Pain, Numbness, and a New Bike Saddle

OK – warning for any male readers I might have: this post may get a little graphic about my girly bits.

Last year when I bought my bike, I was fitted by the manager at the bike shop. At the time, he told me the saddle that came standard with the bike should work OK as my measurements and the saddle seemed compatible. If not, I could always switch it later.

As I trained more last summer, the saddle became somewhat uncomfortable. I don’t mean the typical soreness you experience when you first start riding – that lasted a couple of weeks and then my butt toughened up. This was different – I was going numb at the front of my pelvic area. First, Bruce & I tipped the seat down a little. It seemed to help, but not a lot. I put up with it all of last year, and then in the fall I was focused on running, so I left it.

When I started training again in February, it didn’t take long for the numbness to come back. I tried different bike and tri shorts. I wiggled, I adjusted, and I was uncomfortable. I used ointments and creams. Nothing helped. And the longer my rides got, the more uncomfortable I was. It got to the point where I felt like I had bruising on my front pelvic bone, and the skin in the area was super tender to the touch. Ouch.

So I booked myself in for a follow up bike fitting, identifying that I was having saddle issues. I went in, and the first thing was, by lowering the nose of the saddle to relieve the pressure, Bruce & I had accidentally made it worse. So he reset the saddle and had me ride, but it still didn’t help.

Then he redid my measurements. Apparently my measurements mean that I could fit either a 143mm or a 155mm saddle; the bike had come with a 143. The fitter put a test 155 saddle on, and the difference was immediate. So much more comfortable! Still not perfect, but so much better. So he looked at saddle options, and selected one for me to try. My new saddle is a Specialized Jett saddle (image from the Specialized website).

I did my 90 minute training ride on it the day I brought it home, and it went better than any long ride in a while. I was warned that it would take 2-3 weeks for my tissues to recover from the pressure that had been put on them (basically for the bruising to heal). I’m still not 100% sure this is the right saddle, but the bike shop has a good return policy, and right now, I just know it’s better. I think I may need a saddle with a wider nose – the issue seems to be that the nose it too narrow, and some of my loose skin gets pinched between the nose of the saddle and my thighs as I ride, creating pressure and friction. We’ll see how it goes.

Goals update: Well, I totally blew off my workout today. I took the morning off thinking I would run in the morning, and got busy with blog stuff instead. So I figured I would run when I got home, then I was late getting home from work, and frankly, I just didn’t feel like it. So I didn’t. 😛 I did work on two blog posts (that are pretty much done). I’ve been reading and commenting on all kinds of blogs (yay me!), and cleared many more than 50 posts off my Google reader (I subscribed to all the RFS Challengers, which gave me almost 500 unread posts!). As for reading, I’m trying, I really am!

Today’s goals:

1. Bike workout
2. Swim or run workout
3. Work on two blog posts
4. Write 1 agenda at work (I’m running 4 meetings next month!)
5. Project plan at work

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2 Responses to Pain, Numbness, and a New Bike Saddle

  1. Maren says:

    Oh I know this pain!!! On the front there, yes indeed! I had to buy a new seat too!

    • Kris says:

      Oh I feel bad for you – but thank you for sharing, because at least I know it’s not because I’m built weird!

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