I am pretty much helpless in the face of novelty products and impulse buys. So when a review of Mad Alchemy embrocation popped up from Cyclocross mag, I knew I would be getting something from this company. Small local company making niche product? Sign me up. There are already some established sites that focus on embrocation(BKW has water bottles!), so I will focus on the thing that really got my heart racing. The Start Stick Nasal Inhaler! How had I made it this far without this? No wonder my racing has been so sub par! I haven't been able to open my nasal passages.
There are a variety of cycling urban myths that I subscribe to-compression socks for example and these seemed to be another one I would succumb to.
I also have an OCD compulsion to brush my teeth before rides because I read the mint smell can improve performance.(no evidence found in my personal performance).
Double espresso before a ride is another sacred cow for me. The start stick was a perfect addition to my pre ride/race OCD rituals.
Since it is natural it seems better than abusing athsma inhalers or cold medicine, but I can always fall back on those if the Start Stick fails me.
So what are the initial reports? I messed around with it on a cold commute, but that doesn't really match the "rigors of competition"
Finally had a chance to test out the start stick in colder race conditons. A 5K not a cross race, but hey what can you do. A couple snorts on this thing and my nose was clear. I don't know how much of an impact it had, but I sounded much better than the 50 year old hyperventilating next to me with Re-Load cranked on his IPOD.
The small stick is easy to misplace and thus failed to make it to the start of my next two cross races with me. I kept sticking it in a jersey pocket and forgetting to transfer it. I need to stick it in my race bag and leave it.
Sat night, I managed to remember to stuff it in my bag, so I was ready on a cold Sunday morning in Palmer. I had a runny nose and this definitely cleared me out. Hard to say if it helped during the race since my mouth was hanging open most of the time-not much relaxed breathing through the nose as your are chasing back after multiple crashes.
This item will take its place in my pantheon of performance enhancers that don't seem to enhance my performance, but I can't really blame any of the products when the engine isn't there...........
One caveat, this stuff seems to encourage some seriously adhesive boogers a few hours after the race, so if you are afraid to dig for gold-think twice!
As far as the embrocation, it is good. It is the color of squash and that makes me want to eat it. Warm, but not insane and it washes off no problem. Smells good. MA also has done a couple cool limited runs or coffee embrocation, so keep an eye on the site and support small, local business! It's a winner.