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  1. #1
    Fat Biker
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    Need help preventing cramps.

    Anytime I ride a trail that's 15 miles or longer I get cramps in both my legs just above the knee. I usually get a warning in my right (dominant) leg at mile 15 and by mile 17 both my legs are cramped so bad that I cannot stand straight and I am in agony. The cramps always last less than 5 minutes and I'm able to walk again. After a mile of walking I am able to ride for a short distance but not too far before cramping again.

    I assumed it was lack of hydration, electrolytes, or energy so I've tried all sorts of combinations. Plenty of Gatorade or Smart Water before and during the ride; eating meals high in either protien or carbohydrates the week before the ride and the morning of; and all sorts of energy bars and goo's. No matter what I cramp. I'm 5' 8" and weigh 245lbs so I wonder if it's just muscle fatigue. I ride lots of miles every weekend and have been doing so for nearly 6 years so I figure my muscles are strong enough for a 15 mile ride. It happens on any trail no matter how technical or non-technical it may be. Hills or no hills I get the cramps.

    Does anyone have any advice they can share to help me out?

  2. #2
    Twin Six METAL Team
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    I'm by no means an expert, but have you tried using an electrolyte drink with a little more potassium and sodium, like Skratch Labs, Nuun, of Hammer HEED? Gatorade seems a little lean in that department. You might also wanna try eating a banana about 15 minutes before your ride. Again, I'm not a nutritionist or anything, that's just what has worked for me.

    Also...are you eating mid-ride? At that distance, your body could likely use some more calories, etc...

    Good luck man! Cramping sucks!

    Chris

  3. #3
    Fat Biker
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    I have not tried any electrolye tabs or specialty mixes in my hydration pack other than Smart Water which has some electrolytes in it. Not enough to help with my cramps as I found out last Saturday. Do you recommend anything specific? I'm pretty picky when it comes to flavors I like but am willing to try anything to beat these cramps.

    A fellow mtbr member said to try mustard before and during the ride so I'm going to give that a shot. I've hear crazy things over the years and surprisingly many of them were true. If nothing else it would be a good reason to carry a hotdog or two with me out on the trail. Maybe some beer too!

  4. #4
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    I have been pretty happy with Endurolytes... although Heed is easier since it dissolves. When I use Heed I have water in my camelbak and then a bottle of the Heed.

    Gonna sound crazy too, but pickle juice is awesome for treating/preventing cramps.

  5. #5
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    Ive had the exact same issues for years, and have recently got a grip on them I usually use tablets in camelbak , (elixir to be exact) for hydration purposes, i have narrowed it down to lack of salt and also magnesium in my case, sounds crazy but the day before I ride, I take 2 pills specifically for leg cramps, but more importantly I eat a bag of salty chips (ruffles or the like) I noticed when I would drink straight water, my electrolytes would get flushed out, thought it was potassium, so I figured bananas and prunes would do the trick, ends up it was more the sodium side-- just my 2 cents...

    Sent from my SPH-D710 using Tapatalk 2

  6. #6
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    I've had good luck with elete electrolyte liquid this year. You just mix a capful per liter of water in bladder or waterbottle. No taste when mixed with water. I like this mechanism best as there is no sugar etc that you get with Gatorade.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    ok

    try bacon...

    then maybe have someone check if your bike fit is okay. you might be overworking one specific muscle group and under-working others.

  8. #8
    Twin Six METAL Team
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    Quote Originally Posted by soccerdude View Post
    I have not tried any electrolye tabs or specialty mixes in my hydration pack other than Smart Water which has some electrolytes in it. Not enough to help with my cramps as I found out last Saturday. Do you recommend anything specific? I'm pretty picky when it comes to flavors I like but am willing to try anything to beat these cramps.

    A fellow mtbr member said to try mustard before and during the ride so I'm going to give that a shot. I've hear crazy things over the years and surprisingly many of them were true. If nothing else it would be a good reason to carry a hotdog or two with me out on the trail. Maybe some beer too!
    Here's what I've been using, and it seems to work well. I use the raspberry, and it tastes great!

    Exercise Hydration Mix (aka Secret Drink Mix) | Skratch Labs

  9. #9
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    How soon before your ride are you hydrating? You need to start drinking water 8+ hourse before hand to be truly hydrated.

