As cyclists we spend a lot of time in close proximity to the lycra-cladded bodies of other sweaty cyclists. It´s another one of those cycling traditions like shaving your legs that we never dare to question. In my National Spanish road race last weekend I noticed a potent smell coming from a particular rider, so much so that I rapidly changed my position in the peloton. This raises an important question. Should we shower and put on deodorant before a race?!
There are some genuinely hilarious chats on the web around this subject, some claiming it hinders performance by “loosening up” your legs too much. What a load of codswallop. I personally prefer to shower if I have time. It´s that raw connection with the bib shorts (without going into too much detail) that seems somewhat fresher after a shower. I also, generally, put on a bit of antiperspirant. This is not particularly for the benefit of other riders, more for me, knowing that with travel to and from the race I will be out the entire day and would always normally put it on.
After the race the trick is having a set of baby wipes on you to wipe off the grime. I don´t know about you but I am usually covered in gel remains, my own snot and sometimes even worse my pee if it has been a long race and I have been showing off how I can pee while still riding (this goes really well until the wind changes direction).
Then comes that wonderful feeling of showering when finally home. The soap suddenly smells like soap as if you hadn´t noticed it before. You are clean, have worked hard and deserve a humongous meal as a reward.