Friday, June 30, 2006

Tour De France Disaster!!!!

Wow!!!! I can't express how much disappointment I'm feeling right now over the doping scandal at the Tour De France. Whatever happens ultimately during this Tour will be tainted by the suspension of so many riders and the winner will have an asterisk as the guy that won during the doping year. It's like winning the SuperBowl during a strike year with a bunch of scrubs. Who wants to win that way? Sure, the winner is probably going to be someone who would've contended anyways, but without Jan and Ivan, it just isn't the same. The chances for the top Americans, Floyd, Levi, and George have definitely increased and I think the winner will be one of those three. Should be an interesting Tour this year, although one that will be remembered as a sad example of the problems in cycling.
Well, that was my rant. As far as my non-drug aided training is going...I've been feeling o.k. the last couple of days but not quite up to par. I've been fairly tired from the intense training and am probably not getting as much recovery time as I'd like as I've been up at 5:15-5:30 everyday this week and not getting to bed until about 11:00. All that will change after today as I don't have to come back to work until August 2nd. Woohooo!!! I'll have plenty of time to rest before, during, and after my SuperWeek races. Next week we are going camping for 4 days right before SuperWeek starts for me on the 10th. I'll be doing nothing but 1 to 1.5 hour Recovery Rides for the 4 days and then I get to lay on the beach the rest of the day and just relax. I'll do a little kayaking, some hiking (but not too much), and lots of sleeping under the shade umbrella. I do have a race tomorrow and one on Sunday, and the plan for both days is a little different. Tomorrow, as long as it doesn't rain, I will try to attack and do my best to win the race as it is my last real tune-up race before SuperWeek. If I can get top 3 I'll know I'm right on pace for SuperWeek in 10 days. Sunday I'll be doing a Wisport race in support of my friend and co-worker Dave, who is doing his first race ever!!! We'll be racing in Omro on a relatively flat course and I'll do my best to protect Dave from any crashing and I'll tow him around the course as fast as he can handle. It should be a fun day as I haven't done a mass start citizen race in about 16 years and it's more relaxed than a USCF race. Well, tonight is basically a rest night, only a 1 hour recovery ride and then obviously my race tomorrow. I'll let you all know tomorrow night how I did.

Say it isn't so, Der Kaiser!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sore..Check. Tired....Check.

This week has been pretty rough as I've been working like a dog at my job since my sabbatical starts on Friday and I'll be off until August 2nd. I need to get a month's worth of work done in the next 3 days and I'm starting to get a little worn down. I've put in 13.25 hours of overtime since the week started, I was at work last night from 8:00 until 9:30 getting some stuff squared away and that's after being in at 6:30a.m. Needless to say all this extra work is wiping me out as I've been getting up early and on top of that I'm not sleeping good during the night. Regardless, I have been getting my workouts in this week as I did a nice 1 hour recovery ride on Monday and then last night I did 2 hours of Endurance Miles with 4 sets of 8min/3min OverUnders. Basically OverUnders are 8 minutes at Steady State pace which is 92% of max heart rate and then you go immediately in to 3 minutes of Climbing Repeat pace which is 95% of max heart rate and then after 3 minutes of that you go immediately in to the 8 minutes of Steady State pace again. I say 4 sets but basically it is one set as it is 44 minutes of continuous riding at 92 and 95% of max, which is just incredibly hard. It looks like this......... 92%/95%/92%/95%/92%/95%/92%/95%, it's great for building power for road races, especially when everyone else is dying at the end. The 8 minutes at Steady State simulates your pace for a breakaway and then the 3 minutes at Climbing Pace simulates an attack after that, which would be similar to the end of a race.
Tonight I'm scheduled for a 2 hour ride with 2 sets of 6x30 second Speed Intervals. Basically you do 6 max efforts for 30 seconds, in a seated position, with equal recovery, and then repeat after 5 minutes. It won't feel like as hard of a ride as yesterday but it takes more of a toll on the body since the efforts are way more intense than yesterday. It's a pretty short workout so it'll seem easier but my body will be sore tomorrow for sure. Thursday and Friday will be rides of 1.5 hours and 1 hour and then I race Saturday at Elm Grove in a crit. This is the last tune-up race before SuperWeek and then I get to rest for 10 days until my first race at Alpine Valley.
Until next time......

