Monday, March 5, 2007

SPANDEX-What You Need To Know

You wear it ever day. Prance around in front of the mirror, marveling at your muscles bulging through the tight material. But what exactly is this magical fabric every triathlete must come to love and embrace? Where did it come from? Just what can it do?



Spandex was invented in 1959 by DuPont chemist Joseph Shivers. Plenty early enough for cyclists and other people to try it out before it became all highly refined and perfected for triathletes.

What IS it?


Spun from a block copolymer, these fibers exploit the high crystallinity and hardness of polyurethane segments, yet remain "rubbery" due to alternating segments of polyethylene glycol. (Straight from Wikipedia. If you didn't take Organic Chemistry in college and can't draw the polymers, no worries. It's just the science behind the cool things Spandex does!)

Fun Spandexeriffic Facts:

  • can be stretched over 600% without breaking (woah)

  • able to be stretched repetitively and still recover original length (so, say you wear it at your race weight +20, it should still theoretically fit and not be stretched out when you loose the jiggle )

  • lightweight (shave off those seconds! Cheaper than carbon fiber!)

  • abrasion resistant (it won't tear right up your bottom if your legs are rubbing on your seat!)

  • soft, smooth, and supple (feels good!)

  • resistant to body oils, perspiration, lotions, and detergents (wear sunscreen! And for heaven's sake, wash it to rid your spandex of your workout stink!)

  • no static or pilling problem (not like those old wool jerseys!)

Spandex is one cool invention. Most Halloween costumes are made of the stuff because DC Comics superheroes all wore spandex (or so we've come to believe. How else could they get their costumes so skin tight?)

Being a triathlete, you can dress up in it every day. You can wear bright colors. Heck, you can even wear a jersey with a big "S" on the back and not be committed to an institution for playing superhero in public at age 50.Superman Jersey

Have a spandexeriffic day!

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