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  • Unbelievable

    Recently my teammate and I had to withdraw at ~600km of the 700km of this race done http://offroadfinnmark.no/ because of hurting lady bits (not mine obviously). Withdrawing whilst in the lead was definitely NOT in the race plan, but severe pain made it impossible to sit down and made the final 100km of very rough tracks more than we could contemplate.

    We’d been riding for about 70 hours at the time we had to stop – with a couple of 2-3 hour naps, and 2 changes of knicks. The knicks were all good quality Assos. My teammate was using a women’s specific saddle, and the same one that she’d used in training rides (some of which were >24 hours). We used plenty of bum cream, and as the pain got worse, were taking OTC painkillers (e.g. neurofen) to try to stay in the event. At one point a small saddle adjustment (nose down a few MM) seemed to provide some relief, but perhaps the damage had been done?

    I realise this won’t be for everyone, but do you have any tips for very long events like that?

    • Superpilot

      I’m struggling with saddle discomfort, but not sores, at the moment. I’m not a doctor, these are just my thoughts and I would love anyone to concur or criticise, I need the help also!

      Sores are as above 1) caused by friction of a location causing the skin to go raw 2) caused by infection of a hair folicle or ingrown hair.

      Saddle discomfort/pain can occur due to sores, or due to no sores but just uncomfortable saddle/shorts/chamois/bike fit, or both. They are separate issues, but at one point I did have a poor bike position that generated more sores due to increased friction aggravating and then leading to infected folicles.

      It really depends which kind it was, sores or discomfort, or both.

      For sores – depending where you are, there are some locations in the world that you can buy general antibiotic ointments over the counter. Some people make their own chamois cream including this (google is your friend). Also some people use anti septic baby change creams. If your problem was infection, mixing some of those in with your favourite cream, as well as treating the area with a similar cream after you have thoroughly cleaned up for the day and sleeping before the next may help. I don’t believe in overuse of antibiotics, so wouldn’t suggest it all the time, but you are talking about in one particular event. Never try anything new during an event though, always in training.

      Alternatively, a pore may have been clogged because of the use of creams etc, so a more thorough cleaning and leaving the area dry may help in that instance. If you have oily skin this may be the case.

      Not all butt cream is created equal. Some contain petroleum based products (could clog pores), some contain lanolins (ditto, or may be allergic, or may in fact help by sticking around longer for the day), some contain sodium laurel sulfate (thin the skin with regular application). Some also include stuff to help with the healing of skin. Some will last longer over a day, but for your distances I wouldn’t be surprised if a re-application was required halfway through each leg, just to make sure? Sounds like you used plenty, but y’know, once you’ve applied too little for a hour or two, it’s already too late?

      If more a general pain from sitting for 600km, then definately check out the equipment and bike fit. Just because the saddle or bike cost a lot, or because you are riding Assos shorts, doesn’t mean it is the best for your teammates particular circumstances. My Assos are the best shorts I own, but getting them didn’t cure my saddle fit woes.

      I think, aside from any additional help here (and there are some ultra-distance fans out there?) randonneuring forums or online discussions around the transcontinental or RAAM would probably have some topics on the specific riding conditions you are talking about (many days on end).

      Good luck, and hope someone helps you with better information.

      • Unbelievable

        Thanks Superpilot. Just to respond to a couple of your comments/questions: we did reapply bum cream during the ride (every few hours?) using Assos again – it’s one we used a lot in training. In this case the soreness was rubbed raw, rather than hair follicles or general soreness.

  • A few things I’ve found that work well:

    Beard/hair trimmer only for the saddle zone. Wax is only ok for the bits that aren’t in the direct saddle zone. Do not under any circumstances shave the saddle zone… YOUCH. If you’re short on chamois cream, coconut oil also works nicely. Right after riding, do a good wash with a gel specifically made for the lady bits.

    To treat a sore spot that isn’t an ingrown hair, I use an astringent like Clinique #2 on a cotton disc and rub rub rub, followed by Burt’s Bees Res-Q ointment. Odd maybe.. but seems to work.

    Good luck gals!!!

  • Anon N + 1

    I highly recommend the Guardian article. From the Guardian: “The world?class expert advice from a professor at Cambridge [presumably Prof Jane Sterling, a top consultant in vulval health from Cambridge University based on information elsewhere in the article] was that waxing and shaving didn’t help our fight against saddle issues,” The GB podium squad had not had a saddle sore in six months.

  • Keith Harris


    great review there!! I have a blog dedicated to chafing and all the products out there on http://antichafing.net/ ! Do you mind if I take some of your great info for it and link to this article???


  • winkybiker

    One thing that can help for multi-day events is to use different brands of bibs on alternate days. Each rubs a little differently and can help prevent a particular spot getting hammered for two or three days straight.

    I personally notice a direct correlation between comfort and $$ spent on bibs. The most expensive ones (e.g “R” & “A”) are most comfortable and also last the longest (by far) and are therefore the best value-for-money by every measure. I have (top-quality) bibs that are 10+ years old and are still great. New “club kit” is just absolute crap by comparison. My best bib-shorts last longer than I keep my bikes, wheels, helmets or shoes. An extra $200 on bibs is a way better investment in long-distance riding pleasure than those new wheels or bike you’ve been hankering for. All the carbon fibre in the world doesn’t help when you can’t sit down. Don’t skimp. Seriously.


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