Then comes the age old question for cyclists and and triathletes alike. To shave or not to shave. No, I'm not talking about my face. Yes I know hockey players love to grow their "playoff beards" and not shave until they lose. I'm talking about the legs. I used to make fun of guys who shaved their legs. The first time I saw real cyclists wearing spandex with smooth legs, I laughed and said I would never, ever do that. Guess what, I do both now.
Yes, I shaved my legs for Augusta as I have for many races and long rides. I was stretching in the gym weeks back and noticed two ladies talking about my legs. They felt bad when I noticed, but one asked, are your legs shaved? When I said yes, they both somewhat giggled. Actually so did I. One then said it makes your calves look really big. I wasn't so sure how to take that. My calves were once referred to as "baby dinosaur legs" by my massage therapist Lisa, who also said, if we were flying through the Andes, with a rugby team, I was the one she wanted to sit near, how comforting.
The first time I shaved my leg it was a partial, basically I was taping my lower leg, and ripping the tape off hurt something fierce with my hairy lower extremities. Then the poll question. I put out on Facebook, to all my athlete friends, should I shave my legs for Ironman FL, 70.3 in Haines City. Oh I got quite the responses, and it was funny, which was what I had intended. The overwhelming margin, 47 - 5 in favor of shaving with several smart remarks. And thus, a new race tradition was born.
Do I feel more aerodynamic, no, not really. I'm certainly not fast enough for that to make a difference. It does help getting the wet suit on and off. One thing I did find, when I did have a bike crash early this summer during a training ride. Cleaning the cuts and road rash, was a lot easier, and those cuts healed way quicker then my arm and elbow where there was still hair. No I didn't shave my arms, what am I a freak?
As I pack my gear bag for Augusta, GA, I have to smile. I know I've come a long way since the first time I organized for a race. I had a great track workout, this week. I feel strong enough and mentally ready. I also feel like a little kid, waiting to wake up and go on that trip my parents promised so long ago. I tired on the wet suit this morning. I've made my gear list, checked it twice, and off for a few last minutes errands and get ready and pack the car.
Oh yeah, legs shaved... check. AUGUSTA OR BUST!!!