Cycling myths: for and against

Whilst browsing the internet, I came across a few articles talking about some of the myths to do with cycling. When it comes to long held beliefs, some people can become very passionate in their arguments. I thus bring you three of the biggest myths and what both sides have to say. Whose side are you on?

Sex before a race can hamper your performance

  • Believers
    Those who support this theory say that sex within the days before a big race can reduce your speed and endurance, and thus your overall performance in the race. This may be due to you becoming tired or drained after a session of love-making. Some people also say that it is because they get distracted, and their head is no longer “in the game”.
  • Non-believers
    There is new information to suggest that sex before a race can actually increase your performance. In fact, due to the toxins released after sex, you are more likely to have a deeper sleep and wake up feeling better and more ready for the race.

At the end of the day, it is an individual decision. If you believe that sex within the days leading up to a race will have an effect on you performance on the road (negative or positive) then it will.
Tip
: If you do have sex in the days leading up to a big race, try stick to the more simple positions so as not to cause any injury.

Shaving your legs… serves some sort of purpose?

  • Believers
    A few of the reasons for shaving one’s legs include: making you more streamlined (thus improving performance); to prevent infection when crashing; and, for comfort when receiving a leg massage.
  • Non-believers
    There are no studies that have been able to prove that shaving makes you more streamlined. In terms of causing infection, a deep wound will have dirt in it, so a few hairs will not make too much of a difference; and if the wound requires stitches, it will be shaven and cleaned in any case (medics are more likely than not to have a razor included in their equipment). Lastly, when receiving a leg massage, it comes down to personal preference (some people say it is uncomfortable with hair, while others have no problem with it).

Many people say that shaving your legs is just a way of showing off the definition of your muscles. Although, once again, if you feel that shaving your legs will help your performance, who are we to say that it won’t.
Tip
: If it is the first time you are shaving (men), use scissors to trim the hair before you use the razor.

Drinking lots of water improves performance

  • Believers
    Probably the most controversial topic I came across was to do with how much water you should consume during a race. Some say that you should be consuming up to 2 litres of water in a race, so as not to dehydrate.
  • Non-believers
    Others say that “drier is faster”. Although this is a very old saying and you may argue that it is a dangerous one. One of the main reasons for this argument is that water absorption adds weight and thus reduces speed.

On both sides of this argument, too little water may cause fatigue and dehydration; while too much water can also cause harm, or even be fatal (caused by hyponatremia). So it all comes down to your body weight, air temperature, diet, and activity.
Tip
: Drink when you feel like you need it, never force yourself to drink more than you want to.

So, what is it that you believe to be true?