  10. #10
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    Fluid loading in preparation needs to be an on-going thing. If you're just trying to load a day or so in advance and notice your frequency of urination increase, you are likely losing a lot of potassium as well. Electrolyte supplements are great for during your ride, but a diet rich in potassium is better overall. Eat more sweet potatoes, avocados, and yogurt as they contain much more potassium than a banana. Although a banana is quite convenient mid ride as well.

  11. #11
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    At 5'8" and 245 pounds, your legs are fatigued from lugging you and your equipment. I bet if you dropped to 180 you'll easily do a four-hour 25mi+ epic. Try L-Arginine - it will help your quad muscles maintain blood flow longer.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  12. #12
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    No water just an electrolyte mix before during and after
    Pickle juice will stop cramps within 3 minutes
    Salt pills are good also

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3034 View Post
    No water just an electrolyte mix before during and after
    Pickle juice will stop cramps within 3 minutes
    Salt pills are good also
    The first part of that in incorrect. You want to drink water before, not electrolyte mix. If your body already has the correct amounts of electrolytes, you dont want to be adding more, and your body can only asorb so much. So you will just be urinating all the electrolytes you just drank.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPXJ View Post
    The first part of that in incorrect. You want to drink water before, not electrolyte mix. If your body already has the correct amounts of electrolytes, you dont want to be adding more, and your body can only asorb so much. So you will just be urinating all the electrolytes you just drank.
    Who cares about wasted electrolytes. ? This method has worked for me for years before this routine I would get the always fun double quad cramps I also like coffee so I preload with electrolytes

  15. #15
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    You can throw dollars at them, with Enduralites from Hammer Nutrition. I am a bad cramper, and this stuff works. Ive tryed Tums too, and I am not sure if they went away because of the Tums, but everytime I do, they go away in a few minutes.

  16. #16
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    For pre-ride, try a banana and water. During ride, fill a bottle with HEED or Cytomax and eat something like half a PowerBar or Gu. Hydrate so much that you have to stop and pee every 4 miles or so. Then back off however much water that was a bit. Some people sweat more than others, and it may just be that you're sweating more than you're taking in.

    Weigh yourself immediately before and after your ride, you may just be surprised by how much water you're sweating out. I will leave for a 2 hour ride and drink a large water beforehand. I fill up a 60oz in my CamelBak and a 24oz water bottle with Cytomax. I drink almost everything but a few oz. of water during the ride, and by the time I get back I'm almost 3 pound lighter than when I started!
    "Got everything you need?"

  17. #17
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    Your gonna have to lose weight...That's the only solution..

    Spinning more and staying in the saddle might give you a few extra miles.

    I'm fairly heavy and standing usually kills my quads after hour 3

  18. #18
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    At some point training and ride volume becomes the issue. Even under ideal conditions you will cramp if your not in good shape.

  19. #19
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    any good advice to help treat a cramp during a ride? Especially a lower stomach one.. usually other ones I can stretch out a little

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_lew View Post
    any good advice to help treat a cramp during a ride? Especially a lower stomach one.. usually other ones I can stretch out a little
    Pickle juice

  21. #21
    Lurkers Union - Local 916
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    There was a really long thread on here that I found recently while trying to defeat my quad cramps, and while nutrition is obviously very important, don't discount position. Basically it was an argument about the muscle not being able to fully contract/retract and flush out the lactic acid. Last night I felt the tell-tell twinge in my quads right after I started a ride. I raised my seat 1/4" and to amazement my legs started feeling better almost instantly. Rode a much faster than normal ride and felt great.

  22. #22
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Also, don't forget proper cleat position....if riding clipless. Cleat must be 2-3mm behind the ball of your foot, or pedal spindle.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  23. #23
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    Most research now points to conditioning rather than hydration or nutrition as the culprit behind muscle cramping.

  24. #24
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    Ergonomics - have your bike fit checked! Also included with what others have said and at the risk of sounding like a commercial, try hammer Heed and hamer endurolights. I also like bannanas and salted pumpkin seeds.

  25. #25
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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    magnesium, calcium and potassium supplements daily.... elete drops are good too...

    ...wait for it...






































    a pre-ride massage by a hot asian chikka may help too.

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