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Thread: Numbnuts!

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    Numbnuts!

    Hi!

    I decided to switch to a road bike, and recently bought a Giant OCR3. I've been cycling a while now to lose weight and get fit. I'm one of those unfortunate folks that is destined to fight the battle of the bulge for life. I've lost over 100 lbs using weight-loss drugs, only to regain most of it. This time, I'm doing it through calorie-counting, sensible nutrition, and hard work (cycling and lifting weights). I've dropped from an all time high of 360 lbs, to my current weight of 288 lbs.

    I've calculated that by riding 21 miles a day at an average speed of 16+ MPH, I can burn over 2,000 calories in a workout. Which allows me to eat between 1500-2500 calories a day, and keep the scale moving consistently downward.

    This brings me to my problem. Since I've increased my rides from 10 miles a day to 21 miles a day, I've been experiencing some numbness in my genitals I spend most of my ride with my hands in the drops to cheat the wind as much as possible, and this was causing the saddle to put painful pressure on my testicles. I tilted the saddle down a notch, and the next ride was much more comfortable while riding in the drops. But, I've noticed some persistent numbness, even after taking a couple of days off from riding.
    Is this just a fact of life cyclists must live with? Or am I in danger of doing serious harm to my manhood? I'd hate to reach my weight goal of a well-muscled 199 lbs, only to be a eunich I'm using the stock saddle that came with the bike, a Selle Royal Viper.

  2. #2
    You blink and it's gone. rbart4506's Avatar
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    any numbness is bad and should not be considered normal.

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Could be a lot of things. Could be the saddle itself, or just the alignment. You might consider lowering it, or tipping the nose down a few degrees. Your best bet is to take it to the shop and ask to talk to their best bike fitter and discuss it with him/her.

    [edit] Sorry, just noticed you already tipped it down a bit. Okay, but the advice to go to the fitter still stands.
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    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nihilistic View Post
    I've calculated that by riding 21 miles a day at an average speed of 16+ MPH, I can burn over 2,000 calories in a workout. Which allows me to eat between 1500-2500 calories a day, and keep the scale moving consistently downward.

    .
    And what calcualter are you using for that? Using a powertap, which is actually measuring energy expended at the hub, I'd get more like 600-700 for that workout. Even factoring in your weight, unless, there's a whole lot a vertical, you'll still be under 1,000 calories.

    I don't mean to say that your average ride is not a good workout, and a meaningful part of a weight loss program, but I would definitely not figure your intake based on that 2,000 calorie output.

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    Senior Member rufvelo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbart4506 View Post
    any numbness is bad and should not be considered normal.
    True

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    Senior Member JMT114's Avatar
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    I had an OCR 2 with the same saddle. I never had any numbness, but I definitely felt relieved when I stood up. I replaced it with an E3 Form saddle from Performance and it took care of the problem.
    My name's Jim, but most people call me...Jim

  7. #7
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nihilistic View Post
    I spend most of my ride with my hands in the drops to cheat the wind as much as possible, and this was causing the saddle to put painful pressure on my testicles.
    I agree with the comments about seeking help. Have you tried spending more time riding on the hoods/tops? This will allow you to transfer your weight backwards to your sit bones. I've not had any numbness myself, but I can tell when I get in the drops that my weigh noticably slips forward to the perineal area and I shift towards the nose of the saddle.

    I'm sure the usual questions about saddle design are appropriate -- I don't know about the saddle you have, but going for a model with a cut-out seems an obvious move.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    Sounds like your saddle is not very good for longer rides. What kind of saddle are you riding? Is it the stock saddle that came with the bike? I've got a Specialized Avatar Gel and do not have any issues with numbness in the nether regions and I am 300.

    You might also want to check out the Clyde forum as we might have some answers for you question. I am going to move this thread there and link back to the road forum to get a good cross view point.
    Brian | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix 5 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2003 Trek 7300
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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Congratulations on the weight loss.

    As far as the numbness problem:

    Get up off the saddle every once in a while. I like to stand for tiny hills or rises instead of downshifting.

    Consider getting different shorts.

    Look into a different saddle. I've had good luck with saddles with cutouts reducing or eliminating numbness. But you need to get a saddle that also fits in other ways (width, front to back shape, side to side shape). Just any saddle with a cutout won't do.

    Your bars may be too low for you. In the long term you can adapt to lower bars by stretching and strengthening your core but those take time. It may be better to raise the bars a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    And what calcualter are you using for that? Using a powertap, which is actually measuring energy expended at the hub, I'd get more like 600-700 for that workout. Even factoring in your weight, unless, there's a whole lot a vertical, you'll still be under 1,000 calories.

