What's Cool In Road Cycling

Winter Warm-Up II: Qoleum Rubs The Right Way

Tell me who knows more about miserable, cold weather, cobbled-crap road, big-mile bicycling than Belgians and I’ll tell you where the next Eddy Merckx will be from… So who better to come up with a few things that help you prep for, ride and recover from the crap you’ll go through this winter as you grind through the cold miles? Qoleum sent us the goop so we give you the scoop…

The guys at Paceline Products decided to distribute Qoleum products a while back, and we’ve had this stuff for a few months. But as this is Arizona, I actually had to wait till now, for something resembling cold, to actually give it a try. As cold is relative, the fact that our low is the low 50’s may seem silly, but it’s a 60 – 70 degree drop from the summer, and the drop in heat made me feel like cracking open some of this was a good thing to do to break the morning chill…

I had the chill in mind but, as I started using the products, it became clear that I should have been using a couple of the potions a while back… This stuff isn’t just good old warming oil, but a few products that help with massage and with pain that can creep in pretty much year round.

Qoleum takes its name from Equilibrium Essentia Oleum, Latin for essential oil. And their web site best describes what types of products you’re getting…

”The Qoleum range is created entirely by hand. Only the finest ingredients are selected: essential and absolute oils from flowers, seeds, fruit peel, roots, grasses, trees and leaves are combined with cold-pressed and organic macerated oils. Oils from organically grown plants are used wherever possible and no genetically modified products are used. All products are safe for use by vegans and vegetarians. The product range has undergone extensive testing prior to release. However, the range has never been tested on animals, just on pro-athletes!”

Now I personally am a steak, chicken and fish eating, not completely eco-soldiering lump. So (other than the no animal testing) I don’t exactly lend mountains of credit to a product for how it’s made, but it’s in the making that these products also get some of the usefulness.

For instance, the post sports and recovery oil…

…have an incredibly light and not so greasy feel. They also have a very low key aroma and as I really am not big on heavy smells, that’s a plus. The pre-sports oil has a slight warming to it and is light enough to use with one of the warming specific products. It’s pretty well absorbed too, but it is oil, so I suggest a quick wipe with a towel after rub on so’s not to oil up your leg warmers (I also use a little on upper arms). The Post sport component has pretty much the same not too greasy feel.

The Recovery Oil also has a low key aroma, but had a little bit of an interesting feel after use. Some products used on muscles after injury or heavy stress can leave you feeling a little slow. This stuff didn’t leave me as dead after the rub down as I can feel…

It is especially good when used in combination with Soothing O on tender areas after overuse or genuine injury.

This is the one that has a non-plant understanding goofball like me confused…

I took another dump on a motorcycle that had my neck and shoulder very stiff and very sore. No broken bones, but high-siding a motorcycle and landing head and shoulder first at 45 mph will cause “things” no matter how well your helmet and armored jacket hold up… After getting laughed out of my doctor’s office for not managing to “knock the screw that is obviously still loose back into place”, I came home and used recovery oil and some of the soothing O. The next day when things were back to damn sore again, I used the soothing O, and realized that the Advil bottle was empty. Strangely enough, by the time I got ready to head to the store (maybe 40 minutes after the rub) the pain and some stiffness in the neck and the muscle on the back side of the shoulder were quite a bit less… What is strange is that there’s nothing I would call “drugs” in this stuff – according to their site, it’s ”Temporary relief of muscular aches and pains, lumbago, arthritis and rheumatism. Made from 100% essential oils of peppermint, clove, cajeput and camphor within pure aloe vera base.”. Whatever it is, it smells a little more like a muscle rub (the camphor), but the smell goes away quickly as you run it on, and the stuff works.

Next in the box were the Low Embrocation

And…

A couple handy packs of the Medium….

Here’s the deal with these, they are heaters. Simple.

One of the things I HATE this time of year is that first blast of cold… I just HATE getting started. The combination of low/medium and the pre-sports oil is a great way to tool up for a ride and for me, really helps. I find it very easy way to get moving, and once moving round, getting out the door comes with a way better attitude…

The low should be called “warm”. The warm should be called “hot”. I have no idea what the hot should be called.

Whatever you call these though, if you choose to use Qoleum’s Anti Friction (chamois) cream, you should get in the habit of applying it first.

Simple lesson here. You don’t want Embrocation residue on your hands when you rub them on your balls (or female partners). Frankly, the person at Qoleum who decided that Anti-Friction should be put in an identical tub as Embrocation should be taken behind the shed and beaten…

Should you get it right, you’ll find the Anti Friction to be a bit like Vaseline with a menthol smell… It’s more like Oldschool Chamois creams in feel, but no place near as caustic. An example is that it’s considered by Qoleum as “So pure it can also be used as a face cream”.

In that case, it would be a perfect product for some folks in the ProTour / UCI governance that have been deciding on Operation Puerto (where some riders are OK, some Not, and Manolo Saiz can be reinstated) as they clearly have their heads and butts in close proximity…

Anyhoo…
One of the best parts of using these products is the light feel… The pre-sports oil is great to use, as it requires nothing more than a quick wipe with a towel to keep your tights and warmers from getting oiled up… I have used other products that required you to use a light soap and water after letting them soak in a bit or you would soak your kit in grease. This stuff saves you time and hassle as it goes on quickly and needs just a light wipe.

One of the things that some hotels HATE about traveling cyclists is washing the linens… While there are certainly hotels that are used to oily sheets, they usually go by the hour rather than the night, so this is good for non pro cyclists who are not used to getting walked from their rooms in the middle of the night… There are a few places that have basically banned cyclotours but they will allow teams (like the Davitamon- Lotto guys) or tours using this stuff, as they don’t oil the beds as bad…

For me, I like the lighter scents that this stuff has. I don’t smell like an “athlete” and I don’t smell like I just followed the wife through the Victoria’s Secret perfume section. I also like that it seems to work as well as things made from, well, things made.

Again, I don’t care as much that I am rubbing parts of the forest on me, Poison Oak is also natural after all. I do care that this helps me feel better after a ride, and that its properties in therapy for things like overwork or falling off are also functional.

I mostly like that it’s an easy way to get the motor running before a ride. And I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the fact that it helps fight the cold that makes the first few minutes of a ride seem to take longer than the next couple hours…

Give the folks at Paceline Products a call and see who’s stocking this stuff… Your winter will be a little better for it!

Have Fun!
Charles Manantan


Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products we test here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper use and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limits that may limit their use.

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