swim Hair Care products has definitely helped my hair feel softer, lighter and a less pool induced crazy-frizzy-broken-strawlike-helmethead-slash-visorhead look, as I usually am sporting these days. My opinion is that I don't think you have to replace your regular hair product entirely, but that having a couple bottles of these products around to use on a regular basis is a really good idea for those of us at the pool. So, a nice learning experience for me.
So to sum up I just really wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Reflect Sports for helping out the athletes they are trying to reach with their product and letting me try it. I can't think of a better reason to support this company but by virtue of how helpful they are in communications & customer support. So great! I hope they do well and I hope you check them out at their online store or go to your local retailer and support your local helpers who wisely chose to carry this product!
All the best and happy, painless saddle & healthy hair training :)
Oh, and as for Beyonce, if I could dance that well I'd be considering a career change. In the meantime, put some Hoo-Ha on it.