Preventing Saddles Sores + Bliss Review & Giveaway!
Over the last several decades, bike saddles and cycling clothing have been changing to make cyclists not only faster, but more comfortable. Cycling shorts evolved from wool shorts with real leather chamois crotches to tight fitting LYCRA® shorts with a synthetic chamois. (Even better, cycling clothing companies designed women’s shorts with the chamois anatomically designed to fit women.) In those early days, the authentic leather chamois would become stiff like the leather it is, and the solution was to soften it up with chamois cream. Cyclists discovered a little extra chamois cream felt nicer on the skin as well and helped prevent saddle sores. The modern synthetic chamois portion of the cycling shorts offered improvements in comfort and so as a result, modern chamois creams aren’t meant to be applied to the chamois, but to the skin itself, to prevent saddle sores or to help heal them.
If you haven’t had saddle sores, consider yourself lucky. But if you put a lot of miles on your bike in a short amount of time, you will probably get them. If you are riding in hot conditions, the combination of friction + sweat/salt on the skin is more likely to result in saddle sores. Riding in wet conditions will also cause problems as the wet skin will be more tender and susceptible to the chafing. How bad can saddle sores become? Some cyclists on multi-day endurance rides speak of saddle sores which become bleeding wounds. Who wants to not be able to complete an event, not because they aren’t fit enough, but because sitting on the saddle has become unbearable?
A Review of DZ NUTs Bliss
I recently rode in a 6-day 450 mile event and it was the perfect opportunity to try out DZ Nuts Bliss chamois cream which is specifically designed for women. The first three days I rode hard and applied Bliss first thing each morning. However, the fourth day I forgot to use it. By the time I hit mile 50 on a warm ride through the desert, I could feel the pain. It made me want to finish the ride standing up. That night in the motel room, I put Bliss on the saddle sores before bed and reapplied a few times the next day, which was my rest day. The next day, I did NOT forget to put on the Bliss and was able to enjoy the 90 mile-ride because I had no pain. I learned a valuable lesson about chamois cream and really became a fan of Bliss.
Why did DZ Nuts make a special cream just for women? “It is women-specific because women have a unique physiology. Bliss also has a less intense tingle (than DZ Nuts) designed for a woman’s sensibilities.” (Bliss was designed with a lot of input from the HTC-Columbia pro women’s team .)
Like many chamois creams, Bliss is meant as a lubricant and skin barrier to help prevent chafing and saddle sores. Bliss also has probiotics to discourage pathogenic yeast and bacteria. I was glad to hear that the formulation of Bliss includes soothing plant based polymers and not harsh chemicals or preservatives. It has anti-itch ingredients which are important to reduce the feelings some cyclists get of prickling and itching. Lastly, it can be applied to already existing sores after a ride or before bed to help heal the skin.
Eight Ways to Prevent Saddle Sores:
- Chamois cream isn’t meant to be applied in teaspoon-sized, well rubbed-in amounts. If you want it to work, you’ll want to slather it on. For an especially long ride, put on more. Alternatively, for a long day, re-apply after several hours.
- Get a good saddle that fits you comfortably. We’re all different. A saddle that works wonderfully well for your friend, may not be right for you and vice-versa. If you are on a cruiser just riding a few miles, those cushy, wide saddles are great but trust us, if you are going for faster, longer rides, the narrow saddles will cause less chafing. Some road bike saddles do come with a bit of gel padding if you need it.
- Get a good bike fit. The saddle needs to be positioned correctly for you!
- A pair of good quality cycling shorts with a well designed chamois will be more comfortable than a cheaply made one. The fabric of your shorts should fit you smoothly, have flat seams, and there should be no wrinkles in the fabric at all. If you are a committed cyclist, it’s worth it in the long run to invest in higher quality shorts or bibs.
- Are you working up to prepare for a long endurance ride? Increase your mileage gradually.
- Wash and dry your bike shorts between each wearing. Underwear isn’t meant to be worn under your cycling shorts as it will increase chafing. There is at least one caveat to that; women who are riding during a heavy period may have no choice and need to wear underwear at that time. In that case, choose underwear made of technical fabric with minimal seams.
- During long rides change your position on the seat as needed: stand up, move back, move forward—whatever works!
- If you are losing weight, you will notice less saddle soreness eventually. A thin cyclist puts a reduced amount of pressure per square inch on the saddle and that results in less saddle soreness. (This isn’t to say that thin cyclists don’t get saddle sores; they do, just ask some pro cyclists. The legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx once had to drop out of a few races because of them.)
DZ NUTS Giveaway
DZ Nuts Bald Super Smooth Shaving Cream is a soap free lubrication that prevents razor burn and razor bumps and won’t clog the razor. The soothing botanicals leave skin cooled, soothed and moisturized.
Comment below for your chance to win! (We can mail within the US or Canada.)
Contest lasts through July 22, 2011