Lycra ain't got nothing on bike seats

LYCRA AND BIKE SEATS: Steve Meertens trains for the Avantidrome REV Cycle Festival's 100 kilometre race.
LYCRA AND BIKE SEATS: Steve Meertens trains for the Avantidrome REV Cycle Festival's 100 kilometre race.

Steve Meertens is digital manager for Fairfax Media in the Waikato region and has accepted a challenge to complete the Avantidrome REV Cycle Festival's 100 kilometre race. As he counts down to the event at the end of February, he'll write weekly about going from novice road cyclist to taking on one of the most popular and toughest annual cycling events in the Waikato.

It's a shame that I am writing this article just after Christmas, otherwise my letter to Santa would have included the following:

Massage vouchers, Panadol Rapid, Vasoline and most importantly, a comfortable bike seat.

I'm coming to the end of my first week of training and generally things have gone pretty well, except for my rear feeling like I have sat on a hot oven element.

Hopping on the bike for my first training ride was great fun. The boyhood emotions all came rushing back - the wind in your face, the speed of the bike along the road and cruising around the countryside. All those feelings that had long been dormant were awoken again and it felt great.

On my first training ride I encountered a few different sensations and thoughts: My quads burned a bit, cool. The lungs pounded a bit, sure. The lycra clothing felt a bit, hmm, no dramas.

But the bike seat is probably the worst piece of engineering in history - fact.

Initially the seat felt fine, but the more I got into the ride the more it began to feel like a cactus.

Doing a little shuffle here and there to try to increase the comfort levels were proving to be less and less effective.

Being a relatively new dad I associated the feeling with a combination of nappy rash and those horror pictures you see of people being impaled by a bull. I have been assured that the seat becomes more comfortable over time but the jury is definitely out on that one.

Anyway, enough looking back, time to look forward.

I have genuinely enjoyed every single training ride this week and the Avanti Cadent bike I have been given has been a joy to ride.

Yes, the training rides have hurt a fair bit but then doing something different is always going to shock your body.

To get some ideas on how to prepare for the REV I downloaded the six-week training programme from their website for a bit of guidance.

I have gone on four rides this week and have just focused on getting comfortable on the bike and starting to condition the body to the rigours of road cycling.

One of the great things about cycling is it gives you time to think. I believe the beauty of cycling is its simplicity.

It's you versus the road and the harder you can work the better you will do.

One hundred kilometres still looks like a really daunting challenge. However, I know with hard work and perseverance over the next month I'll be in good shape come raceday.

I'm off for my first group ride on Saturday.

Should I survive, I'll see you all next week to tell you how I got on.

You can enter The REV online at