Ever get tired of sitting on a wet chamois during your cyclocross racing and winter and spring riding? Remounting and landing on a cold, wet sponge is certainly no fun, and is easily one of our top pet peeves. There’s waterproof socks and jerseys but what about our butts?
Endura has now created their waterproof bibs to avoid exactly this problem, but not everyone can afford to buy new gear or wants to throw big money around just to have dry shorts. Sure, you can add a fender or swap to a non-absorbent saddle, but fenders can get in the way of cyclocross remounts and plastic saddles can get slippery. And this time of year, with the snow melting in many places, and storms even hitting NorCal (finally), it’s a struggle for many of us to stay dry while riding, especially around the most important areas of our anatomy.
Now, there’s an easier, cheaper and more flexible solution for cyclocrossers who are tired of ’cross crotch rot, and it’s one of those why-didn’t-we-think-of-it-sooner ideas. And this trick allows you to continue using your favorite shorts or bibs… No chamois break in time or switching to a less-romanticized brand necessary. This technique uses an age-old sealing technique many cotton tubular cyclocross racers are already familiar with from our Mechanical Monday post.
It takes 16 minutes total and involves mostly standard household items with the exception of the urethane sealant. Grab your assistant or teammate and let’s get started.
Essential equipment and supplies:
First gather these necessary items:
- Your shorts, bibs, or skinsuit
- A cookie tray, baking pan (it should have raised edges). Non-stick full-size pans like these work best for easy clean up.
- Rubber spatula
One 8oz bottle of McNett’s Tent Sure Urethane Sealant (about $9); an 8 oz tube of the much more expensive McNett’s Gear Aid Aquaseal ($25) can also work.
Can’t decide on the McNett’s product? Aquaseal is attractive because it’s said to offer “waterproofing and abrasion resistance with minimal shrinkage,” something most men will appreciate when it comes to cold, wet riding (it’s hard to put a price on that). However Pro mechanic Dave Drumm says Tent Sure doesn’t reduce suppleness like Aquaseal does.
- Hair dryer
- Best friend, teammate or significant other
Then, follow these simple steps:
- First make sure your shorts are clean. Put them on, and pull them so they’re skin tight—avoid getting your chamois in a bunch as you won’t get adequate coverage.
- Empty half the contents of the 8oz Tent Sure bottle or 8 oz Aquaseal tube into the baking pan.
- Spread the Aquaseal bottle contents over the surface of the pan using the spatula. It’s similar to greasing a pan before baking cookies, but you don’t need coverage all the way to the extreme edges, and it’s okay to have a small puddle in the center.
- Place the baking pan on a flat chair. Sit down in the pan, being careful to make circular motions to completely cover the chamois area. Slouching and gyrating will help ensure full coverage—think Miley Cyrus-style Twerking if you’ve got the body control and rhythm.
- Have your friend use the spatula to collect the remaining Aquaseal in the pan, and have that friend use the spatula and leftover sealant to cover any areas that did not make contact with the pan, especially between the legs, near the front of your shorts, and further up the back (covering further up your back will also reduce unwanted penetration from rear wheel spray).
- Imitate the cycling position, with your butt out, torso leaning forward. Have your friend grab the blow dryer and on low heat, blow dry the coated areas. 10 minutes on the lowest setting should be sufficient.
- Pray for rain, go ride and enjoy completely dry chamois and privates during your next wet ride or cyclocross race.
- Recipe serves two: You should have 4oz left of Aquaseal or Tent Sure, which allows your helper the opportunity to reverse roles with you, and waterproof his or her shorts as well.
- Storage: While you can create several batches of these shorts, careful storage is needed to make sure your new coating lasts. Stuffing the shorts once they’re dry with newspaper before storing them can help ensure the coating won’t crack, but a mannequin is ideal. Just as with tubulars, your improved, Aquasealed shorts are best stored in a dark, dry cool place, next to aging tubulars and/or good wine.
- Last-minute is OK: Because the sealed shorts work best when created fresh, with a 12v car adapter for your hair dryer, this DIY technique is easily done on race day at the venue, and can be the perfect team building exercise. Randomly assign partners on race morning or at ’cross camp for a true bonding activity that is sure to seal up some strong relationships.
Step by Step in Photos:
See the full photo slideshow below for a full step-by-step guide on this easy DIY technique to waterproof and seal your cycling shorts and chamois.
Video: Pro Technique
See the video on how to ensure complete Aquaseal coverage of your chamois (shaved legs are not necessary). Loud, fast-paced music can be helpful.
Know a better process for sealing your shorts? Or have a tip you’d like to share for our Tech Tuesdays? Drop a comment below.