General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort? Rss Feed  
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2014-02-15 11:26 AM

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Subject: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
Full disclosure - in my first three seasons of tri, I didn't spend enough time on the bike. I know that. I am trying to remedy that for this year. It's getting hard to do that.

All I have at my disposal is trainer time right now, as I am in PA and we are again coated in snow. I am not buying another bike for snow, so forget the suggestions I HTFU and get outside.

My limiter in previous longer races has been my discomfort in the saddle. My legs still had plenty of pedaling left, but the body just couldn't sit that long.

Yes I am huge. I do not however, have a large posterior. I am putting a lot of weight on those bones. It is coming off, but slowly. I see plenty of larger people on bikes, doing centuries - they survive.

I do not have the budget to try out 15 different saddles. I did get my hands on an Adamo racing saddle with a cutout in the front, which I thought was helping with perineum numbing, but soon discovered that the sit bones were worse off. I put the softer saddle back on.

I am very close to putting a big wide beach cruiser type comfort saddle on my bike and being done with it. I don't care if "real" triathletes mock it at races, the same people would mock my whole setup and body anyway, so who cares about one more thing.

BUT - if doing this would set me back from the possibility of making progress toward eventual comfort on the "right" saddle, I don't want to do that.

If you've been through this - what the hell? Do I just need to put in 2000 miles of stiff trainer riding to get used to it? Do I give in and put the silly seat on? Do I give up cycling and triathlon? Seriously, I'm just about ready to throw it in once again, since it seems like even the most basic stuff that is taken for granted by all you actual athletes - it's a mountain to climb and it makes no sense. It's not like I have a disability or injury, or legitimate reason for this to be difficult. No it's just - "I'm too fat for a bike and it hurts." - At what point do I take the hint and abandon this thing? Am I just a giant freaking pansy? The bike is supposed to be the part that most triathletes like the most. It's allegedly the sport I can do longer in my life with less wear and tear. So far, that is not bearing out.

I don't mind doing something hard and painful if it leads to progress. I just doubt that I'm ever going to make that progress.

Sorry for the "poor me" negative nonsense, but my Seasonal Affective Disorder (self-diagnosed) seems to be especially affected now that I actually WANT to be outside, and the inside stuff is driving me to tears.


Edited by TheClaaaw 2014-02-15 11:27 AM


2014-02-15 11:33 AM
in reply to: TheClaaaw

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?

One of the things I concentrate on while riding is the weight distribution between saddle, pedals, and handlebars.  You can decrease the weight on hands and saddle by supporting you weight more on your feet and using your lower back muscles to hold up upper body.  I have problems with numbness in the hands and the saddle fatigue and this is what I work on.  It seems to help.

When I found this worked for me, I had a product idea to put pressure sensors in biking gloves and saddles to tell me when I was relaxing my back and putting to much load in the saddle and hands. It seems the gloves and foot sensors have been developed already but not for the bike position application.  Maybe we can get this started.

 

TW

2014-02-15 12:07 PM
in reply to: #4949942

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
I had these problems last year and got a new saddle that made a ton of difference. My bike shop has a foam cushion you sit on and they can measure the distance between your seat bones from it. I am a smaller person, but apparently I have really wide seat bones. My whole body is very thankful for my new seat and I can ride a lot longer on it. Although it does not look as cool as the tiny one my bike came with. I figure if I ride fast enough nobody will notice. Before I could not walk right after getting off the bike. I think you could figure out how to measure the distance between them- but I'm not certain.

Good luck!
2014-02-15 12:07 PM
in reply to: TheClaaaw

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
I related. Sore butt, and sores after a long season.

I've learned to get out of the saddle during races and training runs. Put in harder gear and push the pace (even on flats). I usually do this while passing large groups for up to two minutes. I don't see many triathletes doing that however. But it does increase blood flow and give your butt a chance to recover. I learned the technique when I picked up spin classes as a complement to trainer and road rides.

Frankly, my performance has improved and I do this at all distances. Soreness is definitely in the past.

PS: For me there's a time threshold where saddle soreness peaks - around 1 or 1.5 hours into a ride. After that, seems to a secondary issue to battling other factors and I forget about it.
2014-02-15 12:18 PM
in reply to: Moonrocket

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
Originally posted by Moonrocket

I had these problems last year and got a new saddle that made a ton of difference. My bike shop has a foam cushion you sit on and they can measure the distance between your seat bones from it. I am a smaller person, but apparently I have really wide seat bones. My whole body is very thankful for my new seat and I can ride a lot longer on it. Although it does not look as cool as the tiny one my bike came with. I figure if I ride fast enough nobody will notice. Before I could not walk right after getting off the bike. I think you could figure out how to measure the distance between them- but I'm not certain.

Good luck!


I'm going to check a couple larger shops within reasonable distance of me to see if anyone does this kind of "fit." - Thanks for the suggestion!

