Recently though, I've been keen to demonstrate just how useful they are: a few weeks ago I posted on 'Hints and Tips: Treating and Recovering from Road Rash', and mentioned how much better the Sportique Road Rash Balm was than your standard antiseptic cream. In this post, I focus on pre-event preparation and post-event pampering, tying in the Sportique products that I use for the purpose.
Before a race or other major riding event, it clearly pays to be prepared; whether that be your bike, your kit, or your body. For most enthusiast road cyclists, preparing their legs includes the task of shaving, and often applying warm-up balm to reduce the chance of injury. Neither of these tasks are particularly scientific in their backing, but they are common place amongst cyclists, and in a world of marginal gains it seems worthwhile pursuing them, as easy-to-execute advantages pre-event.
The Sportique Shave Oil and After Shave Balm are my preferred choice for the first of these tasks; the oil is light and naturally scented, whilst the aftershave balm is highly effective at cooling and reducing irritation. There is nothing particularly new or revolutionary about shaving oil or balm, but when you find one that works well, and has natural ingredients, it's likely you'll keep using it for a long time. The Sportique stuff is top class, and remains my go-to.
Warm-up oil or embrocation is something that I admit I went many years without using when I first started riding competitively. However, in cold, wet and windy conditions, that water resistant layer on your legs, and the warming effect of the balms, are a significant benefit. Many embrocation oils are too overpoweringly chemical in their smell and composition for me though, and that's why the Sportique oil continues to be in my kit bag time and time again. It has a pleasant smell, and works extremely well; staying put, remaining non-irritant and adding a gentle warming effect to cold muscles and skin. If you want to give embrocation a try, this is the best I have found.
Whether you've gone through the motions of pre-event pampering or not, post race pampering is definitely something that your body will be grateful for, and there are a few products that I have really found to help ease aches and pains, and get you ready for riding as soon as possible.
The first is the Sportique Cooling Cream; it uses a combination of peppermint and eucalyptus to provide a gentle cooling effect on the skin and muscles below, helping to relax them and reduce inflammation. The cream is a nice consistency, and I find it particularly useful in hot conditions, when it can be used almost like after-sun to cool down hot and tired muscles. Imagine an ice bath in a tube; this stuff is pleasant to use and really effective.
The second magic cream is the Sportique Muscle Gel; this uses cloves, ginger and other natural botanics to provide a relaxing effect on the muscles, and reduce tension gradually. Putting it on in the evening after a hard day of riding or uncomfortable efforts really does seem to have a great effect at releasing tension in the muscles, and lowering the chance of being stiff and sore the following morning.
Finally, the Sportique Foot Gel always remains in my kit bag. Athlete's foot is a nasty infection to come across; it is caused by fungi growing in the sweaty conditions around your toes, and is all too common in pursuits such as running, cycling and sailing. Since using the Sportique Foot Gel, I can honestly say I have eliminated the problem of athlete's foot, or the pre-cursory itchy toes that often comes before. This really is a super solution.
OK, so this blog is very Sportique-centric, but they are quite easily the best care products that I've found on the market to date. They just work. They're natural, they smell nice, they're not an extortionate price, and they actually do what they say on the packet. If you're looking to prepare and pamper your body a bit better before a sports event, then check them out.