Our shameless bathroom habits

This summer, I write for a Dutch magazine about life in the women’s peloton. This is my second piece, again beautifully translated by José.

When the race was neutralized this weekend after a huge crash, and even completely halted after that, the rider in front of me squatted down on the tarmac to pee. In the middle of the peloton she pulled her trouser leg to the side inbetween the bikes and relieved herself. The wheels around her, including mine, ended up in a little puddle of wee.

During the short neutralization she had nervously told me several times that she had to go. “Marijn, move over. I want to get out. I need to go!” But we were so closely packed together that I couldn’t let her pass without ending up on the roadside. No matter how much she needed to, I wasn’t planning on doing that. I just survived the crash and didn’t want to crash in the mud on the side of the road.

While her pee splashed on the road, riders around me were yelling out: “Yikes!” “What are you doing that for?” “Couldn’t you have moved to the side of the road!?” Even though we are way beyond the point of being prudish in this respect, taking a leak in the middle of the peloton is a step too far for many of us. Of course there were other ladies making the most of the moment but they were all a few meters further in the fields next to the road.

Other than this we are ladies who know no shame. The following might therefore be considered shocking. We walk around naked in our hotel rooms. We brush our teeth while the other is taking a shower. We use the toilet while our roommates are drying themselves off. We burp in the presence of the other. And fart. And meanwhile we just chat on, like we are not in the midst of acts others would like to keep private.

It might not be weird you lose your sense of primness under the circumstances that come with our job and when you spend so much time together When you arrive in your hotel room wet, mudy and totally frozen, the first thing you want to do is take of your wet clothes and get warm. You both want that. So you don’t wait untill the other has finished. No you take off your bib shorts as fast as you can and step in the bath when the other already confiscated the shower. If the room only has a shower, you both go together. When the steam of the hot water spreads through the bathroom, it’s the warmest place in the hotel room.

Because we eat and drink a lot, our metabolism is fast. We therefore need to use the toilet often. Waiting untill the other has finished her business in the bathroom is a possiblity but holding it up is not nice. Things get in the way. Same goes for burps and farts. Out is out and means they won’t bother you again. A fart that’s stuck might influence the form of the day tremendously.

But don’t worry. As soon as the race is over and we return to the civilized world we become decent women again. Even the one weeing on the steet this weekend.

Translation: Procycling News / Tour de José

» Derek said (23 Jun, 2012) :

Once again Marijn another wonderful insight into the life of a cyclist. I imagine it’s part of your life that not many of us had considered. I totally agree with the problem of trapped wind. As we say in England ‘better out than in’.

» ddraver said (23 Sep, 2012) :

Marijn – My housemate plays Hockey in Den Haag and from what she says, that true of every women’s sports club changing room!


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