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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 08-06-07, 05:52 PM   #1
morea
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Saddle sore after first century

My husband and I rode our first century yesterday!


We had decided earlier this year that it was something we wanted to do before the summer was over. We try to ride every day (we do some road riding, some cross country, a little bit of downhill, and some bike paths) but it can be tricky because he has asthma and I have arthritis in both knees. Our longest ride before this was about 70 miles.

Yesterday was a great day for riding, and we were feeling surprisingly strong well into the latter half of the ride. A little ways past the 50 mile mark my saddle started bothering me. After about 70 miles it was bothering me enough to be a problem... and when I mentioned it, he said his was bothering him too. By the end of the ride every little bump was pretty agonizing.

It still hurts to sit today! I was expecting tired legs and sore knees, not saddle problems. I've had the bike fitted, and the guy at the LBS says that the saddle is positioned properly. We've also both had our sit bones measured and are using proper width saddles.

After the ride I remembered hearing that some people use a chamois cream or something like that when riding, but I have never tried it myself, so I figured that I'd better ask the experts - does this stuff really make a difference? (I tried using the forum search, but I'm probably not using the right terms because the results don't seem to be what I'm looking for.)

If anyone could offer some tips for more comfort on longer rides, I'd be quite grateful!


And in case anybody was wondering...


His bike: 1998 Trek 8000
Marzocchi Z2 Bomber fork
Bontrager Race Lite crankset
SRAM X9 drivetrain
Shimano M540 clipless pedals
IRC Smoothie tires (1.25" X 26", 95psi)
USE XCR suspension seatpost
Specialized "Rival" saddle 143mm





My bike: 2006 Trek 4500
DT Swiss 240/Mavic X618 wheelset
USE SX suspension seatpost
Straight handlebar from Specialized Enduro Pro with adjustable stem
sealed derailleur/brake cables that help the shifting/braking alot
Shimano M520 clipless pedals
IRC Smoothie tires (1.25" X 26", 95psi)
Specialized "Indie" saddle

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Old 08-06-07, 06:02 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your first century!

Chamois cream is used by lots of people who have trouble with saddle sores. Ive never used it, but you can get some at any bike shop and try it. It mostly helps by reducing friction that can cause blistering and infection.

Many people, including me, use a Brooks leather saddle. Brooks is the hands down most recommended saddle for butt comfort on long rides. Do a search on Brooks and you'll find many threads on the subject.
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Old 08-06-07, 06:13 PM   #3
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Congratulations on your first century!.
thank you!


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Chamois cream is used by lots of people who have trouble with saddle sores. Ive never used it, but you can get some at any bike shop and try it. It mostly helps by reducing friction that can cause blistering and infection.

Many people, including me, use a Brooks leather saddle. Brooks is the hands down most recommended saddle for butt comfort on long rides. Do a search on Brooks and you'll find many threads on the subject.
I've seen Brooks saddles mentioned a few times already, I'll check them out. I'm not quite ready to make the financial investment just yet, so it sounds like the chamois cream is a good place to start.

Thanks for the tips!
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Old 08-08-07, 11:31 AM   #4
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Big congrats to you and hubby! That's one . . .

OMG yes, grease does make a difference! Bag Balm is the best IMHO. Use lots. Put in on your butt, not the chamois. Bring a film container with some Butt Buttr in it, which works very well for a "touch up" over the top of the Bag Balm. I usually start to touch up my grease after about 100 miles, and then maybe every 70 miles after that. Another important thing is the texture of the pad. Some pads just feel like you've got sand in your shorts after 100 miles, while others feel remarkably smooth. I like PI, Voler, and Sugoi shorts or bibs for long distance riding. Of course Assos is the thing if you've got the bucks.

Brooks saddle proponents are exceptionally vocal on the forums. Among local randonneurs (think 1000km), I see Brooks on about 1 bike in 10. Selle and Terry are probably the most common LD saddles I see. Mostly what I notice is that many different brands and shapes are represented. One can observe the reason for this by visiting your local shopping mall and noticing the many different shapes that people have!

