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  1. #1
    Hill eater
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    Gel seat cover for 24hr? + other comfort Q's

    Planning for my first 24hr solo race coming up in 4 weeks, already have learned many valuable tips from reading MTBR thanks.

    Wondering on the merits of a gel seat cover for comfort after long hours in the saddle. Are there any good ones available? or are they only aimed at casual riders?

    Also thinking about maybe wearing some shorts with a padded chamois over my bib knicks to give me extra padding. I will give this a try soon to see how it feels, obviously I don't care how I look.

    I have some Beljum Budder Chamois Cream, which should stop me from chaffing.

    I'm going to try some padded innersoles for my hard carbon sole shoes.

    I would appreciate any feedback on these ideas and any other comfort tips.
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  2. #2
    You down with entropy?
    Reputation: esilvassy's Avatar
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    to start with I have not done any 24 hour races yet, but I have done other longer rides/races.

    I would think that the gel cover would be more of a problem in the long run.
    I have been on a team for a 12 hour indoor trainer event and last year I did 4 hours on one of the gyms spin bikes. The seat killed me. It was too soft and cut off circulation for me (it was at least not super wide like some of the general gym bikes can be).
    This year I took my own bike and did 7 hours with less comfort issues.

    But keep in mind this was on a saddle that after looking and trying I really like.

    To answer your question you would really have to try it out before hand and see how you get along with it. Do not wait on any of the fit ideas for race day for sure.

  3. #3
    is buachail foighneach me
    Reputation: sean salach's Avatar
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    i was told several years back by on of the RAAM organizers that a few racers were ditching padded shorts in favor of unpadded spandex and a gel seat cover. it might be difficult to manage that on a mtb, offroad, where you'll probably be moving much more. i bet the chamois butter does the trick.

  4. #4
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    Wear two pairs of shorts. Try it first on at least a 6+ hour ride.

  5. #5
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    A gel seat cover sounds like a recipe for chafing/blisters/ a@@ on fire/ monkey butt. Movement+ moisture is what causes this syndrome.
    There is no such thing as a gel seat cover that doesn't move more.
    If this is your main concern, I recommend a Thudbuster for a hardtail or a full suspension bike. These will do much much much much much more than a gel cover.
    Really, not trying to be rude, but it's one of the worst ideas I've read here (IMHO).

  6. #6
    Gears, beers and slices..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    A gel seat cover sounds like a recipe for chafing/blisters...Really, not trying to be rude, but it's one of the worst ideas I've read here (IMHO).
    Perhaps re-think that statement. Up until a couple of years ago, over 80% of the Ironman Hawaii racers used a gel seat cover (the only thing that changed this was the advent of very, very good saddles - usually a lot better than what we find on a MTB). These are roadies who stay in the saddle for 5-6 hours, emerge from the ocean wet, and do so in increadible heat. It works great for that user group, with generally none of the problems you speak of. Keep in mind that a tri short has an incredibly thin chamois as well.

    A couple of very good ones are made by QR and Elite, and are neoprene. They are incredibly sticky on the inside, so much so that you can't slide them on the saddle - you must turn them inside out and roll the on (kind of like taking off rubber gloves). They absolutely DO NOT move.

    Definitely worth a try - I own both the QR and the Elite. I've used the on century training rides where I may be on my sit bones longer, but usually race IM without them. The thing I've found is that they're slightly slippery for the first few rides, before the finish "works in." As a roadie, you may creep forward until they are worked in, but off road riders should be fine because of the more upright position. I haven't ever thought about trying one on the MTB for long events, but will likely add it to the list.

    p.s. great in the rain too, because they're grippier than a slippery saddle

  7. #7
    Hill eater
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    OK now were getting somewhere, thanks for the input.

    So cheap gel seat cover = bad idea

    Elite neoprene bike seat cover or similar = might be worth trying
    I would give it a try before the race, and probably save it for the night laps rather than using it all the time. ATM I'm thinking this would be better than 2 pairs of shorts or knicks.
    Now I just need to find a good online supplier in Australia, a quick google has not revealed one yet, I will dig deeper.

    Same would go for padded innersoles for my shoes, put them in later if I'm feeling discomfort to hopefully provide a bit of relief. Rather than using them from the start.
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  8. #8
    Gears, beers and slices..
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    Padded innersoles would be interesting...I think they might rob you of some much needed power. A better bet - if you don't already do this - would be to replace the stock footbed with a low profile orthotic. The stock insoles in bike shoes are super thin and flat. The actual shoe itself is also incredibly flat. Many serious cyclists will have either a custom footbed made (expensive option) or will use a Superfeet yellow - it's a low profile insole designed for flat shoes such as hockey skates and cycling shoes. http://superfeet.com/products/Yellow.aspx
    It's a roadie trick, and many racers I know swear by these for eliminating hotspots and giving contoured comfort for long rides. Because they're contoured and stiff, and not soft, they keep the power transfer to the pedal higher.

  9. #9
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    Whatever you use during 100 mile races and 6 hour training rides should work. Changing stuff (food, gear, effort, etc.) for a specific event is a bad idea. If your ass or feet or stomach hurt after 6 hours you should fix it. If you're not doing 6+ hour training rides you should be.

  10. #10
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    At the end of last year I raced a 48hr solo mtb event against the 3 x top N. American solo RAAM finisher. It was an epic battle against a super tough competitor. Towards the end of the race we raced together for a few minutes and we both complained to each other that our butts had taken a beating because the course was so active with lots of roots, rocks and requiring a lot of body shifting. Dave said, "I have saddle sores on my saddle sores" guess it happens to the best of them. He wasn't racing on a gel saddle.

  11. #11
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    I'd also offer up that making too many changes like this a month before a race might not be the greatest idea, especially the orthotics. Unless you can get in enough time/miles to get your body used to the changes, I'd wait until later to try them out,

  12. #12
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    My advice is to buy a couple of pairs of the most comy knicks you can find... I run a Fizik Gobi saddle which has a little bit of give for my 24hr stuff and it was fine - I did end up with saddle sores on my saddle sores but I put this down to lack of chamois cream...

    If you watch something like 'Overcoming' (TdF vid about CSC), you see the soingier (sp?) rubbing cream into the chamois itself. Tip I got after my bout (ended up with tropical absces from infection in the end!) was to make sure that you rub whatever cream you're using not only on your good self but massage it into the chamois itself good and thick.

    I use stuff called paw paw ointment - its got a mild antaseptic effect (actually its main uses are eith for baby nappy rash or as a lip balm!) but something like vasilene might help as well. I tried Assos Chamois cream but its a little too much like simple moisturiser and once you begin to sweat a little it looses some of its lubrication properties unless you use a truckload of it.

    For me, soft saddles don't help (for instance I've done quite a few 200km+ roadie stints on the Arione saddle no dramas and 6hrs off-road on a cross bike with no saddle dramas). Just needs to be supportive - yeah your butt will get sore but that's part and parcel of sitting on it for the better part of 24hrs... nothing much is going to help that

  13. #13
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    +1 for superfeet. Best $30 you'll ever spend to make your ride more tolerable.
    [SIZE="4"]
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  14. #14
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    I"ve done several 24 hour and 100 mile races. Never seen a gel seat cover.
    I've watched the TDF every year it's on. Never seen a gel seat cover.
    Regarding the tri statements- the goal for triathletes is to maintain the same aero position for multiple hours- in other words, to not move on the bike. It's the opposite when mountain biking-you're moving constantly. That huge variable difference makes them basically separate categories of biking, imo.
    Trying to keep an open mind, but this just makes no sense to me.
    If somebody has used one successfully for long MTB races, or even rides over 6 hours, please report your experiences.

  15. #15
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    After a dozen solo 24-hour MTB races and numerous 100, 200, and 300 mile MTB races, I have found the following to work for me:

    1. Thin, high-quality saddle. I run Selle Itallia SLR on all my bikes (road, MTB. Cross)
    2. Thin, high-quality padded shorts
    3. Lots of saddle time to toughen up my rear.
    4. A little bit of Body Glide on me, a big dose of chamois cream on the shorts.

    The nature of the course and the weather have a big impact on how I feel after the race. Cool temps and a course that allows both sitting and standing? My rear will come out ok. Rain, heat and a flat course that encourages lots of sitting? I'll be sore for a while. It's just part of the proce you pay.

    Best of luck!

    Joe
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  16. #16
    Hill eater
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    OK perhaps the seat cover is not needed, I'm having trouble finding a local retailer anyway.
    I was just thinking about the 18 to 20hr mark I might appreciate being able to add a bit more padding, but it seems the done thing is to just suffer through.

    As for the Superfeet, yeah they look good, but $50 here and can only find the blue general purpose ones.

    Then I remembered I have good quality orthotic insoles that I bought for my gym shoes ages ago, they give good support and don't have a padded sole. I tried them in my riding shoes and they seem good, but I will give them more time before I decide.

    I already have good quality knicks and Chamois Cream so I should be sorted there.
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  17. #17
    zeebot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus
    OK perhaps the seat cover is not needed, I'm having trouble finding a local retailer anyway.
    I was just thinking about the 18 to 20hr mark I might appreciate being able to add a bit more padding, but it seems the done thing is to just suffer through.

    As for the Superfeet, yeah they look good, but $50 here and can only find the blue general purpose ones.

    Then I remembered I have good quality orthotic insoles that I bought for my gym shoes ages ago, they give good support and don't have a padded sole. I tried them in my riding shoes and they seem good, but I will give them more time before I decide.

    I already have good quality knicks and Chamois Cream so I should be sorted there.
    Personally, I like Speciaized insoles better than superfeet for my shoes. I own the green superfeet and blue specialized. Perhaps if I had a slightly thinner superfeet I'd change my opinion but the specialized work so I don't see any reason to spend more $.

    My opinion is you really just need to find a comfortable saddle and a high quality chamois. I've collected quite a few pairs of bibshorts, and find them to be superior to the shorts I used to use when mtb'ing. Assos, sugoi rs, hincapie's top end, etc. The drawback is they are very expensive and maybe not ideal for mtb'ing unless you have a deep pocket. They really are significantly more comfortable though.

    I"m recently venturing back in to mtb racing and will be doing a few of the 100 mile races this year, but am primarily a roadie and have a learned quite about comfort doing double centuries etc and training for RAAM. I went through about 10 saddles, maybe more, until I found the right one. The Fizik aliante carbon is my favorite and I can ride around the clock on it with zero discomfort.

  18. #18
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    I'd really recommend the QR neoprene cover. I think I started using the QR cover after my last 24 hour mountain bike race. Hopefully I'll be doing at least one this year and I'll use the QR. I have used it at the Leadville 100. I also have used it on the road for RAAM qualifiers and the 2,000 miles I completed of RAAM.

    If you do use the cover, drop the saddle a couple mm to account for the extra thickness. Use the chamois cream. A & D ointment also works well especially if it's wet plus it's cheap.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for your input ultrarob, so did you use the QR cover right from the start of the race or leave it to put on later when you needed more comfort?

    Do you use it much when not doing endurance rides to get used to it ?
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  20. #20
    Grip it and rip it.
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    I think it's probably best to find a saddle that works for you and stick with it for all rides, like a good fitting ski boot. It can be hard to find though.
    "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"

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  21. #21
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    I like to train with what I race with so I use the cover for a month or so leading up to a long race. The QR neoprene is thin enough that you don't really notice that it's there other than it's a little softer.

    The one thing I found with really long races on the road was it does squish enough to push up between the butt checks. It took over 24 hours to be a problem but irritated my butt hole. Lets just leave it at that it's not pleasant. I ended up cutting out a small hole out of the cover. I don't think it'll be a problem in 24 hours but it's something to keep in mind.

    I also used double shorts about day 6 during RAAM. It really did increase the comfort. I had a pair that was a size larger on the outside. Middle of the afternoon in the Ozarks, it was hot and humid and the double shorts were just too hot.

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