In a post I wrote the other day I made mention of purchasing a pair of Specialized RBX Pro cycling shorts on sale. I have been riding on bottom of the line shorts (<$35 per pair) for the last year or so.
So, are a pair of shorts worth another $115 per pair (or less, I got mine on sale at my LBS)? A qualified ABSOLUTELY. Now, I’ve never tried anything middle of the road so this is like comparing a Ferrari with a Mazda. The Mazda will technically do everything right and be fast but a Ferrari is, well, a Ferrari – it’s faster than hell but smooth about it.
That said, having ridden in the cheap shorts for somewhere around 4,000 miles, after one ride in a good pair of shorts, the guy at the bike shop was right – at least as far as going from the affordable shorts to a more expensive pair… The difference is comparable to this: Riding a hundred miles and riding a hundred miles whilst getting a nice massage about the bum and thighs.
I love riding centuries but they'll be a lot more fun without a sore ass afterwards. The cheap shorts did their job, riding on a saddle with maybe a millimeter or two of padding is impossible without a chamois, be the difference between an expensive chamois and a cheap one is huge.
Now, it must be stated here, when I picked my new shorts the chamois felt way too stiff. Trying them on felt odd and walking in them felt foreign… BUT once my butt hit the saddle, all was forgotten. It was absolutely surprising how comfortable they felt – and the strangest part was that I could feel the saddle better too. I was able to instinctively find my happy spot on the saddle rather than having to search for it with my derrière – or sit bones, if you prefer the less humorous but more accurate description…
For the future, I’ll check with my shop owner to see if there’s anything out there comparable but maybe a little more affordable, if there isn’t, the shorts will follow my normal theory of cycling relativity: Buy the best you can afford but never try any upgrade that you can’t – because once you find out what you’ve been missing it’s too hard to go back. It’s all relative, baby.
I’m something of an avid bowler. I’m not very good, maybe slightly above average with a 170 average though I would be capable of better with some regular practice (our league bowls every other Sunday evening through the fall, winter and into spring… that’s all I bowl). The reality is that I really don’t want to put any more time or effort into it and my teammates are happy with me as I am. Our team consists of my good friend, a friend of my father-in-law’s who ended up helping me get my first job in construction more than 15 years ago, his wife and the wife of a passed friend who was very dear to me. She took over for Mrs. Bgddy a few years ago when my wife grew tired of bowling and trying to wake the kids up on Monday morning from staying up an hour passed their bedtime. My buddy is the best of us at bowling and while we’re not all that good, with our handicap we usually manage to come in above average in points at the end of the season. This year we’re tied for fourth out of 16 or 17 teams but we lose the tiebreaker due to pin count and after last night we’ve only got one more chance to take fourth place (first, second and third are too far out of reach).
We showed up last night, all four of us, with our A games and we were set to play the sixth place team. Our ranking showed we were very evenly matched. The first game was a dead heat by the third frame but we pulled together as a team and bowled our asses off to stay even all the way through into the tenth. We all had a better than average tenth and ended up winning by only 26 pins – I finished the first game with a 192.
The second game looked the same until they really charged hard around the seventh frame and even though I finished with a 202, my buddy got his average and the two ladies killed it – we finished with a higher total than the first game, we didn’t have enough and got creamed in the second game by more than 80 pins. It would have been enough to piss off the Pope.
The third and last game started out just like the first two and remained neck and neck all the way till the tenth frame again. Of the seven possible points for the evening (2 points per game and 1 point for total pin-fall plus handicap) we knew the best we could do would be four points (totals were well out of our reach). We had the best team tenth frame I can remember us ever having and pulled out the victory. I was marginally better than my average (8 pins) but the rest of the team really came through in a pinch.
In the end, we gave it everything we had but we only took four points away from that effort (seven would have assured us of a solid fourth place going into the last week). We gave it our all and it just wasn’t good enough, but we left with smiles and high-fives. If there’s pain associated with giving it your best and falling a little short that isn’t character – that’s your ego messing with you… When I’ve given my best, when I don’t hold back or leave anything on the course, place no longer matters – place is just a nice cherry on top of the whipped cream.