Spring is here. The Belgium Classics have begun and the weather this time of year is always a mixed bag. I purchased some new embrocation made in Belgium by a company called Qoleum. In March and April, the weather between sign-in and the final kilometers can go from -1 to 14 ºC wet or dry. These conditions are serious BKW conditions. All last season, I rocked the Freddy's Wet and Cold (amazing stuff, by the way), but since I had read good reviews of the Oleum, I had to give it a try. To follow are some thoughts on the Qoleum HOT:
Today's conditions: Overcast, mild, 4 ºC, no wind
The Qoleum is made from a 100% vegan base and goes on like wall paper paste: thick and gooey. Once it's rubbed into the skin, it disappears nicely, leaving a dull BKW sheen (good for the cyclist who wants all the protection of BKW without the added "too Euro for you" look). The Qoleum went on and stayed on for the entire ride. Like all exceptional equipment, it went unnoticed during the ride and it wasn't until I arrived in the warmth of my house that the burn set in. It took me a few seconds to realize what was going on and, in addition to the smoke coming from my knees and lower legs, I actually started to feel a bit of heat building in my core. Once I got into the shower I really felt the heat; in fact, I was wincing in pain as I tried to wash this stuff off. I had to turn down the heat of the shower and even break out the liquid dishwashing detergent. Man, that shit is hot and stubborn. I would recommend it if you are looking for the perfect linniment for an insanely cold cross race where you have a 45-60 minute exposure to the cold. But if you are looking for something for the spring or fall, Qoleum Hot is simply too hot..it's the chinese pepper you accidently left in your scoop of friend rice! If you're out on a group ride or putting in the solo training miles and it is cold enough for the Qoleum Hot you might consider some leg warmers or tights.
Overall Heat Rating - Insane
Euro Style Rating - Low, due to the dull sheen
Smell - Minty, PRO as hell
Durability - Extremely high, even dangerously high, this stuff sticks like glue
The weather will only get warmer, so stay tuned for some reviews of other BKW products including Sportsbalm, Freddy's Choice, and Greyhound Juice.