For my birthday last year, my wife bought me a pair of Descente shorts. At the time, I only had one good pair of road shorts, and an extra pair seemed like an extravagance. After wearing them for a few rides, I can say they are head-and-shoulders above my old pair of Pearl Izumi's. I can see why the Descente's cost nearly $200/pair. Really, they fit; they make long rides comfortable and my saddle seem plush. Not to mention that I no longer have a problem with numbness. I believe they are the reason I finished last years Three Rivers Century still ambulatory.
I was talking to my wife about these things, the Tour, and other cycling tidbits I like to lay on her. She does a great job of pretending (at least I thought) to be interested, smiling and nodding her head at the right times.
After her regular weekend grocery run, I noticed my middle boy (a very precocious seven year old) had a Big Shark water bottle. Where did that come from? I asked him about the bottle, and he told me it was a secret that he and mom went to Big Shark to buy some cycling clothes. Really? I promised to keep the secret and helped him carry the groceries inside. Putting everything away, my wife asked if I planned to ride that afternoon. I said yes, and my boy came charging in to the kitchen to tell me the "secret".
The Secret was a new pair of Descente "Strada" shorts. The top-of-the-line kind. I wore them that afternoon, and they're everything they're said to be. They fit as well as my birthday pair, are every bit as functional, and just a tad more comfortable. I'd rate them as "Worth It".
Thank goodness for my wife because this kind of gear I would never buy for myself - as good as it may be. If you think there's nothing to the notion of good shorts being necessary for long rides, think again. Do yourself a favor and spend the money. Or get yourself a good wife and let her do it.