How to use embrocation and chamois cream for cyclocross
Welcome! You've decided to enter the world of embrocation and chamois cream. Good decision. A quality embrocation from Mad Alchemy, Chamois Butt'r, or Small Batch Embrocation will help keep your legs warm and protected from the elements, while adding the best chamois cream to your pre-ride regimen ensures all-day comfort.
Cyclocross is an all-weather sport and these products can help you be prepared to race and train in the worst conditions. Ready to get started? Here is our recommended usage for these products.
- Start with the chamois cream first. There are two main strategies. You can apply it directly to the chamois pad in your shorts before putting the shorts on, or you can apply it directly to your skin at the contact points. I like to apply directly to the shorts, paying special attention to the seams where the pad is stitched to the lycra.
- Put the shorts on. You don't want the embrocation on your legs yet - otherwise when you pull the shorts on you might get it where you don't want it.
- Roll your shorts up to mid-thigh and roll your socks down.
- Apply the embrocation to the exposed skin. Some riders have a helper apply it, or use surgical gloves for easy cleanup
- Roll shorts back down and socks back up.
- Wash hands
- After your race/ride, complete your cool-down, then immediately change out of the dirty shorts. Leaving them on encourages bacterial growth.
- Remove embrocation, sunscreen, dirt and grime using a cleaning product like Chamois Butt'r Skin Wash and a rag, or if that isn't available, baby wipes will do in a pinch.
- Again, wash your hands after coming in contact with embrocation, sunscreen, etc. as they can sting your eyes.
- Wipe down again with a paper towel or baby wipe before showering when you get home.
Ready to give embrocation and/or chamois cream a try? Don't forget these important tips:
- Embrocation works best if you shave your legs. Applying it on leg hair is a mess.
- Embrocation attracts a lot of dirt and grime, so it might not be best for mountain biking in very dry and dusty conditions.
- Embrocation, especially the warming kind, can burn your eyes, crotch, etc. You should wash your hands thoroughly after applying embrocation, and make sure to keep it away from your eyes, mouth, water bottle lids, etc.
- Embrocation can stain, so keep it away from your shorts and jerseys, especially white kits. Generally you would only apply embro on exposed leg skin, not under your shorts or leg warmers.
- Embrocation feels great, but it isn't a substitute for common sense. Your legs will feel warm, but you are still exposed to the elements, so use your head. You still need a rain jacket and warm clothes in bad weather. "sucking it up" and being tough can be fine in a controlled environment like a cyclocross race where you are 30 seconds from a warm locker room or car, but don't try to "tough it out" in cold, wet, remote conditions - hypothermia is always a risk. Be smart.
- If you've got a dark-colored kit and staining isn't an issue, a small amount of embrocation on your lower back can do wonders for warming up your core on a cold, wet day.
- If you're just getting started, don't go for a 10/10 on the heat scale product. Start with a gently warming embro to establish your own personal preference and tolerances for heat. Mad Alchemy's Mellow Embrocation is a great starting point.