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  1. #1
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    Cramping/Electrolyte potions roundup

    Greeting from the Kramp King! I have cramped every muscle from fingers/toes to massively painful frankenstein rigor mortis of calves/quads. I have always been able to finish the ride, but have had to cut the bonus miles on some of the hottest days. I sweat like a suicide bomber -esp. at home in Marin on the warm days. But I prefer long XC rides, and most of my friends are ultra strong riders. And so the quest continues for the perfect hydration/ Electrolyte replacement voodoo. Looking for well tested suggestions from other riders.

    I recently tried Osmo "Active Hydration", which has been promised as the über concoction from the manufacturers. Seems OK, but I have only tried it on a few rides. Although I had no cramps on the rides, I did endure at least one nasty zinger post ride -but that could be attributed to poor post ride habits, which often include beer, etc.

    Another friend claims to have conquered the Cramp Monster with "Nuun" drink tablets. I just purchased some, but have not tried yet.

    My standard potion combo has been Heed in the water bottle (and always a full 100oz Camelbak with pure h2o) in combination with Endurloytes (capsules). This does seem to work if I don't slack on the intake. I will even bring a water filter pump on long backcountry rides.

    I consulted a nutritionist a couple years back who suggested Salt Stick Caps over the Endurolytes as they were higher in sodium. She also warned against over flushing with fresh water -which in extreme cases can result in Hyponatremia.

    I sometimes pre-load with either some Endurolytes or a tall glass of Heed. I was also given a prescription from my PCP for: Oxybutynin (5mg) which is usually prescribed for those with extreme diarrhea. He said it might reduce sweating. It did appear to do this, but appeared to increase fatigue. Will need to test further. It apparently has low incidence of any side effects.

    Opinions/suggestions from riders, esp those with nutritional and endurance expertise will be appreciated!

    Osmo Nutrition
    Fuels & Supplements for the Endurance Athlete | Hammer Nutrition
    Nuun | Optimal Hydration
    I like to bike.

  2. #2
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    sounds like youve given the subject some thought

    Have you thought about your hydration pre ride?

    If I know im going for a very long ride on a very hot day ill make a conscious effort to keep myself hydrated starting the day prior...

  3. #3
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    Adidas Techfit

    I have a loop that I do on our local trail, after about 2.5 hours of riding, I always get cramps on my quads, then I started wearing adidas techfit. It eliminate my cramps and can go longer even with just plain water on my pack. It's not padded like a cycling shorts but it works for me. It holds the muscle in my legs tighter and goes all the way down just above my knee. Pretty expensive for a compression shorts but it works for me. The elastic rubber that wraps in your legs really help keep the muscle tight.

    I also use it when I run, my legs feel much better after.


  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    I'm too a heavy sweater. Some rides ago I sweat 8l (almost 2 gallons) and I had many crams in different muscles and had to go very slowly rest of the ride.
    So I read some articles about cramps and have since added one tea spoon of salt to 3l (3/4 gallon) water. I have had no cramps afterwards.
    I have another bag 2l (1/2 gallon) of pure water, so if the salty water does not taste too good I can drink from it.

  6. #6
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    I used to cramp during "races" and tried nearly everything out there with no success. Started commuting back and forth to work last November (1hr each way) and haven't cramped a single time all year! I have pushed myself really hard at the end of a big/tiring ride just to see if I could bring on cramps but they never came. I've tried all of the electrolyte replacements you named and they never helped, so for me I guess the solution was more consistent riding.

  7. #7
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    some suggested reading to see if you really need that electrolyte drink:

    in depth analysis by one of the more respected cycling performance gurus, Joe Friel:
    Joe Friel's Blog: Hydration and Exercise, Part 1
    Joe Friel's Blog: Hydration and Exercise, Part 2
    Joe Friel's Blog: Hydration and Exercise, Part 3
    Joe Friel's Blog: Hydration and Exercise, Part 4

    Here is an even more scientific analysis in five parts, but part three really talks about drinking when thirsty:
    The Science of Sport: Fluid intake, dehydration, and exercise: Part III

    Part one addresses where all the misguided ideas about over-hydrating started with the "sports" drink industry spreading its propaganda to sell more drinks and it is clear from comments in this thread and others on MTBR and runnersworld that the general public completely believes gatorade/powerade/whoever instead of real scientific studies.
    The Science of Sport: Part I: History of fluid intake and a conflict of interest

  8. #8
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    Endurolyte capsules. Take them as directed and keep hydrated.

  9. #9
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    Thanks jmctav23 -more in-depth info is what I was hoping for.

    Also, I would be careful with Sportlegs. I believe its possible to overload on Vit D -their primary ingredient. I would read more on that.

    Also, I have been advised by more than one MD & Nutritionist NOT to drink salted water. Need to be very careful about self dosing salt. That's why we don't drink SALT WATER when lost at sea! Some forms of sodium are absorbed better that others. Best to read up on that part too.
    I like to bike.

  10. #10
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    I've been bringing pickle juice on some of my longer rides. It's a nightmare to get down, but seems to do the job. Who knows if it's real or a placebo effect, but I guess it doesn't really matter.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmctav23 View Post
    some suggested reading to see if you really need that electrolyte drink:

    in depth analysis by one of the more respected cycling performance gurus, Joe Friel:
    Joe Friel's Blog: Hydration and Exercise, Part 1
    Joe Friel's Blog: Hydration and Exercise, Part 2
    Joe Friel's Blog: Hydration and Exercise, Part 3
    Joe Friel's Blog: Hydration and Exercise, Part 4

    Here is an even more scientific analysis in five parts, but part three really talks about drinking when thirsty:
    The Science of Sport: Fluid intake, dehydration, and exercise: Part III

    Part one addresses where all the misguided ideas about over-hydrating started with the "sports" drink industry spreading its propaganda to sell more drinks and it is clear from comments in this thread and others on MTBR and runnersworld that the general public completely believes gatorade/powerade/whoever instead of real scientific studies.
    The Science of Sport: Part I: History of fluid intake and a conflict of interest
    From the links above:

    Two studies from Jonathan's doctoral work measured the rectal temperatures of runners during a 56 km road race and cyclists during a 109 km race.
    "Here, let me stick this beeping thing up your ass and then go ride 60 miles. For Science."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfaxian View Post
    Thanks jmctav23 -more in-depth info is what I was hoping for.

    Also, I would be careful with Sportlegs. I believe its possible to overload on Vit D -their primary ingredient. I would read more on that.
    Vitamin D consumption has been a controversial topic for years. The FDA continues to mis-inform the public, but has actually increased D3 MDR's over the past few years. My physician is now prescribing 5,000 IU daily (your mileage may vary).
    Last edited by Simplemind; 09-24-2012 at 04:47 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLMike View Post
    sounds like youve given the subject some thought

    Have you thought about your hydration pre ride?

    If I know im going for a very long ride on a very hot day ill make a conscious effort to keep myself hydrated starting the day prior...
    this. I would focus heavy on hydrating the day before. Drinks lots of water might feel good before a ride but your body isnt completely hydrated. I sweat a lot as well and go through a ton of water on rides but I make sure to drink at least 80 oz or just water the day before.

  14. #14
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    I would avoid the oxybutnin. It is an anticholinergic with a variety of other side effects. I don't think less sweating is a good idea anyway. Your body is trying to cool itself by sweating. Heat stroke would suck a lot more than some cramping.

    Anticholinergic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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