It’s been a long time since I’ve given to the allure of ritual. I’ve spent the last bunch of years eschewing and püpüing the satisfaction that can be had by opening little tins, rolling down the tops of paper bags, and moussing my hair. Why the Spartan restraint? Because being simple is tougher. So I thought.
That thought held until I was reminded of the delights that exist within a can of embrocation. It was a winter for sure, though most times on the bike were satisfactory as training units go. The weather wasn’t too bad, I felt pretty fit, but given the selection of steed upon which I’ve been rolling — steel, lugged, heavy, but classy — it seems most fitting to engage another of the surviving rites associated with a couple hours of chamois time. Bros? no. Embros.
Press pot: check. Brioche and brie: check. La Gazzetta on the Gianni: si. And then, finally, for the final administration of pre-dawn ‘nache, there is the grease. It’s the last thing to go on save a crisp chapeau and helmette.
So it is, all ceremonial and delicious. I have never given thought to a summer version, but here in the Carolinas, there are burdensome months ahead. Ones that can be wet to breathe, and ultimately just totally suck. That’s where the crystal du menthe comes in. Thank you. I’ll take much. In Sancremo, the crystals are plenty–not too much, but enough for the slight tingle. Envigorating. Lively. And more.
This Sancremo on one hand is like the hand of a small child slapping me on my cheek while I nap. It is a reminder of life, but not one too abrupt. On the other hand it is a MAN. It is a man riding a motorbike through Baja. It is a man driving from Monte Carlo to Provence just because he craves fresh peas. It is a man forgoing the comforts of bed to log unit miles in the sometimes chilly rain of spring. It is an extra man in the back pocket of a man’s selvedge jeans. It is all of these men at once, but astride.
This magical gelle, when applied thinly, smells of lands I someday will visit. It’s a gentle reminder of the pleasure that comes from the pain of cycling. This embrocation and others, they provide respite from the ludicrous nature of self-flagellation. But the Sancremo is something über.