Hot Sauce

Call it what you will: embro, hot sauce, warming cream, embrocation – this stuff can be great and it can be bad – very bad. When hot sauce is good it is really good – your legs are nicely warm and very comfortable. When the hot sauce goes wrong you end up with feelings of fire and extreme heat… There isn’t a bike racer (particularly cyclocross racer) out there who doesn’t have a “hot sauce gone wrong” story to tell.

Well, guess what? I’ve got one to tell today… So last Sunday I applied hot sauce to my legs and they were nicely warm and toasty during the race. But my feet – well they were frozen. Frozen bricks of flesh and I couldn’t feel my toes. Highly unpleasant and rather ineffective when it comes to clipping in and running. The common consensus from my cyclocross pals (people with much more experience than me) was to apply hot sauce to my feet. Sounds like a great idea doesn’t it?

So today it was a bit on the cool side. Perfect opportunity to test out the hot sauce on the feet tactic. I applied a moderate amount of hot sauce to the tops and bottom of my feet, my toes, and the ankle region. As for the excess, I simply wiped this all over my hands (I also get very cold hands). I was very careful to not get the hot sauce in my chamois – getting dangerously close to sensitive areas. (Yes I have experience with this…)

After about 20 minutes of riding I noticed a rather hot and fire-like sensation around my ankles. The hot sauce was working – and it was working too well. Clearly the ankle area is rather sensitive to the hot sauce. I was able to block out the burning ankle syndrome but it was highly unpleasant.

Upon arrival home my mission was to shower. But the thing about hot sauce is that it gets even hotter and more fire like when hot water comes in contact with it. Luckily I thought ahead and have a handy bottle of Sport Wash that was rumoured to be useful in removing the hot sauce from body parts. Well, this is a false rumour. The truth is that the Sport Wash simply amplifies the heat in the hot sauce. In fact it activated the hot sauce on the tops and bottom of my feet, toes and hands.

Now what to do? Well, I sucked it up like a cyclocross racer and stepped in the shower… This is where things went really wrong and got very hot. An unpleasant and rather painful shower was had. Now six hours after the application of the hot sauce, I can happily report that the heat is finally gone from my feet and hands.

Moral of the story? I’m not sure yet. The upside is that my feet and hands were nice and warm during the ride. I have learned not to apply hot sauce to my tender ankles… I just need to determine how to get the hot sauce off of my body. I’m open to suggestions…

Even with this slightly negative experience, I’m still hooked on the sauce and I’ll give it another go. Yes, I could be considered to be a slow learner!

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