Conversations with my butt cheeks

Have you ever stood on the side of the road and held your butt cheeks while you writhed in pain?

Guess how I spent my weekend?

Sadly the cause wasn’t that fruity. It actually involved my bicycle.

See I love to ride my bike, but my butt does not. Despite my healthy weight I apparently have the sit bones of a 4 yr old child, pointy and fragile, sensitive and prone to whining. Which – during your average day – doesn’t really bother me. In fact, my buttocks are one of my few body areas which I could really ignore for the rest of days unless they suddenly dropped off. What I meant to say is, for most of the year I don’t really think about my butt cheeks. They hold up my jeans, make yoga more comfortable and since they’re located behind me, they don’t laugh in my face every morning in a mockery of my rapidly aging wobbly bits. Nope, my butt cheeks are A-okay.

That is, until the start of the cycling season.

At which point, they’re more vocal, whiny and annoying that a Best Actress Oscar winner wearing a badly fitting pink gown (yes, I mean yous Gwyneth and Anne). Knowing this fact for the last 25 years has resulted in a collection of fancy bike shorts to rival Lance, and a saddle the size and style of a Chesterfield sofa. Lets just say my saddle is ugly and about as aerodynamic as a sofa on the highway.

Even with my padded shorts, my Chesterfield sofa saddle and a liberal amount of chamois cream my butt typically starts screaming around mile 30. By mile 40, I’m in significant pain and at 50, I’ll kill anyone who comes between my and my home. But after a few weeks, things seem to ease up and I can typically ride a 50 miler without much pain and the feeling in my girly bits typically returns in – oo- one to two months.

Recently a friend of mine mentioned that while my bike was pretty slick, my saddle resembled something that fat Aunt Maude might ride to the village for a pint of milk. I made my excuses – painful sit bones, general inability to feel my parts after a few hours if I rode anything else – and left it at that.  I’d had the same saddle now across 4 bikes and took constant pain as a natural factor of riding.  I mean, do those guys on the Tour De France look like they’re having a good time? How fast do they get off those bikes after they cross the finish line?? Huh? Your butt is meant to hurt, isn’t it?

My bike sits in my living room. Which means I look at it every single damn day, almost every hour. And the ‘fat Aunt Maude’ image stuck in my brain like a Donald McGill postcard (Google it).  After doing some research, and talking to a few friends of mine who put in some serious mileage, I convinced myself that a new saddle would be the source of my salvation from pain. I would, as the snow finally melted, be able to spring onto my seat and knock out a 40 miler with no problem. I headed off to have my butt measured (yes, that service exists. No, it wasn’t just a pervy cycle shop dude) and find a new seat.

Fast forward to this weekend when I excitedly wheeled my bike out for the first time since December. Time to get those thighs moving and shake some of that winter baguette of dough from around my middle. And all was good until about 18 miles in…

At which point my sit bones woke up and started talking;

‘No, we don’t like this’

‘Shut up’

‘This hurts’

‘Shut up’

‘Actually this is really really painful’

‘Nope its not, its just the first ride’

‘I think we might be bleeding’

‘No. You’re just whining like usual’

‘Seriously Rachael, stop. I think something is seriously wrong with us’

‘You’ll be fine in a few weeks.. you just need to harden up some’

‘Noooooooooooo. We cannnnnnnnn’t. *sob*’

‘Oh fuck off, my legs feel fine, just shut up and do your job’

‘We’re dyyyyyyyiiiiiinnnnnngggg’

‘FuckShitBugger’

At which point I got off my bike and clutched my butt cheeks as I writhed in pain. I bent over, squatted, even shook my cheeks around like a limbo dancer at Carnival. Tina Turner would have been proud of my tail feather shaking.
The pain was excruciating.
My fellow riders and a few drivers had stopped for my impromptu show, so I remounted and turned for home. Pissed off at body parts and frustrated at my lack of hardiness which typically gets me through most things.
I mean I’ve ridden with my Achilles tendon exposed before now, long gashes in my legs showing bone and even alarming layers of yellow fat exposed.
But no, apparently my sit bones are made of porcelain and age has made my ass not only softer, but a lot lot louder. I cursed the friend who mocked my large, cushioned Chesterfield sofa of a seat. Sure it wasn’t comfortable but it wasn’t out to murder me, ass first.
The new saddle looked fancy, but  kind of like a Lotus, it cornered on rails but wasn’t built for comfort.

By the time I was within a mile of the house I would gladly have given away my custom bike in exchange for a feather pillow and some Vicodin. Every stroke of the pedals made my bones rub against the saddle and my ass screamed in pain. It was like being repeatedly beaten with a stick (not that I know anything about that). If I didn’t know better I would swear that blood must be coursing down my legs and my ass, purple with bruisesBut no, despite standing ass to the mirror for a good 10 minutes upon my return, I noticed a consistency similar to  Swedish Fish in a hot car but no actual visible injury.

The dog wondered what new game this was and returned to his nap while I yelped and eased into the bathtub.

Later I googled my situation and found out that the only remedy is lots more riding. Like every other day.

Oh joy.

So for the next 6 weeks I’ll be standing at my desk wearing a skirt and gingerly easing into any sitting type activity before heading out with 2 pairs of shorts and a Vicodin high every other night.
Remind me why I do this again?

One thought on “Conversations with my butt cheeks”

  1. Advice from a fellow female cyclist with sensitive nether regions: get rid of the sofa sized seat. Smaller, harder, narrower will lead to less pain in the long run (or rather ride….)

    Like

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