Yes, you are building muscles that will help push you across the Iowan landscape but those are not the important part of your body that is being developed.
The important part is your butt.
Coach David Ertl wrote about the importance of building your butt on the RAGBRAI blog (6/24/14) I will highlight some of the main points here but you will get the most out of this if you actually read his post, RAGBRAI Training: Let's Get to the Bottom of the Issue.
While you may have legs of steel, you aren't going to make it to the finish line if your butt can't stay in the seat. (I must admit that there is a RAGBRAI-er who rides the whole route without a seat, but I wouldn't recommend it.) You need to prepare for the 40 - 100 miles per day sitting in your saddle.
Here are a few problems that might emerge if you don't train your butt properly:
- Your butt will hurt - You will feel "soreness under your seat bones."
- Your legs chaff - Rubbing between your seat and legs can cause some real discomfort.
- You develop saddle sores - Sincere problems are caused by saddle sores. They can be serious enough to end your RAGBRAI ride.
How to Avoid The Problems:
- Wear cycling shorts - These are padded and created without thickened seams the can rub. They are made of material that absorbs perspiration and cushions your derriere from chaffing and saddle sores.
- Do not wear underwear under your shorts - Lycra shorts are designed to be worn by themselves. You can get baggy shorts if you are too shy to wear these.
- Bring at least 2 pairs of shorts - There is a lot of sweat in those shorts so they need to be washed. You don't want to wear wet shorts. Give them a day to dry.
- Ride a lot in preparation.
- Begin with shorter rides and build up to distance.
- Ride year around and your toughened butt remains tough.
Begin each day by applying a thin layer of chamois cream on your groin. There are a number of commercial names; Chamois Butt'r, Eurostyle butter, Ride EZ Chamois Cream, and DZNUTS are some good ones to use.
Keep It Clean:
Keep your groin area as clean and dry as possible. Saddle sore is caused by infections that are caused by bacteria in your skin. Bacteria love dirty and damp. Remember to wash your shorts every day. Even if you don't have access to a washing machine, you can hand wash them with hand soap if you don't have any laundry soap.
Take care of yourself. REMEMBER: Even with all of your preparation and the steps you take to prevent problems, it is OK for you to finish your daily ride by yelling
"My Butt Hurts!!!!" Let's just hope that it isn't any worse than that.
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