The anointing of shaven legs with salves and oils before a race is part of the religion of cyclocross. Called embrocation, these strong, often natural herb-based solutions are traditionally applied to trigger blood flow, a zing of warmth, and protection from the elements on a ride. Try one of the concoctions from Mad Alchemy Inc., we went with the Gentleman's Blend because we like its earthy scent. If you’re racing where the temps drop below 30 degrees or so try the spicy Cold Weather Embrocation, a thick salve that sells for $21 and includes grapeseed oil, unbleached beeswax, and raw West African Shea Butter. Rapha's Embrocation, at £20, includes arnica, a plant the company says has been used for medicinal purposes since the 16th century.
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