Monday, November 23, 2009

You Just Might ...

be a crazy ultra-endurance mountain bike racer if:
  1. You use your number plates as wall paper.
  2. is your homepage.
  3. You give your bikes names.
  4. You have more water bottles than glasses in the cupboard.
  5. You start racing a 24 hour thinking "This is awesome!", followed by thinking at least 10 times during the race, "Why the hell am I doing this?", followed by finishing the race thinking "That was awesome!"
  6. You consider work regeneration time from training/racing.
  7. Half the shirts you own have at least a dozen logos on them.
  8. You have more laundry loads of cycling clothes than regular clothes.
  9. Your first thought when you wake up is your resting HR.
  10. Your bike costs more than your vehicle.
  11. You think that getting a mud facial is one of the perks of racing in the rain.
  12. When you park in a sketchy area of national forest to go for a ride, you don't worry about your vehicle getting stolen because your bike is not in it.
  13. Your first thought when crashing is not, Oh, this is gonna hurt!", but "I hope my bike will be o.k."
  14. You wait a couple days to take your car in when the "check engine" light comes on, but when your bike needs something, you take it in right away.
  15. You take longer washing your bike than yourself.
  16. You are offended if someone states you have a farmer's tan.  Farmers don't wear shorts!
  17. Your vehicle smells like a locker room.
  18. You have no idea what to do with yourself on your off day.
  19. You purchase broccoli not only for the nutrition, but for the multi-purpose "broccoli bands."
  20. Your nutritional supplements could be considered a 4th meal.
  21. Your rain gear consists of Glad trash bags, plastic shower caps, latex gloves, and Ingles grocery bags.
  22. Your best friend's pet name for you is "race whore."
  23. You bring your bike with you when car shopping.
  24. Your bike is in your living room.
  25. Your cycling apparel occupies more than 1/2 of your closet space.
  26. Most of this list doesn't seem like a joke to you.
Feel free to add to the list!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chamois Butt'r Eurostyle vs. The Competition

This past month I have had the chance to try out a couple competitors' chamois creams.  I have been in the JRA (just ridin' along) mode so most of my rides have been 4+ hours.  I figured this was the best time as ALL my races are at least this length.

I tested TBS (That Butt Stuff) and AsMaster. TBS contains no parabens and a host of natural oils.  AsMaster contains parabens and a host of natural oils.

Testing conditions were mainly wet and muddy, including gravel roads and single track.  Temperatures ranged from 45-70 degrees.  Overall saddle times were 5-7 hours.  I had enough  to conduct two rides per product.  I used the same Specialized shorts for each ride.

When initially applying both products, I noticed how thin they were.  Both required a two-fingered application vs. the usual one finger Chamois Butt'r application.

For the first 3 hours both products did there job.  Both felt the same.  But by hour 4, I was aware of my taint.  I felt a mild irritation, especially when I was moving around on the saddle.  By hour 5, I was squirming around on the saddle, trying to find the "sweet" spot, wishing I had brought more cream with me.

Upon post-ride examination, my skin was definitely more inflamed.  The good news was that there were no saddle sores with either product.

Conclusion:  Chamois Butt'r is THE TICKET , especially for ultra-endurance riding/racing.  (Having said that, TBS and AsMaster would work just fine for short rides and XC races.) 

I think the biggest difference is that Chamois Butt'r has lanolin which allows it to endure for 4+ hours.  When you scoop a fingerful out of the container, it has the same consistency as "I Cannot Believe It's Butter" butter spread.  I also like the menthol which seems to have a "cooling" effect and therefore increases my comfort level in the saddle.  (For those of you that do not like this "tingling,"  plain Chamois Butt'r works great and endures as long as its European counterpart.)

FYI, I used Chamois Butt'r for 9 months prior to being sponsored by them.  This year, it held up to the extreme weather conditions at TransRockies and Pisgah stage races.  No saddle sores and aside from some sit-bone soreness during the final days of each race, my taint was a happy taint!

I have plenty of samples, so if you see me out there, I would be happy to give some to you to try yourself.