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    Electrolytes/Cramps

    I did an 87 mile RR a last month and had cramps in both legs from about 60 miles on. I started using electrolyte tabs this summer. My question is, can those tabs act in a way that causes more cramps than not using them? My alternate theory is that it was just the combo of intensity/duration.
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    recent studies fail to link cramps and hydration, but do link cramps to the intense exercise that is difficult to separate from hydration. I.E. cramps occur in intense exercise situations, which often but not always accompany a dehydrated state.

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    have you done a race of that distance and not cramped?

    my guess is it had more to do with hydration/nutrition than electrolytes.
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    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Nobody knows what causes cramps. If somebody tries to tell you "cramps are caused by X" then you can be sure they are incorrect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yep View Post
    I did an 87 mile RR a last month and had cramps in both legs from about 60 miles on. I started using electrolyte tabs this summer. My question is, can those tabs act in a way that causes more cramps than not using them? My alternate theory is that it was just the combo of intensity/duration.
    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    have you done a race of that distance and not cramped?

    my guess is it had more to do with hydration/nutrition than electrolytes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    Nobody knows what causes cramps. If somebody tries to tell you "cramps are caused by X" then you can be sure they are incorrect.

    y'all educate yourselves.

    Everything You Know About Cramps Is Wrong, And Gatorade Is Full Of ****

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    tldr pleae
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    »\_(ツ)_/» Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    tldr pleae
    electrolytes have nada to do with cramps. it's fatigue, and central nervous system stress. cramps affect 2-joint muscles the most (calf, quad) because the muscle can contract and shorten from both ends. Most every study linking hydration and cramping is out of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute GSSI which is bad science and essentially marketing for sports drinks.

    What I said before!

    You're laid up. Go on Google Scholar and read about cramps!

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    med studies put me to sleep.. arguments about them are even worse!
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    Yep
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    electrolytes have nada to do with cramps. it's fatigue, and central nervous system stress. cramps affect 2-joint muscles the most (calf, quad) because the muscle can contract and shorten from both ends. Most every study linking hydration and cramping is out of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute GSSI which is bad science and essentially marketing for sports drinks.

    What I said before!

    You're laid up. Go on Google Scholar and read about cramps!
    That's what I was looking for. If I had more eloquently stated my question I would have asked, 'is there any risk of electrolytes making cramps worse and not better?' and it sounds like the answer is 'no', but only because they don't do sh*t.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryanf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yep View Post
    That's what I was looking for. If I had more eloquently stated my question I would have asked, 'is there any risk of electrolytes making cramps worse and not better?' and it sounds like the answer is 'no', but only because they don't do sh*t.
    you need them to live, eventually.

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    Brawndo has what plants crave. Electrolytes!

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    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    electrolytes have nada to do with cramps. it's fatigue, and central nervous system stress. cramps affect 2-joint muscles the most (calf, quad) because the muscle can contract and shorten from both ends. Most every study linking hydration and cramping is out of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute GSSI which is bad science and essentially marketing for sports drinks.

    What I said before!

    You're laid up. Go on Google Scholar and read about cramps!

    the SECOND SENTENCE of the article you linked says: "We actually don't know for sure what causes a muscle cramp, despite what you may have heard "

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    »\_(ツ)_/» Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    the SECOND SENTENCE of the article you linked says: "We actually don't know for sure what causes a muscle cramp, despite what you may have heard "

    Yo, we also have no clue how gravity works. Doesn't mean we can't work with it.

    Do your own reading, idgaf.

    muscle cramps - Google Scholar

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    Yo, we also have no clue how gravity works.
    Well, we can predict exactly under what conditions gravity is going to show up and have an influence. We don't know this with cramps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    med studies put me to sleep.. arguments about them are even worse!
    You're dead to me.

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    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    Yo, we also have no clue how gravity works. Doesn't mean we can't work with it.

    Do your own reading, idgaf.

    muscle cramps - Google Scholar

    Jeebus I already know how to prevent cramps ... just sitting on the couch is 100% failsafe.

    It's the whole "racing" while "not cramping" that is of interest. And I haven't seen anything yet that resolves that question to my satisfaction. And I've done plenty of reading, thanks. Not to mention several decades of real world experimenting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    Jeebus I already know how to prevent cramps ... just sitting on the couch is 100% failsafe.

    It's the whole "racing" while "not cramping" that is of interest. And I haven't seen anything yet that resolves that question to my satisfaction. And I've done plenty of reading, thanks. Not to mention several decades of real world experimenting.
    I suffer from cramps in road races. My current belief is that it has to do with not enough training at intensity for road race durations. I just don't have the training time to do a lot of 3 hour group rides to condition myself for it.

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    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indigo View Post
    I suffer from cramps in road races. My current belief is that it has to do with not enough training at intensity for road race durations. I just don't have the training time to do a lot of 3 hour group rides to condition myself for it.
    Most of us don't have the time for group rides. But you do have the time to ride in a 24 hour period minus 8 hrs sleep/recup and an average 10 hour workday that still leaves a window of 6 hours each day. Two 3hr sessions per week M-F or divide each 3hr sessions into Two 1-1/2 hour sessions.
    One early morning and the other at night. It's not optimally fun but it does give you the training. Granted you'll have to get out at daybreak but each or actually all your training should be systematic and goal oriented. Quality and specific.

    Conditioning is done in the off season, or I should say the build phase, which can and should include cross-training. Also specific to compliment cycling. In New England we lose not only daylight but favorable weather 5 months out of the year. I still rode this winter outdoors, sometimes in the snow. We have to train indoors way too often. You guy's in California have no worries concerning weather. Maybe it's wet but that is fun.
    You need to have a base, high intensity training is not enough unless you do only short ( under 1 hour ) events like crits and track.
    If you are going to race for 3-1/2+ hours then you need to be able to ride solo at tempo for 5 hours in varied terrain. It sounds old school but it's just as critically important as HR's, PM's, LT's and everything else we now have that allows us to really dial in training.

    Cramps are our bodies telling us that we have greatly exceeded the limits, muscles have completely broken down, lactic acid is not being eliminated, basically it's a shut down mode.
    Basically ( only rarely ) I have found that I get cramps when (1) I'm unfit (2) I have not adhered to a consistent stretching program.

    There's no magic to it, you need to make the time or else it won't happen... Simple as that.
    If you want to race and be in contention to at least stay with the leading pack at the finish, then your life's timeline has to be streamed down, unnecessary time constraints removed and plan to get those training hours in that weekly calendar.
    That does mean forget about sitting around watching the tube or being on the Bike Forum. An hour here per day is 5 hours a week that one can allocate to training.
    Family constraints are equally important but they can be managed so that all is balanced..

    Good Luck
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moyene Corniche View Post
    Most of us don't have the time for group rides. But you do have the time to ride in a 24 hour period minus 8 hrs sleep/recup and an average 10 hour workday that still leaves a window of 6 hours each day. Two 3hr sessions per week M-F or divide each 3hr sessions into Two 1-1/2 hour sessions.
    One early morning and the other at night. It's not optimally fun but it does give you the training. Granted you'll have to get out at daybreak but each or actually all your training should be systematic and goal oriented. Quality and specific.

    Conditioning is done in the off season, or I should say the build phase, which can and should include cross-training. Also specific to compliment cycling. In New England we lose not only daylight but favorable weather 5 months out of the year. I still rode this winter outdoors, sometimes in the snow. We have to train indoors way too often. You guy's in California have no worries concerning weather. Maybe it's wet but that is fun.
    You need to have a base, high intensity training is not enough unless you do only short ( under 1 hour ) events like crits and track.
    If you are going to race for 3-1/2+ hours then you need to be able to ride solo at tempo for 5 hours in varied terrain. It sounds old school but it's just as critically important as HR's, PM's, LT's and everything else we now have that allows us to really dial in training.

    Cramps are our bodies telling us that we have greatly exceeded the limits, muscles have completely broken down, lactic acid is not being eliminated, basically it's a shut down mode.
    Basically ( only rarely ) I have found that I get cramps when (1) I'm unfit (2) I have not adhered to a consistent stretching program.

    There's no magic to it, you need to make the time or else it won't happen... Simple as that.
    If you want to race and be in contention to at least stay with the leading pack at the finish, then your life's timeline has to be streamed down, unnecessary time constraints removed and plan to get those training hours in that weekly calendar.
    That does mean forget about sitting around watching the tube or being on the Bike Forum. An hour here per day is 5 hours a week that one can allocate to training.
    Family constraints are equally important but they can be managed so that all is balanced..

    Good Luck
    I've found that it isn't 3 hours of tempo that is missing, but 3 hours of surging. Random neuromuscular bursts in road races take their toll. I need to find a way to better simulate this in training. Actually was able to do it yesterday in a 3 person uphill TT after a group ride.

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    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Tempo referring to HR at a certain range above a minimum bpm and below a max bpm.
    I don't believe you understood what I was saying. I was also referring to training being specific to your overall racing. What you can do in a group ride and a 3up TT afterwards still isn't going to relate to racing full out for 3+ hours. There isn't 3 hours of surging in a race, or if there is then you are doing an awful lot of unnecessary efforts to regain contact. In a 65 mile race, depending on the terrain you need to be able to keep your HR in a range which is most efficient, that means below your AT even though you may have to reach that level multiple times. The trick is to be able to recover quickly from each one of those efforts. If you cannot do that then you have to implement a program targeted at that.

    If you look at say the Tour of Flanders ( pro I know and the level is way beyond this discussion ) but the parameters are the same. those Pro's are operating at a constant high level and have to repeatedly go into the red on the bergs and the attacks. They don't do that without a serious training plan which incorporates building up their system to be able to ride at that level of exertion and still have reserves.
    You can't simulate anything, you have to get out there and ride those time lines multiple times in the build phase.
    There's no magic potion or virtual equation, no supplements are going to instantly give you that ability.

    I think you are basing too much on the data and equations and not enough on the simple fundamentals.
    Which is that you have to build up your body/system to handle the stress of a long road race. One of the best ways to do so is to get out there solo and keep the exertion level at a certain point above comfort.
    I don't know your HR numbers but you should. (1) Resting pulse (2) Aerobic Threshold (3) Anaerobic Threshold. Where those numbers read tell you where and how you need to train and at what intensity according to those parameters.
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

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    I think everyone knows what causes cramps ... too much exercise too fast and without proper hydration/nutrition, with weather playing a role. If you extend yourself before you are ready, you might cramp. If it is hot and you mess up your fluid intake you are more likely to cramp. Just because they can't say precisely what causes it doesn't mean it is not obvious. How many people cramp on short easy rides in cool weather ... none. How many cramp on long fast rides in the heat ... lots.

    My personal experience shows that most people react different do different foods and conditions, and I know my wife has been tested for her body not handing things like potassium and certain vitamins very well, and she cramps way more than I do. Flushing your system with water or some form of electrolytes will not help if you don't know what your body is good a processing and poor at processing - you might actually be doing more harm than good. I have started reading up on a lot of genetic studies relating to the methylation process and other body functions and other body functions and things get very complicated very fast.

    Bottom line you need to ensure you are properly trained for the distance and speed and weather and build up to it over years. In addition you need to figure out what drink supplement works well for your body and that you don't over hydrate or under hydrate and again that takes years to figure out cause you can't just copy your teammates who might handle things differently.

    There is no easy answer because our bodies are just as different as our race styles ... so while large case studies are great, they may not apply to you. My favorite saying is we are all a case study of one.

  22. #22
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    I think everyone knows what causes cramps ... too much exercise too fast and without proper hydration/nutrition, with weather playing a role.

    Yup yup yup and the quest remains for the magical formula that will make the cramps never happen... I suspect at best a person can delay them or manage them but the real key is to not overstress the system. That's not a reasonable goal in a long hot road race though.

    I've come to suspect that pH has something to do with it but it doesn't necessarily follow that gulping Tums will stop your cramps.
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    i had debilitating cramps on sat a.m. in a hilly road race. the kind where i fell over into a ditch while trying to unclip. my "problem cramps" originate in the hamstrings. if I get them in the quads (which I dont get that often), I can pedal from different angles and stave the significant effects off for a while, same with calves (which i rarely get), but in the hammys, I'm done.

    causation?

    -9 a.m. race, so probably started a little behind hydration wise, but I usually am done with my training by then on similar prep so I suspect that's a factor, but not primary.

    -it was really hot/humid, with lots of sweating. i went through 4 bottles during warmup/racing for a period of about 3 hours including stand around/staging time so I likely didnt replace sufficiently

    -race course is hilly, lots of 30" to 2' punchy climbs. i spent a bunch of 2' efforts over 400 w, and was stressed. not the oh eff i'm going to get dropped stress, but stressed nonetheless.

    -first race i've done since first weekend in June where I crashed and cracked some ribs (then went on a weeklong family vaca/college buddies weekend/family reunion weekend) so my form is off and weight is up a couple #s .

    pretty much a perfect storm for a crampy result!

    follow on problem - my legs are still very tight and very tender. i've been trying to recover with lots of hydration, stretching, and ez spinning but am still feeling after effects this morning.

  24. #24
    »\_(ツ)_/» Ygduf's Avatar
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    it's probably all that lactic acid buildup!!!!

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    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    I've only gotten cramps on the bike one time, and it was when I was messing around with saddle height early in my career. Too low = cramps.

    I do however get those freaking awful foot/calf cramps during the day or sometimes in the middle of the night. You know the ones that make you hate everything in life and you want to scream as loud as possible for about 6 seconds and then it eases up. Yeah. Those are horrible. I get those about twice a month, generally after when I've done multiple hard rides or races in a row.
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