Sunday, July 5, 2015

Slip Slidin' Away

While I often think Ironman training is 90 percent mental, the enormity and complexity of the physical challenge means that we spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about and caring for our bodies. The Facebook tri groups I belong to are full of graphic threads about pooping and saddle sores, women wondering about bras and waxing, men concerned about bleeding nipples and hiding their crown jewels behind race bibs. 

If these things don't appeal to you, just stop reading. Seriously, it's going to get much worse. Right now.

There are extended serious discussions about peeing on the bike--whether to do it, how to do it well. Where the rest stops are, how much time it takes to get off your bike to use a toilet. How to balance it against your goal finish time. Yes. Pee on your bike. To save time. Just let 'er rip. You have to practice during your training in order to overcome the 45 years of conditioning against it, you know. I practiced last year, then decided that I could sacrifice 90 seconds from a 14 hour race in order to not smell and feel my own urine for the next 8 hours. I believe I will maintain the policy this year.

Even if you opt for the Satellite option in the race, your skin takes a real beating with all these hours in wet neoprene and lycra, with your most delicate nether-regions needing the most coverage and therefore subjected to the most contact and the highest risk of chafing.

Fortunately, there are products designed to keep your parts moving in a way that won't have you screaming obscenities by the midpoint of the bike. I use three of them.

I would buy Hoo-Ha Ride Glide for its name alone. Formulated especially for women, this slick little lube is good for the boys too. It's meant to be used in the cycling shorts, but I find that the tea tree and eucalyptus and peppermint oils are a little too...tingly. Instead, I slather it all over my ankles and wrists and neck before putting on the wetsuit. It keeps me from chafing around the neck, and the suit slips right off when the wetsuit peelers have their way with me after the swim. God, I just love that part.

And let me just tell you. My lady parts are in love with Chamois Butt'r, the go-to product for preventing saddle sores and chafing on the bike. Thick and creamy, just the right consistency, not greasy. Lasts a long time. Smells not too much like anything. Contains aloe vera, green tea leaf extract, tea tree oil, shea butter and lavender oil. One of my goals in yesterday's 114-mile ride was to practice re-applying while on the move. If you are a resident of Winterport who casually glanced out your window on the Fourth of July and happened to see a middle-aged woman standing on a bike at 15 miles an hour with her hand all the way down her shorts moaning with pleasure, I'm not sure what to tell you. I'm sorry you had to see that. It's not what you think. It might have been even better than that. At least for me. I really am sorry.

And finally, Body Glide. Applied like deodorant. Great staying power. I use it around my neck for the swim, and on the run under the bra line, and on the tricky spot where my inside arm rubs against the side seam.

These and other intimate products are available at Sidecountry Sports in Rockland, Maine. Stop in or order online.

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