Olympic and world champion, Katie Archibald got into cycling after winning handicap races on a Highland Games grass track. She writes a column for Cycling Weekly each week.
Saddle health was on my mind with the Women’s Tour starting. I remember tweeting about a particular saddle problem I was having at my Women’s Tour debut in 2014: “Ironically, the Women’s Tour has made me a bit of a man. Got a testicle-sized saddle sore after today’s stage.”
At the time I rarely spoke to friends, cycling peers or doctors about saddle problems. I moaned exclusively to the internet (when I was slightly more anonymous online).
But times have changed.
For one thing, I have a blue tick on Twitter now. But more importantly British Cycling has started to seriously tackle saddle health problems on its Performance programmes. So here’s some advice from what they’ve taught me.
Find… the right saddle for you.
Pros are often contractually obliged to use a certain saddle brand but I always look for one with a two-pronged nose and I know many female riders that have had their riding transformed by that design.
I also have a preferred chamois (that I get tailored into all my shorts) but I know riders who find rotating chamois choice most effective for avoiding problems that arise from the same area being stressed.
Wash… using a cleaning cream, not a soap, so your skin doesn’t dry out.
I buy one that’s for babies. The showers for riders at the National Cycling Centre have a moisturising wash called Dermol 500 in the dispensers which is also an antiseptic, as are many chamois creams.
Use chamois cream.
Trim… your pubes.
You may have read this in the papers in 2016 when a rumour that the GB Olympic cycling team had been issued with beard trimmers was entertaining the public.
This wasn’t true but the principle stands. Personally I go for waxing, which means the hair grows in soft but I think
the world agrees that razors are instruments of the devil.
Final advice… chat about it in your local bunch the same way you do about every other element of cycling. If ceramic bearings can save you seven watts, think how much power being able to sit down will give you.