Monday, June 26, 2006

Race Pictures

Here are some pictures of the race.................

Saturday, June 24, 2006

3 Weeks And Counting

Well, today's race in Whitewater went about as well as I expected but I'm still disappointed as I finished 8th today in what was pretty much a spread out bunch sprint. The course was a 6-turn course with two quick turns at the end and that pretty much didn't allow for a true bunch sprint as we all came in to the final turns together but since they were so quick it kind of thinned out. I had great legs at the end and I went in to the corners in 9th and came out in 8th which isn't bad for me because I haven't been able to sprint yet this year and today I actually passed one guy and didn't let anyone get by me. I felt great after the finish and could have gone 20 more laps, so that is the disappointing part, I really should have tried to get away in the last lap but we were all moving so fast today in the backstretch and the course wasn't very wide so there really was no way around the front 5-10 guys. I was flying today on good form but I think everyone else was as well as the pace was pretty fast on this relatively flat course, there were a lot of breakaways and I think a lot of people thought they could win it today. After feeling so good today I'm pretty disappointed that I can't do the Whitewater Road Race tomorrow as I think I could do pretty well. My company is having a power shutdown tomorrow and I have to be responsible for shutting down and bringing up the network equipment before and after they turn off the power. I'll be in to work at 4:00a.m. and won't get out until about 3:00p.m. so it'll be a long day. Tomorrow I'll just try to get in about a 2 hour ride at Endurance Pace after work and before I have to go to dinner with my sister who is in from California and the rest of the family. Should be a long day.............Anyways, here is a picture of me during the race today, sorry no finishing pictures right now, I think my mom has some though that I'll post once she sends them to me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sprint, Hyperventilate, Repeat.......

Let me preface this by saying I love riding my bike......Intervals Suck!!!!!!!! Yes, they are a staple of a racer's workout but they can make a perfectly happy man insane. The last two days have been pretty brutal as I did a day of Power Intervals on Tuesday and Descending Intervals last night. There have been lingering thunderstorms in the area the last couple of days and when it's not raining the humidity has been pretty high so the last couple of days have been SweatFest 2006. I swear I've lost a couple gallons of fluid on the last two rides, I've replaced it of course by taking in just as much but when my rides end at 8:00 or 8:30 and I have to drink 2 or 3 bottles of water before bed I am up 2 or 3 times at night to go to the bathroom. Last night I got in a whole hour of sleep before I was up for trip number 1. Trip number 2 was at about 3:30 and then of course I had to go right away this morning when I woke up. I need to be hydrated obviously but I still need sleep as well, I'm pretty tired right now. Oh well. Anyways, the last two days have gone well and I felt really strong during the intervals and my HR recovery between intervals has been really good. I can get my HR up to or very near max at 189-190 and for the short recovery period between intervals it goes down really quick which means that everything is working as it should. If I were sick or overtrained I wouldn't recover as quickly and my HR wouldn't go down so fast. I feel pretty good about that as it shows that my training program is coming along exactly as I want it to and I'm feeling stronger every day. Tonight will be a nice, ordinary ride as I'm only scheduled for 1 hour 15 minutes at Endurance Pace to recover from the last two days. Yeah, 1 hour and 15 minutes is not a lot, but because my workouts are more intense in the next 3 weeks than at any other time this year the volume or duration of my workouts has to decrease. This peaking period will only help me hold my fitness for the 7-10 days of SuperWeek before I start to lose aerobic endurance. After SuperWeek I'll go back to doing some 3-4 hour rides on the weekends to build that back up again. My only other short peak of the year will be the State Crit Championship so I'll have about 2 weeks to do some long rides before peaking again for the race on August 26th. Well, it's nice easy riding the next two days and then the Whitewater race. I'll post results on Saturday after the race. Until then........

