The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Not Gonna Do It 

I remember when I was first training for my first triathlon last year, my friend Stephanie asked "So are you going to shave your legs?". First of all, at the time, I wasn't even sure if I was going to do more than that one triathlon. So was I really going to shave my legs for a single race? I don't think so. "But you'll swim faster." True, but then again, a Speedo would help too, and at the time that wasn't going to be happening either. Not surprisingly, the whole conversation generated quite a lot of laughter on her part. Now I wear a wetsuit, so shaving my legs wouldn't speed up my swim any since they are covered.

So now a year later, I'm reading a book by John Mora called Triathlon 101. It's a good book for novice triathletes, or people who are considering getting into the sport. I'll admit that I may be at the edge of "novice" now, but I still find some of the nuggets useful, and I'm not done with the book yet. In the bike training chapter, there is a small section called "Why Do Male Triathletes Shave Their Legs?":

That is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions by newcomers to the sport. Competitive cyclists have been shaving their legs for many years, primarily because it reduces the vulnerability to infection from road rash, which is a scraping away of a layer of skin from a fall off the bike (a fairly common occurrence among pack-riding cyclists). Hairless legs also make care and treatment of road rash much easier and less painful.

Triathletes shave for the same reason, although road rash is not as common due to the less hazardous nature of time trialing. There are several other reasons male triathletes choose to shed their leg hair:
  • It's easier to massage your legs or have a therapist work on them without hair.
  • You can get in and out of a wetsuit faster.
  • It's easier for your body to be marked with your race number before a triathlon.
  • Some triathletes feel that it helps keep their legs cooler during a hot run.
  • You can show off your fabulous triathlete legs.

Of course those are all excellent reasons, and an incredibly well thought out argument for leg shaving. So now I will provide my far less thought out, and maybe silly reasons for not shaving my legs:
  • I shave my face every day. Now you're telling me that I have to maintain yet another part of my body through shaving?
  • Ingrown hairs and stubble.
  • It took time and energy to grow that hair. Now you want me to throw all that away with the swipe of a blade?
  • I like how my hairy legs look, thank you very much. I believe they contribute to my masculine physique.
  • Winters get cold here. Shhhhh... don't tell me I can grow it out again in the winter.
  • I'm a guy.

So, just for the record, I will be keeping my hairy legs. Also for the record, I do wear a Speedo under my wetsuit, but I feel like I'm smuggling fruit while I'm wearing it.


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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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