I notice the the people most likely to be riding Brooks are the people who rock their hips while riding, because that creates the most butt/saddle friction, and Brooks are the slickest saddles out there. Not to say anything negative about present company, who may have the rock solidest butts in the universe. (:-)>
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Old 08-08-07, 11:45 AM   #5
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great advice - I appreciate the input!
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Old 08-08-07, 11:57 AM   #6
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Just a thought - maybe it's the camera angle, but it looks like both your saddles tilt a little more nose-down than I've found to be comfortable in the past. If everything else seems to be in order, then it's probably not worth messing with, but if you run into numb hands or other issues along with chapped booty, you might try angling it back a degree or two and riding a good distance to see if it helps any.
I ride Brookses, and I don't rock my hips.

Big congratulations on your century.
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Old 08-08-07, 12:25 PM   #7
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thanks for the tip! We were actually pretty happy with these saddles when we first got them earlier this year, but our regular rides are only around 20-30 miles. I'm not sure that they are really intended for century-and-up rides.

I'm going to have to pay attention to see whether I rock my hips when I am riding. I did manage to get some serious wear on the inner thighs of my PI shorts, and I've actually got some bruises left to prove that I spent over seven hours in the saddle... not that I want to show them to anyone!

I'll definitely try the cream and look at tweaking the angle of the saddle down a bit. In the end, I think that we'll need to look into investing in higher quality saddles to stay comfortable on these longer rides.

I really appreciate the pointers!
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Old 08-08-07, 02:00 PM   #8
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My daughter and I use a cream (in a tube) for a baby's bottom to deal with diaper rash. Check the label and be sure to use something without zinc in it. After a ride where you have a sore bottom, use a diaper rash cream WITH zinc so your bottom will heal better.
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Old 08-08-07, 02:22 PM   #9
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I hadn't thought of using a diaper rash cream in place of a chamois cream, but that makes sense. I've been looking at the bag balm, too.

After the ride a friend of mine recommended a product called "Boudreauxs Butt Paste." She said that it is mainly used for diaper rash but that when an elderly shut-in relative started to get bed sores, the hospice recommended the cream for that, too. It contains 16% zinc oxide, and it's supposed to help speed healing time.

Thanks!
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Old 08-08-07, 05:15 PM   #10
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I did manage to get some serious wear on the inner thighs of my PI shorts, and I've actually got some bruises left to prove that I spent over seven hours in the saddle... not that I want to show them to anyone!
Ouch! OK, that's just a saddle that's not shaped like you are. You need a narrower nose, or a differently placed or differently shaped transition from the back of the saddle to the nose, or some combination. That's a very common problem. You can take cardboard cutout of your saddle shape, as well as your actual saddle, to your LBS and see how other saddles are shaped. Time to start on your saddle collection!
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Old 08-09-07, 06:36 AM   #11
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that makes sense.

Hmm, are there any rules of thumb for finding a saddle that is the right shape for me, or is it really trial and error? I had my sit bones measured before I picked up the Specialized saddle. It's hard to try to determine whether the saddle is going to be comfortable over long distances by trying it out for a few minutes at the LBS.
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Old 08-09-07, 06:54 AM   #12
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chamois cream

chamois cream works very well for long days in the saddle. If you have very bad sores on your butt and they will not go away try campho phenique. congrats on the 100 mile ride good job....

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Old 08-09-07, 08:55 AM   #13
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thanks!

I hadn't thought of campho phenique, either. I remember using that for bug bites as a kid, but I didn't remember that it also treated scrapes and burns.
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Old 08-09-07, 09:35 AM   #14
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I hadn't thought of using a diaper rash cream in place of a chamois cream, but that makes sense. I've been looking at the bag balm, too.

After the ride a friend of mine recommended a product called "Boudreauxs Butt Paste." She said that it is mainly used for diaper rash but that when an elderly shut-in relative started to get bed sores, the hospice recommended the cream for that, too. It contains 16% zinc oxide, and it's supposed to help speed healing time.

Thanks!
You don't mention what kind of saddle sore you have, but if you are considering some sort of ointment, I would recommend "Lantiseptic" to anybody (I'm not the reviewer). More info here. I ordered it from the pharmacist at CVS and had it before noon the next day - 14oz. tub $9.88

The problem I find with most products that claim to clean up easily, is that they just don't last as long as they need to on longer rides - especially when things get, umm, hot and humid down there.

