Having become quite comfortable breaking the rules, more than a couple on the screenshot above even, I’ve resisted the urge to signal membership in the cycling collective. As one might reasonably guess, that time is done, at least temporarily. But, have no fear! I will hold steadfast on my other violations.
First of, I am surprised that anyone who has shaved their legs does it more than once. What an absolutely horrible experience. I leg shaving is just another entry to the amazingly long list of things that I haven’t given women proper credit for enduring. Can someone pass the Band-Aids and ointment please?
Reasonably, one might ask what has prompted this change in attitude? The answer, like most things I do for cycling, speed. Or more specifically, the potential for speed – validation was required. The unscientific method of validation was the cycling tool de jure – a time trial.
Because of THE COVID one of the riding groups here on the north side of Chicago “organized” an individual time trial (ITT) using their weekday route, eager to prove our metal amongst the local apex predators some of my friends and I have been participating. Which, while it sucks when you’re actually doing it, the ITT nature of the thing makes for a good way to test changes to the bike, and you. Obviously, because the route is on open roads, and we can’t control for weather (wind, temp, humidity, etc.) it’s not really scientific in the technical sense of the term. Enough prattle. Did shaving the legs make me faster?
Probably, to likely.
As mentioned this isn’t a tightly controlled study, mostly due to weather, but also somewhat due to unfortunately circumstance on my part. I would have preferred to keep everything constant, but having recently destroyed the helmet that I wore on the “baseline” ride, and having the right-side of my S-Works Power Cranks stop reporting power a few days ago. I was rocking a different helmet, and pacing off of left-side only (so not 100% confident in the power numbers as I generally have a slight right dominate power imbalance). With that out of the way, here are the numbers.
Baseline – 1:06:03, or 1:05:58 moving time.
Shaved Legs – 1:05:20
Some of that is probably the new helmet, some of that is probably better pacing (although HR is pretty close), on the flip-side the weather was slightly better in the baseline run, but no matter how you look at it, in ITT terms, 43s (or 38s) is a massive difference.
Will I keep shaving my legs? I don’t know. It was a massive faff, but as a former skeptic, I am convinced that it’s faster, and not just because of the numbers above. I could feel an immediate difference, mostly in the lack of turbulence around my legs. Which was super weird, totally unexpected, and something I just never thought about before.