Saddle sore woes

I’ve been dealing with saddle sores for the past 6 months, and it’s driving me crazy! I just want to make sure there is t anything else I could be doing.

Professional fit from a well regarded fitter
I’ve been riding seriously for 2 years, 6-10 hours a week
5 pairs of specialized bib shorts I got when this started, clean pair every time
Baby wipes before riding, assos cream, in the shower immediately afterwards
I’ve lowered my saddle further, didn’t change anything
I’ve taken 10 days off several times during this - the sores go away but come back within a week
I’ve tried hydrocolloid bandages to no avail
I’ve switched to my road bike on the trainer, no help
I’ve spent way too much money on saddles that help for a week but then sores again (ISM pn 1.1, ps 2.0, pr 2.0, pr 3.0, WTB volt, SMP T2, prologo dimension ndr, dimension space).

Of these saddles the padding of the pr 3.0 feels best but the nose is way too wide. The shape of the dimension ndr feels the best but I end up with sores.

I have a powerful AC and multiple fans in my workout room.

Help! Anything else I can try? Any narrow saddles that have thicker padding? Am I doing something wrong?

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You could try going up a size in bib shorts. This helped me. Although the shorts didn’t feel too tight, I think it was bunching up skin creating creases around my butt causing chafing.

I like having 2 saddles that my underside enjoys, and switching between the 2. Even if they’re similar shape, the different pressure points helps in alleviating the pain.

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As well V as considering sizing you might want to try a different brand of cycling shorts too? Try a pair of Assos? (seems to be the only thing you haven’t changed?..but $$$).

Tee tree oil was a good remedy for me, but it doesn’t seem like remedies are the problem

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  • What were you doing before that?

  • What is your current training setup (bike, trainer with respect to your outside setup)?

  • Do you have the sores purely from inside riding, or also while outside?

  • What is the split of your inside vs outside time?

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Not sure you are going to want to hear this, but sounds like you need to take a decent chunk of time off the bike to allow everything to heal up again properly. Maybe run or do some gym work so you don’t lose too much fitness too quickly. Then when you get back on the bike, build it up slowly again to prevent reoccurence of the sores.

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I typically use my tri bike on the trainer. I ride inside 5 days a week and outside one day every 2 weeks on average. I don’t exactly know whether or not riding outside helps or hurts, that’s why I switched the bikes for a couple weeks - no change as far as I could tell?

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More than what he already tried?

I understand that may be the case. I did take 10 days off on a couple occasions and they went away as best I could tell, and then I ramped you over 2-3 weeks and they came back. More time off? That may just destroy my mental health…

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You gotta go systematic:

  1. Diagnose if the problem is indoor only related. (I believe this is the case)
  2. If 1 is true, work on rocking plate system.

Try standing up every 10 minutes in the trainer also. H

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Are you doing a mix of aero position work and base bar?

Do you find the sores are related to one position or the other?

Some quick suggestions:

  • If you haven’t already tried, consider raising the front wheel around 1" [25mm] to see if that shifts the weight on the trainer to a better distribution. This works for some, but not all riders I suggest it to.

  • If you haven’t already tried, consider adding some level of trainer motion to your setup. Can be as minimal as a very soft and squishy trainer mat up to a full rocker plate. The static nature of most indoor trainers can lead to over-pressure on soft tissue. Adding motion shifts that loading through each pedal stroke, a bit more like outside.

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Springing off this, here is my initial guide related to saddle pain:

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It just feels like you’ve tried a really comprehensive list of things. yes - you could try to get some second opinions on the bike fitters, yes - you could play with different saddles, shorts, saddle heights, shorts etc. Sounds like your hygiene / cream usage is all good. Given you’ve tried all these things and still are getting reoccurrence of sores, it just sounds like a bigger chunk of time off followed by a gentle reintroduction maybe is your only other option.

Do you have any difference (sore-wise) between indoor and outdoor riding? Is it the static nature of the indoor stuff that is worst?? I find outdoor riding allows for more ‘adjustment’ time in the saddle. If so, then maybe you could reduce indoor riding and still get some riding in with outdoor rides?? Some people swear by rocker-plates for indoor riding that help with comfort

I forgot to mention I have the SBR rocker plate! I do try to stand every 10-15 minutes, but that doesn’t always happen. And I mix aero and bullhorns, but it seems worse on the horns than in aero. I just find going aero hard above threshold, so hard sessions are more up than down; not sure if that could make a difference.

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I’ll try raising the front wheel - definitely haven’t done that.

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Have you tried other shorts? Different brands and sizes? I’ve found that a chamois that is perfect for me can become a torture device after 10 lbs weight change. I currently rotate every ride between two brands of bibs.

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This is another possibility. Maybe another brand will agree with me more.

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  • That all makes sense, and jives with the continued issues you experienced with the road bike (assuming hood position for the hard stuff is a similar position to your TT/Tri bike base bar).

Honestly, you have done and tried more than lots of people troubleshooting these issues. I am about out of ideas.

Are you getting true “saddle sores” (i.e. an infected pore / follicle, etc. that causes a sore that is like a hard pimple or cyst) or are you just getting chafing, abrasions or muscle soreness?

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It’s true sores - hard, round areas at my butt cheek/ perineum interface. Antibiotic cream didn’t seem to help either.