Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Contact (part 3, Saddle)

After you drop down off of Union pass you hit some suddenly smooth pavement on the way into Pinedale WY.  I had slept the night just before reaching this pavement.  So about an hour or so into my day, when I hit that smooth pavement one would think I be enjoying the easy fast miles.  No, the smooth pavement was killing me.  The pain from my saddle sores was literally bringing tears to my eyes.  The smooth crank-it-out miles, with little reason to move around or stand brought me to a complete stand still.  I was at a loss as to how I would continue.  The fork was almost in………
my 2010 saddle....... 

The basic TDR saddle issues:
1.       Cumulative Impact = sore bruised muscle, damaged soft tissue

2.       Continuous low level friction = heat = irritated, damaged skin

3.       Cockeyed (ingrown) hairs= irritated, then infected hair follicles

Each of these three issues may occur to a greater or lesser degree.  It’s the day after day accumulation of one or some combination that can transform mild discomfort into race ending pain.

Mitigation tactics:
Cumulative Impact = sore bruised muscle, damaged soft tissue --

1.       Find a ‘best’ fit between your sit bones and your particular saddle. 
2.       Some type of suspension, seat post, frame or tire size to minimize the cumulative bruising effect
3.       Take some form of naproxen

[Of course the absolute best solution to bruising is to finish, ha-so the faster you are the less this is a problem] 

Continuous low level friction = heat = irritated, damaged skin

1.                   Common wisdom says the more you ride the firmer the saddle.  What this really means is a firm smooth saddle surface produces less friction, ie: less heat-less skin damage.  So a saddle for the TDR should be firm and smooth.
2.                   Make sure your shorts do not have a seam across any pressure points. 
3.                   Chamois Creams is one way to minimize friction. (ya we all have our favorites, mine is A+D Original Ointment ) 


Cockeyed (ingrown) hairs= irritated then infected hair follicles (my personal demon)
(This is where your hair curls up and grows into and under the skin)

1.                   Laser treatment or electrolysis to completely prevent hair growth
2.                   Good sanitation works for many but not all as some of us are genetically inclined to more/easier ingrown hairs
3.                   Geronimo! Pain Cream  (does not prevent but does treat ingrown hair) (contains a natural anti-inflammatory/pain reducer, ie: white willow bark, which has Salicylic acid, which is a key ingredient in many skin-care products) (also good for other aches and pains!!)
4.                   Num-Zit/ Benzocaine (topical pain relief only, not a cure or treatment) 

my current saddle, good personal sit bone fit, smooth, semi-firm, 247g,
I am testing the TT nose style to see how it fits me in the aero bar position, oh and cost a whopping $40 new

How I hope to prevent a reoccurrence of my 2010 saddle sore debacle (in descending order)

1.                   Laser treatment around sit bone area to completely prevent hair growth (I know too much detail—to bad for you)

2.                   Find a ‘best’ fit between my sit bones and my particular saddle. 

3.                   My saddle for the TDR will be firm and smooth.

4.                   Apply A+D Original Ointment as needed to minimize friction. 

5.                   Practice good sanitation each night

6.                   Utilize Geronimo! Pain Cream at night-as needed

7.                   Have available a small tube of Num-Zit as a last resort

 You might have noticed I did not mention saddle position/bike fit.  Of course this is a KEY ingredient in preventing and dealing with saddle sores.  And is best done well before you leave Banff.
Coming back to my ordeal just after Union pass. I stopped, removed my seat bag and began a series of micro seat adjustments till I found a better position, ie: one the alleviated a bit of the pressure on my worst sores spots.  Not a fix but it kept me going for one more day......

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