Back when I was a lad I used to scoff at the mere mention of chamois cream. Incredibly this was in spite of me owning a pair of cycling short with ACTUAL chamois leather covering the padding in the action zone.
Roll forward 20 years and my views had not changed one bit. Chamois cream is for the sort of gentleman who cleanses his face regularly and uses Fabreeze in his car. It played no part in my first outing following my cycling based epiphany in October 2014. Holy guacamole, I wish it had.
What do you get if you cross a 39 year-old set of plumbs, a new pair of mid-range bib shorts and a 25 mile ride?
There are many answers to the question posted. Most of which involve blood, raw meat, sandpaper and pain.
What on earth had changed to make this the single most unpleasant thing to have happened to me since I was required to scoop dog poo from up the sleeves of my then 4 year-old daughter who had fallen off her Raleigh Poppet…? I’d like to add is was freezing cold and wet, I was ill and all I had for the operation was half a well-used tissue.
On returning from this first ride I felt OK. My legs were tired and my lungs felt tight. Everything else seemed OK, maybe the under carriage was slightly numb, but what the hell. I peeled off my cycling gear, marvelling at its quality and was mildly amused to see that road cock still occurred after twenty years of boxers and comfy jeans.
Being a special event I was not required to drop Mooper’s brother at football so I ran a deliciously luxurious bath – with bubbles and everything. Having done the usual ooh ooh aah aah as the acorn and friends hit the water I was overcome by a searing pain, which prompted the reverse action at high speed. “WFT?????” “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”. Unbeknownst to me, probably thanks to the natural numbing, I had opened up two rather large wounds between my balls and legs. There was proper blood. If the truth be told I am sure I could see bone, but let’s not quibble. “Ahhhh, NO! I have ruined myself”. My now luxury bath had turned into a test of nerve and courage – much like visiting matron having skinned a knee in the playground. I was going to have to get back in the water. I was going to have to wash and I was not looking forward to it. As with most things you get used to it. I did all of the above and towelled off. Gently. The next problem was how to distance the now clean but weeping contact points, which I had inadvertently incinerated over the course of the morning ride.
Holding back the tears I looked mournfully around the bathroom, seeking solace wherever I could. My eyes eventually fell on a pot, a grey pot. A POT OF SUDO CRÈME. Those parents amongst you will know that the only way to sooth an angry little bottom which has been sitting in last night’s supper for ten hours is the magic grey pot. What luck. The relief upon applying the magic paste was almost instant, I just had to get used to the rather odd and lubricated sensation. A few days later I was again fighting fit and had escaped the worst. The worst incidentally is what happened to dear Crankset on his ride to Paris – after the event his wife had to peel the skin off his plumbs and likening it to a rattle snake sheading its own skin. Not a python then.
Following this literally medieval evisceration of my side balls I was now in the market for cream, any cream.
I spoke to the lads about my new requirements and was told Assos, any day of the week. A chap at the counter in Evans suggested Sudo Crème, but I knew this was not the option, it is for after.
Taking the advice of my friends and completely ignoring it I headed to the Rapha website, where I was seduced by a pot of Mt Ventoux themed lubrication for the intimate parts. It talked of mountain herbs and natural antibacterial properties. Sold. It came in a rather natty black tin and looked for all the world like the overpriced frippery I was after.
First application: Cold. Good texture and consistency. Spreads well. Oh, a little tingle as well. Oh, a little warmer now. Ah, that’ll do. Smells good, but only until you return from the ride. Remember the days when Johnston’s products used to smell good before the days of being mixed with nappies?
Much discussion was had in the days after my application as to where to put it. I know for a fact the Chairman prefers full sack and crack coverage, but I was just not feeling it. I had never had a problem with the crack so I just went for the gullies I had previously subjected to that truly inhumane torture. The difference was night and day. The joy of cycling had returned.
One year later I found myself getting kitted up for a trip to the Giant of Provence. Having run out of Rapha I thought I’d give Assos a go and found it discounted at Wiggle.
Here be a lesson. If you get used to one brand of cream DO NOT test another by riding up Ventoux. Suffice to say the Assos cream sits in my desk and work and is purely for emergencies. Emergencies which are worse that the feeling of chilli being ground into open wounds.
My only advice is that you use a cream. Try a few. Don’t be a twit and use them for the first time on a mountain. Do apply liberally.
Rapha Chamois Cream £15 10/10
Assos Chamois Cream £12.99 5/10
Sudo Crème £4.99 2/10
Nothing £0.00 -10/10