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?