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sore Legs, And A Case of OCD

I wish I could say that I got a well deserved rest last night but after working 10 hours I came home, made dinner for the family, and then proceeded to dig post holes for my fence as I only have to put on two more panels to have it finished. It would have been nice to just eat dinner and put the legs up on the couch and watch TV but it just wasn't in the cards. I have to say that my legs are a little sore right now, but feeling pretty strong nonetheless. This week and the beginning of next week will be high intensity workouts and then the second half of next week and the following week will be mostly recovery rides as I taper down my workouts. The legs are sore but I know that after tonight and tomorrow's heavy-duty workouts that I get to rest the legs Thursday and Friday before Saturday's race. Tonight I have to do 7 x 3 minutes of Power Intervals and then tomorrow I'll be doing Descending Intervals of 75/60/45/30/15 x 2 sets. Thursday will be an easy 1.25 hour ride at about 60-70 % and then Friday will be an easy 1 hour Recovery Ride at about 50% with a few sprints thrown in to shock the legs for Saturday. Saturday is the race in Whitewater which is a 1.0 mile loop but I haven't heard much about the course, I'm not sure if it's hilly or flat or how many turns are on the course. It looks like I'll have a good cheering section for the race as well as I think my dad will be coming to watch for the first time this year and also my sister flies in from California on Thursday for a 10-day stay so she'll probably be coming with my mom and stepdad as well to watch the race. I might have to revise my plan and go for a good result to please the family....we'll see. Anyways, my singular vision right now is SuperWeek and it's hard not to think about what I can do to be at my best for the races. For those that don't know I'm on my sabbatical from June 30th until August 2nd so I will be home and can do any number of races and my plan right now is to do about 8-10 races depending on how I do in the first 5. Every day I'm thinking of what I can change or what I can do to be at my best for the next 4 weeks and it's becoming a little case of OCD. I'm constantly fiddling with my program and worrying about everything that I eat, so when SuperWeek is over I'll probably feel a little relieved!! I know my wife will be happy when it's over! We did plan a little break the weekend before racing starts as we are going to Governor Dodge State Park for some camping on the 7th, 8th and 9th and that will give me some time to unwind and just hang out at the beach and lay in the water. I will bring my bike of course to do my rides but at that point they will only be an hour or so at Endurance pace. Well, until next time........

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Coming Along.....

Saturday's race in Madison at the Spin Doctor's Criterium didn't go quite as planned as the wind gusts of 25-35 mph threw everything in to disarray. I watched a few of the earlier races and they pretty much broke apart quickly due to the headwind and the crosswind on the downhill leading up to the right turn into the headwind-impeding finishing straight. My initial plan to test my legs by attacking would have proved pretty fruitless and I would have just wasted myself trying to fight the wind. I changed my plan to basically chase down anything that went away and that way I could stay with the pack and still get to test my power output. 3 different times a rider went away and after letting him get a small gap I went to the front and would tow the whole pack back to him in less than a lap. I got in a good workout this way and it was a good way to test my form without overextending myself. The race was pretty status quo for a Master's 4/5 race as it stayed together until the last lap where I took it upon myself to try to split it up right after the 3rd corner when I took off and tried to get away before we hit the 4th turn in to the finishing straight.....and the brutal headwind. I managed to get a bit of a gap going 31 mph with the crosswind but when I took the 4th turn and hit the headwind my speed dropped to 27 mph and the pack caught me about halfway between the corner and the finish line....and they were sprinting at about 35 mph so I did what I could to hang in and finished 18th. Tony Phillips and a couple of the Team Wisconsin riders placed well as Tony won and I think a teammate of his got 4th. They thanked me after the race for giving them a nice leadout which is basically what I did, but I feel good about it anyways as I didn't resign myself to the sprint as most others do. I accomplished what I wanted to do for this race and got to chase down a few guys, threw in my attack at the end, and all in all I would say it was a good race. My power isn't quite where I'd like it to be right now which somewhat concerns me but I've got time to work on it. I'm not sure anyone could have stayed away from the pack in to that headwind but I'd like to think that at some point this year I should be able to do that. Well, as far as training goes, today is quite the rainy day and it doesn't look like I'll get outside so it appears I'll be doing 2 hours on the rollers at Endurance Pace. Tomorrow is a rest day and then I'll be doing some intervals during the week which I'll obviously tell you about as the week progresses. The next race is Saturday in Whitewater which will be a 1.0 mile loop around the campus that we do for 40 minutes + 2 laps. My plan for that race will be relatively the same as this past weekend, attack a few times and then try for a good result. I'd like a better result this time around as I should be progressing every week that goes by as SuperWeek gets closer. Until next time.....

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ready To Race!

