So this stuff works. No question about it, and I only tried the Medium setting.
Unlike in many other blogs where everything is the stiffest, lightest, and most comfortable, if things don't work for me, I hope to tell like it is, although usually I don't write anything at all.
Some history. I first learned about embrocation when I noticed that Frank VDB's legs were unnaturally shiny before the big world's race back in 1998. I think I asked my friend Chris why his legs were so shiny and he told me that it was "liquid courage". I believe the race was especially cold and rainy that day. From what I hear embrocation really becomes activated/reactivated when it comes in contact with water.My first real life experience with embrocation was up in the New Gloucester race in 2005. Although it was an early race, it was raining pretty hard and it was already starting to get pretty cold (45-50 degrees F). This was also the first race that Rosey, PVB, Zac and I traveled to as the HUPUNITED Varsity squad.
Zac D was pushing out this strange marmalade like substance from a blue bottle. One of the best advice he ever gave me is to put the embrocation on your triceps and back. The other advice that I did not take is "Stop your bitching." Psychologically it helps tremendously for me to put the embrocation on my back because I can't tell if my back is hurting during a race because the heat from the embro is so intense. You can slightly mask your back pain with the embro. The first 2-3 times I used embrocation, it worked amazingly well. After that, no matter how much I put on, or how much I worked it in the muscle, it never seemed to work.
In the last two years I have used several types of embrocation labeled as HOT, but nothing even gave me a tingle.
Products I have used in the past:
Sportsbalm XXX-Starts to work about 7 hours later while taking a shower, no shine. I usually use about half a handful of this compund.
Quolem Extra Super Hot (One with the snowflakes)-did nothing, but smells okay, very little shine. I put enough on my legs so that it turns white. Then I rub it in. I guess what I am trying to say is that I use a lot of this stuff. Chris Bailey almost fell on his ass laughing when he saw how much I use.
Greyhoung Juice: I have only used this once or twice when I received a sample at the Lowell race. It worked okay, smelled good, but really never heated the legs.
MAD ALCHEMY TRIAL: MEDIUM HEAT SETTING
WITNESSES: R.Michael, PVB, the Mantis, the Kyler.
RECAP: For the last several weeks, I have heard a lot of guys talking about Mad Alchemy. Pete Smith, who is a super strong rider and has occasionally eaten riders like me for breakfast, digested me and shit me out before the first set of barriers, has mixed up several varieties of compounds ranging from Warm to HOOOOT.
I was pretty eager to try this out since they even had a compound that smells like coffee. Fricking gernius!
During my days as a consultant for the Hupunited Embrocation development program, I pushed hard to have one called Black. This compund will not only have self tanner in it, but it would also smell like Polo Black.
Okay, enough blah blah.
Allow me to set the scene...
Sunday, day two of the Northampton weekend of racing.
On Saturday I endoed over some dude who crashed into another dude who ate shit on the nose bump-able mini ramp. So my back was super sore and I was having trouble sleeping and breathing.
I borrowed some of Mike's Medium blend. I think it came in a nice plastic container which was this dark brown amber color. I didn't really know how to use it at first because the consistency is a lot thicker and less gel like than all of the other balms I have been using all season. I was instructed to stick my dirty monkey fingers in there and slowly heat it up so it starts to change from a solidus state into a liquidus state. I took maybe a teaspoon, maybe even less of the balm and spread it on my lower back and my shoulder where I fell on the guy's bike.
In about 10-15 minutes, my back started to really heat up and you could physically feel the heat from over my jacket, it was pretty amazing actually. I would have to say that the medium was pretty intense and I was glad my bravado kept me from caking on the HOT balm. It stayed hot for about 2 hours, just enough to get me through my race, and after that it was gone.
What was interesting about this balm is that it did not reactivate when I took a hot shower later that evening.
If other balms have not worked for you because your legs are already preloaded with years of embrocation use, I would definitely give Mad Alchemy a try.