Cycling’s a pain in my butt

I’m not fed up with cycling. On the contrary. I cycled for almost four hours on the trainer on Saturday morning and really enjoyed myself! (Surprising since after an hour on the trainer I’m usually antsy.)

Cycling has literally been a pain in my butt for the last two years.

I bet some cyclists are nodding along in agreement. Chafing, saddle sores or hot spots, and rashes are unfortunate discomforts some cyclists have to deal with. (It’s running’s equivalent of chafed thighs or nipples, or chafing along the bra line.)

When I was training for Ironman Arizona in 2010, I experienced absolutely no chafing or pain.

I started to experience some discomfort down there last summer while training for Ironman Canada.


It started up again this year. And this time I decided to do something about it!

I’ve seen chamois (shammy) cream in various magazines and read a couple blog reviews.

Last week I went to a local tri store to see what they had to help me out. I decided to buy dznuts bliss. I was torn between it and Chamois Butt’r but they had sample-sized packets of the kind I bought.

I used it this past weekend, and I think it helped! I can’t say I didn’t have any discomfort, but it was definitely minimized.

I liked that it wasn’t greasy and didn’t numb me. It also didn’t have a scent, which was a bonus to my sensitive skin.

Although I’m a newbie in the whole chamois cream area, here are some tips for others interested in trying it out:

  1. Test it on a small patch of skin to ensure you don’t react to it. Can you imagine generously applying the cream only to realize you’re allergic once you’re on the open road?!
  2. Apply liberally. I hesitantly applied a few dabs. (See tip one. I didn’t test it beforehand.) Next time, I’d be a lot more generous to ensure full coverage.
  3. Try different kinds. If you aren’t completely satisfied with one kind, try another and another until you find the one that suits you best.
  4. Experiment with different shorts. My husband wears shorts with no padding. I have a thin chamois in mine, but it took me a while to find shorts that were comfortable. You might require more or less padding, or a different shape of chamois. Like anything, shorts fit people differently.

After sampling dznuts bliss for a few rides, I plan to buy and test the Butt’r.

I fell in love with cycling last year after riding for a few years.


Although running is my first love, my joints aren’t always healthy enough to do it. I hope to have a lifetime love affair with cycling. And I want to be comfortable in the relationship!

Do you cycle? Do you use a chamois cream? Any bad allergy stories?

48 responses to “Cycling’s a pain in my butt

  1. Ughh you just reminded me that I signed up for a 40 mile bike race in June and have yet to get on a bike in the last 10 years……

  2. Sorry you’ve been dealing with this–no fun! I haven’t had too many problems like that, but there’s definitely a difference from one pair of cycling shorts to the next for me.

  3. I just bought my first pair of cycling shorts (ok, so they’re actually tri shorts, but it’s still an upgrade from cycling in running shorts). Given my history of chafing while running, I’m sure that I’ll need to lube up once I start riding longer distances. Thanks for the review of dznuts.

  4. I’ve actually never used chamois cream(s). Once I got a saddle sore, but that was at the end of a 775 mile ride which took me 88 hours to complete. I dressed with bag balm and all was well about 2 days later.

    If you’re getting sores, I’d change up your shorts, saddle and fit before I started squirting stuff down there. A guy I ride with kept complaining about rubbing on one side, turns out one leg was longer than the other and it was causing his hips to rock ever so slightly. A couple of small shims under his cleat fixed the problem.

  5. Wow, 4 hours on the trainer, I am beyond impressed! Great job. I don’t cycle too much (although I need to get back on the bike for my next MS bike ride this summer), and luckily haven’t had any issues, but my hubs swears by the chamois butter.

  6. You know, I’ve been thinking about getting into cycling for a while now. My sister recently got bit by the cycling bug and now she can’t get enough.

  7. 4 HOURS ON THE TRAINER??!!! WOW!!! I can go about 3hours MAX. It is so boring! I usually do spin videos too.
    I am shocked you have not used any chamios butter. By far the best invention I have ever used!!! Definitely apply liberally!! It helps!! I just use Chamois Butt’r. I NEVER noticed that it was an apostrophe and not an e. 🙂 So funny! I never tried anything else because it worked!! I have never heard of dznuts.

  8. I agree! You’re a machine. I’ve always loved cycling. I grew up cycling to school, to friends’ houses, to work. Then I moved to the US and stopped. It just wasn’t as cycle-friendly. The minute I was back in Europe, I was back on the bike. I have an upright to get me from A to B bike, a mountain bike and, my most recent purchase, a road bike. I LOVE it. I don’t think I could ever not cycle. But I’ve only recently gotten into it for training purposes. Let’s see what this summer brings! 🙂

  9. Shammy cream is a must for long rides (anything 4+ hours). I used many different brands, but my fave is DZNuts bliss. One I haven’t tried (but is on my list) is Hoo-Ha Glide.
    Have you considered your saddle and how it fits you? I don’t have an issue on my road or mtn bikes, but when I switched to an Adamo on my TT bike it eliminated all my discomfort – I could never go back!

  10. I went on my first ride with my new road bike last Sunday, and I absolutely love it! However, I am pretty sure, I’ll get to the point were I feel some discomfort as well, so I am thankful you brought this up and bloged about it!

  11. Ouch!! I couldn’t even imagine how much that hurts! I don’t cycle, but whenever I go for my long runs I always make sure I wear body glide – nothing worse than chafing!

  12. I can’t decide if I think the creams help. I tried one and it kind of stung my lady bits and didnt make any difference…. TMI but I just don’t know if I love them yet! Maybe I need to try a diff brand

  13. I’ve never tried any of the creams as I haven’t had to use it (knock on wood), but holy hell, 4 hours on the trainer?!?! What did you for that long?!

  14. I wish I cycled… I tried spinning a year or so ago a few times but I always felt really uncomfortable and it put a lot of strain on my lower back. I have slight scoliosis and thought that might be some of the problem, but I must be doing something wrong.
    I’d love to give it another shot though, it seems like such a great way to explore new places!

  15. I can’t wait to get my bike outside for a ride. I have never had problems with my bottom but I only go for 2 hours max. I have been having some bad wrist impingement thought which definitely makes long rides tough. Glad you were able to find something that worked! Thanks for sharing!

  16. runnerbydefault

    4 hours!?! Wow! That is totally impressive!! Glad to hear that you found another fitness “love”!!

  17. My experience has been somewhat limited but I find that my seat gets sore fast while on the trainer but I’ve yet to experience it outdoors which seems very strange! I even had to change my saddle this winter which seemed to really help indoors. I’ve never considered saddle creams before but will definitely keep them in mind.

    • I think mine is a lot worse on the trainer. Maybe because the sweat builds up more?
      Are you enjoying your post-race recovery?

      • Definitely trying to although this week has been back to some fairly hard intensity sessions. I guess its my coaches was of shocking the body back into race mode after a couple of slow recovery days!

  18. Here, here! I have been cycling a lot more lately and for the first time last month got a saddle sore. Holy ew! These are great tips.

    You have endured so many hours on the bike! I bet your bum looks great though:)

  19. my husband swears by dznuts! loves them. LOL! lube up

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