RAGBRAI XLV Countdown – July 23-29, 2017
Friends of RAGBRAI

Training blog

RAGBRAI Training: Let’s Get to the Bottom of the Issue



Very frequently, the legs can carry you all the way through RAGBRAI.  They may be tired but will get you there.  On the other hand, often the more limiting factor is one’s  seat/bottom/derriere/buttocks. One of the most important reasons for riding a lot prior to RAGBRAI is to make sure your own seat is prepared for spending hours sitting on your bike saddle. It would be a shame if you couldn’t finish because your rear couldn’t handle it. A little embarrassing to explain as well.

There is no getting around the fact that when riding 50-100 miles per day, you will be sitting on your bike saddle for several hours a day. Several things can happen when your seat is not trained properly. You may notice soreness under your sit bones after a long ride. This usually goes away fairly quickly. The next thing that may happen is chaffing where your seat and legs rub from pedaling. The worst thing that can happen is development of saddle sores. These can keep you off your bike and ruin your RAGBRAI. Here are some suggestions for avoid having a pain in the rear.

First, you should wear cycling shorts. These are designed to provide padding to your tender under region. The padding also helps absorb perspiration to avoid chaffing and development of saddle sores. TIP: DO NOT WEAR UNDERWEAR UNDER YOUR CYCLING SHORTS. Cycling shorts are designed be worn directly against the skin. Underwear adds another layer of clothing that can rub and chafe, and even worse, has seams which can irritate your skin. If you don’t like wearing tight fitting Lycra shorts, there are different types of riding shorts, including baggy shorts. But they all have an inner lining with a chamois (pronounced ‘shammy’). For a ride like RAGBRAI, you will want at least two pairs of cycling shorts, preferably more. The reason being that after each day you need to wash your shorts. Due to the humid and sometimes rainy weather that occurs in Iowa in July, you can’t always count on your shorts drying overnight. So bring an extra pair or two so you always have a clean and dry pair available. What’s wrong with putting on wet shorts? It’s not a pleasant to put on a pair of cold wet shorts first thing in the morning and it also subjects your groin area to moisture right off the bat and may never dry out during the day.

Second, ride a lot in preparation. Spend a lot of time putting in the miles and sitting on your bike saddle. As mentioned above, this isn’t just about training your legs, it’s training your seat. In many cases, it’s more about training your seat. Gradually build up to longer rides. Doing a lot of riding all at once can irritate your tender seat skin. By gradually building up to longer miles, you will gradually toughen your skin. This is a great reason for riding year round by the way. You maintain your toughened seat skin and don’t have to retrain it each spring.

Third, to avoid chaffing, there are commercial products available that you can use to apply to your skin where it contacts the chamois of your shorts. There are several brands with rather interesting names such as Chamois Butt’r, Assos Chamois Cream, DZNUTS, Friction Freedom, and Ride EZ Chamois Cream from right here in Urbandale Iowa. Wipe a thin layer on your skin in your groin area prior to your ride to help provide a smoother ride.

Fourth, keep your groin area as clean and dry as possible to avoid the dreaded saddle sore. Saddle sores are infections in your skin around your seat area. These are caused by bacteria getting into your skin and not being cleaned promptly or thoroughly. These become infected and are usually right under your sit bones where you put pressure on your saddle. These are extremely uncomfortable and can make it impossible to ride. Saddle sores are so painful they can cause a Tour de France rider to quit the race. Prevention is definitely the best defense. Make sure you wear clean shorts every day. Wash your shorts after each day. Either bring along a little container of laundry detergent or you can also use shampoo in a pinch. Just hand wash in a sink, wring it out and hang out to dry inside out in the sun if possible. (Be careful if you string up a clothesline as they can be hazardous. Be sure to take down clotheslines at night in campgrounds)

You also need to clean your own skin thoroughly and quickly after each ride. The worst thing you can do is spend the rest of the day in your dirty, wet shorts after you finish your ride. Change out of your shorts right away at the end of your ride. Shower as soon as possible after you finish riding but it is more important to change quickly. Bacteria love warmth and moisture, exactly the conditions in your shorts after a ride. When you take a shower be sure to thoroughly clean your groin area. If you can’t shower right away here’s another great tip that I use. Bring some individually wrapped wipes and wipe your groin area clean when changing into street clothes. I use Preparation H Portable Wipes that come in individual packets. You can find these at your local drug store. If you don’t have these wipes, you can also use hand sanitizer such as Purell. I suggest you keep a small bottle of it with your bike gear at all times.

The Bottom Line:  With a little attention to the tips above, you will be able to develop a tough rear end to last you all the through RAGBRAI.

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and is a national head coach for the the JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes and he coaches individual cyclists. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: http://www.CyclesportCoaching.com . He can be contacted at coach@cyclesportcoaching.com.

 

9 Responses on “RAGBRAI Training: Let’s Get to the Bottom of the Issue

BananaMan

June 28, 2013 at 7:44 am

OR, minimize many issues by riding a recumbent, and better yet, a recumbent TRIKE! See everyone on the road. My new name is “On Your Left” or OYL for short!

