Real Reasons Tri-Guys Shave for Triathlon
A lighthearted look at
why guys shave for triathlon
Hazen Kent -
For years I have heard a variety of reasons why male
triathletes shave their body hair and primarily their
legs and I guess to some extent, they all have their
place in the annals of “justification”.
If you were to break down the triathlon into its
three components, swim, bike and run, shaving is only
considered necessary in two of the three: swimming and
of these, cycling is the most common.
And because you are a triathlete, you now qualify
for the label of “cyclist”.
This of coarse gives you the green light to shave
your legs. But
there are other issues to deal with…such as our
guys, shaving our legs is a big step, especially for the
first time! Nestled among our newfound lifestyle of cool
bikes, hard-bodies, testosterone and ego mania, is
this… “chick” thing… called shaving your legs.
And although it is a “tri-thing” men can’t
help but treat it like a “chick” thing… and become
unglued at though of it!
Nowhere does this show more than we do the
shopping at the grocery store. The innate act of
grabbing razors and shaving cream off the shelves takes
on a whole new meaning. We have now crossed the line.
No longer are we purchasing these instruments to
cut away at that burley five-oclock shadow. Now we are
searching for a way to make our legs silky smooth and it
changes our whole persona.
I am reminded of Michael Keaton searching for
feminine products while grocery shopping during the
leave the safety and comfort of the Cookies and Dessert
Isle, we unconsciously push our cart around the corner
and come face to face with…
palms begin to sweat.
We can only hope that the isle is clear…
Friday afternoon, and the grocery store is packed. We nervously clear our throats, and begin whistling and “
ho-humming” our way down the isle waiting for the
it becomes a matter of strategy as we take a James
Bond-like approach to the razor purchase.
And once the coast is clear, we face the razor
rack, glance to our left, glance to our right, and
snatch the pack of blades from the hook and quickly
throw them into the shopping cart.
Now we coolly
head for the shortest route out of the isle as we
shift into ‘”browse”
heart begins to rush as the sweat on your palms reaches
the viscosity of water.
You turn to greet this familiar voice and your
worst nightmare comes true.
Its your burly, macho neighbor. And keeping with
his Baby Huey ways he slaps you on the back, knocking
you three feet forward.
the hell are ya?”
your hand was caught in the cookie jar, your eyes widen
and you nervously laugh.
Unconsciously you clear your throat, only this
time you reach deep into your diaphragm and give a low,
macho, bellowing, baritone-like response…
“Just buying some ‘blades, you know…guy stuff.”
And you speed off repeating to yourself… “He
knows, he knows, oh how I am going to explain my shaved
it won’t be long before this “chick thing’ becomes
you will find yourself arguing with your mate as to who
left the dull razor in the shower.
And although I now perform this ritual once or
twice a week, I am still seeking the real reason WHY?
After years of approaching cyclists with this
question, about four reasons seem to come up the most:
1.Aerodynamics – With regards to cycling, this is one
reason I have a hard time believing.
Shaving to become “aero” applies to swimmers
primarily and we will touch on that in a moment.
2. The Bike Crash –
There’s an old adage that applies to cyclists and it
goes something like this - “there are two types of
cyclists, those that have fallen (wiped out) and those
that will.” If
you have never experienced the pure joy of feeling your
elbow, hip or the palms of your hand become one with the
asphalt, then be patient…you will!
Especially, if you plan on sticking with this
sport. The more mileage you put on your bike, the higher
the odds of you being inaugurated into this unfortunate
the shaved legs, I am told, helps the healing process
– no hair to contribute to infection and Band-Aids
peel off much easier.
3. The Rub-Down. I
have heard that rubdowns and/or massages, are more
affective when applied to a hairless leg.
4. Keeps You Cooler.
Finally shaved legs are much cooler than hairy
legs in the hot summer.
swimmers, shaving down has always been a tradition and
is both physically and psychologically beneficial.
Physically, most swimmers, men and women remain
as hairy as possible throughout the most intense part of
their training usually during the winter months.
That’s right, women too – specifically their
a proper taper in preparation for a major swim meet, the
swimmer will shave his/her legs, arms, back, and men
will shave their chest and even their head. The removal
of the body hair is said to reduce drag or water
resistance allowing the swimmer to slip through the
water and thus swim faster. But the real fact is, shaving for a swimmer is primarily
have shaved my chest, arms, legs, and even my head twice
and only a true swimmer can understand the feeling of
diving into a 76-degree pool completely shaved… You
do triathletes shave, especially if they wear a wetsuit
when they swim?
really is no need.
then I remembered something my old swim coach used to
say and do. As
the winter season was coming to a close and spring was
just around the corner (we used to swim outdoors year
round), each afternoon just after we stretched and just
prior to beginning workout, he would make us lay down on
the deck to get a tan.
quote, “because, when you look good, you feel good,
and when you feel good, you swim good.”
face it…most of us keep our legs shaved throughout our
triathlon training because it looks and feels pretty
yes, even the chicks dig it…once you sell them on the
idea that you are a triathlete and throw in a few of those
BS reasons mentioned above.
My wife sure doesn’t complain.
basically, shaving is an ego thing…and so what if it
what the hell…
Keep your legs shaved, stir up some controversy,
look cool, feel good and hall ass in your next race!