It wasn’t until we were on our way back home from this 135 mile ride that I realized what I had so idiotically forgotten… chamois cream! How on earth could I forget such a basic ingredient to success for a long hot ride in the Arizona summer? A few of my friends and teammates are training for the longest single day USA Cycling sanctioned race in America. It is called LOTOJA. It is a 200+ mile race from Logan Utah to Jackson Wyoming and is literally in just a few weeks (September). This means that the bulk of our training rides are done in the Arizona summer heat. It’s fine by me, I hate the cold. I’d rather sweat than freeze to death. I am by far a desert rat and have come to love it. With this climate however, “hot spots” in your chamois or your feet, or anywhere else for that matter, become a common problem. Yet, saddle sores are something we can absolutely prevent and/or quickly treat.
My alarm went off at 1:55am Saturday morning. It felt like I haven’t even slept. Stumbling around the room trying to avoid waking up my wife and kids, I finally grab my bibs, heart rate monitor, jersey, socks, and cycling cap. Surely “I’m not forgetting anything” I thought as I have done these long training rides hundreds of times before. I quickly eat a bit for breakfast, grab my frozen water bottles I had prepared from the night before and head out to meet my crazy friends who were joining me on this ride. The ride was about 70 miles out to Globe Arizona from Gilbert Arizona, and then we would turn around and bike back. After all, we have a 200+ mile race in a few weeks we have been training for (LOTOJA).
The Globe training ride was truly epic with beautiful mountains, wild flowers, and very good climbing opportunities that presented exciting descents! We made great time and all felt pretty good. The only reason we started so early is because it is so dang hot here in August in Arizona that an early start time for a long ride in the summer is simply mandatory. Plus, we all have families and we need to be back home for Saturday soccer practice, etc. While we were cycling back home it suddenly came to me: “I forgot chamois cream”. Why did it suddenly come to me? Because I developed a saddle sore the size, depth, and hardness of a freaking golf ball! In fact, it was so giant that my cycling buddies nick named it “The Love Nugget.” Every pedal stroke began to hurt something fierce. I kept telling myself that I was the biggest idiot out there for not using chamois cream on a long ride; especially when the bibs and jersey I had chosen to wear was brand new. Seriously? What am I, some sort of rookie all of the sudden? This is BASIC CYCLING 101 and I had failed in a big way. Rookie mistake. I felt like a total idiot. It led me to think about my teammates and all the other cyclists who bike day in and day out here in Arizona. I wondered how many of them get saddle sores? How many are experienced cyclists vs. newbies? I started asking around. This is what I learned on how to avoid and how to treat a saddle sore:
How to Avoid and How to Treat Saddle Sores (Love Nuggets)
- It Just Happens. First and foremost it just happens sometimes to the best of us regardless of the techniques used below to avoid them. You should know that even the bravest and most experienced professional cyclists get saddle sores. Sometimes they just happen because we ride that often and treating them immediately is absolutely the most important thing you can do.
- Bike Fit: A proper and professional bike fit will go a long way in preventing saddle sores. Often cyclists who have been cycling a long time feel they can just eye ball a fit for their friends and call it good. Even just 1 millimeter off in saddle height, saddle angle, saddle forward and rearward positioning, or reach, stack height, etc. can all DRAMATICALLY affect your comfort level, power output and YES your proneness to getting a saddle sore. See a professional AND an experienced bike fitter for a proper fit of your bike. This is by far the most important 1st step in preventing saddle sores. A bike fit is not just for the pros, it is for everyone who wants to prevent lower back pain, shoulder pain, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, and of course: saddle sores.
Correct Saddle: Make sure you have the correct saddle. Every one of us has a different physiological makeup of how we sit, and pedal. The best saddle on earth for me is likely not the best saddle for you. It is probable that you and I have different rear ends and pedal styles. One of the most common issues with uncomfortable saddles and/or saddle sores is that of our sitz bones. The sitz bones are the bones that actually rest and make contact on the saddle. The size and spacing of the sitz bones are unique to each of us. Men and women differ greatly in this area as well. Many saddles for women are made specifically based on the difference in sitz bones from that of male cyclists. You should try out as many different saddles as possible until you find one that works for your unique physiological make up in sitz bones and pedal stroke. With the massive variety in saddles you can imagine that the slight variations amongst the many manufacturers can have a huge impact for you. Try them out. Get a feel for what feels good and works best for you. Make sure to ride on the saddle for a while to determine if it really works for you. There are some bicycle shops that are offering a sort of saddle rotation service so you can demo different saddles for weeks at a time. These shops usually require a small deposit then you have access to all of their saddles until you find one that you like. Here in Arizona I am aware of a local bike shop offering such a service: Two Wheel Jones at the Gilbert location.
- Chamois Cream: Some say that suing chamois cream is not necessary if you have the proper saddle and are appropriately and professional fit to your bike. I tend to agree with those folks. However, as I just experienced, when riding long distances in the extreme heat with a brand new pair of bibs – chamois cream would have been a great idea and could have made the difference for me when breaking in the new chamois in these bibs. Chamois cream reduces the amount of friction you experience from pedaling and sitting on the saddle. Many cyclists I know use chamois cream every ride and not just on hot or long days. There is little question that reducing the friction will also reduce your chances of a saddle sore. So err on the side of caution and lube up! I like DZ Nutz. Caution: if you already have a saddle sore, apply copious amounts of chamois cream may ease the pain and discomfort of the ride – but may also increase the infection of an open sore. Be careful.
