Lady Pains

A place to discuss issues specific to women, from jerseys and shorts to tips and techniques. Men are welcome, but unhelpful, sarcastic comments are not.

Lady Pains

Postby LisaR » May 16th, 2013, 7:48 am

Hey everyone,

So the hubby and I recently started getting more serious about mountain biking and I've run into a little problem, I'm hoping someone here will have some thoughts.

I've started to experience some discomfort in the "soft tissue" area and on my sit bones. I was comfortable and doing just fine riding until I got my new bike. I transferred my seat to the new bike and expected things to be better since I upgraded from a 26er to a 29er, however that hasn't been the case. When we go out and ride we warm up and cool down on a two track and I'm perfectly comfortable, but when we get into the more technical single-track the pain starts. The hubby said that I tend to ride in a more "aggressive stance" when we're on the technical sections and I get much lower to the bike.

I suppose there is one necessary disclaimer I should make, I haven't made the investment of some nice riding shorts yet, I usually just rock the yoga pants. I do have a fairly decent woman's saddle though, not too much padding and the, supposedly alleviating, "V" groove.

So, with that being said, I'm looking for some advice. Is it the lack of padded shorts, the adjustment of the seat, or the saddle itself?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby c0nsumer » May 16th, 2013, 8:48 am

It can be any of the things you say, but that said (disclaimer: I'm a guy) I find that a good-fitting saddle works well for me in regular shorts or bike shorts, and a poor fitting one doesn't work well at all. Bike shorts help, but they aren't a cure. Having your saddle position wrong can really screw with things too. Nose up too much will put pressure on soft bits, nose down can put too much weight on your arms and cause you to shift positions, etc.

I personally think that Specialized makes a variety of really nice saddles for men and women, sized based on your sit bone spacing. I'd say go to a Specialized dealer, get your sitbones measured, then pick up a saddle based on their recommendations. I believe they have a guarantee that if a saddle doesn't fit they'll work with you to get you on one that does. Everyone is different and sit bone spacing seems to have little relation to body type, so just get what works for you.

(Also, it won't hurt to work on riding style. If you are sitting too much on rougher trails it can mess with you as well. CRAMBA-IMBA is putting on a women's MTB clinic on Sunday, June 30th at River Bends Park that you might want to consider. More info can be found here: Got MTB.)

EDIT: I forgot to add that my wife had similar issues. I think she tried 4 or 5 different saddles before getting a Specialized Arial in her sizing, and thus far it's good.
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Big Ring Coffee MTB Racing
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Unless otherwise stated the content of my posts are my opinion and should not be taken as the official stance of, nor representative of, the MMBA nor CRAMBA-IMBA.
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby drewlee13 » May 16th, 2013, 9:34 am

LisaR wrote:Is it the lack of padded shorts, the adjustment of the seat, or the saddle itself?


Save yourself the aggregation and buy the best short/bib you can afford. I tend to buy a notch or two from the top of line. I currently wear LG Equipe Bibs and love them.

-Randy
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby jonw9 » May 16th, 2013, 10:41 am

Also weighing in with a *beep*:
If the saddle worked before but now doesn't, are you sure you placed it in the same position as the last bike. Distance from crank to saddle, distance nose to stem, and as Steve said angle.
"Seriously though, you clearly think a lot more than I do when you are riding." -jajones
"You're going to suffer on a single speed, you might as well suffer going faster." - Indigenous
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby LisaR » May 16th, 2013, 11:48 am

Thanks guys! The LBS fit me with my saddle when I got my bike, so whether its in the same position as last time, I'm not sure, but its supposed to be "correct" (fore/aft at least). I did try tipping it down thinking, If I'm comfortable while riding upright and uncomfortable riding leaning forward then maybe my saddle needs to lean with me, however I was sliding around a bit too much.

I believe the bike shop has a bucket of seats that I can test ride, so I'll have to try that route. And maybe bite the bullet and get some shorts. I'm hoping to do the Stony Creek Marathon so I don't have much time to figure it out!

And I definitely spend too much time sitting, but it's gotten to be less and less the last couple rides due to the discomfort. It is one of the many things I'm working on with my riding along with less braking, locking/unlocking my shock, switching gears prior to being stuck on a hill, and my ultimate weakness, looking ahead of me instead of right in front of my tire...the list goes on and on...good thing the season is just beginning!
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby jonw9 » May 16th, 2013, 12:04 pm

You could try dropping your saddle a nudge. Do you still have the 26er you can measure from the crank center to the saddle rail location?
"Seriously though, you clearly think a lot more than I do when you are riding." -jajones
"You're going to suffer on a single speed, you might as well suffer going faster." - Indigenous
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby LisaR » May 16th, 2013, 1:29 pm

jonw9 wrote:You could try dropping your saddle a nudge. Do you still have the 26er you can measure from the crank center to the saddle rail location?