Tomorrow is race day in Madison at the Spin Doctor's Criterium and it's been about 3 weeks since I've raced so I'm ready to go. The course is the same as the Great Dane Velo race that I did for my first race of the year. It's about a .9 mile course I believe with one small uphill otherwise it is relatively flat, although the finish straight has a gradual rise but hardly worth mentioning. I'm feeling pretty good right now so I'm going to use it as training and hopefully will pull out a good result. My plan is to launch an attack or two just to see how the power is coming along and then just sit in the group until the end if I can't stay away. I haven't done all that well in sprint finishes so far this year so if it looks like it will come down to that then I'm not sticking around for it, I'll try to get off the front. Well, that's the plan for tomorrow, as for last night I did manage to get in my full two hours and did my set of 6 x 3 minute Power Intervals. I felt really good and was able to get my heart rate pretty high and was really able to push the limit of my lactate threshold. Early in the year if I went over a bump in the road I had lactic acid buildup, now my HR and lungs max out before I can fry my legs. These Power Intervals will definitely help with my lungs. Today will be an easy day with a 1 hour Recovery Ride on the schedule and a couple of 1 minute max efforts to open up the legs. I got some good sleep last night and will get to bed early again tonight after I clean up my bike and pack my gear. Overall, things are going well and I'm right on track for SuperWeek. Until next time.........

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yeah, We Need Rain, buttt......

....I also have to get my training in today so I'm hoping that the storm heading our way avoids us long enough for me to get my ride in tonight. It's about 3:00 and I'll be riding at approximately 5:30 so I'm not sure if the storm will be here yet as it's pretty far west. Tonight I'll be doing a 2 hour ride with a set of 6 x 3 minute Power Intervals. If it looks like rain before I head out then I'll probably stick close to home so that I can get back before I get drenched. The last thing I need right now is to get sick after getting stuck in the rain, I can't afford to be training and recovering from sickness, they really don't mesh well. Unfortunately if I get stuck riding on the rollers tonight I won't be able to do my workout with as much intensity because I can spin out the rollers in a 53x12 at about 35-40 mph because I don't have the optional resistance unit. They are the smaller diameter drums for added resistance but it's still not enough. This coming winter I'll be getting a fluid trainer to complement the rollers so that I can do interval workouts with more intensity. Well, not much more to say....I'm feeling pretty wiped as I've been waking up early for work the last couple of days so tonight and tomorrow I'm going to have to catch up on sleep. In addition to the race on Saturday I have a lot of housework to finish so I'm going to need the rest. Until next time........

The Rain Is Coming.....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Back In The Saddle Again

I did get back in town from Florida on Sunday but have been pretty busy the last couple of days trying to get things done around the house and get my rides in according to my program. I returned Sunday to some pretty frigid temps, only 58 here versus 92 in Florida, but threw on the arm warmers and rode for about 2.5 hours at a pretty easy pace just to get back in to the swing of things. Monday I did a 30 minute ride around the neighborhood with the family as it was a scheduled rest day and even though I was off the bike for 4 days I don't want to stray from my training program. Tuesday was a beautiful day and I did have off of work so I was out on the bike at about 10:30 and rode out to Big Bend and back and along the way did my requisite set 6 x 3 minute Power Intervals. The key to this interval is to keep up a high cadence and ride at a max effort, heart rate doesn't really matter as long as you are maxing out while keeping up a cadence of 110-120. This really builds anaerobic power and keeps you going when attacks come at the end of races and is a vital workout when trying to peak for important races, which for me is the upcoming SuperWeek races. Today I'll be doing an easy 1 hour ride with a ceiling of 92% so it will almost seem like a rest night. Tomorrow will be another day of Power intervals during a 2 hour ride as I'm keeping my rides fairly short but very intense for the next 4 weeks leading up to the first SuperWeek race. Friday will be a 1 hour Recovery Ride and then Saturday will be a race in Madison. I'll try to do well in the race but mainly I'm going to use it for training leading up to the Superweek races as I really want to do well in the 6 or 7 races that I'll be doing for that series. The Masters 4/5 category for Superweek is only 5 races long so my goal is to win that series and then do an additional 2 or 3 races in the Masters 30+ Open category or the Cat 4/5 category. It will be quite a challenge but I'm really focused right now on my training and have set up all my workouts to taper for that week of races so that I will be at my peak fitness for about 2 weeks in July before I have to cut back intensity and increase endurance again. I've also started a nutritional program as well that will provide ideal fuel for the next 4 weeks so that my body is running optimally for the start of the series. I eat really good now but I will be even more strict now for the next 4 weeks as I have to compensate for the increased intensity in my training. I will pretty much restrict my diet to all natural foods with a minimal amount of processed foods and increase my caloric intake slightly as I try to keep up with the calories I'm expending. I'll be eating more veggies, fruits, whole grain products, and of course I'll still be eating the PowerBars and PowerGels. I'll be cutting out red meat for the most part and limiting fat to a very small amount of healthy fats such as all-natural peanut butter and olive oil and some omega fats from fish. I've had pretty good success with this strict diet in the past for important races and peak periods so even though it's 10 years later, I'm gonna give it a go again. Not much else to say right now, I'll update ya'll tomorrow.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Takin' It Easy In Tampa

