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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 05-30-10, 10:21 PM   #1
century0fakers
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saddle comfort for women - chamois or not?

today i did my first 50 mile ride and did it without my chamois. felt great. i bought a nice saddle
a month ago that is designed for women. on shorter rides - 20 or 30 miles, i've ridden with the
chamois (i have 2 pair of lined shorts) and the ride was more uncomfortable than the 50 miles
without the lined shorts.

so is the point of the lined shorts so you don't get saddle sores long-term?

after 50 miles without the padding i felt fine in the saddle, more connected to bike and overall, i
felt better about the ride.

trying to work out the kinks before my first century. maybe this is all a matter of personal
preference. i'd appreciate some feedback.

thanks!
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Old 05-31-10, 12:07 AM   #2
unterhausen
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not a woman, but I find I can get away with almost anything saddle-wise for up to 80 miles. The women I know that ride long distances wear padded shorts. It certainly is a matter of personal preference and geometry.
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Old 05-31-10, 08:06 AM   #3
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And the source of the discomfort with the padded shorts was?

Stoker loves her PI Symphony (women's) shorts with her Specialized Jett saddle. Cannot wear men's padded shorts at all due to discomfort.
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Old 05-31-10, 09:18 AM   #4
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It depends....like saddles are so very personal, so are chamois.

I know women who ride long distances who won't wear a short with chamois. A couple of thoughts.

Try a short with a thinner chamois. Lately the chamois in some shorts is getting way too thick. This can be an irritant. Places like Boure still make shorts with minimal chamois.

In general, the chamois may not be right for you...it should be wicking moisture and providing a seam-free sitting area (to prevent abrasions). If it isn't and after 50 miles you find chamois-free doesn't work, try a different chamois. Like saddles, what works for one may not work for others.
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Old 05-31-10, 08:11 PM   #5
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And the source of the discomfort with the padded shorts was?

Stoker loves her PI Symphony (women's) shorts with her Specialized Jett saddle. Cannot wear men's padded shorts at all due to discomfort.
i can't explain the discomfort with the padded shorts exactly. a friend told me once after riding 100 miles the seam was very painful. i have not experienced dramatic discomfort like that. for me, the padding feels like it slides a little and maybe bunches up. i'm thinknig about my double century coming up and that the padded shorts on day 1 will help with day 2's comfort! my saddle is a specialized woman's saddle and i love, love, love it... i guess ultimately i need to keep trying different combinations and see what works. there is a 100 mile ride saturday i hope to ride it. i'll see how it goes there. thanks for the opinions everyone.
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Old 05-31-10, 08:24 PM   #6
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Whether or not you need extra padding depends on your personal anatomy. I need padded shorts. Cycling would be very uncomfortable for me without padding. There are women here who ride long distances without padding or other insulation and they are just fine.

Use whatever works for you. If you can get away with non-padded shorts (less expensive overall) then go for it.
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Old 06-01-10, 11:49 AM   #7
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Try a short with a thinner chamois. Lately the chamois in some shorts is getting way too thick. This can be an irritant. Places like Boure still make shorts with minimal chamois.
This x about a billion. The only reason I wear cycling-specific shorts is that they don't have a seam running right down the middle, which would be impossible (for me, anyway) to ride with. That's *all* I want my chamois to do: just be a nice little "no-seam" area on my shorts. I really don't dig this trend of the past few years of shorts that make you feel like you're wearing a loaded diaper. If I needed padding at all (and my saddle is pretty comfy for me, I could probably do without it entirely) I sure don't need it halfway up my stomach and butt, which aren't the areas that are sitting on the saddle.

Shorts marketed to triathletes often have smaller, thinner chamois pads, and are supposedly designed to dry very quickly.

Also, w/r/t your mention of the padding feeling like it's "sliding up" or "bunching up" -- make sure you're not buying shorts that are actually too big; the fit needs to be pretty snug.

If you were comfortable for 50 miles, you might be okay for your century. (I usually wait until about the 70 mile mark to evaluate whether something "new" is going to work out for me over the course of a century.) Good luck and have fun on your century!
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