Look Pro, Part V: The Power of Hair

Which has helmet hair and which has clenbuterol? Photo: REUTERS/Lionel Bonaventure/Pool

The power of hair is not to be underestimated. Especially when it comes to having it carefully disheveled, with little bits poking out of the vents of your helmet. Indeed, hair sticking out of your helmet vents can be thought of as a conduit to The V; the strands reaching into the Ether, channeling its power like a lightening rod into your very being.

Anybody watching Amstel Gold on Sunday would have seen that Andy Schleck dangled off the front of the bunch until 500 meters to go, before being swallowed whole by a certain speeding Gilbertron. Granted, the final 500 meteres happen to be the longest meters in any race – even more so for the guy hanging off the front – but never-the-less, it is uncommon to watch the Grimplette get passed going uphill. There was something missing from his pedal stroke, a certain fluidity was gone that normally rests easy within his legs. Then I saw it: his hair was too short with not enough of it left peeking through the vents.  Look for yourself, disaster. I am convinced beyond contestation that had he worn his hair as he does during the Tour de France, he would have stayed away.

For all you baldies out there who are jumping over to the Rogaine website in a panic, I raise this for your consideration: your hairless head does not preclude you from the possibility of channeling The V. Indeed, lightning does strike where there is no rod; it’s just not as predictable.

When it comes to having your hair sticking out of your helmet, keep these considerations in mind:

  1. The power of hair only applies to the hair growing out of your planter. Shave your legs. No beards. (Note: Never shave your face on race day or any other day on which you will demand more from your legs than they can reasonably provide.) Goatees only when your are intentionally or unintentionally bald, and even then it’s suspect if you don’t go by the moniker, Il Pirata. See Rule #50.
  2. Hair growing long upon the guns is a conduit for the Anti-V; unregulated hair growth on one’s legs will soon cause you to spill burrito guts on your already dirty t-shirt on your way to a Critical Mass gathering.
  3. The Goldilocks Principle applies to hair as well as to shorts and socks. It may not be too long or too short. No ponytails. No Mullets. No exceptions.
  4. Being Casually Deliberate applies here as well; your hair should not stick out of every vent. Instead, shoot for 25% to 50%.
  5. Having a few curls sticking out between your ears and helmet can also help to channel The V, but be careful not to wander into Mullet territory.  See item three above.

A few samples for review and consideration.  You can see from this listing that this technique has been tried and tested for some time.

Freddy Maertens, rockin’ a Five and Dime in Rule #9 conditions on the Muur de Huy.

 

Here we have a young Hinault being squarely crammed into the hurtlocker by three bullies with hair in their vents. The look on Merckx’s face says it all: take that shower cap off and ride your bike, puppy dog.

 

Bungo’s casual expression and Mottet’s pain face tell you all you need to know. It’s the hair.

 

Johan van Summeren showing an almost perfect hair distribution; nice vent exposure, good ear curls. The cobblesone was a formality.

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68 Replies to “Look Pro, Part V: The Power of Hair”

  1. As a man of very little hair, I plead the Pantani on this one.

    Great write up. LOVE that first photo of Maertens. Dude was a no-shit BADASS. Can you imagine looking back and seeing him coming up behind you? God Damn, that would be one intimidating sight!

  2. This explains Faboo’s super human abilities.

    This just means I wont cut my curly but messy locks for another few weeks.

  3. I thought I couldn’t climb because of general fatness and lack of power. thanks for putting me right on that. Perhaps I should aim simply to Climb Well for my Pate …?

  4. I’d like to say that the guy with an F6 behind Cancellara
    is your truly Pedale.Forchetta!
    It looks like I’ve a fair amount of hair too…

  5. This is going to be controversial, especially since Rebellin, and Schumacher, it seems baldness seems to coincide with boosting or drug use. For every Pantani (gloriuos, glorious baldness) there’s a Cipo (oily, greasy lothario.) Still, as I’m more Bettini than Bruce Willis in the hair stakes, I can look on Matt Achbold with envy.
    New Zealand Track Rider, think he’s won the Omnium in one world cup round this year, and i’ve seen the mullet in the flesh at the Tour Of Wellington.

  6. yes!this is spot on, the one and only time i feel pro is when i can see my shadow on a sunny day and can see the hair curling out from the back of my helmet and blowing in the wind through the vents. But then you’re brought back to earth with a bump when u check the computer and see the miniscule speed you’re traveling at

  7. Pedale.Forchetta :
    I’d like to say that the guy with an F6 behind Cancellarais your truly Pedale.Forchetta!It looks like I’ve a fair amount of hair too…

    No KIDDING?!?! Wow, that’s amazing! I am, once again, happily envious!

  8. That’s all good and well frank, but where does this sit in your theory?

    Would have preferred the actual photo but bloody work computer restrictions don’t allow us to upload!

  9. @il ciclista medio

    That’s all good and well frank, but where does this sit in your theory

    Well, going back along the “lightning rod” analogy, it is fucking obvious as shit that Le Proffesseur was struck repeatedly, n’est pas?

    Not sure why you even brought it up.

  10. @frank
    What about those hirsutally challenged amongst us who need to wear a cap over our thinning pates for sun protection and THEN put a helmet on???

    No wonder I have been riding so shit for the last 10 years…

  11. @Souleur
    Well, Eki is obviously violating the Three-Point System, and I believe it’s a mullet. Not sure what it is with Russians and mullets.

    Eki was a habitual layer-downer of the V, though. I’ll give you That.

    Check out how built up his wind trainer was, they had to put it on a track and bolt it down.

