Naked Women's Racing Blog

Race reports, training tips, and our ladies' lives on two wheels.

Is your saddle to blame for an injury?

Lori Antolec Racer for Naked Women's Race Team

The culprit to the nagging hamstring and knee injury of Lori Antolec was an unexpected discovery. Can a bike fit be the answer to injury? Sometimes, yes!

I ended my 2016 mountain bike season on a high note.  I competed in the Steamboat Stinger as part of a duo-team with my rockstar teammate Amanda who decked us out in bee costumes!

Lori with Amanda Bye and Emily Zinn in Bee costumes at the Steamboat Stinger

Lori with Amanda Bye and Emily Zinn in Bee costumes at the Steamboat Stinger

A few weeks later I finished my first ever 50mile race, the Dakota Five-0.

Between those two races, I signed up for the Breck Epic 3-day.  It has been on my bucket list for many years and I was happy with the base I had built up, so sign up I did!  The plan was to ride my fat bike  during the winter to ensure I would be set for the BreckEpic.

Unfortunately, my body had a different plan – my hamstring and knee fell apart in January.  I took days off.  I rode different bikes but the debilitating pain would not go away.  I started PT and increased the cadence of my massage and chiropractic appointments.  I continued PT for 6-8 weeks with minimal improvement.  I scheduled an appointment with a traditional doctor to confirm I had not caused significant damage that required more attention than the PT I was receiving.  He sent me home with similar exercises to my PT regimen.

I was lost on how to solve this issue until discussing it with a coworker who suggested a thorough bio-mechanic bike fit.  I had been riding this bike for three seasons but, at this point, was willing to try anything.  I was amazed at the amount of information I learned during the fit but the most important piece of information was…I was riding on the wrong saddle size!  I was riding on a stock 143 and should be on a wider 155 to properly support my sit bones.  On the narrower saddle, I was only supported by soft tissue which causes rocking and numerous other compensations.  I drove straight to the bike shop to buy a new saddle.

Lori Antolec at the Dakota Five-0

Lori Antolec at the Dakota Five-0

Wow, what a difference!  The proper saddle size provided a more solid foundation and the improvement of power transfer was noticeable with the first pedal stroke.  I could not wait to get out and ride.  I was able to increase my riding duration and miles for the first time in 5 months.   Although I saw immediate improvement, my knee and hamstring are taking longer to return to 100%.  I was not able to participate in the BreckEpic 3-day as planned, but I’m on the path to recovery which will allow me to participate in the future!

Saddle size – do not underestimate it!  You don’t need to schedule a bike fit to confirm what size is right for you (although I highly recommend it).  Most shops have an ‘ass-o-meter’ that will guide you on the correct size.  And don’t forget saddles wear out and periodically need to be replaced just like other parts on the bike.  I was lucky until this year that I never gave much thought to saddles as I didn’t have any issues with the saddle that came with my bikes.  I hope sharing this info prevents at least one person from learning the hard way, like I did.

For more info about our race team, click here.

To inquire about a bike fit, contact Turin Bicycles.

Cleat fore/aft and rotational adjustments.
Correct saddle height ,fore/aft adjustments.
Stem length/angle adjustments.
Handlebar rotation and position.
Suggest solutions to improve your fit and overall cycling experience.
COST: $100