- Keep Clean: Pretty disgusting when you realize that a saddle sore is really just a bacteria sort of issue from skin irritation, etc. They end up looking like zits essentially that you can pop. Or they become abscesses that need to be lanced and drained. Saddle sores will always be formed in those areas in contact with your seat. This is not a good time to post any pictures! Saddle sores are disgusting and are located in very sensitive and painful areas. One way to prevent and treat them is to keep clean! There is no reason to finish a ride and then hang out in your cycling shorts/bibs. Get that nasty chamois off! The sweat and grime that is going on in there is not helping prevent, reduce or treat your saddles sores. Especially for you female cyclists, my coach is a U.S. Women’s Pro cyclist and she often says that the worst thing you can do is stay in your chamois; with all of that yeast and heat and sweat and grime “it’s like your baking bread down there and a french roll is just going to pop out any second!” She cracks me up, and is an excellent coach – I think she knows what she is saying and I will leave it at that for your female cyclists. Enough said. Stay clean, get out of that nasty chamois and get washed off. There is no reason or “cool factor” to hang out in your bibs. Gross.
- Wear Proper Clothing: Not wearing the proper attire while cycling will almost assuredly guarantee you a saddle sore. Can you imagine for 1 second a cyclist strolling down in some cut off Levis? I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Some folks may balk or poke fun at all the Lycra we wear, but the breathe-ability of the fabrics, the fact that cycling shorts/bibs have chamois pads, etc. are all designed for lots of reasons. One of which is to provide maximum comfort and reduce saddle sores. P.s. NEVER wear dirty cycling shorts. Dirty apparel is especially ripe for causing bacterial infection and saddle sores. Also, it is just socially irresponsible if in a group ride: stinky.
- Change Position: Often if you feel a saddle sore coming on it is already too late. However, a cyclist can reduce the risk of saddle sores by manipulating his/her position on the bike. Try standing up every couple of minutes for just a few short seconds. Try shifting your seated position a bit to be more forward and then more rearward on the saddle. These techniques can help if you are riding with a saddle sore and can also help prevent getting one. Also, they shake the legs out a bit and allow you as a cyclist to burden other parts of your pedal stroke for a moment and provide relief to your fatigued legs.
- TREATING a Saddle Sore:
- Rule #1 is rest it and treat it immediately! Do not continue riding or ignore the saddle sore as they definitely get worse. A few days off now is better than a few weeks off later because you kept riding. Get off the bike and rest that Love Nugget.
Rule #2 is medicate it. The saddle sore itself is an inflamed and possible infected skin abrasion. Medicate it. There are lots of over the counter medications that cyclist have claimed over the years have helped because of their local anesthetic, local antiseptic, local anti-microbial, counter irritant, and swelling reduction properties. Try out these saddle sore remedies: Noxema, Vagisil (yes for men too), Preparation H (again , not for hemorrhoids but to reduce swelling and shrink the saddle sore), Tea Tree oil, Acne Gel/Cream (something that is 10% or more benzoyl peroxide). If the saddle sore is getting too far out of control then see your doctor or even better a dermatologist who can prescribe a round of antibiotics and/or provide a cortisone shot to the infected area. With a 200+ mile race in just 1.5 weeks I went and saw my dear friend Dr. Matt Woods of Desert Sky Dermatology and Surgical Center. He happens to me on my racing team, a great cyclist and a stand up doctor. He took a quick look at it and provided a simple cortisone shot right in the heart of the beast. The next morning the “Love Nugget” was officially 3/4 the size the day before. That was worth all of the gold in California! I couldn’t say enough good about that experience, because just that morning I had been on a ride where literally every pedal stroke was a stroke of pain.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that any distraction to us as a cyclist is a possible factor in causing a bicycle crash. Make sure to take care of your saddle sores, and take the necessary steps to prevent them so you can ride distraction free. I can tell you that recently I have hated every pedal stroke and grimaced in pain far too often from my saddle sore.
Ben Dodge, the Bicycle Lawyer
Arizona bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
If you, or someone you know were injured in a bicycle accident caused by road debris, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben dodge, a licensed bicycle accident lawyer in Arizona, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles.
Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire united states. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the country. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases.
Ben Dodge is a proud member of Bike Law. Bike Law is a national network of elite like minded bicycle accident attorneys founded in 1998. In concert with the mission of Bike Law, Ben represents cyclists injured in bicycle accidents, at the police station, with insurance companies, and in the courts. He advocates for the rights of all cyclists, not just his clients. He teaches the police about bike laws and bike safety, he educates drivers about the rules of the road, and he trains cyclists and clubs to ride more safely.
A consultation with experienced Arizona bicycle accident attorney Ben Dodge is free
In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the united states every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
Ben dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all local cyclists and a complimentary phone consultation to any cyclist injured in a bike accident. Typically the consultations are schedule from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the accident. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal bike accident liability and potential for recovery. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:
- your specific bike accident details, diagrams, and pictures from your perspective and then from the perspective of your bike accident attorney.
- the applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
- your cyclist’s rights, obligations, and any potential liability.
- the process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.
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You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of bike accident attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Ben will personally return your call within 24 hours. there is never an obligation for a complimentary consultation with Mr. dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.
Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, the Arizona Bicycle Lawyer today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 1.800.958.8902.
Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at email@example.com
His main Arizona offices are located at:
Mesa Arizona (home base office)
4824 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 124
Mesa, Arizona 85206
Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to mesa, phoenix, tucson, yuma, gilbert, peoria, glendale, scottsdale, ahwatukee, tempe, chandler, prescott, sedona, flagstaff, surprise, kingman, page, lake havasu city, payson, goodyear, buckeye, queen creek, paradise valley, show low, winslow, maricopa, nogales, globe, avondale, cave creek, fountain hills, apache junction, carefree, wickenburg, pinetop-lakeside, strawberry, anthem, safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and can assist in representation in all 50 states.