I have the second to last race of the regular season in about 3.5 hours and one of the major sponsors of our team is going to be there. I need 22 more points to move to the category 2 level and to be honest, I am pretty freaking excited. Category 2 was described to me by a friend in California as the point when the only way to do better is to start taking drugs. No drugs yet but this sponsor does load me up on protein shake which I guzzle down regularly so I feel obligated to show my respects. Pre race preparation involves me standing naked in my shower and shaving almost all of the hair off my body. I particularly enjoy this to be honest but I get a lot of people doubting my methods and habits. So here is my reply.
If you go to any cycling race, you will be hard pressed to find someone who has not removed all the hair off his body or at least their legs. It is just the way us cyclists do it. The official reasons for us to shave are 1) Should we crash, skin is easier to be repaired without hair to be ripped off every time you pull the tape off. 2) When you are receiving a very strong massage, you don’t want hairs to be pulled as your hot masseuse is finding that deep tissue in your upper leg. 3) A 2% efficiency gain due to wind resistance.
The first two reasons above cannot really be argued but I am sure there are some people a little hesitant about the validity to the third point. It would be almost impossible to prove this under real race circumstances and for each rider it might be different. But in the sport of cycling, when you are sitting in relatively the same position for hours and doing a repetitive motion tens of thousands of times, the slightest efficiency gain can prove to work dividends over the long run. In the triathlon world, they call these things “aeros” and there are all sorts of things you can do to help you shave (no pun intended) seconds off your time. In the picture to the left, Bradley is using a disc rear wheel which is one of the largest aero savers as well as the lay down bars he is using. I have been told that a small change in your seat or shoes can add a mile per hour to your pace which again is a huge distance to over 160km. So why not save 3 seconds and shave your body?
But unless you are getting third in the tour de france, these things really might not mean too much. So there must be another reason why we shave. Narcissism. A competitive cyclist trains for a good amount of hours during which they are specifically focused on making their legs as strong and durable as possible. The minutes before a race, the riders are mingling around straddling their bike and quietly checking out the competition. A competitor with some ripped legs will always instil a little respect. Truth be told, this has nothing to do with the way they perform but it is an easy way to command some respect without even doing anything. Shaving some muscular legs will enhance the visual effect immensely.
I often catch myself staring at my calves as I am walking or doing a squat in the mirror to see if I have any new muscles on the quads.
So why shave the rest of your body? Good question. Imagine you are cutting your lawn and at the back of your garden there is some really long growth that starts to blend in with the regular lawn. At what point do you stop? If I just shaved my legs, I would have this underwear of hair always which would look more ridiculous than had I shaved it all off. Where do you draw the line? You could say that you only show the lower parts of your legs so why do the rest? Well I do have to see the rest and that would just be weird for me.
I shave my whole body minus the butt and lower back. Fortunately I am not that hairy in those areas and I do not see those areas really. I have a few friends who enjoy the pleasures of a good butt licking, and to them I say, for shame. But more to the point, who is this girl not minding a hairy butt hole because I know these friends are particularly hairy people. I think that a girl should be trimmed in the front, doesn’t have to be everything but it at least needs to be tended to and kept short. I think the stimulation during a good round of sex between two well trimmed and clean people is far better than the hairy cave man/woman route.
I do use hair trimmers for my shaving and not a razor, to save time as well as avoid the extremely uncomfortable stubble stage. When that hair starts to poke out of the skin, it can be brutal on cycling clothing, another persons crotch, and to yourself since you want to itch always. Keep it short, but keep it soft.
I have helped Charles wax his back in the past but I think usually he argues that girls love a soft hairy man. I am not so convinced. Thoughts?