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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 10-18-10, 09:52 PM   #1
stayfitwithJo
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I have a Feeling.... no wait, I'm Numb

OK gals,
I have been riding since 1998; I have tried a "numb"er of saddles and have had very little comfort. I have now pedaled into the ultra cycling world - doubles and plan to ride the Furnace Creek 508 in 2011. I never finish without saddle sores in training, numbness (lasting for 48-72 hrs) after a double. I have ridden the Fizik - Pave', & Fatise', the Terry Liberator X, the Specialized - Body Geometry and a couple of "I just don't remembers" that you could chop wood with.
So ultra chicks what do you ride that help you make it through the miles.
(The saddle is the Holy Grail in the cycling world).

thanks
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Old 10-18-10, 11:29 PM   #2
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i personally found selle smp an excellent choice. see here http://www.smpselle.com/smp4bike/en. be warned: they're expensive

might also be a good opportunity to have your personalised saddle made. they put a special pressure sensitive foil on a sample saddle and measure where peak points and manufacture a saddle accordingly. don't know whether any are available in your area
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Old 10-19-10, 01:39 AM   #3
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Speaking as a woman who has logged a lot of miles over 20+ years of cycling ...

1) Make sure your bicycle fits you (if you've done a lot of long distance riding you've probably done this already, but just in case ... ). Go online to find fitting tips: http://www.cyclemetrics.com/Pages/Fi..._fit_links.htm and if you've got a really good LBS near at hand, have them help you with the fit. Make sure to tell them what kind of cycling you do. Some LBSs think that everyone races and will try to fit you into a racing position, but if that isn't your style of cycling, you have to let them know.

2) Work on your core. Do crunches etc. to build up a strong core. This will help you sit properly on the saddle. You need to be sitting on your sitbones and not on the middle bits, and part of that involves holding your abs in ... which is much easier if you've got a strong core.

3) Sit on the bicycle with good posture. Stand up with your best posture (and you might compare it to good posture diagrams and images you can find if you google it). Now tuck your pelvis under just a little bit, suck your abs in, and lean forward ... that is basically the posture on the bicycle, and will keep you on your sitbones. You can even try this when sitting on a hard chair ... sit up straight, tuck your pelvis under just a little, suck in your abs, and you'll notice the middle bits lift. Now ... it takes a reasonably strong core to keep that up during a ride.

4) Experiment with saddles. Personally, I like the Brooks B-17 men's saddle. I have had three of them so far, and I'm currently in the process of breaking in the third. Although the breaking in process takes a bit of time and patience (and you have to remember that these saddles will never become soft), it has been well worth it. My first Brooks had about 50,000 km on it before it was stolen. I'd still be riding it now otherwise. But even during this break-in process, my sitbones are sore and that's to be expected until the saddle breaks in, but not the middle bit.

A hard saddle like a Brooks allows your sitbones to support your body and if you sit on the saddle as described above, the middle bits either don't come in contact with the saddle at all, or only just barely ... but no pressure.
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Old 10-19-10, 07:30 AM   #4
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I think it's trial and error. I like the Sella Italia Lady Gel Flow, myself. I don't go over about 130 miles at a sitting, though.
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Old 10-19-10, 09:06 AM   #5
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OK gals,
...
So ultra chicks what do you ride that help you make it through the miles.
(The saddle is the Holy Grail in the cycling world).

thanks
I can only speak as the husband of an "ultra chick". My wife rides a Brooks "Champion Flyer S", which is the "women's" version of a B17, with springs. The S has a shorter nose than a regular B17. My wife found the longer nose made it too hard to hop on and off the saddle on our tandem -- the stoker "compartment" is a little cramped, so the long nose got in the way. She was riding my old Champion Flyer on her road bike, despite the longer nose, but I just recently bought her a Brooks "Imperial S" for her road bike, which she likes even though it's only partially worn in. She does not like the Selle Anatomica saddles, I think because they have an even longer nose than the Brooks saddles. But I've ridden Selle Anatomica for the last three years and like them much more than the Brooks saddles. The leather is a little more forgiving, and the undercarriage is longer so it's easier to get them set back further than the Brooks. I know women who love their Selle Anatomica and others who've tried them and didn't like them. If you decide you'd like to try a Brooks, you might consider buying one from Wallingford Bikes, which has a generous return policy: www.wallbike.com

I should probably mention that my wife's ultra experience includes finishing an SR series, so she's ridden a 600Km, her longest event so far. She's also completed one R-12 and is nearly done with a second (so 20 consecutive months in which she has ridden a 200Km or longer ride). So her "long distance cycling resume" is fairly extensive (though nothing like as extensive as Machka's) and I think a pretty good test of saddle comfort. Most of the time she finds the saddle comfortable, with no problems to speak of on a 200Km, but on the longer rides their might be some soreness sometimes, though no numbness.