Urban Legends

June 28, 2013 at 7:46 am

Another product that has become a standard on my RAGBRAI is Desitin (or similar) diaper rash ointment. I apply a layer at the end of the day and it really helps to kill any nasty bacteria that may be eating away at those sensitive areas. Chamois Butt’r during the day and Desitin in the evening.

Angela

June 28, 2013 at 8:14 am

For the Ladies out there, go get yourself some Ho Ha Ride Glide…great stuff! Kyles Bikes in Ankeny has it. Also Anti Monkey Butt is a great powder…I use both when I ride.

Bacchettaman

June 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I’m glad you said “minimize,” Bananaman! LOL

Dan

June 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I momentarily panicked when I read this. I’ve been doing it all wrong! My shorts don’t have padding, I don’t use chamois butter, etc. Then I remembered that I, too, ride a recumbent.

Phew. 🙂

rugburn

June 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm

After the shower I use Gold Bond powder. For the ride Chamois Buttr.

stillhavemyteeth

July 2, 2013 at 8:34 pm

thanks for the tips. i had no idea of all of this (other than getting a sore butt trying to train for this) i’m heading to the pharmacy tonight!

Laila's Grammie

August 21, 2013 at 8:22 am

WOW! Thanks for those tips! 2014 will be my first try at this ride so here’s hoping it all works out!

cheap ecigarette V2 ex series review 2012

February 2, 2014 at 5:06 am

Tɦanks foг sharing your thouɡhts aboսt store ecigs V2 eҳ series
brands 2012. Ʀegards

Visit my websitye … cheap ecigarette V2 ex series review 2012

Leave a Reply

Latest Blog Posts

  • Are You Interested in Becoming a RAGBRAI RIDE RIGHT Ambassador?

    We appreciate any help that we receive from RAGBRAI clubs and individuals to help make RAGBRAI as safe as possible. We are asking for volunteers to serve as RAGBRAI ...

  • Online Registration Closes June 01

      Don’t wait until the last minute!  The online registration system will not be available after June 1.  To confirm your registration status, go to My RAGBRAI/My Profile/Registration Status.  Your registration ...

  • Top Ten Training Tips #6: Is Your Bike in Shape?

    So far these training tips have focused on getting your engine (you) in shape for RAGBRAI. But you don’t do it alone.

  • Heart Healthiness is Businessolver's RAGBRAI Goal

    We love fitness at Businessolver. Trying to send a constant and consistent message of heart healthiness is our goal. We love RAGBRAI at Businessolver. Trying to send ...

  • Top 10 Training Tips for RAGBRAI #5:  Drink Before You Are Dry, or Sweat Happens

    Hydration is an important consideration when riding a bicycle across Iowa in what is often one of the hottest weeks of the year!

  • Top 10 Training Tips for RAGBRAI #4: Fueling for Cycling

    As you are preparing for RAGBRAI and during the ride itself, fueling your body properly is an important aspect of successful performance. Food means a lot of things to us.

  • Making Lifetime Memories with Dad: A Teen's Essay on her RAGBRAI Adventures

    A mom sent us this excellent essay from her teenage daughter's adventures on RAGBRAI with her dad. Thanks for sharing with us and I'm glad that Hallie and her ...

  • RAGBRAI XLV Lottery Is Here!

    You can’t win if you don’t enter.  That’s how the saying goes anyway.  If you submitted your registration by the deadline, including your waiver and payment, then you are included ...

  • Top 10 Training Tips for RAGBRAI - #3: Training Endurance is Important, but...

    My Training Tip #2 indicated that building endurance is the most important thing about preparing for a successful RAGBRAI, but I’m here to tell you that a close second to ...

  • AAA Offers New Membership Benefit: Bicycle Roadside Service

    AAA-The Auto Club Group is pleased to announce that free bicycle service is now included with all membership levels. This innovative service will provide an additional level of safety ...

Latest Videos

  • The full 2017 RAGBRAI route is out. Watch this video for a detailed look.

  • Take a closer look at where the 2017 RAGBRAI route will go.

  • T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI director, talks about the 2017 route after the announcement on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.

  • Watch a replay of the full RAGBRAI route announcement live show.

  • A RAGBRAI icon Paul Bernhard aka \u0022Mr. Pork Chop\u0022 passed away November, 2016 and RAGBRAI Nation shared photos with Mr. Pork Chop on the ride through the years.

  • The Bacoon Ride returns for its fourth year on the Raccoon River Trail on Saturday, June 17.

  • From the creators of the Bacoon Ride comes the new ride for women, Pigtails at the Prairie Trail on Saturday, May 20.

  • RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz announces the overnight towns for RAGBRAI 2017.

  • The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa will go north in 2017, starting in Orange City, ending in Lansing, and overnighting in six more Iowa towns along the way. It's rated the third-easiest RAGBRAI ever.

  • Attendees at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party joined in a mass \u0022pork chop\u0022 call in honor of ride legend Mr. Pork Chop, Paul Bernhard, who died last year.

Find us socially

Email Signup

Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).

© 2017 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy