Question: Last season I developed a bad saddle sore. My doctor told me not to ride, but being part imbecile and part fanatic, I did. Now I have a persistent small lump under the skin and it hurts like sitting on a marble. I know you’re not a physician but can you help? — Greg R.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: You’re right, I’m no doctor. But I do have way more experience with saddle sores than I’d like.
It sounds like you have a cyst, a malady that can result when saddle sores redevelop at the same spot.
Former Australian pro Baden Cooke was one sufferer. He had a cyst surgically removed at the end of one cycling season, then had to sit on the stitched-up wound during a long flight home. The incision opened and he faced another three weeks off the bike while it healed.
You should check with your doctor again and get his opinion on what to do. If the cyst remains, it’ll bother you all the time. Your body might eventually absorb the cyst, but there’s no guarantee. You could cut a hole in your saddle where the cyst hits it and hope for the best, although that fix is rarely effective. Probably the only certain way to get rid of it is surgery.
Some physicians are better equipped to handle situations like this and minimize your time off the bike. Ask at bike shops and clubs if there is a doctor in your area who rides or has treated cyclists.
Or course, recumbent riders will tell you they’ve found a sure way to prevent conventional saddle sores and cysts.