By Cheri Felix
Racing cross has been fantastic! I’d add an expletive (cuss word) (like shit, damn…) in there for emphasis but I opted for the exclamation point. I love everything about it. The prep, the practice, the workouts, the riding, the running, the scampering up hills with my bike on my shoulder and I even LOVE riding in the mud and snow and ice. But don’t fool yourself. It’s a culture. However, this is not 6th grade where you were the last one chosen for red rover or dodge ball. This is cross and if you are crazy enough to join in what I described above you are welcome. With open arms and beer hand ups and the occasional whisky hand up. But there has been a learning curve for me.
There are some products that have come into my life recently. Since I started racing cross and yes, if you race cross you tend to call it cross. We’d don’t say “I race cyclocross.” Unless of course you’re talking to someone who has no idea what it is and then yes, it’s better to start big and get smaller. But if you really want to be the life of the party or if you’re trying to push your spouse over the edge and determine if he really loves you or does he really want to spend the rest of his life with you start talking about embrocation and chamois cream. If you just don’t like him throw out words like ‘carbon fiber tampon’. That’ll do it.
Let’s start with chamois cream. What? I have three kids and a bearded dragon, one gold fish, two algae eating snails (one of which is dead) and a dog named Reba McEntire. Now I have to apply chamois creme? I don’t even wash my face regularly. And then there’s embrocation creme. I had to ask on Facebook where to put it. It was like that TLC show ‘What Not to Wear.’ Except this was ‘Where Not to Put It.’ Kind people even messaged me about it. One sweet person said “I was thinking about you putting it on your chest…” I love cross. It’s like we’re one big crazy tribe. We talk tights, leg warmers (be sure to safety pin that idea up or they’ll fall down during the race) and we talk about the chamois area and arm pits and the small of the back. Nothing’s off limits. I’ve finally found a crowd in which I can be myself. I think there’s even room for the carbon fiber tampon conversation in there somewhere. Maybe.
P.S. Katey Martus saw the Facebook thread when I asked where to apply embrocation cream. She was inspired and shared her amazing comic strip with us.