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Nate

Breaking the "2 Hour Butt"

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For years I rode bikes and never went longer than 2 hours unless I got lost

 

I used to think that it was me. My dad said the same thing about his riding. It was like we had a "2 hour butt"

 

So how do people ride bikes all day long? People do that, and they have butts, so what gives?

 

Here in early spring I've had myself on a leash and just this last weekend I went 2 hours for the first time in a while and it reminded me of some of the things I went through breaking through the "2 hour butt"

 

First thing to realize is that yes, you do need to get your sit bones used to riding, so don't just go from riding 10-15 miles to a 2+ hour sufferfest. That will never work. Get out for a little longer and build up to it over a couple weeks or so.

 

Then there is bike fit. Now you have to learn some new stuff, but bike saddles actually come in different sizes. A bike shop can measure your butt and find a saddle that is made in your size. All you have to do is sit on this foam thing that makes an impression of your sit bones. If they get out a tape measure, run, because who knows what they are up to.

 

you also need your saddle at the right height. You don't want to be bouncing around from being too low or reaching for the bottom of every pedal stroke because you are too high. You also want your saddle the right distance in the fore/aft. This will help you stay on the saddle and not slide out on the nose as you ride. Finally, you want to have your saddle level, yet you don't want to smash your nards on the nose when you go in the drops, so there is some give and take there. Bottom line is that if you try and get the nose of the saddle down, you will tend to slide forward as you ride. Not being able to stay with your sit bones on the saddle is a common cause of butt problems

 

Then when you ride, you need to learn how to maintain your contact points. That means your hands, feet, and butt. for your butt, remember to get out of the saddle and stand up every 20 minutes or so. Just stand up and ride for 20-30 seconds to get your blood moving around and then settle back in. If you wait until your butt goes to sleep, you are screwed.

 

Also, it almost seems pedantic to mention, but there is a real reason people ride in bike shorts. Bib shorts are the best, actually. The chamois helps to cushion and protect your butt and nards! You should also try chamois crème. I never realized the benefit of chamois crème until 2004 or 2005, but now I don't ever ride without it

 

So while its the right clothes, the right saddle, the right bike fit, a bit of chamois crème and all...you still have to remember to get out of the saddle every 20 minutes or so or you just will never break....

 

the 2 hour butt

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A note on Chamois - Its benefit is more to helping keep your "contact area" dry and friction free. It does not really do much in terms of cushioning your butt. I have bibs with thin (but contoured) pads, and some have thicker, I can't say I have a preference other than the crazy contoured pads that you find on better bibs tend to work better as the padding moves with you.

 

My tri-suits have almost no padding, though the position is different and the weight distributed differently but we're talking 2 1/2 to 3 hours in the same position with minimal time out of saddle.

 

My longest non-stop ride to date is 13 hours and I used no chamois crème, just a good fitting bike and a quality pair of bibs. 

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no chamois crème???

 

isn't that a form of blasphemy? :huh:

 

 

that's a good point about the function of the chamois

 

I find that certain bib manufacturers have chamois that I like and so I'll buy that bib short. I used to really like Pearl Izumi 10 years ago, then they changed their chamois and I stopped buying them. I have liked Cannondale bibs since then

 

so find a chamois that works for you and when its time to buy new shorts, get that brand again

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Another word of advise, don't start an eight day bike tour on a stone trail using a saddle that you only have ridden 400 miles on on pavement.  I managed to get a different saddle three days in to the ride it's the only time I ever had saddle issues in my life.

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which brings to mind another bit of cycling folklore...

 

"its bad luck to use anything for the first time on a century ride"

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I didn't use cream on my first century ride.  

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I have never used cream of any kind on any rides, including three centuries.  This is only based on 1 year of riding and may change this year.

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didn't you also post a thread about butt pain, SW? I'm saying that just because some people are naysayers on the subject of chamois creme, go get yourself some and try it for a season and see if it isn't a good thing

 

another thing I better tell everybody: 

 

in summer, it is a very good idea to shower BEFORE you go and ride

 

This practice will absolutely limit saddle sores. And you know who came up with that? Fausto Coppi. He actually pioneered cleanliness in the peleton. Guys used to jump into their dirty shorts and ride the next day and for them saddle sores was just part of riding

 

But there is a better way and that is to be clean when you start off so that the bacteria doesn't have a wonderful environment to multiply in

 

Besides, you city slickers could use a shower. you smell like newspapers and Old Spice

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I've heard a lot of the creams clog up the chamois making it ineffective.  I have some Udderly Smooth cream that someone at my LBS recommended.  I will be trying that out.  I've tried it a couple of times, and it seems to be helping.  I won't be riding outside for a few more weeks still, but I will try it on "real" rides too.

 

footshea.jpg

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I've heard a lot of the creams clog up the chamois making it ineffective

 

don't take this the wrong way, but that is about the stupidest thing I ever heard. Why would they make chamois crème that made your chamois useless? The thing about people at bike shops is that they don't always know what they are talking about.

 

same with the Internet, which is why you really have to try things out for yourself

 

now you have resisted using chamois crème, even though it was recommended in your butt pain thread, so it sounds like you are just hearing what you want to hear

 

the thing about chamois crème and why its good to use is because:

 

  1. it is water based, so there is no grease to clog your pores
  2. it is made for sports, so its made for hot and sweaty bike shorts
  3. it has antibacterial stuff that keeps bacteria from growing
  4. Thousands of people have used it for years with no problems...and most importantly
  5. I said so

So do whatever you want, but if you haven't given chamois crème an honest try, don't knock it

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OK, you (the internet representative) convinced me.

 

Any favorite suggestions?

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Butt Buttr

 

that's the kind I've used for the last 10 years

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yes, sorry about that. I actually read the tube this weekend

 

that is the stuff right there

 

 

Chamois Buttr with the "B" strategically placed to form the rider's butt cheeks

 

how would you like to be the graphic artist who came up with that logo, eh? :D

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This is by far what has worked best for me!! Much less expensive than Chammy Butter!! Available at nearly every Walgreens!!

You put in on your "nether regions" just like using speed stick! Voila!! No more chafing!! Ergo, no more saddle sores!!

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On 3/25/2014 at 11:51 AM, Nate said:

So while its the right clothes, the right saddle, the right bike fit, a bit of chamois crème and all...you still have to remember to get out of the saddle every 20 minutes or so or you just will never break....

Thanks to Ralph's bump, I'll add that I have no need for chamois cream on longer rides. Proper shorts (& chamois pad), saddle, and fit are all important.  Likewise, getting out of the saddle does help in a lot of ways beyond just giving the butt a break.  For me, it is mostly about a gradual return to longer saddle time as the year progresses from shorter rides in the winter/early spring to the longer rides of the heart of the season.

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2 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

I'll add that I have no need for chamois cream on longer rides.

I look at chamois cream as more of a skin conditioner than anything else. After a ride and cleanup, I apply some medicated hand cream to nourish the skin. 

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6 minutes ago, donkpow said:

I look at chamois cream as more of a skin conditioner than anything else. After a ride and cleanup, I apply some medicated hand cream to nourish the skin. 

Makes sense.

I don't shave my legs (and up), so I do find the early season rides are a slow process of depilation (by abrasion), but by the time I am up to my normal longer rides, all is good.  I could see a soothing cream after the ride being a nice thing to apply (but I am way too lazy).

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