Sunday, October 14, 2007

Going Commando

Nope - I'm not talking about the Navy SEALS parachutting before the start of IM Hawaii (although it was very inspirational. I do think that skydiving or whatever they were doing would be really fun. I don't however have any plans in the near future of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.) But I'm off subject, sorry.

So, Going Commando. What can I say? You learn something new every day.

While I don't consider myself a real "newbie" to the sport - I'm finishing up my 3rd year - I still have a lot to learn. In the past I've trained a lot on my own, or else with people who had relativeley the same experience level as me. Before moving to Florida, Nathaniel and I lived in a really small town in Eastern North Carolina (Havelock - in case you're wondering. There are 6 Havelock's located throughout the world, named after a Brish General. The NC one is undoubtedly the smallest of the 6). There were a few triathletes, but they were all usually doing their own thing. I would meet up with a few guys to ride, but mostly I swam and ran on my own. I had a great pool training partner, but we didn't get a chance to meet up all that often. There were a few girls that I trained with, absoluteley some of the best friends that I've ever had, and they were awsome. We talked about all sorts of off-the-wall stuff, including what gel texture and consistency was like, how uncomfortable x and y saddles were, the sharks that were surely lurking in the waters off the coast, just waiting for an off-course triathlete, and other inumerable topics that kept us occupied while biking for hours on end. But somehow we never got to the subject of biking shorts, chamoic cream, and underwear. It just never came up. I just always assumed that one wears underwear under bike shorts. Why wouldn't you? We wear underwear for everything else (well, most of us do!). That's what it's there for... it has a distinct purpose.

Fast forward 3 years to last Friday morning. I had planned to meet Ludi and Katy (two awsome friends and training partners - two of the most inspirational, fantastic, loving friends anyone could have. They are both incredible triathletes, having competed all over the world. They've really taken me under their wings and have helped me to soar this past season. They're like sisters to me) at the Blackwater trail for a 2-3 hour ride. I wasn't planning on going hard, but was instead going to keep Ludi company for a few hours as she did a 6 hour ride in preparation for IM Florida in a few weeks. I know how lonley long rides can be, and while I wasn't going to be there the entire time, I did have a planned bike on my schedule and figured it would be okay to extend it just a bit (as long as I kept it easy).

Standing in Truly Spokin' (local bike shop) before the ride, I was doing my usual chit-chatting and pre-race comments. "I feel great! Had a great swim, wonderful breakfast, it's a beautiful day, yadda, yadda, yadda." Ludi responded with her typical grin and responded about her own morning and how it took forever to get out the door. To which I replied, "No worries! Everything is cool, I'm wearing my silky Victoria's Secret underwear, so it'll be a good day. I can just tell this ride will be awsome!"

And with that, Ludi burst out laughing- the kind of laugh that sent her entire body shaking, and she had to bend over to get her breath. "Tell me what you just said again?" she demanded, an even bigger smile on her face.

"About what?" I asked, my curiosity piqued.

"The Underwear."

"Oh! I'm wearing the boyshort, silky, Victoria's Secret underwear. It feels GREAT! It doesen't give me chafing like some of the other pairs. See, look!" I cried, pulling the edge of my bike shorts down and revealing, what I thought, looked like pretty sexy underwear. "They're really great. And comfortable."

Ludi was laughing so hard, that I could bareley understand her. "You wear underwear? HA HA That is SO funny! Have you been doing that all this time?" she asked between gasps.

"Why wouldn't I?" I responded. Something obviously wasn't quite right. Was I missing something? Had I committed some kind of major biking no-no by wearing cute underwear? What was the deal? They were my most comfortable pair. And besides - you NEED to wear underwear, otherwise people will see your butt. And believe me, I've seen enough rear ends during some of the group rides I've done in Florida to know that having a little extra fabric between you and the person behind you can be a good thing. Nay, a great thing. So I've always made sure that I've had a clean pair before every ride. Preferably not cotton, but silky feeling (okay - the more expensive stuff, but I figured it was for a good cause).

She then got an evil grin on her face and then said, "So that's why you're always doing this and this." She then went on to mimick the assortment of odd looking motions and various movements that I do while biking - a vain attempt on my part to relieve the discomfort in my nether-regions. I had flashbacks to just the previous weekend, Sunday after the Santa Rosa Triathlon while biking with Ludi and Don, and my weird wiggles while in the saddle and leading a 40 min zone 4-5a hr effort piece. Don was too polite to say anything at the time, but Ludi teased me about it afterwards, in a good natured way, of course. Let's face it, we've all experienced saddle discomfort from time to time. Sitting on a bike for hours on end will do that. Plain and simple.

Ludi then said, "Don't you know that your not supposed to wear underwear? Just the chamois cream and shorts."

Oh. I paused, looking at her suspiciously. Was she for real?

"That's whay you have such a hard time staying in your saddle - your underwear is killing your butt! And everything else! This explains all the movement I see!" She sounded a little too happy for my liking. This was, after all, my saddle, my ahem, nether-regions we were discussing. And just think, a ffew minutes before I had been so proud of my fancy Victoria's Secret underwear.

The bike techies and store owner confirmend Ludi's claim. No underwear. Nadda. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Just you, a little cream, and padded shorts galore.

I explained to Ludi that people would see my butt, and that I really didn't want some of the people I ride with to get too up close and personal with my rear. Let's face it, sitting in a pelaton of riders takes a lot of concentration. I find myself looking at the rear wheel and rear end of the person infront of me. A few times, I've caught glimpses of more that what I want to see. When I told this to Ludi she said, "Don't worry. I will tell you if you can see through your shorts. And when the do become see-through, you just get another pair. It's simple!"

I finished out Friday's ride in the usual amount of rear-end pain, gave the idea of going commando a little more thought... and viola! Today I went out for my long ride, sans underwear. Wow. I feel like a real hardcore biker now! It actually wasn't bad. I was still in a little discomfort, but then again, I spent nearly 4 hours in the saddle, so that was bound to happen at some point. But you know what? It really wasn't all that bad - aside from the fact that I wasn't wearing any underwear. It made the ride a lot more bearable.

I ended up having a really nice long ride. I ended up going up into Santa Rosa County, getting really lost, and eventually finding my way back. Yes - I did have a map of the area, but what can you do when you may have entered an entireley different state (I may have crossed into Alabama briefly before turning around. Oops! But I still had a blast) I was supposed to run today, but because of hamstring/IT band issues changed my endurance run to an endurance bike. My leg actually feels totally fine right now and I probably could have run on it today and still bee fine, but as I've got a massage scheduled for tommorow morning, I'll just have my massage therapist go over it for me and make sure all the bad stuff is out.

So there you have it. We learn something new every day. And I guess that from now on, if you see me wearing bike shorts, well, you'll know one thing I won't be wearing.

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