In the chaos that is race-day, there is one thing that needs to be performed calmly and deliberately. Between travel, registration, donning ones race kit, last minute bike adjustments, delivering the pit bike, eating, and warming up, there is plenty on the mind of a cyclist before toeing the line of a race. Embrocating can provide that ever so important moment of spiritual centering that calms the nerves just enough to get your mind back into the race. There may be a bit less on your mind if heading out to your favorite group ride or solo loop, but the same rules apply. Below, you’ll find some information as well as our recommendation for application of Mad Alchemy products.
Originally, chamois creams were created to condition the leather chamois sewn into cycling shorts. They were heavy, oil-based creams that felt wet, goopy and uncomfortable in your shorts. Many company’s current chamois creams continue to use the same petroleum bomb formulations as the creams of the past. In reality, modern day chamois creams are used to condition you skin not your chamois, requiring a much more gentle formulation. Modern chamois are made of advanced synthetic materials and don’t, themselves require conditioning. Your skin, on the other hand, is prone to irritation and breakdown from the rigors of cycling. Friction, and bacterial and fungal growth can all accelerate skin breakdown, leading to unhealthy and uncomfortable conditions. A good, modern chamois cream will combat all 3 of these skin conditions, while being gentle enough to use on a daily basis. Mad Alchemy has created a light feeling, durable cream, which naturally combats friction through the inclusion of skin lubricating ingredients. Formulated to an ideal consistency, our creams use all-natural, cold-pressed plant extracts (essential oils) shown to prevent the growth of bacterial and fungal development within the chamois resulting in the ultimate layer of protection on and off the bike. No fungus, no friction and no bacteria in your chamois is a good thing.
How much is enough? We’ve seen pictures and videos of people smearing chamois cream over the entirety of their chamois. In reality a well-placed, healthy dab will do the job equally well.
Chamois cream application instructions:
- 1. Kit up. Pull up your shorts and adjust them to the correct fit and position.
- 2. Using 2 fingers scoop out a healthy amount of cream (5-7ml).
- 3. Reaching into your shorts, apply the chamois cream directly to the skin, hitting the main pressure and contact points between the body and saddle as well as any other hotspots for friction.
- 4. Remember chamois cream first, THEN embrocation.
- 5. Time to ride.
Our chamois cream cleans up with soap and water from both your skin and the chamois. An effective way to protect yourself even further, is to apply a light layer of chamois cream to clean skin after your post-ride shower. This can help squash any developing sores leaving your skin more healthy and ready for another day of hard riding.
Be sure to stop, appreciate and think about the application. You should always try to sit and rest the muscles of the legs, taking care to remove any water or debris that has already accumulated on the legs using a soft, damp cloth to do so.
There is even benefit in utilizing protective gloving methods to minimize unwanted transfer of warming embrocations to the eyes or nether region.
Take your time with the application. Start with a conservative amount of product, massaging it deeply into the muscles over a 3-5 minute period. Start with the calves, the tendons of the hamstrings behind the knee and then the patella. Concentrate your efforts then to the quadriceps and hamstrings muscle bellies.
On particularly cold days or if you notice low back soreness it may be beneficial to rub into the low back, top of the shoulders and neck.
Like a proper tubular gluing technique, a second layer of embrocation will provide a more productive shield from the elements and increased warmth on colder days.
Now breathe, you are embrocated, you are prepared for whatever the race or the weather may throw at you.
Embrocation application instructions:
Embrocation is to be applied sparingly to your legs and/or low back (some people have experimented with using it on their shoulders, neck, and feet) before cycling or running in cold weather. A thin layer should be applied to help you feel warm in cool conditions. A lot of people use Embrocation in place of leg warmers during cyclocross, but please be aware, Embrocation is no substitute for proper clothing. Embrocation is definitely not something you want to slather all over your body, but instead use in selective areas.
Avoid contact with light colored clothing to prevent staining of kit fabrics. Your best bet is to roll up the leg band, apply embro to your tan lines, then wipe excess embro off before rolling down the leg bands again.
For removal of embrocation we typically recommend the following steps:
1. Post ride – Scour entire embrocated area with a slightly damp, soft, terry cloth towel.
2. Post ride – Spray and wipe with Mad Alchemy Unbrocation Rinse, again using a soft towel. Alternatively, baby wipes can be used during this step.
3. Shower – Shower using cooler water to start. Apply a surfactant type soap like Mad Alchemy Organic Body Wash or even dish soap on a shower pouf. Scrub off any remaining embrocation using this method.
4. Post shower – It may be necessary, depending on which embrocation you have used, to revisit step 2.
5. Bask in the afterglow – Often times, it is difficult to eliminate entirely, the warming sensation delivered by our embrocations. Enjoy this heat as a reminder of your ride.