Embrocation. From the Oxford English Dictionary: (noun) A liquid used for bathing or moistening any diseased part; now usually restricted to applied by rubbing; a liniment.
As I think ahead to a weekend of riding in cold & wet weather, I can’t help but think that embrocation will be part of my pre-ride ritual each day. There is something very comforting in looking down at your shiny embrocated legs as they are being pelted with cold rain and realizing that you feel no sting whatsoever.
I started using embrocation during cyclocross season because I wanted to experience every nuance of the cyclocross culture. Applying embrocation has now become part of my routine whenever I ride in the rain and/or cold.
Embrocation is the essence of cycling. One of those things that just makes your world spin. Technically, you could do without embrocation, but that’s not living. Embrocation is the jam on your toast, the honey in your tea. Its hot infusing carrier oils with capsicum at 2:00 in the morning. It’s pure, it’s life, and it’s just plain good. Embrocation used to be just for race day, but lately has found it’s way into the daily routine. Wake, shower, dress, coffee, embrocate, commute. It helps you feel cool on the hottest days and warms through to your heart when the mercury dips. Embrocation is the panacea for a ho-hum day. ~ Pete Smith, Founder of Mad Alchemy Embrocations
In an effort to help those who have never indulged in the practice of embrocating before a ride, I thought I would share a few basics. I call this Embrocation 101.
- Apply embrocation using a powder-free disposable glove (Latex or Nitrile work).
- Embrocation is not just for the legs. It works on the feet and feels especially good on the lower back.
- It is perfectly acceptable to wear embrocation under knee warmers or leg warmers. In the wet, you can feel the embrocation creating an impenetrable layer under your soaked knee/leg warmers.
- Choose wisely. If you are new to embrocation, try the “medium” heat before jumping to the “high” or “madness” levels of heat.
- At the end of your ride, use Wet Ones wipes to remove the majority of the embrocation and road grime from your legs. Rubbing alcohol and a paper towel works in a pinch.
- Do NOT embrocate hairy legs. Your fellow cyclists do not want to look at your sticky, matted leg hair under a layer of embrocation.
- Do NOT apply embrocation before stepping into your bib shorts. Always put your bib shorts on, roll the legs of your shorts up, and then apply embrocation below the legs of your shorts. This will prevent embrocation from accidentally being spread to the genital area as you pull your short into place…which would be bad. Very bad.
- Do NOT double-dip into your friend’s jar of embrocation. This is not as bad as double-dipping into your friend’s jar of chamois cream but it is still considered bad form.