The Story of Saddle Sores….!
I have been getting many queries regarding saddle sores from all my friends on social media. How to prevent saddle soreness or frank saddle sores?
Saddle Soreness is when you have pain and discomfort in your bottom due to long hours of riding. Saddle Sores are like when the skin is damaged and there is burning pain and the rider is unable to sit on the saddle of the bike.
I have never experienced Saddle Sores during any of my Ultra-cycling races. I had some problems with soreness in RAAM but used to change my cycling shorts regularly and also changed the saddle many times on which I was riding. During RAAM I had to use double shorts one day to combat soreness in my bum. During Trans Siberian, I had to change the saddle of the main bike in the last few days so that the saddle rubbed at a different place.
I have never used chamois butter or similar products to prevent chafing. For some reason, I don’t like it. I just use a very good quality shirt and the right bike to prevent this problem. Over some time the skin in that area has become used to all the riding, which I have been doing in the last three years of ultra-cycling.
The most important rules to prevent saddle soreness or saddle sores –
1. A good bike fit is very important. Right saddle height and saddle position will help you prevent saddle sores in a big way. Improper saddle position will rub the saddle in the wrong places and will cause unnecessary trouble. During your practice rides take Allen's key with you. Try different saddle positions to get to the right one. It takes patience to do this but worth doing.
2. Invest in good quality shorts. Indian manufacturers are not producing good quality shorts for long-distance riding. Some of the European brands produce very good quality shorts, great for long-distance riding. For RAAM and Trans Siberian I had invested in buying very good quality shorts which made the difference
3. Invest in a good quality saddle. Nowadays very good quality anatomically fitting saddles are being manufactured. There are different saddles available for men and women. I use saddles with cut-outs in between. They are super comfortable for long-distance riding.
4. During races like RAAM and Trans Siberian, change your cycling shorts frequently every 8 to 12 hours to maintain hygiene and also improve cushioning.
5. Strength training is important. Having Strong glute muscles will help you maintain a good saddle position and prevent saddle sores.
6. If you are getting saddle soreness during ultra-cycling races then use double shorts. Wear the second short inside out over the first short.
7. Use products like chamois butter or similar products.
8. Practice cycling without sitting on the saddle. Just in case you get very bad saddle sores and you have to ride on the bike without sitting on the saddle. This will be helpful.
Don’t take it for granted. Invest in trying different solutions. Saddle sores can jeopardize your race and lead to DNF. The most important investment is a good quality short.
Dr. Amit Samarth
Miles N Milers
Be Your Hero…!