Unfortunately it has already been sold to a friend and the seat height has undoubtedly been changed. But I'll try dropping it a bit, I just feel like I don't use all of my stroke effectively then, but it’s worth a shot!
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby c0nsumer » May 16th, 2013, 1:42 pm

LisaR wrote:
jonw9 wrote:You could try dropping your saddle a nudge. Do you still have the 26er you can measure from the crank center to the saddle rail location?


Unfortunately it has already been sold to a friend and the seat height has undoubtedly been changed. But I'll try dropping it a bit, I just feel like I don't use all of my stroke effectively then, but it’s worth a shot!


It may be worth contemplating getting a proper, professional bike fit. Fraser Bicycle and Fitness or Cycletherepy can help you out with both of these. It'll cost a couple hundred, but you'll come away with things set up right, dimensions for you to apply to all future bikes, and someone who will help you out if a few follow-on tweaks are necessary.
Steve Vigneau
Big Ring Coffee MTB Racing
CRAMBA-IMBA Board Member
River Bends Park Co-Trail Coordinator
MMBA Website / Forum Administrator

Unless otherwise stated the content of my posts are my opinion and should not be taken as the official stance of, nor representative of, the MMBA nor CRAMBA-IMBA.
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby jonw9 » May 16th, 2013, 9:22 pm

c0nsumer wrote:
LisaR wrote:
jonw9 wrote:You could try dropping your saddle a nudge. Do you still have the 26er you can measure from the crank center to the saddle rail location?


Unfortunately it has already been sold to a friend and the seat height has undoubtedly been changed. But I'll try dropping it a bit, I just feel like I don't use all of my stroke effectively then, but it’s worth a shot!


It may be worth contemplating getting a proper, professional bike fit. Fraser Bicycle and Fitness or Cycletherepy can help you out with both of these. It'll cost a couple hundred, but you'll come away with things set up right, dimensions for you to apply to all future bikes, and someone who will help you out if a few follow-on tweaks are necessary.


True. Jess at Two Wheel Tango was flown out to fit the Lululemon team, so that make be a good, lady specific option.
"Seriously though, you clearly think a lot more than I do when you are riding." -jajones
"You're going to suffer on a single speed, you might as well suffer going faster." - Indigenous
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby Nooge » May 18th, 2013, 12:26 pm

Again, a guy's opinion but we all can have fit issues.

As was mentioned, but I want to stress, the front of the bike (bars, stem, even brakes/shifters) can have you positioned different on the bike than before. You said that the fore/aft position of the seat was checked, but did they check the distance from seat to handlebars?

You said you are getting much lower on the bike when things get technical and you start to get the pain. If this is something you weren't doing before, then it is your biggest clue. Figure out why you are leaning over so much. Is it because you are too stretched out? Are the bars too wide for you? Pay a lot of attention to why you are doing this and how it affects your position and angle on the saddle.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned that a seatpost can make a big difference to comfort (on a hardtail). Did you swap the old seatpost to the new bike? Smaller diameter, setback (curved or bent backwards) and flexible materials (carbon, ti, steel) are more comfortable than large diameter straight posts. Unfortunately most new bikes have the largest diameter (31.6mm), straight, aluminum posts, which give the harshest ride. You could have had a more forgiving seatpost on the old bike and a harsh one on the new.

If you can get access to your old bike, put the seat at a height that feels good to you, then take the measurements in the link below:
http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/05/ ... lly_216035

When you are measuring stack and reach for the handlebars, measure from the GRIPS, not the center of the bar.

Also measure:
- Stack and reach to the nose of the seat.
- Check if seatpost is straight or curves backwards
- Check seatpost diameter (should be printed on post if you pull it out)
- Check seatpost material (if you can identify it)

Good luck figuring this out. These issues are difficult because they only show up after some ride time. Our bodies are pretty tolerable of misalignment for a short while. But given enough time, even slight misfit can cause long term injuries. Avoiding that is the value of a professional fitting.
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Re: Lady Pains

Postby Dirtdevil » May 20th, 2013, 5:47 am

Good padded biking shorts are a must. Check out Voler website for some good deals. Its just too painful to ride without them. Also, get some "Bag Balm" (yes, it's actually called that :D ) at your local drugstore or Meijers, etc. & apply liberally on your "zones" & directly on your biking shorts. This stuff works wonders-no kidding.

:twisted:
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