21 January 2014

Looking After Yourself

I bumped into a Kiwi Brevet rider who was nearing the end of a very long ride yesterday and was suffering some loss of feeling in his little finger. It's not uncommon for people to suffer nerve damage by the end of the Brevet. Sometimes it takes months to come right. Just a reminder about how to avoid this:
1 - Use lots of different handlebar positions - change frequently.
2 - Use a good pair of gloves (maybe two different pairs, and change every few hours)
3 - Run soft tyre pressures and/or plush suspension
4 - Raise your handlebars so that your have less weight on your hands

The other most common complaint is a raw backside. This generally comes right quicker, but can result in a LOT of discomfort. Solutions include:
1 - Move around on the bike frequently (also, stand-up on the pedals and walk from time to time).
2 - Wear two pairs of shorts with different pad design. Swap them around and wear two pairs at once during the first hour or two of riding each day.
3 - Change your saddle angle or height (or switch to a different saddle)
4 - Use a good chammy cream. My favourite is Sweet Cheeks Butt Butter. I've found it works well to prevent sores and also heals minor problems before they get worse. There will be some small 100 gram pottles available at the briefing for $15. That's what I'll be taking.
5 - If things get icky, try some talc powder at the end of each day.

There's also a tendency to suffer from tendinitis (usually minor). I treat that with a small dose of Voltaren anti-inflammatory pills (one 25mg pill per day, at the end of the day). They are available over the counter at pharmacys. Best check to see if you have a bad reaction to that before you try it in the Brevet. Some people do, but usually with a much larger dose.

Sun screen and oral hygiene are fairly obvious, but do slip when riders are exhausted. Peeling skin and mouth ulcers are not a good look at the finish.

Of course it is possible to finish the Brevet looking sharp, which is exactly what we want, but it'll take a bit more effort that your average tour or long, day-ride. If you have any more hints, please add them to the comments below or the Kiwi Brevet FB page.