Why You Should Never Ignore a Saddle Sore!

In this week’s episode of The Consummate Athlete Podcast, the podcast kinesiologist/coach/my husband Peter and I co-host, we chatted with Bernard Condevaux, a badass physical therapist and cyclist. He had some amazing advice for avoiding acute and chronic injury, and it’s worth listening to if you’re getting serious/are serious about cycling. But beyond that, he had an amazing PSA for our audience about why treating saddle sores is so, so important—and why you shouldn’t let them fester for years. His story—which comes towards the end of the podcast so if you’re just interested in that, skip to around the 45 minute mark—is absolutely insane! I’m so thankful he shared it, because I think a lot of people can benefit from hearing it.

Give the podcast a listen here!

PSA: Give Your Nether Regions a Break on Your Off-Day!

Hey everyone! After a couple really long endurance weeks of building base (and a month at a junior camp), I’ve realized something: we all understand the importance of rest days, but we also all really, really love riding our bikes. The problem here, though, is that we love riding our bikes so much that we ride them even when we should be taking an actual day off.

Today is a fantastic example of that for me. It’s the first off-day that I’ve had in a couple weeks, and the guys we’re staying with wanted to do a morning coffeeshop spin. While I’ve been able to avoid saddle sores so far, I admit that my butt was definitely in need of a break from time in the saddle and in a chamois. But at the same time, coffee! pastries! … I’m a sucker for a good coffeeshop ride and hang out. So initially, I said yes. And then, I thought better of it.

So I didn’t go. And I missed coffee. But… I am going to feel so, so much better tomorrow when I get back on the bike.

If you have a rest day and you have the urge to ride, I’m begging you: take a day off every now and then. It’s worth it. Let your body (especially your skin and sensitive soft tissue) recover—you’ll save yourself from saddle sore and skin issues later on, I promise.

Instead, you could:

What do you do on your off days? Do you appreciate them?

 

Learn all about proper TLC of your nether regions for happy, comfortable riding here.

Razor Burned Legs, Cyclists, and a Few Solutions

© Tamara Bellis via Unsplash
© Tamara Bellis via Unsplash

Lady parts aren’t the only sensitive skin we deal with on the bike. Anyone else have some leg/shaving issues? (Hand up!)

Now, before I start this post, I’ll say that this is mostly a female-oriented issue, but I do know a few male cyclists who shave their legs and wear compression tights a lot, so it’s certainly applicable to the gents out there as well!

Anyway. I was having some leg shaving/skin issues on my legs all through December and January, so much so that a sweaty bike ride in tights would leave my calves and thighs covered with angry red bumps that mimicked razor burn. Of course, shaving was also leaving me with razor burn and tons of tiny cuts, so I knew something had to be wrong. I went back to the basics: clean, dry, etc. but the only thing that really helped was finally stopping shaving for three weeks, and then getting my legs waxed.

Now, a month later and looking back, I’m realizing what happened. My legs were so freaking dry from a cold few months, and I was shaving them almost daily. No wonder I was having razor issues! But more than that, I was living in leggings when I wasn’t on the bike. That meant that the slightest amount of stubble—those days I simply couldn’t shave because it actually hurt too much—was making things worse, because the tiny stubble was catching on the tight leggings and dragging it in the opposite direction. No wonder I was rash-covered and miserable!

I know plenty of you out there are like me and live in leggings when not on the bike, and that’s usually fine. But if you do find yourself in a similar skin position, do yourself a favor: take a couple days away from shaving, and from wearing leggings. Go to boyfriend-cut jeans or sweats, or dresses/shorts if weather allows. That was what happened for me: the last month, I was finally able to wear shorts and dresses in slightly warmer weather, and sweats most of the time otherwise since I was at a training camp, and within a few days, my legs were feeling infinitely better.

Typically, I don’t recommend leg waxing to everyone… But if you regularly deal with serious levels of razor burn, it is really worth trying at least once. I’ve found it’s painful day-of, but frankly, I am terrible at shaving and not cutting myself, so I’ve found it works really well for more long-term, and I don’t have issues with razor burn as often when I wax my legs every couple months. It’s a trade-off, for sure, but I’ve found it’s super helpful for me.

Lastly: if rashes/razor-burn are persistent problems for you, see a dermatologist. You might have folliculitis, which is treatable but may require some more intense prescription creams or even antibiotics. Don’t let it go until you’re absolutely miserable on and off the bike!

Surviving Base Training (with Happy Nether Regions)

Training camps—whether you’re on a cycling tour, doing a big base week, or are on an actual training camp—can be rough on your nether regions. Save yourself some pain by taking good care of your undercarriage before you have issues.

