There are a few things that will stop a professional cyclist from competing, but saddle sores qualify. Eddy Mercx famously missed the 1976 Tour de France because of this. Don’t get saddle soreness and saddle sores confused although one can lead to another, a saddle sore is a localised infection, and let’s face it we deal with enough of those in our job.
There are several things you can do to mitigate against a sore Gooch:
- Wear shorts with a professional chamois pad This could be the best investment you make. So much research has been put into the correct materials, and designs, and if you are not careful, after 100 miles in the saddle your wrinkly old gooch might just pinch and fold, which can make for abrasions, and chapped skin.
2. Use Chamois cream. As weird as this might feel the first time, the better creams will moisturise, and reduce the chances of infection, as they contain antiseptics. My favourite is ASSOS which also tingles like Mint Source shower gel, which can help on day 3. Let’s not get weird about this though, don’t use shovels full, and make sure your one and only dip meets your needs.
3. Wear clean shorts. It stands to reason that the cleaner you are, the less likely you will get an infection.
4. Get a saddle fitting. Good bike shops will have a memory foam cushion that allows them to measure the distance between your sit bones, and suggest the right width of saddle. When your sit bones are correctly placed on your saddle, there is less pressure on the more sensitive areas, when you tackle that Roubaix stage.
Give your rear a rest. Don’t be afraid to get out of the saddle when you are cycling and give your rear a rest. Even if you only take the pressure off by putting pressure on an outstretched leg, this can improve your “Gooch-circulation”. Remember the saddle is a luxury item, and not designed to sit on all day.
 Gooch – the area between the anus and genitals, commonly known as the perineum
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Ashley Watson is a 3-time Straumann charity bike ride cyclist and a general dental practitioner who has been placing implants since 2003!