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Baggy drawers and saddle sores

Warning: This entry may fall under the category of “too much information”
You would think I would be experienced enough riding by now to prevent this problem.  But nope … my general ignore it and hope it goes away philosophy just isn’t working the way  it did 10 years ago.  But today I figured out why my bum was getting sore. 
And no, a sore butt is not normal even with all the hours in the saddle we are doing. That’s the number one question I get about endurance cycling, btw … “Doesn’t your butt hurt?” The answer is normally No.
I’d been blaming the consecutive long ride days or wondering if the chamois padding in my bike shorts was wearing out. But today I belatedly figured out the culprit was the pants I’ve been wearing over my bike shorts for sun protection and to be more respectful of locals in more conservative areas – particularly when off the bike and walking around. 
Thing is those pants are too big now (which is remarkable given the unbelievable volume of food I shovel down the gullet every day) – not that I’m complaining that there is less of me filling them up.   So the pants have created problems in the nether regions by bunching up and creating pressure points …and a dreaded saddle sore.
What is a saddle sore, you may ask? Well, it’s a nasty little red sore spot that forms somewhere in the area where your butt touches the saddle that can become a raw spot or worse can get inflamed, swollen, and even burst. (Yes, I know, disgusting).  The goal once you have one is to do whatever is necessary to keep it from abscessing, because once it’s an open wound it won’t heal unless you actually stay off the bike a few days.  A drastic step and not desirable. So I’m crossing my fingers that a regular hit of Neosporine and Hydrocortisone crème and a rest day tomorrow will do the trick.   And I tossed the offending pants.
So … sorry if my butt is an inappropriate blog topic.   But one thing to understand about traveling with the same group of people for 6 weeks now is that pretty much no topic is off limits.
Long involved conversations full of well-meaning advice and personal stories about people’s bodily functions (or malfunctions) inevitably lead to others sharing their experience with the same problem and the remedy that worked.  We cover topics from saddle sores to infected wounds to diarrhea to bedbugs and mosquito bites. There are few secrets.  
Some examples:
“So and so had to lie down at the 100k mark at  this little store with a stomach ache but managed to make it in before all hell broke loose. Now they are the room so I’m bringing him back some rice for dinner.” 
Or “Anybody know what are these bites are? Bed bugs or Mozzies?”  
Or “Well so and so’s Cipro didn’t work so they went to the pharmacy and got xx drug so hopefully that will take care of it. But I also gave them (fill in the homeopathic remedy or told them eat xx/avoid y).
So I thought I’d invite you into another glimpse of life on an 8 week cycling trip – the good, the bad and the butt-ugly 🙂
Leigh Pate
Leigh Pate is a writer, former political consultant and two time cancer patient and cancer research advocate living in Seattle, WA

2 thoughts on “Baggy drawers and saddle sores

  1. Well Leigh, it happens to the best of us!!! I was thankful for our rest day in Indianapolis for the exact same reason – no fun and yes, I ended up with an antibiotic!!

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