    I don't mean to say that your average ride is not a good workout, and a meaningful part of a weight loss program, but I would definitely not figure your intake based on that 2,000 calorie output.

    The formula I use is (METS * 3.5 *(Body Weight in lbs/2.2)/200) * Minutes = Calories Burned. Here's where I got the formula. http://www.drgily.com/exercise-calorie-counter.php

    I got the METS value from an online compendium available in .pdf form at

    http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/d...compendium.pdf

    According to their list, cycling at an average speed of 16-19 MPH is 12 METS. Plug my weight of 288 lbs in, and a duration of 79 minutes, and you get 2,171 calories.

    I've plugged my stats into various online calculators, like the one at calorie-count.com, and got similar figures.

    But, you may be right...these calculators may be absurdly optimistic. Others have commented that the calories burned seemed high. If anyone can shed some light on how to accurately estimate calories burned during exercise, please join the discussion

    Cycling is certianly helping me lose weight, in any case. But it would be very helpful to know how much I'm burning with greater precision, because the key to losing weight is to burn between 500-1000 calories more than you take in daily. Too great a deficit causes your body to go into starvation mode and plateau, and not enough obviously also doesn't help.

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    Senior Member hockeyteeth's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat as you with the numbness. I even posted a thread a few days ago about it. I have taken a break from road rides and am only commuting short distances until I figure out the problem.

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    Ex Coelis CALE262's Avatar
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    Man I've been chasing the magic saddle for years now, I have a stack of expensive paper weights to show for it. Saddles are completely personal and what worked for me 10 years ago doesn't anymore... ATM I'm using a "Selle SMP Evolution" and in 15 odd years of riding I don't think I've ever been happier , The pipeline just flows much better now,... not saying it'll work for you but it's sure worth a look IMHO...


  13. #13
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nihilistic View Post
    Hi!

    I decided to switch to a road bike, and recently bought a Giant OCR3. I've been cycling a while now to lose weight and get fit. I'm one of those unfortunate folks that is destined to fight the battle of the bulge for life. I've lost over 100 lbs using weight-loss drugs, only to regain most of it. This time, I'm doing it through calorie-counting, sensible nutrition, and hard work (cycling and lifting weights). I've dropped from an all time high of 360 lbs, to my current weight of 288 lbs.

    I've calculated that by riding 21 miles a day at an average speed of 16+ MPH, I can burn over 2,000 calories in a workout. Which allows me to eat between 1500-2500 calories a day, and keep the scale moving consistently downward.

    This brings me to my problem. Since I've increased my rides from 10 miles a day to 21 miles a day, I've been experiencing some numbness in my genitals I spend most of my ride with my hands in the drops to cheat the wind as much as possible, and this was causing the saddle to put painful pressure on my testicles. I tilted the saddle down a notch, and the next ride was much more comfortable while riding in the drops. But, I've noticed some persistent numbness, even after taking a couple of days off from riding.
    Is this just a fact of life cyclists must live with? Or am I in danger of doing serious harm to my manhood? I'd hate to reach my weight goal of a well-muscled 199 lbs, only to be a eunich I'm using the stock saddle that came with the bike, a Selle Royal Viper.
    You need a different saddle, and the saddle position is wrong. You should find a Specialized dealer, and get your sit bones measured, to see how wide a saddle you actually need, look at ones with the centre cutout, and stay away from the soft squishy kind, you actually want a hard saddle. This is why a lot of folks like the Brooks saddles, which are hard leather. You also need to find the proper saddle position, you may find a professional bike fitting helpful, as your saddle may not be the only issue,

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    Senior Member hockeyteeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CALE262 View Post

    How firm is this saddle? Looks kinda squishy. I also don't like that the tail of the saddle curves up.

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    I'm Rad. vXhanz's Avatar
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    Have you considered raising the stem? I did this with my MTB and once the change was made, it was so much easier to ride. It was something I had to consider on my road bike as well, although I paid far more attention to fit with this than I did when I bought my MTB 10+ years ago.

    That saddle looks comfy too

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    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +1 on calorie burn, I think you are being a little optimistic on burn rate. But you will know, based on average weight loss and calorie intake. So if your weight loss fits with your burn estimate, then you are right.

    I prefer to be a little more pessimistic on burn rate, as I do not want to lull myself into overeating. So I use 300 to 400 calories per every 10 miles, which is on the low end (I weigh 204). On line calculator predicts more like 500 calories per 10 miles, which given my average weight loss and calorie intake, is too high.

