So, you are a manly man and you have a nice fur base coat on your legs (and most likely your whole body) and you are contemplating shaving them down. As a man that is new to this sport (cycling and triathlon) you have probably noticed that many of the men around you have no hair on their legs. No, this is not a genetic mutation; these guys are shaving their legs. In this two part blog post I will explore the history of shaving and the best methods of said ritual.
Leg shaving for sport originated in the swimming world. Swimmers would (and still do) shave their bodies right before their big swim meets. This process of shaving down would reduce drag, but more importantly give a significant psychological advantage. Over the years cyclists (and hence triathletes) became very jealous of the swimmers and decided to take it upon themselves to shave as well. Ohhhh, but there was a catch. These athletes would shave all the time, not just a couple days a year. Why? Well, there are a few reasons. Ask any male cyclist/triathlete that shaves and 99% of the time they will tell you “I shave my legs so if/when I wreck on my bike I can heal faster.” Wow, what a load of crap. What these guys should really be telling you is “I work my butt off training all the time and my legs are frickin’ ripped and I want everyone to see them…and know that I ride a bike.” Trust me, I have taken a good number of spills (with and without shaved legs) and I can assure you that the healing time is the same.
Now you are reading this and asking yourself “Okay Mr. Blogger, yes, my legs look great but there certainly needs to be some more reasons.” My answer to you is YES, there are some more reasons. I actually never used to give out my reasons for shaving because I didn’t want others to use them, but since you have committed your time to reading this blog, I will share with you my three reasons:
- Massage. If I am training a lot, and my legs are looking good, then I am getting frequent massage. Hairy legs and massage don’t go together.
- Food. When I am training and racing I tend to spill energy gel, sticky energy drinks, etc. on my legs. One drop of energy gel in the ‘ol hairy legs is not good.
- Triathlon Gods. If you are doing an Iron distance then you should shave your legs just to appease the Triathlon Gods. On the flip side, nothing makes other cyclists/triathletes madder than getting beat by a man with hairy legs!
Thankfully you have now read this and are sold on the idea of shaving, and are armed with at least two good reasons why you should shave. Now you have to actually do the shaving….stay tuned next time for The Methods of Leg Shaving.