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  1. #1
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    Need advice on preventing cramps doing a 100-mile road ride

    I've been mountain biking for well over 20 years and although I do experience cramping of the legs (calves, quads, hamstring), it is rare and usually happens towards the end of the ride. But for the last year or so I've been riding my road bike training to do a century in last March of 2018 down in the Keys. Lack of energy hasn't been the issue during my training rides. The only thing stopping me at around the 50-mile range is cramping. So far my longest ride is only 60 miles. Does anyone have a remedy or suggestions on how to fix that? What should I eat and when. What to drink? Supplements? Stretching? Anything else? If you know of specific supplements or drinks, brands names would help a lot. Since I'll be riding the Keys (Key Largo to Key West) it'll be pretty flat with the exception of the 7-mile bridge. We have about 8 hours to do it with the goal of reaching Key West by happy hour. Thanks in advance.
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  2. #2
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    My experience is that cramping is mainly due to overexertion. When you break through to new boundaries (longer, steeper rides) is when you cramp. It is a building process that is a yearly cycle until legs get conditioned. Every year, there are few big rides that I haven't ridden in a while is generally when I cramp. Once you build up strength and fitness strong enough for those new levels then the cramping goes away. Just gradually riding bigger and bigger rides is the remedy in my experience.

    I do think a stretching routine can help. Keeping muscles loose and supple always helps a ride. I don't have any suggestions on supplements. Just good preparation for the rides with proper hydration and food fuel.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    My experience is that cramping is mainly due to overexertion. When you break through to new boundaries (longer, steeper rides) is when you cramp. It is a building process that is a yearly cycle until legs get conditioned. Every year, there are few big rides that I haven't ridden in a while is generally when I cramp. Once you build up strength and fitness strong enough for those new levels then the cramping goes away. Just gradually riding bigger and bigger rides is the remedy in my experience.

    I do think a stretching routine can help. Keeping muscles loose and supple always helps a ride. I don't have any suggestions on supplements. Just good preparation for the rides with proper hydration and food fuel.
    I thought about stretching and is going to start that routine. Thanks.
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  4. #4
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    Pickle juice, or similar salty solution.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuyuna View Post
    Pickle juice, or similar salty solution.
    I have drink mixes that provides all the extra sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyride1 View Post
    I have drink mixes that provides all the extra sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.
    Nah...hydration and electrolyte solutions have always been the dogmatic mantra for preventing or treating muscle cramps, but that's pretty much debunked these days and apparently doesn't make any difference. Pickle juice, however.....https://www.active.com/nutrition/art...e-pickle-juice

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuyuna View Post
    Nah...hydration and electrolyte solutions have always been the dogmatic mantra for preventing or treating muscle cramps, but that's pretty much debunked these days and apparently doesn't make any difference. Pickle juice, however.....https://www.active.com/nutrition/art...e-pickle-juice
    Wow. That's interesting. I'll will give it a shot.
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  8. #8
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    So how are you all sourcing little packets of vinegar? I'm thinking of breaking my 35 year streak and stopping by Long John Silvers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GlazedHam View Post
    So how are you all sourcing little packets of vinegar? I'm thinking of breaking my 35 year streak and stopping by Long John Silvers.
    My plan is to just fill a water bottle with pickle juice.
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  11. #11
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    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...s/syc-20350820


    funny, it seems everyone except all the top research medical facilities insist hydration has nothing to do with cramps. I can believe it is not the only reason. But considering in 45 years of participating in athletics every time I have had cramps it has been when I didn't hydrate before and early during the exercise, it seems it must have something to do with it. I had cramps this weekend, it was cool out and I wasn't thirsty. I only drank about 1/3 of the water I normally drink in a day riding.

  12. #12
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    Ive had good results with that hot-shot stuff...though not full proof it has helped.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mackdhagen View Post
    Ive had good results with that hot-shot stuff...though not full proof it has helped.
    I tried the Hot Shot and that didn't work for me.
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  14. #14
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    FYI, pickle juice works. I bought some pickle power drinks in 1.5 oz. bottles and it works as advertised. As soon as I felt a cramp coming I drank a bottle and it went away. Drank another bottle when that feeling came back. I did 82 miles yesterday using 2 bottles. So I suspect 3 bottles are all I need to complete my 100 (104 to be exact) mile ride from Key Largo to Key West in a couple of weeks.
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  15. #15
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    OK, I'm back from my century ride (108 miles to be exact) and Pickle Juice (pickle power.com) works. I used as directed and although I felt cramping coming on it never got bad enough to where I had to stop. I just kept riding and it went away. Cramping would come and go. I took 5 bottles during the course of the ride and I love it. Highly recommended.
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