    And then check out how fast he’s going in what I’m guessing is his living room:

  12. More evidence. Dude in front looks scared shitless. Planckaert, with hair through the vents, not only looks rock solid, but will win the race.

  13. @mcsqueak
    Ah! Thank you, Nikon for sure a d700 in one hand and a f6 on the other, something like steel and carbon fibre.
    And thank you Frank!

  14. @Pedale.Forchetta
    I use a D70 as well; love that camera. So much more control than I need or understand, but fantastic output. Like you say, steel and carbon. Or, vinyl and mp3. Both good if you understand their purpose.

    We recently picked up a Lumix LX5 for pointin’ and shootin’; amazingly handy little camera. It’s low-light settings are mind-boggling.

  15. We’re clearly on different sides of the line in the sand: my side, with increasing foreheads, and unorthodox applications of sunscreen, stand looking enviously at those on the other side of the line, folically gifted, careless, schoolboy charm being thrown around with abandon. Bastards. You get Cipo, we get Schumacher.

  16. minion:
    This is going to be controversial, especially since Rebellin, and Schumacher, it seems baldness seems to coincide with boosting or drug use. For every Pantani (gloriuos, glorious baldness) there’s a Cipo (oily, greasy lothario.) Still, as I’m more Bettini than Bruce Willis in the hair stakes, I can look on Matt Achbold with envy.
    New Zealand Track Rider, think he’s won the Omnium in one world cup round this year, and i’ve seen the mullet in the flesh at the Tour Of Wellington.

    SHANE ARCHBOLD!

  17. @Pedale.Forchetta

    Very nice. I’m still using a D100 I purchased new in 2003. That thing just keeps on rolling. I have no idea when it will break so I can justify a new body.

    @frank

    Lumix is a nice line of point and shoots. I want to get a small one I can shove in my pocket while cycling… taking pictures while moving, while holding an iPhone is an art.

    And related to the actual article, a lot of NHL players and European footballers seem to rock the long-ish hair as well. I keep mine fairly short, which I’ll use to blame my mediocre cycling.

  18. Love it. Had me laughing after my morning ride. I am lucky to still have some V Conductors left, but fear I will soon be looking like the Professor.

    I would include some of the helmet hair photos from P-R but dam work won’t let me.

  19. No cause for alarm…Andy’s hair is just two months away from peaking.

    @ramenvelo – Agreed!

  20. This is where I get off. Or at least, I should have got off the train before we hit hair style station.
    I am completely against the trolls who have posted here suggesting that discussions of style are irrelevant to cycling and that we should all Rule #5 and just ride. Style is so much a part of cycling. I love the small, and large, things that become more apparent as you ride and observe.
    But.
    Literally, this is a post about hair styles.
    Cliched as it is, Frank just strapped the waterskis on and jumped the shark.
    Sad day.

  21. Check out Schumy’s distended noggin. Shade him blue and he’s Megamind. Was he on HGH as well as CERA?

    I am with Blah (and not just because I am running the Stuart O’Grady, not by choice I hasten to add). Hair? Really? How did it come to this?

  22. Ezra Taylor rocks the beard and the guns and the SWEET steed in the USGP Singlespeed race here in Louisville last year.

    You know how you make a RULE? You win. He won.

    Just like Gilbert and his flipped-brim. A win can break a rule.

    No one has done it yet in the PRO road peloton, but that don’t mean it ain’t gonna happen.

  23. I agree that winning can transcend such trivial Rule Violations as flipped caps, but beards? Never! That’s against not only the Rules but against the Laws Of All That Is Good And Right!

  24. @ben
    God DAMN! Speaking of trolls. Are you sure that this race was not held in New Zealand as that dude looks like an extra from the “Lord of the Rings” series.

  25. @Blah

    Frank just strapped the waterskis on and jumped the shark.

    Solid, 24 carat gold, that. Just wait til the next piece; we’ll totally redeem ourselves.

    I am very sorry, though, that you can’t grow hair.

    I just googled “power of hair”. Check it out:

    “When your hair looks great, you feel confident, attractive, more alive. You project self-confidence. You attract energy.”

  26. My bike is white carbon (Bianchi L’una), my magnificent beard is also white carbon…I think I could claim an exception on the grounds of “elemental color coordination”?

    BTW, my cycling has improved since it’s growth, I think I lull the youngsters into false security when they see an old man…Fools!

  27. be careful w/the hair

    some have it & others do not, Anquetil and Coppi had it, Brouchard didn’t and whoever the douche is above (i hope it pasted)

    its a slippery slope, between having style and a greasy mullet and unfortunately self-perception and a healthy dose of self inflicted narcissism can lead to the death of a personna

  28. i am an unrepentant sinner when it comes to beards. I’ve had one on and off pretty much since I was 22. It’s making up for the distinct lack of hair on the top of my head.

  29. @andy
    I hear that Andy. I have opted for a foo man chu style stash to compliment my buzzed bean. The main advantage I have found is that it draws the attention away from the less populated area of hair to the north of the eyebrows. Conveniently it also gives the impression of questionable mental stability à la the crazed white supremacist look.

  30. Forgive me Merckx for I have sinned. I have a full beard and I have no intention of shaving soon.

    I am losing weight, and wanted to do something that would sort of keep folks from saying when they see me “Wow, you are losing weight.” So I grew a full, nasty, hobo trim beard. That way they focus on that.

    Plus, I bloody hate shaving. I have a two spots on my neck that will not be A)Hairless and B)Razor bump free at the same time.

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