Blog: The science of protecting your ‘ass’ at the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek
Pro mountain biker and cycling entrepreneur Chris Wolhuter, who is a regular participant at the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek, is no stranger to the “less scenic” side of the sport. He gives us the low-down on chamois cream, its evolvement and why it is a must-have item.
The fascination, followed by the twisted face, of a newbie cyclist when hearing about chamois cream for the first time is an image hard to put in to words.
Let’s wind back the clock a few years.
Back in the day, the padding in cycling shorts was actually made from a leather chamois.
After a few washes, this chamois would become dry and hard – think of the chamois you use to clean your car with.
Chamois cream was developed to be smeared onto the chamois to keep it soft and malleable.
In recent years, cycling shorts have evolved and the chamois is now made from synthetic materials.
One would think that a chamois cream would no longer be necessary, but think again.
Long hours on the bike with a relatively significant amount of pressure on your nether regions can lead to unwanted chafe and, as a result, pain!
I developed Ass Magic four years ago. Our initial experimentation involved mixing various essential oils into baby bum cream in my mother-in-law’s kitchen.
With the help of a pharmaceutical doctor, Dr Du Plessis, I am proud to say we have progressed further and we now produce the Magic in an ISO cosmetic factory in Somerset West.
Ass Magic is a lanolin based cream. Lanolin is a very pure form of wax with fantastic anti-chafe properties. To this, we have added synthetic beeswax, also known for its great anti-chafe solution.
Next time you open a tub, give it a smell, the tea tree oil is very prevalent. Tea tree is a great anti-bacterial and anti-fungal essential oil that we use. It has remained one of our key ingredients to this day.
Another important ingredient is zinc oxide, something you may recognise from baby bum cream or sunblock. We use zinc oxide for the healing properties it possesses and it too is an important part of the formulation.
Now you know what chamois cream is, but how do you use it? There are two schools of thought here.
Some cyclists prefer applying chamois cream to the chamois on their cycling shorts before putting their shorts on, while others prefer applying directly to the skin.
I personally prefer applying to the skin and putting the cream on any contact points my ASS or nether regions may have with the saddle.
Will chamois cream damage my chamois in the long run? No, it should not.
Ass Magic is formulated to ensure that the cream washes out to ensure the chamois doesn’t become “clogged” over time.
It’s also worth mentioning that your cycling kit should not be washed at high temperatures. This can damage the fabrics. I recommend a machine wash at 30 degrees Celsius.
A couple of things to remember when applying your next layer of cream:
• Put your sunscreen on first and then apply, not the other way around. Unless you don’t mind a bit of ASS in your face.
• Don’t double dip, especially if applying directly to your skin. Hygiene is important.
• Apply just the “right” amount. You need enough so that the cream can do what it is supposed to, but not so much that you have it oozing through your shorts. I recommend about 5 to 10ml per application. Experiment over a couple of training rides and see what works for you.
Caption: Chris Wolhuter in action during the 2016 PwC Great Zuurberg Trek. Photo: Warren Elsom