butt training

OK, its not what you think. This isnt about working out the glutes, this is about preparing the butt for long distance cycling. On June 5th I do the 600 mile lifecycle which is 100 miles a day which sounds like a lot but it isnt. Anyone in good health can get them into good enough shape to do this easily with about 9 months of training. Surprisingly, the problem for most people is not the muscle strength, the muscle endurance or their cardio endurance – its butt problems. Doing one 100 mile ride is no problem but it really takes a toll on the butt after a few days and it can be crippling and stop riding altogether for many people. Rashes, chaffing, numbness, boils, pressure points, are but a few of the things that happen to the uninitiated.

I’m no bike racer but I put in my share of miles every month and usually do two to three trips a year over 500 miles so my butt is pretty well callused. For those new to long distance riding, I offer a few tips:

  1. Its called a “saddle”, not a “seat” – dont sit in it like a chair. In fact, dont sit unless you absolutely have to. Softer is not better, in fact, I like hard seats. A long distance ride is not a time to try a new saddle. If you are renting a bike, consider bringing your own saddle and pedals.
  2. Dont start a long distance trip out with a new pair of cycling shorts! Make sure they are well worn in and comfortable.
  3. Stand every chance you get. If you are going uphill, stand and honk.
  4. If you are coasting downhill, stand on your pedals with you butt hovering about 1″ above the seat and squeeze the seat between your powerful thighs with a deathgrip to insure stability. Stay off the saddle the entire downhill.
  5. If you are coasting slowly thru town, give a few quick pedals to get up speed then do what I call the “flamingo stance”. Stand on one pedal and move the seat from between your legs to the outside of the straight leg. This is actually a very comfortable, stable position that puts the bike at about a 30 degree lean. (photo coming)
  6. Some people swear by butt balm, I think these oily, slimy greases are disgusting beyond belief. My favorite preventative measure is old fashioned baby powder – apply liberally each morning and after your shower each night.
  7. Stay clean and dry. If you arrive late, cold, and hungry, then eat a quick snack and take a shower first. Sweat, oil, and grime is your enemy – get it off you ASAP and re-apply that baby powder.
  8. By all means, at stop lights get off the saddle and stand!
The last 10 days I have been trying something interesting to see if it can turn my butt calluses into armor plates :) I’ve been doing my 50 mile cardio rides in board shorts rather than padded cycling shorts. Even better, I am using shorts that dont breathe so that the sweat literally beads up and runs down my legs into my shoes – yicko grosso! Not that I have a problem on long rides but I’m just curious if it seems to make it even easier.