In addition to their high end clothing Rapha has added a Skin Care line to their uber hip offerings. The line consists of soap, a chamois cream and an embrocation. It was a few ounces of the new Rapha Winter Embrocation that turned up in a stylish black tin at the peloton offices. Embrocations deliver a warming tingle while giving you an excuse to massage your legs prior to riding… not that the crew at the peloton office has ever needed an excuse to massage their own legs.
I am not a rider who typically uses embrocations, I don’tride cyclocross and my rain gear consists of a 12 oz beer and the TV remote. I live in Southern California after all. But how could I resist lathering up with a product Rapha claims will give me, “vital headspace ahead of a long training ride.”
Rapha’s Winter Embrocation uses ingredients found on the slopes of the legendary French climb, Mount Ventoux. You’ll notice the scents of Lavander, Pine, Rosemary, Juniper and Cypress among others. The smell is strong, but not overpowering and very pleasant without being feminine or perfume like.
Rapha uses three separate organic warming agents: wintergreen, capsicum and vanilla. These three warming agents are advertised as, “very effective.” What that means is you will absolutely notice a warming, almost burning, sensation. It truly kicks in after 30 to 45 minutes of riding and is a very pleasant companion on a cold winter ride, essentially negating the need for leg or knee warmers.
It also has a half-life significantly longer than other substances used by cyclists… like clenbuterol for instance. I’ve done 4 hours under its influence and felt its effects the entire time. Rapha claims its effects can be felt for up to 6 hours and I would not be surprised by this at all.
Rapha has also imbued their embrocation with serious moisturizers including shea butter, vitamin E, beeswax, and essential oils.
It looks a bit like orange sherbet in the tin with the consistency of axel grease. Surprisingly a very small amount goes a long way, ensuring a single tin will last a long cold winter.
The entire effect is now a very big part of my daily riding habit. And while the concept of gaining, “vital headspace” may have seemed a bit silly at first I really do enjoy sitting on my coffee table with my shorts hiked up massaging Rapha’s Winter Embrocation into my legs no matter what snarky comments my wife makes.
Two notes of caution, put your sunscreen on first and save it for long rides. If you put the embrocation on first, then move to sunscreen, you will feel the effects of the embrocation everywhere you put the sunscreen; your arms, your face, etc… If you use the embrocation prior to a short coffee ride the effects will be felt during your second latte and it’s not as pleasant in the coffee shop as it is on the road.