Well, not much going on with training right now as I am in Tampa, FL on business and am pretty busy working (well, except right now). I did not ride yesterday as we flew down in the morning and came right to our Fiserv center here and went to work. We left to have dinner at about 6:00 and then it was back to the hotel at 9:00. I was in bed fairly early and was up this morning and back at work at 8:00. I'm hoping that we get out early this afternoon as I found a Bally's Fitness about 5 miles from the hotel that I should be able to go to today to do about an hour or hour and a half on the exercise bikes. It's not the same as riding the road bike but it is a workout at least. They do have a b-ball court at the hotel so I'll probably play a few games with the other guys and that will be a good workout in this heat as well. Friday is a normal rest day so I don't need to ride tomorrow and they are talking about playing golf if we can get out of the office in the late morning, that would be pretty cool (relatively speaking in this heat). Saturday I'll hit Bally's in the morning again and then Sunday we fly back in the early afternoon so I'll ride as scheduled at home.
How about that American sweep at the Dauphine! That's pretty awesome, I guarantee one of the 4 will win the Dauphine, and maybe the Tour?????

Cool pic of David Z.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Not Really Gettin' It Done

Well, my training has gone downhill the last few days after following my program to a "T" for the last month with a good 3rd place result in only my 4th race. I was feeling really good coming out of Wheels on Willy and was feeling completely blown up but really strong after doing the Horrible Hilly Hundreds with my dad in addition to some other really good training rides. This past week though wasn't such a good week of training and this week isn't going to be any better as I'm heading out of town for business to Tampa, FL. It started Thursday when I didn't ride because I had to go to Home Depot to get some of my equipment and supplies to put up my fence this weekend, and then I didn't ride my scheduled day off on Friday. Saturday I was up at 6:00 a.m. and worked on the fence from 6:30 until 5:00 when I finally stopped to bike and ended up doing something like 43-44 miles, but I was very tired and it was a lackluster effort. It was supposed to be a Race Simulation day but I ended up simulating a little baby riding a bike rather than a racer. I was just completely drained and although I had a good average speed my hill sprints and faux bridging simulations were pretty poor. Sunday I was up and working on the fence by 7:30a.m. and didn't stop until 7:00 p.m. so needless to say I didn't bike yesterday either. Today I biked for an hour at a pretty good tempo speed but obviously kept it short as it was supposed to be a scheduled rest day for me. Tomorrow we have a chance of thunderstorms but I'll see what I can squeeze in before I have to pack and get ready for my 7:00 a.m. Wednesday flight. I hope to get in about 2 hours at the least, but who knows how that will work out as I might get stuck at work late finishing things up before I head out. Now the kicker, the suites that we are staying at in Tampa are more like an apartment complex than a hotel so they have no fitness center, which means no biking, which means my program is trashed for this week. I will bring my running shoes but I am not a runner and don't like running so who knows if those will ever get out of my suitcase. They do have a pool and I'll try and do some swimming as that obviously works the legs pretty good if I do a lot of kicking. Other than that, I won't be doing much until I get back on Sunday. I have 5 weeks before the first SuperWeek race and I really want to do well for the two weeks of the race as I can pretty much race every stage if I'd like as I am on sabbatical. 5 weeks should be enough to get me back in to shape but only time will tell I guess. Well, it's almost time to hit the hay so I'll update ya'll tomorrow and barring any internet issues should be able to give updates throughout the week.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bike Parts Are Addicting!

