Comfort past the 2 hour mark

I really love long days in the saddle, and I often hear people talking about how they are “so comfortable I can ride all day!” and I’m so envious. I’ve noticed that no matter how much I ride(even with frequent >2hr rides a couple times a week), around the 2-2.5 hour mark my comfort starts to go downhill. When this happens, I tend to find that my lower back is getting sore, and I start to notice a lot more hand pressure(along with my shoulders in my ears so to speak).

I’ve scheduled my first real bike fit to make sure there are no issues there.Would some of it be alleviated with some more core/truck training? If my core is stronger it should take longer to fatigue and thus I should be more comfortable longer into the ride right? I’m also sure there is a good dose of “well, ride longer and you will adapt”, but thats a bit of a catch 22 I feel.

What other things should I be doing?

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  1. Quality bib shorts
  2. Saddle that suits your body shape
  3. bike fit
  4. rule 5 :tongue:

In no particular order


Since you didn’t mention soreness at the heaviest weight bearing area I tend to think it isn’t a saddle or bib problem, instead it sounds like your problem is a weak core. Start doing planks and other body weight driven core work 2-3 times a week and see if that helps.

Bike fit can’t hurt either - but lower back pain after extended periods is almost always alleviated by a stronger core


Yeah, I dont really have sit bone soreness. When I do its usually alleviated pretty quickly with a 30-60 seconds of standing pedaling.

That happened to me while preparing for an epic ride the summer of 2016. Shortly after that event I made the decision to do a double century in May 2017. Here is what I did to make it thru the double century:

  • paid close attention to hand position, and worked on switching position every 2 minutes
  • paid close attention to hand pressure on handlebars, and made adjustments to stop putting so much weight on my hands
  • improved core strength, primarily with reverse crunches and Romanian single-leg deadlifts

While I made it thru 12 hour and 45 min of riding, was still having to do a lot of stretching to “open up” upper back of any ride longer than 2 hours.

To correct that, this past summer I spent a lot of time in the gym working on pulling exercises - seated cable rows, T-bar rows, and assistive work on improving back strength. Now I’m able to ride long distances without any post-ride lower/upper back issues.


Are you talking about outside ride, inside riding or both?

Good stuff, thanks. I really feel like my best foot forward is going to be lots of core work.

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Outside only, though I’ve never stayed on the trainer longer than 2 hours to know if it happens there also.

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This sounds like a great recommendation, I’ve been looking to address this issue (long ride lower back pain) as well, will give this a shot. Thanks @bbarrera

Core. Core. Core.


To strike a slightly contrary view it’s not ‘always’ core, mine is pretty strong through gym work, surfing and mountain biking but I can suffer from upper back soreness.

A lot of us sit at a desk, drive a car, and sit on a bike. it’s a pretty similar position to be fixed in for extended periods of time and personally I think it can have a huge impact on our flexibility.

If I’ve signed up for a long distance cycle, say 200k up to 400k I will usually get a physio session beforehand and get them to work on my upper back and especially neck area where I have issues, it usually pays dividends.

I’ve tried pilates in the past as well which has had some benefit, but I fell over far too much in class!

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This is very similar to something I went through a few years ago. Working on my flexibility and doing things to counter prolonged sitting at my job were enough to get me through it. Nothing really strength related but imbalances, tightness etc…

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Big thanks to everyone who’s replied. Everyone has pretty much agreed that more flexibility and core work is next best steps. Sure wish there was a CoreTrainerRoad app!

I know you were primed to jump in with rocker plate advice @mcneese.chad :grinning:


Yup, trying to make sure people know about and consider them, especially when comfort on longer rides is an issue :smiley:

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I was like 99% sure thats where you were going. Even though it hasent been an issue for me indoors due to the shorter rides, I’ve actually been considering making the rocker plate just cause it seems pretty cool.

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I totally get it. Every time I think about following your instructions and building one I instead tell myself to just layer up and do those longer rides outside (so far!).

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I’ve been a desk jockey for most of my 30+ working years, working in front of a computer all day long. Definitely has taken a toll, going back into the gym this year was the best decision yet. This article is the basis for my plan:

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First weekend I set the Kickr up…pedaled out a 100mi ride in Zwift. Got that century jersey! Wish I knew about rocker plates back then!

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Fantastic work! Indoor century is a definite milestone. Well done :smiley: