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Thread: Cramps

  1. #1
    Meatbomb
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    Cramps

    Ouch... For the first time ever I had one of my calf muscles cramp up on me today. I always make sure I am hydrated and usually eat a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana on it before i ride.

    What can be done to prevent them as well as cure them on the trail? I think I remember reading that pickles help once you start getting them?

    Any advice?

  2. #2
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    For those of us vulnerable to cramps, it is important to pre-hydrate and keep electrolyte levels up. I use Gatorlytes, which seems to help quite a bit.

  3. #3
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    Hydration/electrolytes deficiency causing cramps is an old wife's tale. Scientific studies disproved the link. Unless they are way off, proper hydration and electrolytes replacement does little to ward off cramps.
    Muscle hypertonia is induced by mental and physical stress.

  4. #4
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    Here is an example. For those than have done Whiskey Off-Road 50 miler, you are probably aware of the notorious cramp hill. High proportion of rides get cramps at the cramp hill...but why there? Cramp hill is located right after a pretty sketchy Trail 366 descent which is preceeded but super hard and super long climb out of SKull Valley. Right in the middle of that climb there is an aid station with plenty of pickles, pretzels (Sodium Cloride), oranges, bananas (Potassium), electrolyte solution and water. A lot of riders stop, top off on water and electrolytes...and still get the cramps at the cramp hill.
    Now mind you there is very little cramping on the huge climb itself...only on the Cramp Hill AFTER you rested on the descent and after the aid station refill.... WEIRD EH ?

    Well my theory is that the climb itself obviously induced physical stress and muscle overuse but that is not enough. The descent thereafter adds the mental stress as it is sketchy, IMO. The combination of both results in CRAMPING. The refill aid station does nothing to stop it

    So what to do?

    No easy answer for physical stress - lots of base miles and endurance to prime the muscles for the big efforts.

    Mental stress - sharpen the skills and learn to ride relaxed. Ease up on the grip, weigh the feet and stay in the flow. One still needs lots of riding and practice to get there.

    So conclusion is... RELAX and RIDE MORE !

  5. #5
    Meatbomb
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    I've been suffering a bit of anxiety since losing my job. Maybe that mental stress is a factor then.

  6. #6
    EXORCIZE
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    Move cleats a touch rearward (unless you use flats instead)? This should decrease demands placed on the calf muscle.

    I personally avoid calories from fat before any type of exercising under 2 hours.
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  7. #7
    Meatbomb
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    I'll give that a try.

  8. #8
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    I've only ever had leg cramps (usually in the the thigh) after long rides on something that is constantly demanding. Only once did I actually have to dismount and rest for several minutes (as I moaned in pain, lol). The other times (minor cramping), it's as though I caught it coming on and was able to mentally relax with a brief stop and end it. Another thing that i have noticed, for me at least, is that I only get cramps (super rare to ever even get cramps) on rides that I rarely do or have never done before. It's almost as though our bodies are conditioned to our "regular riding destinations".
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  9. #9
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    Increase potassium and magnesium, ride within your limits and unless you plan to sprint like cavendish, slide the cleat all the way back. My humble opinion.
    As far as your job don't stess out. Unemployment here is 6% which isn't too bad and should land somewhere soon. Also You have your health and that is the most important thing. Lost my best friend last year who had an aggressive form of MS. He was 43.
    Hang in there.
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