Symptoms: You have (ahem) burning questions about an anatomical region too sensitive to mention publicly. From soft-tissue issues such as pain, numbness, or tingling, to frictional insults that make a postride bathroom trip a harrowing experience, any trouble down under can throw off your game.
RX: The two likeliest sources: the wrong saddle and less than optimal positioning on your bike. Find a shop that does professional bike fitting ($50 to $200, depending how extensive the process), in which a trained employee tailors your bike to fit your body. Part of that process will involve finding the right saddle. A preride slathering of chamois cream can also prevent saddle sores caused by friction and longer rides.
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Post-Barrier Stress Syndrome
Symptoms: In cyclocross, you dismount and hurdle barriers like a gazelle, but stutter-step to a near halt before remounting with a wince. The prospect of an awkward landing produces anxiety, which results in labored movements and manic pedal-fumbling. All this costs precious time and invites heckling.
RX: Don't land squarely on your chamois. Instead, feather the inner thigh of your mounting leg onto the saddle, then square your hips to the bar as you slide into place. Aim for a glide, not a plop. On steep or muddy sections, make sure to downshift before dismounting to avoid bogging down. Practice several times a week to prepare for 'cross season and before every race to build muscle memory.
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