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Daily Archives: August 5, 2016

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Two Millimeters, Saddle Sores, and the Changing Setup of a Bicycle.

I have to write something that I still have a tough time typing.  In fact, this post sat for a month while I tried to sort out what I wanted to say…

I have a commenter who torments me from time to time, especially when it comes to my support for wearing a helmet when cycling.  Now, fair being fair, MJ rides a bike.  His bike weighs at least twice my Venge, maybe more, and his average pace is half mine – he doesn’t ride anything like I do, if I had to “categorize” us, gathering from his comments he’s a commuter while I’m a sport cyclist.

With the different styles of riding, I can understand why our views on cycling helmets differ.

That said, a while back I wrote about having some fairly extreme saddle sore issues.  Discarding some of the pompousness in some of his comments, he did suggest that if I’m having issues, something must be wrong that should be identified and corrected.  I responded sternly and dismissed out of hand the part about identifying and correcting a problem.  I had good reason to as well, as most of the trouble appeared to occur on the Venge, but seemed to originate with the tandem:

  1. I had a full Body Geometry fit done on my bike.  Lasers, video, levels…  Everything was thrown at the fit on the Venge.  The measurements from the Venge went to the captain’s saddle/cockpit on the tandem and were transferred by the shop owner who fitted my Venge.
  2. I was putting in a lot of miles – 1,970 miles in two months.  A saddle sore or two was expected.
  3. I’d just started riding a tandem with my wife, three days a week, and you’re stuck in the saddle a lot more on the tandem, with few opportunities to shift for discomfort while keeping pace with everyone else we’re riding with.

Now, I was certain with some saddle time and toughening up, I’d be okay.  Here’s the part that hurts:
MJ was right – and the problem wasn’t with the tandem, it was with the Venge.

After using a special mix of hydrocortisone cream and an anti-fungal cream to heal up, I realized I was more comfortable on the tandem – the saddle felt just a little bit lower that the Venge.  Against everything that I went through to get the Venge setup right, I dropped the saddle by about 2 millimeters.  Sure enough, while I get a hot spot now and again (I ride 200-280 miles a week and don’t use chamois cream), the saddle sores that were once so bad I had a hard time walking, are gone.

So, MJ, you were right.  There was something that had to be fixed, as implausible as it seemed at the time.  I apologize for ripping on you in my reply.  More important, if it wasn’t for your comment, I may not have come to realize that something was off.  Thanks, man.

Finally, when they say setup requirements can change over time, it’s true and I am living proof.  If after years of comfortable cycling you find yourself in discomfort, no matter how good your fitting was, there is a chance something may need to be changed.

Ride hard my friends.

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I am an Unapologetic Cat Person…

Pickle is the girls’ birthday present.

UPDATE:  I figured an explanation might be in order.  Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs.  My wife and I had three at one time along with two cats.  Once Moose, our Great Dane – Short Haired Pointer mix passed and we were left with just the cats, I realized how nice it was to not have to rent a forklift every spring to clean up the back yard.  Not only that, with all of our cycling trips we no longer have to choose between a kennel or a house sitter.  We’re just too active to treat a dog right nowadays. 

Is Flossing Conducive to a Happy Mouth?  “Only Floss around the Teeth You want to Keep.”

I’ve never been a flosser, until I ended up with a bout of bad breath after getting a new bridge for a molar.  Then, and only then, did I break out the floss…  See, bad breath is a funny thing.  Many people will cite halitosis as the cause but in the end, folks, it’s food decomposing between our teeth that causes the offending issue.  Looked at that way, flossing makes sense every now and again.

It also makes sense that not having rotting food in between your teeth will be better for them.  Even so, we’ve all heard in the last few days that science is showing that either A) We’re not doing it right or B) It doesn’t help tooth health.

The last time I was at the dentist, as has been the case with every dentist I’ve ever seen, we had the same old floss discussion – with one exception:  He said, right at the end of his little sermon, “Just do me a favor and only floss around the teeth you want to keep”.

Normally that kind of silly tactic won’t work with me but going back to that bridge, the dentist recommended that I use what they call “super floss” to clean out everything under the fake tooth, between the bottom of the bridge and my gum.  I treated that advice the same I did regular flossing.  Three weeks later my breath started to stink.  Worse, I could taste the stink.  Another week later and I started developing sores on that side of my mouth.  I was actually out hunting/camping when the sores started popping up so on a trip into town I picked up a pack of super floss and got to work.

The sores started healing up and the bad breath improved immensely, and by the next day.  The important point is that was the background through which I filtered that comment about flossing only around the teeth I want to keep.  It seems to me, if food trapped under my bridge was having such a profound affect on my mouth, it made sense that flossing in between my teeth must matter a little more than I gave credit too, even though I brushed regularly.

Now, that’s an extreme example but the truth is I’ve got a much happier mouth now that I’m flossing regularly (four days a week).

To sum this up, I don’t care what bureaucrats say about whether or not I should floss. My personal experience goes a long way next to a pencil pushing bureaucrat (who probably has bad breath).  As is often said of the bureaucracy, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”  Only in this case, it’s not my eyes, it’s my mouth.

I was once a non-flosser.  In my experience, I was mistaken.