I'm in no danger of ever riding fast enough for my oddities to go unnoticed, but I'd rather finish my ironman on a weird seat than not finish.
2014-02-15 12:27 PM
in reply to: TheClaaaw

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
The trainer is rougher on the sit bones than the road, by a lot. So if you can only handle an hour on the trainer, make that hour count, but don't worry too much about it.

Better shorts, are, well, better, especially if they fit. There is a huge difference between my good/decent Castelli or Pearl Izumi shorts and my Desotos.

Softness isn't usually a solution - it masks a problem.

There is a significant but limited adjustment to the Adamo saddle - it solves significant numbing issues with me, but it took about 6 or 8 hours of saddle time for the sit bone soreness to go away. Anyone trying to take my Prologue will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

Look up how to measure your sit bones, and take a ruler with you to the store, to find a right-width saddle. A saddle that is too wide or too narrow for your sit bones can cause all kinds of issues. Any good bike shop or tri shop should be able to help you find the right saddle, or have a loaner program. There's always Performance Bike and their awesome return policy - try saddle A for a few hours, then B, then C . . .

Slowtwich sponsored a saddle tour a few months ago, but it's over now - but you may be able to contact some of those shops to arrange a saddle fitting. For me, it affirmed what I already knew; for my wife, it was a real eye-opener.

Good luck.


2014-02-15 12:40 PM
in reply to: TheClaaaw

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?

All I can add is that the SelleRoyal Viper seat that came on my Cannondale was OK for riding upright on the hoods, but the hard nose was killing me when I rode on my aerobars for any length of time.

I switched to a Profile Design Tri-Stryke, which is great for the aerobars with its padded nose, but is more narrow in the rear, making riding upright for long periods of time more painful.  I ride on my aerobars most of the time due to carpal tunnel issues, so the PD seat works best for me. 

Good luck in your quest.

Mark

 

2014-02-15 12:52 PM
in reply to: RedCorvette

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?

I can say for me, I tried an Adamo road saddle for the same reason as you (numbness).  It solved that but felt like I was sitting on a rock.  I switched to a Cobb V-Flow Plus and never looked back.  I just like the foam better.  Saddle choice is different for each person though, so someone else might have the opposite story.

I'd suggest at least trying out a Cobb because they have a 180 day money back deal, no questions asked.  They're also very helpful over the phone.

2014-02-15 4:36 PM
in reply to: spudone


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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
For me, the trainer is hard on the sit bones, way more so than outdoors riding. I'll start to feel it after about an hour and a half. I When I ride harder and put more force into the pedals, it helps with the discomfort. Also, I'll try to get in a few minutes of standing once in awhile to take a break from the saddle. The shorts/bibs you wear can make a great deal of difference as well. What are you currently wearing? The more you spend on shorts/bibs, the better they are. It's the one thing I don't try to save a couple bucks on.

2014-02-15 6:26 PM
in reply to: spudone

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
Originally posted by spudone

I can say for me, I tried an Adamo road saddle for the same reason as you (numbness).  It solved that but felt like I was sitting on a rock.  I switched to a Cobb V-Flow Plus and never looked back.  I just like the foam better.  Saddle choice is different for each person though, so someone else might have the opposite story.

I'd suggest at least trying out a Cobb because they have a 180 day money back deal, no questions asked.  They're also very helpful over the phone.




I will definitely look into that one. I've heard good things. The money-back thing, is this something I should order direct, or go through a LBS?
2014-02-15 6:35 PM
in reply to: ziggie204

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
Originally posted by ziggie204

For me, the trainer is hard on the sit bones, way more so than outdoors riding. I'll start to feel it after about an hour and a half. I When I ride harder and put more force into the pedals, it helps with the discomfort. Also, I'll try to get in a few minutes of standing once in awhile to take a break from the saddle. The shorts/bibs you wear can make a great deal of difference as well. What are you currently wearing? The more you spend on shorts/bibs, the better they are. It's the one thing I don't try to save a couple bucks on.




I did get a pretty decent pair of riding shorts last year (that I can't find right now - so that doesn't help) - which brings me to the question of tri shorts. I have used the same tri shorts for three seasons, and I think that for IM, I will be taking the transition time to put on full-on bike shorts, then changing to running shorts. I sort of did that for Eagleman last year. I had remembered port-a-potties in transition the year before, but they were gone in 2013. So I slipped my bike shorts over my jammers for the ride, and slipped them off for the run and did the run in jammers. Not recommended, but it kept me from chafing and gave me something on the bike more than the tiny padding in my tri shorts.


2014-02-15 6:45 PM
in reply to: TheClaaaw

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
OK so this is one of those moments I have to once again thank BT for its collective awesomeness, and apologize for something.

Many of you remember my lost bike drama which ended in a gift of a bike from a BT member as well as people sending me aerobars etc.... I have been hanging on to the stuff to see what was going to work and when I finally settled on it - everything else was going to get passed along here on the pay-it-forward thread.

Among the things that were sent to me,m ages ago - there is a Cobb V-Flow Plus saddle. I just remembered where I had put the "extras" and there it was.

So all along, I probably had the solution that worked for me right under my nose, due to the generosity of one of many people who sent these things to me.

