Those of us who live in the Upper Midwest have already had a few fairly cool mornings and have had to decide whether to put on knee warmers for our morning rides. I try to put off wearing knee or leg warmers as long as possible, so I started using DZ Nuts InHeat Low Heat Embrocation Cream on my legs before I ride and have been very happy with the results.
Embrocation creams contain vasodilators that warm up the skin and muscles. They also create a weather-proof barrier that protects your skin from the elements. The company Website says this particular cream was “developed and tested on the European roads by Garmin Transitions and Columbia HTC professional cycling teams to be an essential training and racing tool.” For many of us, embrocation creams are them main reason we shave our legs (just don’t shave your legs on the same day you use an embrocation cream).
If you have never used an embrocation cream before you are probably wondering how this product works. About 15 minutes before you go out for a ride on brisk day you massage this cream into the exposed areas of your legs. It will take several minutes for you to feel the cream working, but once it does you will feel the warmth and be able to ride for several hours in cool weather without having your legs cramp up from the cold.
When your ride is finished you will be pleasantry surprised that the cream did not pick up road grime as you might have expected. I’ve used this cream on long off-road rides on dusty trails and haven’t had much dust stick to my legs.
It has been my experience that the greatest amount of heat is felt once your ride is finished. While you are riding in the cool weather you don’t really feel the cream working, but then again, you aren’t feeling the cool air on your legs either. Once you put your bike up and go inside you can feel your legs getting warmer and this will keep your muscles from getting tight after a ride. The DZ Nuts InHeat Embrocation Cream washes off easily with just soap and water, but you can still feel it a bit even after you are out of the shower.
One important word of advice: Make sure you put this cream on your legs after you have put your cycling shorts on! If you put the cream on your legs first and then pull your cycling shorts up some of the cream will stick to your chamois. This cream has capsicum in it (think red-hot chili peppers and police pepper spray). If the capsicum comes in contact with your nads you are going to experience a level of pain that the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay never even dreamed about (I speak from experience—and a very painful one at that).
DZ Nuts InHeat Embrocation Cream comes in three strengths (low, medium and high). The low heat cream is good for rides down to around 50 degrees. I’ve not used the other creams yet, but I am certain I will before the winter is out (I ride all year long). A six-ounce tube retails for around $20, but you can find it cheaper on Amazon.com. You should be able to get 15 or 20 rides out of a single tube.
In case you were wondering, the “DZ” in DZNuts is for cycling legend David Zabriskie.