Dealing With Saddle Sores

Saddle sores.

At some time in our cycling lifetime, each one of us will be visited by this demon that lurks in the darkness of our chamois.  Steeped in tales of horror, deeply personal and sometimes utterly disgusting, this little pest can derail the most dedicated of cyclists, grinding their riding, training and racing to a complete halt.  To top it off these devils are often incredibly difficult to treat and get rid of.

There may be many causes of saddle sores, plenty of confounding elements, and a lot of closely inter-related issues behind the development of one of these pests, and you have to look at each and every one of those aspects if you want to finally be free of that pimple on your nether regions.

That being said, let's delve into your shorts and see what's cooking (or boiling, as it may be.)


De-Fredification: Trim Your Helmet Straps

Long helmet strapsSince the weather has warmed up, I've seen more riders than I can count on the local roads.  From cruisers to single speeds, slick road machines to mountain bikes, I've noticed one common element among a great many of them: dangling helmet straps.  For some reason, they drive me up a wall: the ends of helmet straps dangling in the breeze, flapping around when descending, blowing up into your mouth…besides all of that, nothing says “fred” like dangling helmet straps.  So take about 5 minutes of your life and fix those straps, eh?  This brand of de-fredification is easy, and I'll show you how to go about it:


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The Irrelevance of the Triple

The irrelevant triple[dc]S[/dc]ince my previous post apparently stirred up a bit of controversy, I think it's appropriate to address the following question:

"Why didn't you include triple cranksets in your comparisons?"

Well, the simple explanation is because triples are irrelevant.


Yes, they're irrelevant.  With the rise of compact gearing and wide range cassettes, triple cranksets have been relegated to the dustbin of cycling history (with the notable exceptions of loaded touring and possible commuters.)  But the question remains, why is this the case?  Let's find out.


Reviewed: Craft ProZero Gore Base Layer

Craft WS BaselayerAsk any cyclist which element will cause them undue stress on a ride and many will answer "wind."  Not only does it sap the power from your legs, drain your willpower and slow you down, it definitely can put the hurt on your body temperature.  No matter how many layers you're wearing, without some sort of wind protection you're going to get cold.  Enter the Craft ProZero windproof base layer, but does it really work as well as advertised?  A couple months of riding in it has led me to say yep.


Breathing Techniques – Part 2

If you missed part 1 of this article, which details some simplified physiology of breathing and exercise, I suggest you take a few minutes to get familiar with it now, as it will help you put into practice what will be discussed below.  Ready?  Cool, let's rock.


Now that we understand the fundamental differences between deep belly (diaphragmatic) breathing and chest (thoracic) breathing, we can begin to work technique into the mix.

First off, we need to consider that our work load is largely going to determine our breathing and pick our battles appropriately.  If we're in an all out anaerobic sprint, there's little you can do to relax and breathe properly.  If you're slogging up a long climb, you may be able to eke out a few extra watts or keep your heart rate a few BPM lower with good technique.  The same could hold true for taking pulls on the front of a paceline during a fast group ride; proper breathing will keep you out of the red and pulling longer.