It's spring. It's a time when life springs anew. Farmers plant their crops, little chicks hatch, high school students go to prom, car dealerships and furniture stores have "mega" sales, the race season begins, and me? I shave my legs. Yes, that's my Spring Ritual. Once a year I pull out the Wahl clippers, shear off the winter's growth, slather shaving cream on the legs, and go to work. The result? Legs born anew.
I don't think all cyclists perform this ritual. That's why the Spring Ritual isn't mainstream and doesn't have an official name or date, like Arbor Day. The reason for this that cyclists generally fall into three categories: hairies, year-rounders, and springers. Because there are these three species, it's hard for cyclists to agree on a set date for the Spring Ritual, kind of like Hannukah and Christmas.
For reasons set forth above, I am a springer (more on that later). Regarding the hairies, I give them props for riding two wheeled machines, although more often than not, they drive big diesel F-250s. Manliness is important to the hairies (hence the F-250), and shaving legs just doesn't comport with their image. I'd like to say that hairies really aren't the racer type, but I have to admit that I've been dusted by one or two hairies in my day. In fact, in my mountain bike days, I used to be a hairy and took pride in dropping year-rounders and springers. I also take great pride in converting hairies to the springer team (yes, cousin Chris, admit it, you like shaved legs).
Regarding the year-rounders, I don't fault them for keeping themselves smooth and silky year round. For me, however, it's just not worth the effort, and I generally do not have the "issues" that year-rounders have -- not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, it seems that most year-rounders describe the shaved legged sensation as "spectacular" and "fantastic," and that's with a lisp. (Ok, ok, I'm being overly-stereotypical. If you take offense, I give you license to stereotype my people, but you don't see me carrying a calculator in my jersey pocket do you?)
And then there's the Springers. Some like to think that Springers (not to be confused with Swingers) can't commit to being hairies, and can't commit to be year-rounders. Springers are often characterized as being in and out of the closet at the same time. It's hard for a year-rounder to take a Springer seriously since Springers are so noncommittal. To the year-rounders, I say, lighten up. As a Springer, I don't think staying smooth and silky year round is worth the effort. Plus, being a year-rounder would negate the magnitude of the Spring Ritual.
Plus, at work, I am openly a Springer, despite the persecution I receive. In one instance, I casually mentioned to a co-worker that I had performed my Spring Ritual. He obviously didn't have the reverence for my Spring Ritual that I have for his March Madness Ritual. Some reciprocation would have been nice. I at least demonstrate interest and excitement when he passionately blubbers about this or that comeback or Iowa Tech this and Nebraska State that (what's that? those schools don't exist? that's how much I really care about March Madness!). And I don't say snide things like, man you must put out lots of wattage being a spectator. But intead, he (who I shall hereinafter refer to as the "Pagan") mockingly said, "did you change teams too?" I diverge.
I shouldn't have to defend my Springer status. I shouldn't let the various categories of cyclists cloud the clarity that the Spring Ritual confers. It's Spring. Chicks are hatching and legs are shaved . . .