Also, I find that shorts should be snug enough that they don't shift around on your behind. The lycra in your shorts really should be acting like a second skin and taking the abuse from movement against your saddle. If you can try a smaller size short without your feet turning purple or going numb ,especially if you are in between sizes, it might be something worth considering.
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Old 08-09-07, 09:39 AM   #15
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I used assos chamois creme (it gives a very cool feeling after you apply it to your skin), bibs and a Selle Anatomica on my first century. Nothing but my legs were hurting. Little bit uncomfortable in the saddle, but after I was off the bike my butt was fine.
I can only recommend using creme + bib + good saddle and commando into the bike shorts. Underwear tends to rub on my inner thighs and becomes really uncomfortable.
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Old 08-09-07, 10:01 AM   #16
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I'm wondering if those seat posts aren't contributing to the problem. If I were riding a road century, I would not have anything that's designed to be flexible or cushiony that isn't directly at one of the contact points (tires, saddle, bar tape).

Of course, it could just be routine friction too. Hope you work it out.
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Old 08-09-07, 11:07 AM   #17
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that makes sense.

Hmm, are there any rules of thumb for finding a saddle that is the right shape for me, or is it really trial and error? I had my sit bones measured before I picked up the Specialized saddle. It's hard to try to determine whether the saddle is going to be comfortable over long distances by trying it out for a few minutes at the LBS.
It's trial and error. I can't tell until the third hour. Most LBS will allow you to try saddles for at least that long and bring them back with no charge. They may tape the rails for you so you don't make clamp marks.

Each saddle may require a slightly different bike adjustment - saddle fore-and-aft, tilt, and saddle height.
Fore-and-aft adjustment: with the pedals horizontal and you holding on to something solid, drop a plumb bob (a nut on a string will work) from the bony protrusion below your kneecap. It should point to the center of the forward pedal axle. There are different versions of this, but this is a good approximation.
Tilt: level is best, but a slight downward tilt may be necessary to keep things from going to sleep. So start with level.
Saddle height: with one of your heels on the pedals, slowly pedal backwards. Your knee should completely lock out while your heel is barely in contact with the pedal at the bottom of the stroke, and without rocking or reaching with your hips. Try it with both legs.

For your riding position, you might like a Terry Butterfly, a Specialized Dolce, or a Brooks B17. A Selle Italia Gel Flite, Maxflite, or Trans Am might also work.
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Old 08-09-07, 12:27 PM   #18
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I had a Trans AM before, but I couldn't bear the pain after only about 30 miles.
That was an older model from 2000 I think. They now have wider models that would fit me, with some gel that wasn't there on mine.
I'd love to try one of those out.
The cost was more than the Specialized I ended up getting.

Everytime I try to get something a bit cheaper, I end up regretting it.

I didn't get marks, but I had to stand up an awful lot on the second half.
I also had problems with numbness before, and that's why the saddle is tilted slightly forward.

Oh well... maybe next spring we'll look at alternaives.
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Old 08-09-07, 02:22 PM   #19
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Thanks much for the insights - it definitely helps to have a starting point.

As for rocking one's hips while riding, I'm not yet sure if I'm guilty or not. Is it a bad thing to do? If I catch myself doing it, should I try to stop? I wonder if I might be doing it unconsciously to overcompensate for the arthritis in my knees.
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Old 08-09-07, 05:12 PM   #20
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I'm wondering if those seat posts aren't contributing to the problem. If I were riding a road century, I would not have anything that's designed to be flexible or cushiony that isn't directly at one of the contact points (tires, saddle, bar tape).

Of course, it could just be routine friction too. Hope you work it out.
It was technically a 'road' century, but most of the roads are dirt and rock, or very abused pavement. In this particular instance, I think that I would have been hurting a lot more without the suspension seat post. I'll definitely bear that in mind if and when we get to do some REAL road riding! (The things I would give for some smooth pavement! )
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Old 08-09-07, 06:33 PM   #21
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Thanks much for the insights - it definitely helps to have a starting point.

