Tuesday, July 21, 2009

for females only

okay, I know that isn't going to work. if anything, it probably hooked you guys into reading on, eyes pealed and heartrates jumping.
but let me just forewarn you: if you get turned off or grossed out, you were told you shouldn't be reading it anyway. I am pre-absolving myself of blame.
because this is serious girl stuff.
you guys have your own issues.

in fact, that's how I'll begin.
I don't fully understand the details of how guys, ah-hem (throat clearing), arrange themselves to sit on bike saddles for hours on end. when I first started cycling I thought females had it worse, but at this point I've decided it's a challenge either way.
yes, today's topic is saddle comfort.
or the lack thereof.

it all began during power camp. I was sitting on a spin bike saddle 6 days a week, and I was getting pretty darn uncomfortable. I'd always wear bike shorts, but would feel like no amount of padding would ever stop the pain. and it's so not about needing more padding on my butt. (okay, I am, in general, a fairly modest person, but there's just no way to talk about this without shedding some of that modesty and welcoming in the embarrassment.)
it's not my butt that gets sore riding a bike.
it's the parts a little further forward.
first I learned to choose a saddle that was better for me. narrower, and harder. go figure. I still don't understand why a firm saddle is more comfortable than a more padded one: it's that reverse logic playing itself out.
then I learned about lubrication. one of our female instructors gave a little spiel one morning on lubrication options: the kind they sell in the bike stores (expensive) to KY jelly (less so) to vaseline (eww). her recommend was KY.
I tried them all.
and things got better, but there were still plenty days where the saddle caused more pain than the screaming muscles and the hyperextended lungs.

when class ended for the season and I started riding outside again, I finally dredged up some courage and went to the bike shop and sat on the assometer. yes, they really call it that.
how many of you want to go have your butt measured?
actually, it's not as bad as it sounds, as all they really care about measuring are your sit bones. they make an indentation on this cushy thing you sit on, and the cute bike shop boy then measures the distance between your sit bones and tells you what size saddle you should be using.
on jarrod's recommend, I bought a new, hard, properly sized saddle. I've heard these described as "shovels," and when I first felt that new saddle I couldn't have pointed out many differences between a shovel and that thing.
but jarrod was correct: it became comfortable. geez, really comfortable.

however, I still had issues. so on to serious girl stuff. with just the bare minimum of info, so you guys who I know are still reading just deal with the fact that I'm not giving much explanation.
I have always shaved.
but sometimes those little nubby things don't like the pressure they get while riding. they get bothered. and irritated. which in turn makes me bothered and irritated.
so . . . someone suggested waxing, telling me that this is a lifesaver for a serious cyclist.
I gave it a shot.
but it helps. and life was much better for quite some time.

however . . . I am back to having some issues again, and I'm about out of new tricks to try. (it didn't help that I forgot to use my Chamois Butt'r ---love that cute name---for the 71-mile Mt. Nebo ride on sunday.) every little bump on the road reminds me just how not-good things are. pressure spots, ingrown hairs, redness . . . it's enough to keep a girl off a bike.

well, not really.

but I want to get back to that point of believing my bike saddle to be one of the most comfortable places on earth to be. yes, I have been there. I want to return to that place.

now I do have a (male) friend who had to withdraw from Lotoja last year due to saddle sores . . . I guess I can always keep that in mind. maybe not being able to get on the bike could come in handy some day . . .

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