Friday, November 15

Too hot to handle... my balls.

And here it is, the article that was too much for Dirt Rag.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I'll enjoy that extra hour's sleep I got this morning come 2:00AM tonight... errrrr, tomorrow.

Have you seen my furuncle?

Photo cred: Tim Dougherty
Cycling, and mountain biking in particular, is a sport wrought with danger. The risk of life and limb are a constant threat, and a trip to a medical facility is almost inevitable if you stay at it long enough. Broken bones, road rash, head trauma... all manner of things will see you lying on a gurney while a healthcare industry professional stares at your affected body parts and let’s out an audible “Tsk, tsk, tsk” under his/her breath. Nasty accidents can have the incidental benefits of sweet scars and even better stories, but certain conditions may force you to seek medical attention with little to no associated bragging rights.

I’ve been there, on the fresh white sheet of butcher paper, wearing the open back robe and a look of shame. When asked to lift my loose fitting garment, certain parts of me were moved aside, pulled, and tossed asunder in order to get a look under my hood. I know women are occasionally subjected to this objective treatment at their gynecologist’s office, but for me it was a totally new experience. It was hard enough to admit to the nurse what I was doing there, but the real moment of awkwardness came when my female doctor had my baby makers lifted high in the air to get a much closer look at my saddle sores.

This condition that cyclists often times suffer from comes in many varieties, and the terms used to describe the problem hardly make good dinner conversation; ischial tuberosity, chafing, folliculitis, furuncles, and ulceration. Fancy five dollar words with a Dr Seuss ring to them aside, we’re talking about an irritating bump on your nether regions that’s a direct result of the very activity that it hinders. I’ve been dealing with them for over twenty years, and I wish I had some good advice for you, but other than seeing a doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics or taking up knitting, your options are limited.

Some experts will tell you to take a warm bath. Supposedly the warm water will cause your capillaries to distend, increasing your blood flow, bringing the infection closer to the skin. This will “bring it to a head,” which is a polite way of saying that you will have a miniature volcano of pus on your taint. The whole process of soaking in the tub seems too indirect, a sort of passive resistance Gandhi type approach. I am not the kind of guy that can draw a hot bath, light some candles, turn up the Enya, and soak for an hour. As a multi-tasker, the whole idea seems like a huge waste of time. Since I read all my magazines within twenty-four hours of receiving them and I don’t want to drown a library book, I have looked at other options to entertain myself as I sit waist deep in bubbles. While soaking my furuncles, I have trued a wheel, mended worn out gloves, and even sorted the small parts tray of my toolbox. These tasks were made difficult due to my position in the tub, the proximity of my workspace in relation to the water, and the low, flickering light of the candles... though I did enjoy the Enya.

Although I know better, sometimes the frowned upon but most direct approach seems like the way to go. This involves a safety pin, a handheld mirror, putting a foot on the counter while standing in front of the vanity, and a steady hand. Poking, prodding, and squeezing are at the top of the “things you shouldn’t do list,” but desperate times call for even more desperate measures. Sometimes I get results, but most of the time I end up with a bigger problem than when I started. From personal experience I can tell you that you do not want to try this the night before a big race or a long ride. My success rate with this method is in the 10% range, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned it’s that I’ll never learn. My only advice to you if you choose to go this route is to lock the door before you start. The last thing you want is for your significant other to walk in on you hunched over with your leg in the air, a mirror in one hand, and a safety pin in the other... unless you don’t mind putting your sex life on hold until she can remove the burned image from her retinas.

Right now, as I’m writing this, I have a plump sore residing in the chamois area of my backside. I’m not sure if it is of the ischial tuberosity or folliculitis type, but I do know that I’m leaving it alone now. Its presence is the direct result of an increase in saddle time and the rising temperatures of summer working in combination to create a swampy area where the wild things are. I’m not concerned as of yet, since my new friend hasn’t been around long enough for me to name it, and I probably have enough time between my bigger events to let it heal naturally. It’s way too soon to go down there with sharp objects, and since I can’t find my Enya CD, I’m just going to take the wait-and-see approach... for now.


Mike said...

Baggy shorts. Since I switched, no serious sores. Matt Fusco explained it to me as the friction happens between the baggy and the chamois rather than the shorts and my skin. Whatever, it's worked so far for me.
Of course, this weekend, I will probably develop a huge furuncle now.

Gordon said...

They will publish a horrifically written article about Missy Giove but won't publish a well written, entertaining and informative article on saddle sores. DR is loosing is mojo.

TheMutt said...

Coin purse!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you will be absent from future Dirt Rags, but I must say I get more laughs and take-aways from your blog. This is a prime example. Great stuff. Thanks for sayin' it as only you can.

This take-away - 10% ain't good odds...


Anonymous said...

Ischial tuberosity is a part of your pelvis not a type of saddle sore...just sayin'

Rob said...

HAHAAH Great tale dicky! Loved the imagery your words evoked.

Anonymous said...

"The one thing I've learned is that I'll never learn".


SST said...

who reads mags anymore anyway.. fuck um..
your hitting the the nail on the head with this.. mtn biking has become a tad too much middle aged.. big money, big trucks, low miles, less skills.. big opinions as to what mtn biking is.. fuck those assholes.

heres a couple tips for you however..

don't wear dirty shorts... get out of those fuckers as soon as your done son.. chamois time ain't training time.. shower or clean that "area" up ASAfuckingP
of course you know all this.. buy your still having problems.. ? mmm.
your seat is prolly too high
your saddle it prolly worn out or a piece of shit cause it weighs 4.26495313grams less then the lightest shit out there..
don't just continued to fuck yourself up.. change some shit around til you don't get fucking sores anymore.
fuck tighten up.

this isn't directed towards you dicky boy..unless your guilty of being suck in your own rut..

good read.. got me to type some shit and I never do that..
good day sir.

dicky said...

Damn. It musta been rejected based on medical disinformation.

"Ischial tuberosity," my ass.

John parker said...

That pile o bacon is a little to close to your spooge of shammy lube for my taste.....

if u have neve grown a croch cricket and I am not sure u are a real's just gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

This being my 5th year as a pa. Xc and cx race rider in my late 30's...39 actually, I developed these growths. With small mirror in left hand and leatherman wave in my right I squeezed and pinched istill I could take no more. I then applied polysporin before bed for 3 nights and infected area was reduced. Bump remains, pain does not.

Anonymous said...

You took a leatherman to your junk? Wow.

Anonymous said...

For the record, this little tale was submitted before I took over the ship. I ran a story about your leaky bowls so I imagine I would have said yes to your lumpy sack.
That was weird to say.

Anonymous said...

It's all pink on the inside!

Anonymous said...

Never tried this myself but some guys swear that applying Vagisil to a saddle sore will almost miraculously clear it up over night.

Anonymous said...