There’s mountain biking on a Colorado morning enveloped in the aroma of a dewey pine forest. Then there’s a coffee ride downtown behind a truck belching black diesel exhaust. There’s the aromatic scent of riding a park bike path through a grove of lilac bushes. Then there’s being behind the retired local bike nut that can’t bring himself to wash let alone throw his reeking Mapai kit away. There’s good manure, when riding past posh Lexington, Kentucky horse farms. There’s bad manure, Eastern Kentucky chicken farms. One of my favorite rides rolls past the Precinct Steakhouse in the beginning and finishes with fresh chocolate chip cookies at the Kellogg factory in Fairfax. At a cyclocross race back in '03 some racers jumped the gun mistaking a rider's pre-race hearty beefy toot for the starters pistol. From florescent green algae covered frog ponds to cemented urban rivers, many rides are defined by their nose. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, smile or cry burning tears, they’re part of the experience.
Usually its nature, or the city or “that guy” that’s the source of the olfactory experience, until this past Thursday’s ride, where the smell emanated from moi. No, I was not wearing a funkified freak show decade’s old Mapai kit. However, someone had the gall to ask me, “What detergent do you use?” At first I felt a moment of hesitation. I quick sniffed my pits. Was it a leading question, leading to, “do you even use detergent?” I braced for the worst and dusted my thoughts for a comeback or at least an excuse. Before I could respond gracefully, she added, “No. I mean your kit smells nice. What detergent do you use?”
I was floored. I’ve been asked about embrocation, training techniques, favorite routes, bar tape and the best place to pee on this stretch of road. You name it. This was the first time someone enquired about laundry detergent and the fine fragrance of my fanny, halfway through a ride I might add. My riding friends from Cincinnati’s hometown Proctor and Gamble will be pleased to know we use new Tide Sport with Febreze, or maybe it's Tide Febreze Sport. Well after further research, the Tide website calls it "NEW Tide plus Febreze Freshness Sport Liquid Laundry Detergent." It boasts that, "Tide plus Febreze Freshness SPORT is specially formulated to fight tough sports stains like grass, dirt, clay, and blood." No mention of roink reek or taint rot on the label, but apparently it works on bike shorts too. After I caught my breath from reading the brand name, I saw it has a picture of a great smelling pretty woman jogger on the label. You can tell she smells wonderful because her shirt is green and it appears she's running on a cloud, which we all know is the worlds best smelling environment for working out in the world. It's a heck of a lot less expensive than Sportwash and single stinky gentlemen take note, it’s obviously a hit with the ladies.