It’s been a familiar pattern: Ride, get sore bottom. Ride, get sore bottom. What to do about it?
I’ve fiddled with different saddles.
Three years ago, there was a Trek gel saddle of some kind, that I appropriated from my wife’s bike when she got a new saddle for herself (an Avocet gel — too bad Avocet is no more). I knew the Forte Classic from Performance would be a big improvement. Nope. Then, the Specialized Alias that came with my new bike seemed to hold some promise. Until I did some really long rides on it, and started looking for an alternative. The Selle San Marco Ponza was the answer to my prayers — for about an hour.
Most of these saddles had one thing in common: Little padding. So when I decided to spring for a new saddle, I looked for something with a little more cush. A couple of lines in particular offer saddles with more padding than I’ve been used to: Serfas and WTB. I liked the looks of the WTB Speed V, so a couple of weeks ago, I paid a visit to the local Performance store, and bought one. The fact that it was on sale for $25 helped in the decision-making process, too.
The Speed V is wider across the back than the Ponza, which I figured I must need. I liked the feel of the Ponza’s narrow seat, but maybe a slightly wider platform would offer better support. The Speed V also has the distinctive WTB “Love Channel” (how could you not like that name?) — not a complete cutout, but not flat, like the Ponza.
It’s a comfy saddle, no doubt about it. I immediately liked the feel of the seat on my butt. The wide part of the seat has padding that gives, without being overly soft. The nose of the saddle is also padded more than I’ve been used to, which was welcome when climbing.
The first couple of rides were great. I actually went 16 and 18 miles without thinking about the saddle. But I knew the acid test would come on a long ride — something well over one hour.
That came last weekend at the Armadillo Hill Country Classic. I rode the 50-mile route, and was on the bike for over three hours, with only two short breaks. And I’ll admit it — there was some discomfort. However, I’m coming to the conclusion that the problem is not so much with the saddle as it is with my riding position.
The part that gets sore is my taint — that area between the boys and the uh, exit. On the Armadillo, I found myself standing on the pedals while coasting, just to take some weight off the taint. And it occurred to me that I shouldn’t be putting weight there anyway. After all, when getting fitted for a saddle by companies that use an ass-o-meter, or whatever it’s called, the key measurement is the distance between the sit bones — not where your taint hits the saddle.
I started deliberately putting more pressure on my sit bones, and sinking them into the Speed V’s padding. It helped. Ah ha! so this is the pelvic tilt I’ve heard about from time to time. Pressing down on the sit bones causes the pelvis to tilt forward, and relieve pressure on the taint.
Problem is, I’ve been riding the other way so long, it’s going to take some effort on my part to get the tilt down to where it’s second nature.
I figured I’d help it by adjusting the tilt of the saddle. I’ve always been meticulous about keeping the saddle level. After the Armadillo, I dropped the nose about half a bubble on the carpenter’s level. No definite conclusions yet.
For the time being, I’ll keep the Speed V. One of the reasons I bought it at Performance was their no questions asked return policy, so I do have other saddle options if the Speed V isn’t the answer to my saddle woes.