Friday, June 8, 2012

Yeah, I'm One of Those Guys

Having some Midwestern mountain bike friends visiting this week really made me think, “Gasp! Should I ride with baggies or not!? What are they going to think about my shaved legs!?”. 

When I started mountain biking in the Midwest, it was always considered taboo to ride in just bike shorts and would most certainly result in ridicule. When I came out to Colorado, that same mind set lasted about a year for me until I really started to put in a lot of road miles where riding with bike shorts without baggies is not only accepted, you kind of look like the black sheep if you're seen road biking with baggies. Not too long after I started riding non-baggy during my off-road efforts as well. It may seem trivial, but when you ride as much as I do having one less layer to deal with makes a huge difference. Not only is it more comfortable, it's one less item you have to wash. Plus, you don't have to worry about the occasional catching of the baggies on the saddle case scenario. This isn't to say I've completely shunned baggies altogether. My rule is that if I'm on the road or on the hardtail race rig really pushing the pace I'm in bike shorts. If I'm on the full suspension and taking it easy I'm in baggies: more all-mountain style. And of course, when in a group ride I always follow the dress code that everyone else is wearing.

Now that I've explained the baggy or not topic, on to why I shave my legs. Now it's not like I bought a bike and bunch of gear and instantly started shaving my legs the day I began biking. It wasn't until mountain biking for six years and my second year of endurance racing in Colorado before I started shaving. It all started when I decided to 'trim' my leg hair two days before the Firecracker 50. The day before the race I went for short ride to warm up the legs with a friend who insured me that my 'trimmed' legs looked terrible and shaving them would actually be an improvement. I went to the store, bought a razor, and the shaving of the legs began. At first I was shy about my newly smooth legs, but I quickly came to the realization that I deserved to shave my legs. That's right, I DESERVE TO! Each year I put in thousands of miles and hours training. Each vein and muscle that protrudes through my skin is a medal of honor to me, and damn it I'm going to show them! Besides, if I want sponsors to take me as a serious endurance mountain bike racer I better look the part. If you look at the rest of the top finishers you'll be hard pressed to see hairy legs standing on the podium. Nuff said!