Monday, March 13, 2017

Get Your Brackets Ready!

View from my backyard
PSA- sorry for the delay in posting. In case you were unawares, the part of America that I currently reside apparently can't handle a little wind. We, collectively, lost several tons of trees, most of which decided to use local power lines as a way to slow their fall. This version of insanity happened last Wednesday. I have the luxury of living close to a major utility conduit, which has an in with the electric people. I  only lost heat for 2 days. Some people in the nicer parts of town are still without power. Whereas we were on the early list for moving electrons, we're on the late list for internet connectivity. I'm not that committed to attempt a post from my phone.

Now on to your regularly scheduled, albeit delayed, nonsense:

March Madness is here! With hundreds of collegiate athletes getting out of class to bounce a ball across a small wooden floor, the workforce of the country tunes in to the cost of roughly $4 billion in lost production. (Aside: For comparison, recent data conglomerates estimate that the lost revenue in the workplace due to the reading of tops $0.42 annually. /End Aside)

There are rumors around that some people just don't care about NCAA Basketball Tournament. Not many. In fact, it might be something like 48 people. You'll recognize them as the disgruntled blokes in the workplace. Why are they grumpy? Because they're the one's actually doing something resembling work, as opposed to the ones watching TV or the internet stream.

In honor of those who aren't interested in the hooping and might very well be interested in something triathlon related, I've got something useful planned. With my lack of running, I've been putting extra time on the bike. This is good until I noticed that my crotch isn't as happy as it used to be. And, brothers and sisters in the sporting world all agree, there's little worse than an unhappy crotch.

The Problem Clarified
The problem has more than one root cause. On it's surface, you'd think that the act of sitting delicate perineal skin on a tiny piece of pleather for an extended period of time is bound to cause bedsores. And you'd be right. That's why the cycling gods invented the chamois. For those who are reading this because someone forced you to or that Google Button "Feeling Lucky" accidentally sent you in this direction, "chamois" is pronounced "shammy" and it's the padding that they sew into the crotchal area of cycling shorts. It's almost like sitting on your own personal memory foam of magic. Chamois is also one of those words that doesn't change if it's singular or plural. It's one chamois or many chamois and they're all better than zero chamois.

So, it's not just the pressure that causes the issue, or else the story would be ended at chamois. There's also friction. If you're doing it right, you're not just sitting there on the bike. Your legs are spinning around in tiny circles roughly at a 17 cm radius. The left foot goes up while the right leg goes down (again, only if you're doing it right). That side-to-side motion slides you across the pictured above chamois. Once or twice, still not a problem. However, 80-95 times a minute for several minutes can build up some heat and remove some very poorly placed body hair.

Further, if you're anything like me, you smell badly tend to work up a sweat when exercising. Most of the valleys and gullies conveniently contoured into the human body lead straight down to the, you guessed it, chamois area. Sweat, as you may have gathered, is not that good of a lubricant. It's loaded with things like water, salt, and urea. The water is designed to evaporate off leaving behind crusty mineral deposits that are most uncomfortable to sit on.

"How does one solve all of this?" you pose to the Banter. The answer is simple- chamois cream. Chamois cream is a non-petroleum based goo that you smear between your legs before you get a ridin'. It takes care of the friction and displaces the depositions. Plus, who doesn't want a little bit of goo coming from their crotches?

Just like everything else worthy of use, there are options. In fact, there are a lot of options. My go-to brand for the past couple of years has been Assos Chamois Cream. As perineal lubricant, it's the Cadillac of sit bone heaven. Why even bother? Because it's expensive. Are there less expensive yet highly functional slip-and-slide sauces out there that may serve as a potential substitute? That's what I plan on finding out. I am pitting cycling creams versus skin creams. I choose 2 well know cycling products who are at the top of their game. In the Skin Care division, random research shows that there are non-cycling products that are rather crotch friendly. Can they stand the rigors of a ride?

The Cycling Creams Division

Assos is the #1 seed

     -Goes on smooth
     -No extraneous residue
     -No noticeable scent
     -Has a hidden swear word in the title

Chamois Butt'r is the #2 seed

     -Less vulgar name
     -A little greasier (which could be a pro in the long run)

The Skin Creams Division
Desitin is the #1 seed

    -Almost looks like Assos
     -Top of the line in taking care of crotch rashes
     -#1 choice of pediatricians and moms (unconfirmed)

     -I'm not a baby (by age, anyway)
     -There's that diaper smell

Bag Balm is the #2 seed

     -Solid structure consistency
     -Smooth minty smell

     -Concerned about the 'moisturizing' properties
     -Mostly found in the pet section of the store

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be doing field tests and reporting back on the happiness of my nether region. Fill out your bracket and see if you can project the winner.

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