As for rocking one's hips while riding, I'm not yet sure if I'm guilty or not. Is it a bad thing to do? If I catch myself doing it, should I try to stop? I wonder if I might be doing it unconsciously to overcompensate for the arthritis in my knees.
My guess is that rocking is not a problem for you, but yes it's not good. Mostly causes saddle friction issues and lower back pain. You can't tell, but your DH can. Some movement will always be there, but it should be minimal. All you can do for the arthritis is spin low gears and take ibuprofen. But high cadence is a big help, like 90+. If you're having trouble spinning without bouncing, work on pedaling circles - you'll smooth out with practice. But riding this century must mean that you have those issues under control.

BTW, the seatposts are fine. Don't worry about that. You're doing good.
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Old 08-09-07, 08:40 PM   #22
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...
BTW, the seatposts are fine. Don't worry about that. You're doing good.
I was postulating because I've never been on one. How much force does it take to make them flex, and in what direction(s) do they flex? I can imagine them slightly going side-side, contributing somewhat to rocking, and altering the contact dynamics between seat and bottom. Of course this is all speculative, but I'm having some trouble letting go of the notion.
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Old 08-09-07, 11:08 PM   #23
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I was postulating because I've never been on one. How much force does it take to make them flex, and in what direction(s) do they flex? I can imagine them slightly going side-side, contributing somewhat to rocking, and altering the contact dynamics between seat and bottom. Of course this is all speculative, but I'm having some trouble letting go of the notion.
We have one of these on our tandem. They are quite rigid fore-and-aft and laterally, but they can go up and down by a telescoping action. Because they are telescoping and incorporate seals, they have a good bit of initial resistance to motion. So they don't bounce in time to your pedaling motion, like those Softride beams do.

They're really quite nice, but they weigh something and take up space, so one usually only sees them as stoker seatposts on tandems, where they are very popular, mostly because the stoker can't see the hits coming.

On hardtails like these, they somewhat take the place of rear suspension and are much lighter than that alternative.
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Old 08-10-07, 04:44 AM   #24
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I should mention that they are high quality posts, not $30 jobbies.
USE makes excellent, well-reviewed products.
Mine is the XCR and morea's is the SX.
Very little lateral play, and the motion is smooth.
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Old 08-10-07, 06:19 AM   #25
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My guess is that rocking is not a problem for you, but yes it's not good. Mostly causes saddle friction issues and lower back pain. You can't tell, but your DH can. Some movement will always be there, but it should be minimal. All you can do for the arthritis is spin low gears and take ibuprofen. But high cadence is a big help, like 90+. If you're having trouble spinning without bouncing, work on pedaling circles - you'll smooth out with practice. But riding this century must mean that you have those issues under control.

BTW, the seatposts are fine. Don't worry about that. You're doing good.
I asked Hanu to keep an eye on me when we went out riding last night, and he said that it didn't look like I was rocking my hips at all. I did notice that I instinctively use lower gears than he does and pedal at a slightly higher cadence because I feel less pressure on my knees that way. We've got lots of really brutal hills around here, but if they start to get to me I wear knee braces.

My arthritis was caused by a sports injury when I was ran cross country back in high school. I have a condition called chondromalacia patella, and the cho-pat knee strap was recommended by my physical therapist at the time. I haven't worn one in years, but now that I'm cycling a lot I've found them really helpful, and would definitely recommend them to other cyclists with the condition.

I definitely appreciate all the pointers!


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I was postulating because I've never been on one. How much force does it take to make them flex, and in what direction(s) do they flex? I can imagine them slightly going side-side, contributing somewhat to rocking, and altering the contact dynamics between seat and bottom. Of course this is all speculative, but I'm having some trouble letting go of the notion.
Like CFB said, I find my suspension seatpost quite rigid, but it does work well in absorbing some of the worst hits during the ride. Our roads are pretty bad - they never repave them properly (they just patch the worst spots from time to time, making them horribly uneven) and some are not paved at all (to make it worse, as the dirt roads smooth out, they send a machine up to scrape them, pulling all of the rocks back to the surface. Better traction for the cars, I guess).

In my experience, this seatpost feels as solid as the non-suspension one that came on the bike; I've never noticed any rocking at all, either side to side or fore to aft. It's been great for the kind of riding we do.
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