I willing to bet that even if you’ve never zip tied a number to the handlebars of your bike, that you’re still partial to going fast. Let’s face it more speed equals more fun, be it whipping round an XC loop or bombing a DH run, getting there quicker than the next rider fills your heart with joy. It’s ok, you can admit it, you don’t need to feel shame, we’re all right there with you chasing that elusive dragon of fast, faster and fastest.
At times we become so obsessed with this that there is almost no limit to the lengths we’ll go to to get an advantage. Mostly we look for something we can buy, what are the Pros doing, what part is limiting my performance? It’s a never ending game of catch up in the hopes that if we behave like them, we’ll perform like them. A bit of the old “fake it till you make it”. Sadly parts on the bleeding edge of technology don’t come cheap and money is a finite resource. You’ll scrimp and save, and eventually you’ll get your bike dialled. You’ve got that lighter frame, you installed that stiffer crank and slotted up front is the perfect fork. Now you’re at the end of the bike upgrade path and there seems like there’s no way forward, no path to glory.
Deep inside you, the desire to win has been ignited, it burns you like a dodgy vindaloo, it’s there when you’re trying to sleep, it’s there as you punch numbers into a computer during your 9-5, surely there’s something else. “I WANT TO GO FAAAAAAAAAAAST!” Some would have you believe cutting back on beer, or doing hill sprints will make you faster when more parts won’t. While they may be right, there are only so many sacrifices one should have to make.
So besides becoming a teetotaller what can you do to shave a few tenths off your split time? A skin suit is undoubtedly faster, undoubtedly a fashion faux pas and undoubtedly banned by the UCI. Damn those fun hating Swiss, I didn’t want to show my food baby off anyway!
What if I told you there’s something not even the Pros have considered, that no institute of sport has poured money into? What if I told you it’s staring at you when you look in the mirror? No not a rhinoplasty, your mum’s right, it adds character, besides when people ask you can just say you were sending it on some back country trails at whistler rather than just drunk and unable to navigate some stairs. No what I'm talking about springs forth from your follicles, that’s right, it’s possible that your hair might be slowing you down. “Possible?” you say, “That’s a bit wishy washy isn’t it?”, well never fear, we’ve done the hard yards and collected some conclusive evidence. We didn’t spend time in a wind tunnel with a sheep and some sheers, our very scientific research involved checking out fast blokes and writing down some stuff on the back of a bar coaster. While there may be some conjecture after someone (who will remain nameless) spilt a beer and smudged the ink, we’re confident in our results and confident you’ll be surprised by the findings.
If you’re into riding with a full face helmet it seems there is no aerodynamic advantage to having a shaved head. I'm sure you will be pleased to know a bit of a shag can be good for your performance, which is quite contrary to the popular belief that it could ruin your mojo. If your preference is for a lid with vents big enough to park a jumbo, then the results suggest a correlation between hair weight and performance, even a few extra grams of hair could spell disaster. The notable exception is the charismatic José Hermida who draws Samson like strength from his oft unkempt facial hair. Our data also shows that regardless of your views on gravity, a bit of business up front and a whole lot of party out the back is completely counterproductive to going flat out. Now would not be a good time to put cash on Kenny Powers wearing the rainbow stripes next year in any discipline.
While this is fairly non-news for many people, I bet no one knew that it pays to be ginger. There are currently between 65 and 140 million redheads in the world, that’s 1 to 2 percent of the total population. Mullets aren’t in any of the UCI top 5 for XC, 4X or DH, but red heads are. A staggering 20% of the world’s best elite fat tyre riders who are on the rusty side of strawberry blonde. With such an over representation of carrot tops at the top of our sport, it’s possible all that stands between you and the podium of your local race is some time away from the sun and a bottle of Loreal Feria R68. So what’s stopping you?
* Hair not included. Results may vary. Please consult your doctor if symptoms persist.