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  1. #1
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    energy gels/chews + endurance rides = cramping

    Hello.

    I have only done 2 endurance rides where my primary way of replenishing calories was energy gels/chews....

    Both times I was very careful to consume lots of water and electrolytes... but I still was really fighting cramps...

    Both rides were 6-8 hours in length... 60-106 miles...

    Is it the caffeine ? Anyone else experience this ?

  2. #2
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    Could be something as simple as muscle fatigue.

    I find that I occasionally cramp when I'm heavily congested or when humidity is high (even in lower temps). While I don't have any science to back me up I relate it to my lungs not being able to process oxygen as easily as it typically do. I have taken decongestants during rides when I was cramping and it seems to have helped. Of course it could have been a placebo.... Who knows?
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  3. #3
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    I don't understand why they put caffeine in them in the first place.

  4. #4
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    While caffeine does provide some short term benefits, I'd say the predominTe reason for have caffeine is marketing. Americans are thought to believe you can take a pill/drink to fix any medical issues that you have.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    Hello.

    I have only done 2 endurance rides where my primary way of replenishing calories was energy gels/chews....

    Both times I was very careful to consume lots of water and electrolytes... but I still was really fighting cramps...

    Both rides were 6-8 hours in length... 60-106 miles...

    Is it the caffeine ? Anyone else experience this ?
    I've done ~10 endurance races over the past five years and concluded that, for me, cramping is tied directly to conditioning. My hydrating/fueling strategies have changed a little, but not enough to explain the fact that with every race I do, I experience less cramping. The biggest change has been my preparation (i.e. training) for longer efforts.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugaroo View Post
    Americans are thought to believe you can take a pill/drink to fix any medical issues that you have.
    It's not just you, it's the same in the UK. I was at the doctor for my leg last week, he looked at my notes and exclaimed with surprise 'Oh, you're not on any medications!'. I said 'Am I supposed to be?'.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jradin View Post
    ...for me, cramping is tied directly to conditioning. ...The biggest change has been my preparation (i.e. training) for longer efforts.
    This. ^^^

    Training for longer efforts and harder efforts is tough. I can do the long but trying to simulate race day nerves/excitement/pressure/speed/effort is really hard.

  8. #8
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    I always feel a little sluggish right after consuming any energy chews. I'm guessing my body just taking a little time/energy to digest? Gu gels don't seem to have the same short term sluggish effect.
    Bender to AZDog: I'm not the best person to give advice on not riding!

  9. #9
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    Best I can understand:

    Muscle cramps can happen due to exhaustion or overuse, not simply being depleted of electrolytes. Gels are a good short term fix, but you need real food and some rest eventually. Your limits are based on your personal fitness level, body chemistry, etc etc.


    Caffeine is included because it promotes mental sharpness and blocks pain receptors, as well as some other things I don't fully understand. In my opinion it is a barely noticeable gimmick in terms of gels and what really gives you an advantage during a race. I certainly can't tell the difference when I'm doing sustained intense activity, but maybe others are more perceptive than I am.
    I've gone to find myself. Should I get back before I return, please tell me to wait.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by azdog View Post
    I always feel a little sluggish right after consuming any energy chews. I'm guessing my body just taking a little time/energy to digest? Gu gels don't seem to have the same short term sluggish effect.

    You might take a look at these articles from Staci Sims on slowtwitch.com. I took a seminar from her back in 2008 or something. She talked about gels and how they affect you .

    Osmo Nutrition Test - Slowtwitch.com
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  11. #11
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    For me Gel = h2o before and after the gulp, If not, major cramp.

  12. #12
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    I have done some research and cramping can come from several sources……..many from what has already been posted.

    Over the years I never really had a problem with cramping until about two years ago. What changed was that I got in the best cycling shape in my life………or at last the last 20 years.

    I would wake up in the middle of the night at least once a week with cramps. Also on long training rides I would fight off cramps.

    This past weekend I participated in a 60 milers woefully out of shape. I wasn’t fast but finished….and with no cramps. During the event I saw several riders cramp up that were younger and in better shape than me.

    Conclusion? Duno. Everyone’s body is different but for me it was diet and calorie intake. When I was on a strict diet I cut out red meat and other foods (mainly processed junk). As a result I started taking a multivitamin with additional magnesium and calcium. Also during my rides I was constantly putting calories into my body with salt tablets.

    Weird because when my diet is "clean" I get cramps

  13. #13
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    interesting reads... I swear though its related to the gels for me... these were the absolute worst that made me cramp...
    http://www.amazon.com/PowerBar-Power...power+bar+gels

  14. #14
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    For myself, 90% of cramping issues are directly related to conditioning. Also "for myself" I have to keep my calories/electrolytes separate from my h2o or my muscles seem to get over saturated and I cramp....So in short, gels/shot bloks directly affect my energy levels during races and if I cramp I can usually narrow it down to a lack of conditioning.

    Sent from my LG-D850 using Tapatalk

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