I am simultaneously humbled by the embarrassment of riches, and feeling stupid for not remembering and nearly letting valuable assets go unused.

2014-02-15 6:54 PM
in reply to: TheClaaaw


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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?


I don't think there is any secret, but there are a few things that have helped me.

First, I use the Adamo Road. I had been using the Fizik Tri 2 Arione and was getting significant numbness regardless of how I sat on it.

With the Adamo Road, the prongs go right under your sit bones, and your other "parts" hang off the front. It will make the sit bones sore at first, but after a few weeks of consistent riding, it should subside.

Next, for shorts, I usually use Pearl Izumi, but the tri-shorts with no padding. Again, you have to deal with soreness at first, but in the end (no pun intended) I think it is better to go with less padding since that can push up and give additional pressure.

Lastly, it is just time riding. The more you ride, the less sore you will get. You will be sore and tender, but there shouldn't be any numbness, and it should get better over time.
2014-02-15 7:12 PM
in reply to: ImSore

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
Originally posted by ImSore



I don't think there is any secret, but there are a few things that have helped me.

First, I use the Adamo Road. I had been using the Fizik Tri 2 Arione and was getting significant numbness regardless of how I sat on it.

With the Adamo Road, the prongs go right under your sit bones, and your other "parts" hang off the front. It will make the sit bones sore at first, but after a few weeks of consistent riding, it should subside.

Next, for shorts, I usually use Pearl Izumi, but the tri-shorts with no padding. Again, you have to deal with soreness at first, but in the end (no pun intended) I think it is better to go with less padding since that can push up and give additional pressure.

Lastly, it is just time riding. The more you ride, the less sore you will get. You will be sore and tender, but there shouldn't be any numbness, and it should get better over time.


I second this on the switch to an Adamo saddle. I switched because when in an aero position, I had numbness issues. The switch to the Adamo saddle solved that. Not saying it will necessarily work for you, but, you have to give it time. The Adamo puts more pressure on your sit bones, which probably up until now, haven't taken much of the weight. So, they will take some time to get used to bearing the weight. But, once they do, for me, that saddle has been very comfortable. Also, as noted, ride more. That helps. I also find that the harder I ride, the less sore I get all over.
2014-02-15 9:37 PM
in reply to: TheClaaaw

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
Wear a good pair of bibs and apply Enzo's Buttonhole (and plenty of it for your long rides.) Tougher on the trainer, get out of the saddle every so often and hammer your big gear for a few minutes.
2014-02-16 1:00 AM
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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?

Originally posted by Moonrocket I had these problems last year and got a new saddle that made a ton of difference. My bike shop has a foam cushion you sit on and they can measure the distance between your seat bones from it. I am a smaller person, but apparently I have really wide seat bones. My whole body is very thankful for my new seat and I can ride a lot longer on it. Although it does not look as cool as the tiny one my bike came with. I figure if I ride fast enough nobody will notice. Before I could not walk right after getting off the bike. I think you could figure out how to measure the distance between them- but I'm not certain. Good luck!

I believe you're refering to the Specialized "assometer".  My LBS has one and it's the only SURE way to measure this very critical skeletal feature.  Get to a LBS that deals with Specialized and ask for a fit.  BTW: I think Specialized BodyGeometry saddles are first rate.  (Note a 'plug' for Specialized).

Good Luck!



Edited by jeffnboise 2014-02-16 1:04 AM


2014-02-16 4:29 AM
in reply to: TheClaaaw

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
I start getting pins and needles in my... well... penis while riding. If I stand up every 10 minutes or so, only for 10 seconds I'm okay.

Should I be looking at a new saddle too?
2014-02-16 7:14 AM
in reply to: TheClaaaw

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
The saddle is the most person equipment you have on a bike, so what works for someone else, doesn't necessarily work for you…

Also, most saddle issues are in fact fit issues. Make sure you have a solid bike fit before spending tons of money on swapping saddles. Once you have a good bike fit, don't be surprised if one of the saddles you've tried already fits you perfect….
2014-02-16 8:22 AM
in reply to: audiojan

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
I don't know how central "central PA" is, but if you are near Morgantown, WV, the bike shops here have test ride saddles that you can take out for a week or two or 30 day exchange policies. I would be surprised if the LBS in your area don't have something similar. Like others have said, the seat needs to be the right width for your sit bones, and that has nothing to do with weight. Also, make sure that the seat width is right for the type of chamois that you like. A proper seat can be completely useless if you wear a really thick chamois. One more note, and maybe you addressed this, but have you tried chamois butt'r or something similar to help with friction?
2014-02-16 8:55 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Am I just a baby or is there some secret to saddle comfort?
Some time ago I started lubing up the 'taint and the boys with a big glop of bag balm before getting on the bike. That, and switching to an Adamo Prologue saddle, has made a big difference for me. With that said, my long rides never seem to go over 2.5 hrs, have no idea what would go on if i went much farther than that.

Edited by Oysterboy 2014-02-16 8:59 AM
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