If there is one thing that I've found in my search for a new bike seat it's that I'm addicted to bike parts, all kinds from wheels to shifters to tires, right down to the handlebar tape. I love looking at all the online catalogs for,,,, etc......I could spend all day browsing and buying parts! I think to be a bicycle racer you have to have some sort of compulsion, or full on OCD, because it is so demanding that you have to be obsessed with training, keeping up your diet, following your routine, shaving every gram of weight in order to be at the top of your game. I definitely have an obsession with training, my program has to be done a certain way, the more I race and the better I do, the more I want to race and do well, it just perpetuates itself. I'm the say way with my bike parts, yeah, I could've just bought a brand new stem or handlebar but if I see that the newer, lighter model came out I usually have to have it. Right now I don't have much to upgrade except probably my wheels as I have all Campy Record carbon fiber and titanium parts. I sure would like some new Mavic Carbon wheels, but at $1200 a wheel who can afford them?!?! Anyways, I'm trying to stick to just getting a new seat, but boy, looking through all those web sites without getting anything else sure is difficult.
So, yesterday I did some of what I needed to do at Home Depot and do have some other things I need to get today for my weekend fence project. I will try to fit in a bike ride between going to my son's baseball game tonight and going to Home Depot, but probably won't get in more than an hour. Tomorrow I have a lot to do, basically with putting up my fence, helping my friend Jason put up his and managing to find time to ride for 3 hours, it's gonna be a crazy day. Sunday should be about the same as I'll still be working on the fence and have to get in about 2.75 hours on the bike. Most likely my rides will be at about 6:00a.m. or at 6:00p.m. but we'll see, it all depends on how tired I am in the morning. Well, I'll update y'all tomorrow, not sure when but it'll probably be late after I finish everything. Until then.........


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Steady States and Saddles

Last night was a pretty good night of riding, the weather was beautiful and I got in a good workout although the legs didn't exactly feel great. I rode from my house to the Root River Parkway and over to Whitnall Park to do my Steady State intervals around the criterium course which has almost no car traffic and some minimal bike traffic so its perfectly suited for these workouts. I did (4) 9 minutes intervals at 92% with equal recovery and my legs didn't feel all that super but my heart rate was getting up there so I know the workouts were doing their job. All in all I felt pretty good and rode a nice recovery ride home around New Berlin for a total ride of 2 hours which was about 15 minutes less than I wanted to get in, but 15 minutes doesn't really matter too much. Tonight I've got to get supplies for the fence I'm putting up this weekend and the decorative trees that we are also putting in so I'll actually be skipping a ride tonight and will be spending my time at Home Depot. It kills me to skip riding all together but I've been trying to get this fence and landscaping project going for a while now and have just been too busy. This weekend is supposed to be perfect Saturday and Sunday so this is the time to do it. I'll be gone next week in Florida on business so I need to get it done now. I'll still ride tomorrow night, Saturday and Sunday but tonight I just need to take the time to get all my ducks in a row and make sure that I have all the supplies I need.
Well, now for my saddle rant. I've been having trouble with my saddles this year and have to find a comfortable seat to buy so I've been looking around and think I may have found a nice one in the Selle Italia Signo Gel. When I built up my bike this year I bought the Forte Pro Ti saddle because it was really light and had the "pressure point" cutout. Unfortunately I just never got comfortable on the saddle and had to take it off, basically wasting $75 since it's now just sitting in my basement. I took the saddle off my old Pinarello which is a 15 year-old Concor Flite Ti saddle which is quite comfortable and worn in, but like I said, it is 15 years old! It has more miles on it than I can count and pretty much creaks constantly when I ride since the rails are probably ready to break off the shell just from age and use. I want a saddle that has a narrow head because I tend to bring my knees in when I pedal and I rub the seat if it isn't narrow. I'd also like a "pressure point" cutout as there is the possibility that I might want another kid some day and I have to protect the boys. It's gotta be a light saddle but at the same time comfortable, so no hard carbon shells, gotta have some padding. I've looked around and found some that I like but they are either too wide at the point, too heavy or just plain ugly, yes aesthetics count for something. So far the front runner is the Signo as it has everything I'm looking for, most likely I'll order one tomorrow. If anyone wants to recommend their favorite seat please leave me a comment. Here's the Signo, it has a carbon fiber shell, gel padding and vibration dampners and weighs only 225 grams.....