When Are Your Favorite Shorts — Not?

Whenever I go on an organized ride, or a club ride, or a ride where I’ll be doing more mileage than normal, I have a pair of bib shorts that I always pull out of the dresser drawer. They’re by Pearl Izumi, and I’ve had them for almost four years. The reason they’re my go-to short is comfort. The chamois pad just seems to fit my bottom well. I’ve been more comfortable in these shorts than in any of my other pairs.

But that’s changed. In last weekend’s Armadillo ride, I noticed some discomfort down there after about 25 miles. That hadn’t ever happened with the PI bibs in the past. At a rest stop, I made some adjustments and thought I had everything worked out. But after another five miles or so, the discomfort was back again. As I alluded to in the last post, I got to the point where all I wanted to do was end the ride.

Oddly enough, once the ride did end, the discomfort went away. Evidently, the pedaling motion of the thighs had something to do with the soreness during the ride.

The next day, I made sure to select my Sugoi shorts, because their chamois pad is the largest one I’ve ever seen. I rode 27 miles and had no complaints in the nether regions. It looks like I’m going to have to adopt a new favorite pair of shorts for my future “big” rides.

I’m still not sure what the problem was with the bibs. Maybe the fact that they’re four years old has something to do with it, although the pad is not noticeably compressed from its original shape. Still, I’ll chalk it up to age.

So what been your experience? Have you ever had a pair of good shorts go bad? If so, what caused it — if you know? Have you determined a maximum life span for your biking shorts? (Obviously, you get what you pay for — but the PIs cost over $100, and I still use a five-year old pair of cheap Nashbar shorts with a single-layer foam pad for rides of an hour or less. They work out fine.


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