Nick

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Old 10-19-10, 10:42 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the input. My longest miles are in the stoker position on our tandem, however many miles on my single as well. I will start doing my homework!
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Old 10-19-10, 04:49 PM   #7
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While you are doing your homework you might want to look at these.
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Old 10-19-10, 06:24 PM   #8
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A vote for the Specialized Lithia Gel from an female ultra friend who's looking to repeat PBP more comfortably, and still has scar tissue from a 1000k on a B17 back in June. A vote for the Specialized Jett from my wife - no numbing but she still has sore sitbones trouble, maybe go away, maybe not. Another vote for the Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow (it says Ldy on the nose) from another LD female on here. A thumbs down on the Terry Liberator and Butterfly from several LD females of my acquaintance.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:25 AM   #9
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And a vote against the Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow ... painful saddle!! Not so much the butt and area pain, but the agony in the lower back on a 100K was a killer.

Not only do you have to get the right hardness and right width, but you've also got to get the right shape. The Selle Italia Ldy is a very flat saddle, and for whatever reason it offers no support whatsoever to the back resulting in agonising lower back pain. I need a saddle that curves up in the back. So that's just something else to add to the mix.
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Old 10-20-10, 03:11 AM   #10
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I LOVE the Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow, for me it is saddle nirvana! The Si Diva Gel Flow is the exact opposite for me, and I found Brooks saddles to be agony - it got worse with time rather than better. Our butts are so particular and what works for one of us may well not work for others.

Bike fit is indeed vital, as I have learned this year - and I do not have the miles yet that others here have. For me, the Lady Gel Flow (the saddle has Ldy on it) just disappears beneath me

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And a vote against the Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow ... painful saddle!! Not so much the butt and area pain, but the agony in the lower back on a 100K was a killer.

Not only do you have to get the right hardness and right width, but you've also got to get the right shape. The Selle Italia Ldy is a very flat saddle, and for whatever reason it offers no support whatsoever to the back resulting in agonising lower back pain. I need a saddle that curves up in the back. So that's just something else to add to the mix.
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Old 10-20-10, 04:39 AM   #11
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For me, the Lady Gel Flow (the saddle has Ldy on it) just disappears beneath me

No agonising lower back pain when you ride more than 100 km?
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Old 10-20-10, 12:23 PM   #12
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A Brooks Saddle.

If it is truly a saddle issue then you really need to try one of these. A week after buying my first I purchased a second for my "back-up" bike. No more chafing - don't use any butter etc. Also, way cool looking and tons of compliments not mention happy nether regions. Best upgrade / accessory I have ever purchased.

IMO
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Old 10-20-10, 12:42 PM   #13
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No agonising lower back pain when you ride more than 100 km?
None for me.

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A Brooks Saddle.

...Also, way cool looking and tons of compliments ...
There again we differ, I think the brooks saddles are hideous.

Saddle choice is so personal - I really think you have to do your own trial and error.
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Old 10-20-10, 08:02 PM   #14
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Zoiks!
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Old 10-21-10, 03:57 AM   #15
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A Brooks Saddle.

If it is truly a saddle issue then you really need to try one of these. A week after buying my first I purchased a second for my "back-up" bike. No more chafing - don't use any butter etc. Also, way cool looking and tons of compliments not mention happy nether regions. Best upgrade / accessory I have ever purchased.

IMO
+1!!

And absolutely right about no more chafing and no need to use any creams.
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Old 10-21-10, 08:43 AM   #16
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+1!!

And absolutely right about no more chafing and no need to use any creams.
But please, Machka. That's true for you. We are all, luckily, different and our different butts need different saddles just as our differing abilities require different outlets. I think elementary school teachers are wonderful, but I would not be a good one. I'm a fair cyclist, but a terrible basketball player, etc.