  • WASH your chamois carefully. Double rinsing has never been so important
  • BREATHE (or, rather, let your skin breathe. Though breathing in general helps get through as well). When you can, opt for loose and flowing clothes, and sleep sans undies when feasible.
  • SHOWER as soon as possible post-ride. Wash and dry nether regions carefully. If you have something right after your ride, or the shower is full, at least get out of shorts as soon as you’re off your bike. (On tours, I keep a pair of run shorts in my jersey pocket or in my bag that’s in the follow car for easy changes post-ride.)
  • STAND during your rides. Every few minutes. You don’t need to go hard, just let your nether regions get some air and blood flow.
  • CHAMOIS CREAM will be your friend. Think quarter-size, not a massive amount though.
  • PREPARE. If you know you have issues with your nether regions when you put in big weeks of volume, consider having a secondary saddle that you can swap out—make it a different style than the one you use now (i.e a cutout if you don’t normally use one).
  • TREAT right away. Clean, dry, and—if you’ve opened the sore—hit it with antibacterial cream. And remember: a day off early in the block might save you from a few days off later on.

2017 is Here—Let’s Make It Amazing

dsc04328

Dear Reader:

When I started writing the first draft of “Saddle, Sore” three years ago, I thought it was going to be a publish-and-done affair. I had no idea that I was going to end up spending the next three years giving talks, hosting clinics and working on this website and an updated edition of the book. It’s never going to sell a million copies, but I know that it’s helping women (and men!) make their riding fun and comfortable again.

dsc04312

It’s amazing to me when women tell me that reading my book or coming to a talk made them realize being numb while riding wasn’t necessary, or say that they cleared up a saddle sore after landing on this site in a flurry of Googling. And that’s freaking awesome.

But in 2017, it’s not just about the nether regions. (That was a weird line to type.) This site, and the talks, clinics and events that we do aren’t just about skin issues. This is about riding comfortable and happy—whatever that means for you. 2017 is going to have a huge focus on that idea for me. We’ll still be talking a lot about nether regions (I mean, that is the whole idea behind the updated edition!), but we’re adding so much more.

img_8381

We started with the Ride Comfortable, Ride Happy 3-Month Training Plan, and we’re going to be hosting more clinics, skills sessions, trips, talks and a ton more. (If you’re wondering who “we” is, I’m talking about myself and my partner in crime and life, SmartAthlete coach Peter Glassford.)

This idea of riding comfortable and riding happy is great because it’s so all-encompassing. Riding should be happy and comfortable, no matter what level of a rider you are. From beginner to pro, we deserve to ride without pain, we deserve to ride with huge smiles on our faces. Whether that happens from dialing in your bike fit, or learning to ride over a root on a trail, or figuring out how to ride in a pack without feeling nervous, or finally having the confidence to join a riding club—we’re here for you to make your ride better.

img_8384

Subscribe to the Saddle, Sore Newsletter

We’re coming at this from all angles: hosting more clinics and even planning some bigger trips, setting up more talks for Spring, working on improving this site and newsletterspreading some of my best advice around in different magazines, adding episodes to the Consummate Athlete Podcast that relate specifically to your riding and general athletic health, and of course, sharing the new book.

makes

So, here’s to a great 2017 full of riding with friends, or solo. Adventuring, whatever that means for you. Trying new things. Getting more comfortable, getting happier. It’s a huge proposition, but stick with me and we’ll embark on this together. Let me know what I can do to make your year really shine on the bike by commenting on our Facebook page, emailing me (molly [at] saddlesorewomen.com), or in here in the comments.

I’m excited!

Happy 2017,
Molly

Get a Training Plan!

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-7-30-47-am

“Ride Comfortable, Ride Happy Training Plan”

I’m so excited that SmartAthlete Coach Peter Glassford has partnered with me to make a great training plan for my readers! In it, we incorporate many of the training concepts from “Saddle, Sore” into a 3-month training plan designed to help any cyclist, but especially someone new to structured training, get fitter, stronger, and ready to crush her goals for the season. It also has gentle reminders about making sure you’re taking care of your body and your bike in addition to simply putting in the training hours.

View the Plan Here

Saddle, Sore: Ride Comfortable, Ride Happy Launch Party and Interview!

dsc04291

We had a crazy last week hosting three launch parties for my new book, “Saddle, Sore: Ride Comfortable, Ride Happy“! Huge thank you to the Trek Stores in Toronto, Aurora and Barrie for letting us take over the stores (and providing wine and cheese and a copy of the book to all the people who attended! Amazing!!).

Peter and I both gave mini-talks, hosted a Q&A, but primarily, we had a chance to hang out, meet some new cyclists and connect some people to new local groups, and talk all things bike-related.

dsc04292

The evening was also a kickoff for Peter’s Trek Canada MTB team, and we were lucky that his three teammates were there to take some photos and chat with the crowd about the life and training of a pro cyclist. They were great!

dsc04332

Another big thank you goes to Pedal Magazine, who sent a reporter to cover the evening and interview me (watch the interview below), and Canadian Cycling Mag for coming out as well. It’s a fun switch to be on the other side of the camera for a change!

Make sure you order “Saddle, Sore: Ride Comfortable, Ride Happy” today.

PS: Are you subscribed to the newsletter? Click here to get occasional updates, great discounts and awesome advice!