I am very new to trainer riding. I have ridden for fitness over the years; I am not a racer. I’m 63 and with a hearing disability, it just became too dangerous to ride on the roads around here. I added a Saris Fluid^2 trainer to my Trek FX 7.1 and am successfully all connected with TrainerRoad. I have a Base Phase plan in place and have been riding as scheduled for the past couple of weeks.
So far, so good.
…except my butt is killing me. Over the past few years, I was able to sit in the saddle for 20-mile road rides with no pain. However, since I got back on my bike after a layoff or more than a year, the time I can stand to remain in the saddle is decreasing. I’m only riding three times a week, but 90-minute rides become 70-minute rides, 60 minutes becomes 45, and today’s 60-minute ride went about 35 minutes before I just had to get off the bike.
I have tried adjusting my position on the saddle using the in-app cues, and that helps. Some. For a little while.
I purchased a more comfortable seat, hoping that was going to help. No joy. The seat is a lot thicker (vertically) than the original seat, and I adjusted the height to put me in the same relative position to the handlebars and pedals.
I realize I am out of shape, overweight, and, well, old…but I’m sitting at my desk in a chair that is usually very comfortable and I have to keep shifting my position because my butt is so sore.
A couple of things you could do: riding the trainer is not the same as when you are outdoors, no traffic lights roundabouts, stop signs etc. so the trainer will but more stress in the area.
Get a bike fit
Make sure your shorts are in good condition, buy new shorts.
(Personally after a long break I used to ride alternative days with two pairs of shorts to increase the padding, only for a while until I was used to riding indoors again)
Take breaks from sitting, stand every ten minutes or so for 10 or fifteen seconds - this may elevate any pressure and give you a slight rest. (I sometimes use this on longer intervals to break the interval up)
Wash shorts after each use/wear, and maybe check yourself for any sore’s or skin irritation.
It’s just a bruise-like pain in my sit bones. No other discomfort. Muscularly and aerobically, I can go a lot longer than my sit bones will let me.
I don’t have bike shorts. The bike is still set up the way the bike shop set it up for me when I bought it. I merely adjusted the length of the seat post to accommodate the thicker seat. I can see if the shop is open.
Got to the bottom of it fairly quickly then… you absolutely need bike shorts. That’s not something to go around… also would strongly recommend chamois cream for indoor rides at least. Get a pair of shorts with a bib… anything with decent reviews online will be a massive step up… also needs to be said… no underpants under the shorts ever
Mine still hurt bad even with fresh bike shorts. You do just have to get up a lot more often than you’d make an effort to outside. For me, getting up every 5 minutes or less for at least 10 seconds makes a huge difference.
I also have a rocker plate on the way that I hope helps.
Shift a few gears up and that should make things easier/more stable or, if worst comes to worst, take a couple of seconds (perhaps after finishing an interval) to come to a stop and stand on the pedals. perhaps not ideal but better than having to cut rides short!
Other people have chimed in with good tips, and I wanted to add a couple things:
This one’s important: Your “more comfortable seat” won’t be for this kind of riding. That seat is intended for cruising around town over short distances. The extra foam will become painful as your rides get longer and the intensity ramps up, because your bones will sink into it and the rest of your flesh will get compressed. Harder seats support your bones and protect the rest of your undercarriage. Bike shorts are designed for the harder seats, and they keep your bones comfortable without compressing the flesh in between.
It’ll get better with time. I started on TR with no fitness of any kind in February 2019, and I couldn’t sit through Pettit without pain:
That’s about a month and a half after I started. Those cadence drops aren’t signal drops, they’re when I had to stand up because my butt hurt. I had to stand up in every rest interval on the higher intensity stuff. For a while I replaced all the endurance rides with Baxter/Colosseum equivalents, because the variation in power on those workouts caused enough of physical change that I didn’t get as uncomfortable. I tried a whole bunch of different saddles, saddle angles, saddle heights. None of it made much of a difference, I always had to get out of the saddle for a bit every 10-15 minutes or so. (You don’t have to get up and pretend to sprint, just transferring your weight to your feet and hands and lifting your butt an inch or so above the saddle is enough.) The sit bone pain got better over time, and after a few months it was gone.
It’s normal, it’s miserable, and it takes time. Be patient with your hiney, and make whatever modifications you need to get it through the workouts in the meantime.
That could indeed be part of my struggle. My hands will “fall asleep” while I am riding, so I have tended to place more of my weight on the saddle. I wear gloves, but my hands still suffer. Any recommendations there?