Lessons learned from my latest century along with some questions
Okay, so I rode my second century this year, yesterday. That makes two within just the last three weeks. I'm kinda liking this long distance cycling thing. Anyway, this is my third century. The last one was September of last year. Anyway, I learned some things about packing and what should and shouldn't go along with me, bag choices, etc. What changed this time around versus my last century back at the very end of June, was I experienced some discomfort during this ride that I didn't have in June or back in September. Nothing has changed about the bike in terms of set up or riding position. Actually the only thing that has changed was that I've lost 30 pounds over the last three months. I don't know if this factors in at all. What specifically bothered me was:
1. Friction in the shorts, specifically some chaffing on the sit bones area and the inside leg crease on my right hand side, right next to my, well you know what. I applied Beljum Butter directly to the skin in these high friction areas beforehand and even at a few of the later rest stops but it didn't seem to help much once the initial chaffing had occurred. One guy had suggested it was better to apply the cream directly to the chamois. My clothing setup is Aerotech Designs lycra shorts with a I believe a 10mm pad worn under Endura Humvee 3/4 shorts. If you're having to apply cream directly to the chamois, it seems like it could get expensive really fast, assuming you're doing a lot of long distance riding.
2. At some point, probably over 50 miles in, I started to feel like my toes on both feet might be developing blisters on the underside of the toes where they contact the foot bed of the shoes. My shoes and pedals are exactly the same as they've been for the last 7000+ miles. The only difference is I had purchased some new multi-sport socks from REI that are really comfortable but are made from some generic wicking fabric. I can add at this time that when I got home and was getting into the shower, I could find no evidence that I developed any blisters at all. so that was sort of weird. I think I'm going to invest in some simple Merino wool socks to wear instead of the various Coolmax type socks I have been wearing. I wear a Merino wool jersey all the time and in the winter I wear Merino wool tops, so I'm sold on that as an excellent fabric.
Anyway, I'm recovering from my chaffing with some application of Bag Balm to the affected areas and it seems to be doing the trick. I'd like to get some insight maybe from those with more experience as to the best ways to combat this so it doesn't reoccur. Finally I just realized I should note my saddle is a well-broken-in Brooks B17, although for some reason even with a every-six-months application of Proofhide, the upper surface of the saddle has lost it's glossy sheen and it seems to be a more "grabby" surface, especially on longer rides when my sweat has thoroughly permeated my shorts to the point where it's soaking through both layers of fabric. I think the inability to slid around on the saddle as much might be a major factor in this friction/chaffing issue. I sent an email to Brooks asking about how to regain the slippery surface of the saddle but never received any reply.