When I first got into cycling, I was ravenous for all things related to Europe and the epic racing and riders. I was just a skinny kid in a bike shop that never shut up about racing and riders.
I was lucky enough to work in a shop that had a guy working there who had raced in Europe a little, when he rode for the old Austro-Daimler/ Puch team of the late 70's. He still had his team issue bike and wool racing kit. I followed him around any time he was in the shop, constantly asking questions. We also had another guy in the shop who was still racing regionally and was state champ in something like 4 states in the Southeast. I tried to ride with him as often as I could, but he usually dropped me fairly early on and I rode alone. These two were my heroes and I thought they were the coolest guys I would ever get to meet.
One day, while discussing leg shaving, the Champ said to me, "you know, Merckx shaved his ass and crotch too, to cut down on saddle sores and chafing from the chamois." How could that be? I never heard that bit of lore and I read everything I could get my hands on. I asked the Veteran if it was true and he just shrugged and walked away from the conversation. The Champ insisted it was true. What was I to do? Merckx was my hero and was "THE MAN" in cycling.
That night, after shaving my skinny little legs, I took the risk and shaved those other saddle contact points. It was a little tricky, not losing appendages I really wanted to keep and hoped to use one day, but I was able to make myself like my hero. The next day, I used my chamois cream (this was a real leather chamois after all), and rode off thinking I was as close to being like Merckx as I would ever get. Things felt oddly good for the first ride and I thought I was really on to something. The second day, things were a little different as the hair began to grow again and the skin was a little irritated. No big deal I thought and I greased up the chamois for another ride. Things go a little uncomfortable about 40 miles from home. The return trip was down right bad. I cringed with each pedal stroke and couldn't wait to get to work, off of the bike and out of my bike shorts. Be the time I got to work, my ass was on fire and I was WAY beyond uncomfortable. I scurried in to the shop and into the bathroom to change my clothes. I tried to get a look at my posterior in the bathroom mirror and was shocked by the technicolor monkey ass and bright red rash. I walked painfully into the workshop area and put on my apron (yes, I was actually a mechanic). The Veteran could see my discomfort and was trying to find a way to ask me what was wrong, but the Champ was giggling to himself, "so, Merckx, how's that ass treating you?"
Word to the wise; never shave your ass.