Going downhill, they exceeded speeds of 50 mph. Uphill, they were grinding out a measly 10. As the College of Charleston Cycling Team climbed the mountains outside Asheville, N.C., different thoughts ran through each of their sweaty, helmeted heads.
Brooks Bostick tried to block out the pain. Brian Arne imagined his competitors suffering just as much as him, if not more. Evan Jacobi focused on a single prayer: “Please be over.”
Soon enough, it was over, and the College’s intramural cycling team could marvel at the steep sections they climbed, including one 21percent incline that their cars had trouble traveling. The Mars Hill Road Race in North Carolina in April was one of 15 competitions the College’s cycling team entered its inaugural year as it traveled the South on weekends, competing in assorted road races, crits and time trials. Two of the team’s riders – Arne and Bostick – competed so well they will race next year in the top college-cycling category against professional racers.
In Charleston, where the terrain is, of course, flat, the intramural team of five men and two women trains by riding across the Isle of Palms, Johns Island or Hampton Park. The team, started by freshman Jake Coleman, is looking for new teammates, and Jacobi ’10, is considering starting an alumni riding group. Interested cyclists should know there are at least two things they can do to fit right in with the team. First, it helps to have spirited opinions on motorists’ responsibilities to share the road safely with bicyclists (and vice versa). Second, shave your legs.
Unlike swimmers, cyclists don’t move much faster when they shave their legs. Instead, it’s done because hairless skin is easier to disinfect and wash clean of gravel, should a rider take a spill while racing. Also, significant impact with the road during a crash can cause hair follicles to be pushed inside skin, causing ingrown hairs. For these reasons, the cycling team proudly sports some of the sleekest calves on campus. In fact, in the world of cycling, it’s uncommon to find competitors with hair on their legs. Some riders even shave their arms.
“If you go to a race and see a guy with hairy legs, you don’t take him seriously,” says Arne. “Shaving shows a commitment to the sport.”
Besides, adds Bostick, “It makes your legs look good. I hate to say it, but it’s true.”
For more information about the College’s cycling team, visit cofccycling.webs.com.