(If you are at all queasy or prone to being disgusted easily, skip over this post. Don't say I didn't warn you.)
I sweat so much. I mean, buckets aren't enough. While hiking on vacation in Oregon, the entire back side of me was dripping. Dripping, I tell you.
When cycling, though, it isn't just sweat I deal with. No, as if that weren't enough my body also produces copious amounts of snot while I ride. If the morning is at all brisk, I'm in real trouble.
Some Observations Related to My "Condition"
1. I think this contributes to my propensity to dehydrate while riding.
2. My gloves (the terry thumb/wipe) and helmet pads have reached what I like to call Terminal Physical Carrying Capacity (TPCC). When TPCC is reached, the originally-absorbent material can now no longer absorb anything.
When I first started to approach TPCC with my gloves and helmet pads, I wasn't sure if I had washed them in some time. Therefore, to restore what I thought would be the Normal Operating Absorbency (NOA) of the materials in question, I washed them.
This demonstrates the first, and perhaps easiest, way to tell the material has reached TPCC: No amount of washing can restore the material to NOA. In fact, once TPCC has really been reached (sometimes the actual point of reaching TPCC, or the TPCC Moment (TPCCM), is difficult to pin down), no amount of cleansing with any type of detergent/cleaner/stain remover can bring it back out of this state. Hence: Terminal. This has, in fact, been demonstrated time and again by independent labs.*
Another way to tell if you have reached TPCC, or even are approaching it, is by examining the fabric itself. Though this sometimes can be apparent by the discoloration of the material, it is most obvious by feel.
For instance, currently, when I wipe either a) my nose, or b) my brow, the end result is similar to to wiping these same areas with 60-grit sandpaper. That is: it hurts. Also, this quality of TPCC materials has also been studied at some length at the university-level.**
A Conclusion to This Horrible Treatise
As it turns out, both my gloves and my helmet were designed with other uses in mind. Because of this, I am not quite ready to throw them away/burn them/blast them into outer space. Presumably, my helmet would still protect my head in a crash. Same goes with my gloves--well, except they wouldn't protect my head, but my hands--unless, of course, by putting out my hands, I prevent my head from hitting any object and thereby protect my head as well. In the spirit of using it until it wears out, I will, therefore, continue to use my gloves and my helmet.
* This isn't true. No tests have been performed.
** Wrong again. No such study has ever even been dreamed up by so much as a drunken frat boy.