Went out for a nice training ride this morning. Did 20 miles with a mixture of easy riding on the Veloway, some semi-strenuous hill climbing, and some almost-time trial speeds on the Mopac loop. It was a good ride, and I finished it at an average speed slightly higher than I usually do. But something wasn’t quite right.
The inside of my thigh just below the left butt cheek (sorry if I’m providing Too Much Information) was protesting. About two weeks ago, I developed a saddle sore there, just a small spot not much larger than a big pimple. It causes discomfort when I ride, most of the time. But last weekend, I thought my troubles with it were over.
We did a nice 34-mile club ride through the Hill Country, and although I started the ride with some concerns about the sore spot, I finished with no discomfort at all. In fact, I didn’t even think about it during the ride. When I got home and realized I had ridden trouble-free, I assumed everything was now okay.
Then came this morning’s ride, and I felt like I did two weeks ago. It occurred to me that there might be an explanation.
I rode this morning in my Sugoi shorts. They’re the most expensive shorts I have, probably the best quality. Without doubt, they have the largest chamois pad I’ve ever seen.
When we did the 34-miler Sunday, I was in my Pearl Izumi shorts. I’ve always liked them, but when I bought the Sugois, I figured they automatically relegated the Pearls to second place in my shorts arsenal.
The Pearls are back in first place.
I’m not sure what it is about the Sugois, since at first glance their pad and the one in the Pearls look about the same. But I think it might be that because the pad on the Sugoi shorts is so large, slightly different spots on the pad — like the edge between the raised padding and the indentations — are contacting that tender area in my nether regions. So the Sugois rub the sore, while the Pearls miss it.
My really cheapo Nashbar shorts don’t seem to aggravate the sore either. But their pads are just one flat layer of foam, so in their case, less is probably better.
Have you noticed a difference in performance/comfort/owie protection in your different pairs of cycling shorts?
I notice a big difference in different pairs of shorts. Still haven’t gotten any Pearl Izumi shorts tho – I’m afraid I’ll like’em too much and will need to buy several more pairs!
I too have noticed a difference. i have a pair of Louis Garneua (sp?) that I’ve enjoyed wearing for about 2 years, having the most comfortable pad for riding all day of all the shorts I’ve tried. Lately, however, these shorts have been the shorts I’ve warn when getting some chafing and a rash. Guess its a sign that they need to be replaced.
I know I could use a butt’r product, but I don’t like the feel of them, and ordinarily don’t feel the need.
I too have a set of Sugois, but mine are definitely #1. The other shorts I have are cheap Performance brand and while the chamois is fine the stitching is horrible. When I did the Easter Hill Country Ride this easter I only had the Performance shorts. One of the seams felt like a razor blade against my skin on the first day (60 miles) the second day was pure pain (107 miles) while the climbing was intense the only pain I really felt was in my backside from the shorts! The Performance shorts only come out on sub 20 mile rides now. For me it’s the Sugois all the way!
Sometimes it’s helpful to have a couple different kinds of shorts. Since generally they have seams in different places, if you get a sore with one pair, putting on a different pair may feel better as you won’t have a seam at the sore spot anymore.
Jeff H says
I’m pretty particular about my shorts, and the ones I come back to most often are the Pearl Izumi Slice Ultrasensors. Not sure why, except that they are the snuggest. Guess it’s like the whole boxers vs. briefs thing from Seinfeld…and evidently, at least in cycling shorts, “my boys need a house!”
What I’ve generally found is that the newer my shorts are, the less problems I have with them. My newest two pairs are Pearls, and I tend to pull them out for longer rides. Follow that by the two pair of Sugois that are about a year older, then the two other pair of Sugois that are even older and finally the pair of Pearls that are several years old.
For what it’s worth, I try to stick with Sugoi or Pearl, but I’ve never owned what I call a real high dollar pair of cycling shorts.
I seldom use chamois butter except when I’m on a trip or something that will have me riding several long days (50+ miles) in a row or when I do develop a rash or something equally unpleasant.