This is the Pre Ride Massage Oil from Simon Lamb of La Gazzetta della Bici website. Simon is open and frank about many things including where some of his early ideas came from, none other than the peloton’s secret favourite oils (both body and bike) Morgan Blue. I tried the first batch and for me it wasn’t quite right, and as I’d promissed to Simon I’d feed back my thoughts, which I did by email.
Then the process of development continued and when he has was ready Simon held a competition for the Label design, and very fetching labels they are, which to be honest are much better than many a big premium brand in this area. It really removed the product from a cottage industry look to being very PRO. Big Brands take note packaging sells and says a lot about your company, the product might be great, but without a little pizazz and sex appeal people aren’t attracted, it’s that simple.
I promised Simon I’d review it but I wouldn’t comment to him until I had used it enough to warrant some good comparision built up from some time on the bike. Time served, kilometres logged it’s now time to give you my opinion.
The bottle at first looks small, and at 100ml it is smaller than what is currently on the market, but size isn’t everything. The bottle comes with a spray applicator which actually makes applying the oil a lot easier. You can either go for the two obvious methods, straight onto legs then rub or, my preffered method, into the hands then onot the legs. Why do I prefer the second method, as I have done some Sports Masseur Course and was taught that the oil should be first warmed in the hand before touching the skin. I think this is pretty important when dealing with a client, but I’ve stuck with this method for personal use.
Why use embrocation at all, well he’s my take on it. Stimulating the blood circulation is vital in making the muscles aware that some activity is about to start. Lifting the muscles and moving them aorund reduces aches and deep muscle sores in the muscles casued by activity. These small tares in the muscle are what encourages the body to grow as it repairs the damage. What you are looking to do is aid this process, and actually stop muscle damage by the area not being warmed up. It may sounds conflicting, but it’s not. Good oils include various essential oils derived from herbs and spices they all perform slightly different functions but the combined end goal is the same.Other benefits include protection from the elements, be it wind, rain and sun to a degree. I got into using them some years ago when I was advised by a massage therapist to use them to stop my ITB getting sore and pulling on my back muscles. Every since then I’ve continued to use them, be it in the Winter or Summer.
My current schedule has been brutal, long hours at work and racking the miles in have left legs feeling dead in the morning, so a Pre Oil has been welcome. Upon first use I was impressed by two factors. How the oil spread and warmed up, and the effects it had on my legs. But my warning is this, start off with a small amount and build it up as if you pile on too much the legs will feel claggy and the skin will feel like it isn’t breathing. The muscle stiffness that was present in my legs was lessened by around 5 minutes of massaging. I do this most mornings I ride to work, unless I am really late, so I know my body well and can gauge my energy/fitness by how they feel. The legs never lie. The smell from the oil awakens the brain also preparing it for the ride. Would the oil work as well without the smell, well no, as the power of smell is a powerful muscle memory activator, hence why we have Five Senses.
What is impressive is how much added protection, for what in effect is a start oil, has against the elements. It’s great when faced with a small shower and the oil itself lasts for the full duration of a ride, which has been around 3-4 hours max. The oil washes off easierly, which may seem obvious, but it isn’t always. Some embrocation just doesn’t come off and you have to scrub and scrub. Those like that normally end up warming your legs for a second time which can be counter productive as what you really should be doing post ride is trying to draw the blood into the muscles and not away from it, hence why many comapnies produce Cooling creams.
The combination of ingredients is impressive, and for those who have read Simon’s posts on Twitter he talks about being a Chef before his illness left him sidelined. He must have been a bloody good one, and I’d like to go for dinner some time, as the combination of products gives the user a powerful stimulant that I am sure wouldn’t get passed the UCI as it would be considered an unfair advantage to those using it. I get to use and try over extended periods products from lots of companies, it’s part of my job to make sure I have confidence it what people are saying. What I can say about this product is that it is among some of the finest I have used and any Pro Level Soigner would be happy to use as it would make their riders legs feel great. For my personal taste and what I like in a product I’d rate in currently in my top three. Ok I’ve not used everything but many so called legendary brands fail to meet up to the expectations, whereas this cottage (well probably a nice flat in Twickenham) industry product beats them hands down.
If you have never tried them before this would be a very good place to start as it works very well indeed. The price is about right considering that they are hand made in small batches. Use it if you want your legs to warm up quicker than the 10km it normally takes mine these days. Also the added benefit is that at the end of the ride your legs won’t feel as tired, well maybe not initially but come next day you’ll become a believer as the effects of the expensive Essential Oils will have worked their magic on you. I don’t really ever give number ratings, but I like Stars so I’ll give Simon 4 stars out of 5, if it’d been a 200ml like the big boys it would have got full marks.
You can buy the product here: http://www.lagazzettadellabici.com/p/verde-olio-energizzante-pre-gara-pre.html