  17. #17
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Being a heavy guy you probably have a big stomach. So your genitals are being pancaked between the seat and your gut. Perhaps you need to sit more upright until the gut slims down a bit.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyteeth View Post
    I'm in the same boat as you with the numbness. I even posted a thread a few days ago about it. I have taken a break from road rides and am only commuting short distances until I figure out the problem.
    Have both you and the OP had your bike fitted? Often a small adjustment in fit is the solution, rather than the saddle itself. I had that problem when I began riding. A well-meaning LAB instructor raised my saddle for me because he didn't think I was getting enough extension. Well, I got more than enough... I had enough that I rocked side to side on each pedal stroke. I, like the OP, thought the numbness might have been a rite of passage, and so I rode a 75 mile week.

    The problem was solved by lowering the saddle. Unfortunately, the damage had been done, and it took nearly two months before the nerves healed.

  19. #19
    atop a blazing saddle idig's Avatar
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    A lot of good advice has been posted. Numbness is caused by a lack of blood circulation. Finding the right saddle, having good bike fit, and wearing shorts that have adequate breathing room are all keys to riding numb free. If you feel yourself getting numb, stand on the pedals for a minute or two to see if circulation returns. If it doesn't, your shorts are probably too tight. Sometimes this is a brand or model issue more than a size issue. If when you stand, the numbness quickly goes away, then your riding posture needs tweaking. Any or a combination of changing the saddle, changing it's position, and/or changing the stem could be required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    And what calculator are you using for that? Using a powertap, which is actually measuring energy expended at the hub, I'd get more like 600-700 for that workout. Even factoring in your weight, unless, there's a whole lot a vertical, you'll still be under 1,000 calories.

    I don't mean to say that your average ride is not a good workout, and a meaningful part of a weight loss program, but I would definitely not figure your intake based on that 2,000 calorie output.
    +1 I weigh just a bit less then the OP and according to my PT I burn 40-50 calories per mile on flat/rolling hills. I think that a lot of the calculators overestimate calories burned. I also think that the PT number makes sense compared to numbers I burn on the treadmill. Burning 1000 calories on a treadmill is hard work, I don't think that I could burn 2000 on a treadmill.

    For example, today I went 27.5m in 1:35 and burned 1350 calories (according to the PT). Yesterday I went 58.6m in 3:50 and burned 2540 calories.

  21. #21
    Senior Member TrumpetMurph's Avatar
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    Everything that has been said is great as far as the numbness issue goes. There's lots you can do to reduce the frequency and the severity of the numness, including all the fitting-adjustments that have been mentioned, as well as finding a comfortable saddle.

    For us guys, this is a problem we're doomed to deal with forever. Our natural position in the saddle puts pressure on the prostate. If we ride too long (or for us clydes, just the extra weight alone can do it), the prostate gets bruised and swells a little bit. When it swells, it pinches nerves, and the numbness results. 99% of the time just making sure to stand up in the saddle occasionally (at least once every fifteen minutes) to relieve the pressure will prevent the numbness. If you get a severe case, you may have to take a few MORE days out of the saddle (I'd say give it a week. . .) to let the swelling subside.

    The good news is, long-term or permanent damage is extremely rare amongst cyclists.

    So let yourself recover, spend some time with a nice lady friend, and go. . . prepare for your next ride!

    As far as the calorie burning goes, I used a formula that I found and plugged in your numbers, and came up with a 21 mile ride at 16 mph amounting to about 1700 kcal's used. But, the formula assumes all rides are on flat ground. You can add approximately 22 kcal's to that total per 100 feet of climbing.

    Hope that helps!

    --TM

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    I had a similar issue and then I re-fit myself on the bike. If I recall, the saddle was way too far back. Be sure your bike fit is correct (kneecap over middle of pedal when at 3 and 9 o'clock).

  23. #23
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    If you are still using the stock saddle that came on the OCR3, replace it - it's a butt hatchet.
    If you have the right saddle and it is adjusted properly (along with your fit and overall riding position on the bike), you should be able to go many hours in the saddle with no numbness.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Ex Coelis CALE262's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyteeth View Post
    How firm is this saddle? Looks kinda squishy. I also don't like that the tail of the saddle curves up.
    Fairly firm compaired to the "Ti Flite Trans Am Gel Flow" on my other road bike and the "Flite Kit Carbonio" it replaced, they make a few different models including the "Pro" which has more padding, and the $700 "Full Carbon" saddle which has no padding...

    As far as the raised tail, I didn't like that at first either but after adjusting the saddle over a couple of rides I have the nose slightly turned up and the thing holds me like a hammock...It took me a few longer rides to appreciate it, the soft tissue areas don't even feel like I've been out for a ride now...

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