So I was stretched out in the tub, slicing a thin, proscuitto-like ribbon from my shin, and I realized that no one had ever taught me how to ... you know ... uh ... shave. In fact, it's a ubiquitous component of a racer's life and it's never - ever - discussed.
(Well, actually, that's not true. I discussed the topic on the mic at the Novato Crit, but no one was there but a few juniors and their justifiably-shocked and repulsed parents. Anyway, nothing meaningful was discovered.)
Not only do I not know how to do it well, I am not certain I grasp the concensus view (if there is one) on WHY we do it. I have heard the ridiculous reasons: aerodynamics, sweat facilitation, pore breathing. I have heard the obvious ones: sexy, chicks dig it, highlights the hyper-developed quad groups. I have heard the logical one: easier to clean and bandage road rash.
The best conclusion that this grazing prey animal can fathom is that it's a hybrid of two reasons: tradition (that vampire-slayer of logic) and legitimacy. It is one of the beautiful traditions of a sport that thrives on legend and history. French history. Voila!! And who really takes seriously the dude in the peloton with the Saskwatch legs? Ewwww...
Now, the upper-division questions:
- Can a male racer (let's say Cat 3 and above) legitimately use a women's branded razor?
- Is there a trick to getting the shins, the kneecap and the back of the knee (whatever that's called) without fileting yourself like lox?
- What He-man brand of cream and straight edge do Brian Bosch and Rich Juarez use? Or do they just rip it out by the roots with their teeth? (Please please don't tell me they wax.)
- Is it true that not a single one of the Metromint guys need to shave?
- Is there a special, traditional french name for the soigneur who does the pros? How much does he get paid? Are there benefits? Is it worth it?
- How many blades does it take to clean up Mark Patton? Or Alex Candelario, for god's sake?
- Exactly how high can I go without losing credibility for all the aforementioned justifications excepy "sexy?"
- If the road rash reason is paramount, shouldn't we be shaving our arms as well? Oh, hell. Was I supposed to be?? No wonder I have no legitimacy.