I’ve previously blogged about frozen groin syndrome when winter cycling. In that post I recommended stuffing a pair of glove liners down there to keep frostbite from one’s nether parts. My new solution is infinitely more elegant. Smartwool makes a pair of merino boxer briefs with a well-placed windproof panel. I present to you the Smartwool PhD NTS Wind Boxer Briefs:
I wish I’d had them on when riding home from a Super Bowl party the other night. Temps were in the low single digits. The ride took an hour. I thought I had layered up perfectly. What a joy it was to ride hard and generate lots of heat, my torso warm and my Levi’s 501 Cords venting the perspiration.
I didn’t have an extra pair of glove liners with me, so my groin got cold. Painfully cold. Then, after a half-hour, the area went mercifully numb.
The trouble was getting home and having the blood return to my frozen crotch. If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in serious temps, skiing, ice fishing, hiking, you know all too well what happens when you get home. The blood returning to your numb finger tips and toes means hours of stinging, searing, aching pain.
I’ve had these windproof boxer briefs for a month, now. This product absolutely works. I’ve ridden my bike three different days in subzero weather. What a difference. They’re expensive, at $50. But that’s the cost of living the outdoor life in Wisconsin. Either that, or stuffing your drawers.
I need to replace a pair of wrap-shades I’ve recently lost. Over the years, I’ve found myself buying Tifosi Optics again and again as a function of budget and comfort.
Tifosi manufactures mid-grade sports eyewear that hits the sweetspot of middling price and more than adequate performance. The build quality is solid; the pair I’ve just lost would’ve held up years longer. Congrats to the person who has found them and not turned them in at Lost-and-Found!
Unfortunately, Tifosi no longer makes that model, called the “Pave.” I try on over thirty (no joke!) different models, at three(!) different bike stores, to no avail. The newer designs don’t fit my face well, at all. Not even their new “Asian Fit” line for smaller, rounder faces feels good.
I ultimately throw up my hands and buy the pair the bike store manager is wearing, simply because they look cool on him. Tifosi calls these the “Dolomite 2.0”
I choose the Dolomites with the photochromic lenses. In the end they feel great on my face. The new, adjustable nose pads are a real improvement and keep them from sliding down my mosly bridge-less, Asian nose. The only problem: the photochromic lenses only darken about halfway. According to the Tifosi site, they should get much darker. I nearly return them.
Thank goodness my wife suggests the lenses might need a “break-in” period. She means repeated exposure to sun then shade, sun then shade. Sure enough, the photochromic properties improve over the course of a week. They’ve now become my favorite pair of glasses in recent memory.
Avoid, at all costs, the Tifosi single-lens design, like this one:
It’s a design fiasco. Durability of Tifosi frames comes from its flexible nylon material. The nylon admirably bends without breaking. HOWEVER, the lens is made of very un-flexible polycarbonate. So, even just a small amount of flex to the bridge (above the nose pads) will crack the lens. A cracked single-lens will forever fall out of the frame.