There are reasons that maybe 1 saddle in 20 at a brevet start here is a Brooks. I don't think any particular saddle occupies more than 10% of seatposts. The reason is that we are all different, and not that these extremely experienced riders simply won't see the light. We had an explosion of SA saddles a while back, which now seems to be fading as many of those riders are going back to the "regular" cutout saddles. I think saddles keep changing. Manufacturers bring out better models as their understanding of anatomy matures.

What I can't understand is why these 1 in 20 are so vocal. We should be hearing from the Terry Fly faction, probably the most common saddle at our brevet starts. They obviously have just as good an experience with their saddles as the Brooks folks. Of course a Brooks is a wonderful saddle if it fits your butt. So is every saddle that fits someone's butt.
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Old 10-21-10, 03:01 PM   #17
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But please, Machka. That's true for you. We are all, luckily, different and our different butts need different saddles just as our differing abilities require different outlets.

I think saddles keep changing. Manufacturers bring out better models as their understanding of anatomy matures.

What I can't understand is why these 1 in 20 are so vocal. We should be hearing from the Terry Fly faction, probably the most common saddle at our brevet starts. They obviously have just as good an experience with their saddles as the Brooks folks. Of course a Brooks is a wonderful saddle if it fits your butt. So is every saddle that fits someone's butt.
It is true for me ... and for lots of other cyclists.

Some saddles keep changing, but I find it very interesting that the Brooks saddle has been around forever and people still use it, and people still like it. Brooks got it right way back then, and they don't have to keep changing their saddles.

One of the things I really like about a Brooks is that it customises itself to my butt. All my other saddles stayed the same as when I got them ... the Brooks becomes my personal saddle ... it develops dents and divots that fit me perfectly. I also like that the Brooks breathes which removes the need for all sorts of creams ... and that the Brooks is smooth which removes the chafing factor ... and that when one is broken in, it is so comfortable, I can choose to ride with or without padded cycling shorts. I can just wear regular shorts if I want. Those things are definite "pros" for me, personally, and maybe Brooks lovers are more vocal about it because we have found the most comfortable saddle we have ever tried and want to tell the world.



But I do agree that people have to experiment with different saddles ... which is why I said what I did in Post #3. Probably the most important factors in saddle comfort ... whatever saddle you choose ... are bicycle fit and posture on the bicycle. Get those right and you can ride just about any old thing, for at least the shorter of the long distances.

And I also pointed out in Post #9 that you have to consider the width of the saddle ... too wide and it is really uncomfortable (think stationary bicycle seat at the gym), too narrow and you're sitting on the soft bits in the middle rather than the sit bones, and I can tell you from personal experience while I was experimenting with saddles that is excruciatingly painful. And also the curve of the saddle. Some people can ride really flat saddles very comfortably, some people need a saddle that curves up in the back or they end up with lower back pain. So when experimenting with saddles both factors (width and curve) have to be taken into consideration.

The best thing to do when looking for a new saddle is to get a variety, try them, and then return them if they don't work. A good store will have a good return policy on a saddle. Wallingford Bicycles, for example, has a 6-month guarantee on their saddles ... if you don't like the Brooks after 6 months, you can return it. Presumably other companies would have similar policies.
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Old 10-30-10, 04:56 PM   #18
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A vote for the Specialized Lithia Gel from an female ultra friend who's looking to repeat PBP more comfortably, and still has scar tissue from a 1000k on a B17 back in June. A vote for the Specialized Jett from my wife - no numbing but she still has sore sitbones trouble, maybe go away, maybe not. Another vote for the Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow (it says Ldy on the nose) from another LD female on here. A thumbs down on the Terry Liberator and Butterfly from several LD females of my acquaintance.
+1 on the Specialized saddles...I just did a century on my Jett, but my sitbones were quite sore. Now I'm wishing I still had my Lithia for 60+ mile rides.
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Old 11-07-10, 10:12 PM   #19
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I bought Stoker a Lithia as an early Hanukkah present. She was ecstatic about it on today's 4 hr. ride. First long ride with no butt issues at all. Happy Stoker! Happy me!
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Old 11-15-10, 06:47 PM   #20
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Hello Jo I should have mentioned this when I talked with you last weekend.Check wtih Kitty G she seems to be happy with her Selle Anatomica
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