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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-21-08, 09:44 AM   #1
Iamkar33m
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Stitch in side feeling

Do any of you guys get the stitch in the side feeling while cycling? Anyone know what it means?

Last ride I did before my disaster I got the stitch in the side feeling at about 8 miles into the 12 mile loop I was trying to do.
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Old 07-21-08, 09:47 AM   #2
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Do any of you guys get the stitch in the side feeling while cycling? Anyone know what it means?

Last ride I did before my disaster I got the stitch in the side feeling at about 8 miles into the 12 mile loop I was trying to do.
I got this same feeling once at about the same distance--8 miles or so. I asked someone once I finished my 9 mile route and they said it was probably not drinking enough water. They said I should be downing about 1 bottle per 10 miles. I had done maybe half that amount. Since then I try to push the water and haven't had that pain since.
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Old 07-21-08, 09:51 AM   #3
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I got this same feeling once at about the same distance--8 miles or so. I asked someone once I finished my 9 mile route and they said it was probably not drinking enough water. They said I should be downing about 1 bottle per 10 miles. I had done maybe half that amount. Since then I try to push the water and haven't had that pain since.
I may have to try that. Time to dust off the ol' camelback, hopefully I have some cleaning tablets for it laying around somewhere.
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Old 07-21-08, 09:52 AM   #4
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This explains them. Found it quite interesting:

http://www.bodyresults.com/E2sidestitches.asp
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Old 07-21-08, 09:56 AM   #5
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This explains them. Found it quite interesting:

http://www.bodyresults.com/E2sidestitches.asp
Interesting, so it's a breathing thing. That makes good sense.
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Old 07-21-08, 10:08 AM   #6
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Do any of you guys get the stitch in the side feeling while cycling? Anyone know what it means?

Last ride I did before my disaster I got the stitch in the side feeling at about 8 miles into the 12 mile loop I was trying to do.
I know what you mean, but I'm afraid not everyone does. When I was hospitalized with a suspected heart attack in 2005 I described the pain as feeling like a stitch in the side. The admissions doctor in the ER had never heard of the term!
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Old 07-21-08, 10:10 AM   #7
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This explains them. Found it quite interesting:

http://www.bodyresults.com/E2sidestitches.asp
Thanks for the article. Since when I got mine I was new to biking I bet this was it and not so much the water. (Although I do need to remember to drink lots!)
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Old 07-21-08, 10:15 AM   #8
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We've got stitch in the side covered, what about a dull ache in the stomach? Right about mile 3 or so, after some exertion-is that just my abdominals protesting? It's not accompanied by any dizziness or anything like that, just a dull stomach achey feeling that goes away pretty quick after I stop.
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Old 07-21-08, 10:20 AM   #9
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We've got stitch in the side covered, what about a dull ache in the stomach? Right about mile 3 or so, after some exertion-is that just my abdominals protesting? It's not accompanied by any dizziness or anything like that, just a dull stomach achey feeling that goes away pretty quick after I stop.
What did you eat before riding. I get that when I ride after eating too much.
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Old 07-21-08, 10:28 AM   #10
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I didn't. About 1/2 a liter of water. I tend to exercise with the mindset of 'on empty' does more. The most successful fitness program ive ever done, prior to starting this, was formation PT at 5 am, and we didn't hit breakfast until something like 7-730 after cals and distance runs. Haven't learned any better since then, I guess.
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Old 07-21-08, 10:47 AM   #11
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I think it's a good idea to have at least a little bit of food in your stomach while exercising, otherwise what is your body going to process for energy? Exercising on empty is asking for trouble.

I usually eat some fruit or some sort of energy food before I go cycling or jogging.
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Old 07-21-08, 11:09 AM   #12
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Why, fat, of course! :-)
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Old 07-21-08, 11:25 AM   #13
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Why, fat, of course! :-)
Not always. During aerobic/cardio exercise your body is going between anabolic and catabolic cycles (breaking down and building protein/muscle). As long as you provide proper nourishment/nutrition your body will perform anabolic procedures normally (build muscle)... but if you neglect to provide proper protein/carb intake during exercise your body will break down your muscles for energy and fail to build them back up.

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Old 07-21-08, 02:59 PM   #14
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As the article above talks about, breathing while exerting yourself in a non-changing rhythm is usually the culprit. It is pretty easy to fatigue the muscles on one side or the other like that, especially when you are increasing the level of intensity beyond what you are used to.

I've heard of lots of complicated methods to change your breathing rhythm, but what usually works for me is to do something completely different while riding every 20-30 minutes. This usually means doing something simple like standing up and charging up the last part of a hill, speeding up my cadence to fast-easy spinning for 1-2 minutes (110+ rpm), or using extra stiff gearing such that I can't get my cadence above 65 rpm no matter how hard I push.

In genral, anything that makes me change my breathing pattern in relation to my pedal/leg motion.
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Old 07-21-08, 03:26 PM   #15
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The Stitch is actually caused by gas. Generally the same gas that would cause you to burp or do other things.

I would bet you were really pushing yourself at the time and probably went anerobic. Anerobic breathing is generally heavy and shallow, not something desirable during bike riding. The key to cycling is to stay aerobic. That means breathing is normal, deep and brings in as much oxygen as possible. Shallow breathing means you aren't getting oxygen to the blood and performance will falther.

If you find yourself breathing heavily, slow down and take in regular, deep breaths. If you get a stitch, slow down, try to straighten up (the gas will then migrant upwards and hopefully out with a burp), and breath deeply, slowing down the heart rate and getting oxygen in. If you don't, you should ride with a heart rate monitor to make sure you aren't maxing out all the time.

Runners more often than riders experience "stitches" but it's the same thing. Generally not something that will kill you but a good indication that you aren't working efficiently.

as to the pain in the stomach, that too can be caused by gas. If you find yourself exercising early in the morning, it's not really necessary to take in something first (providing you had a good meal the night before and are properly hydrated) but is it possible you are dehydrated? One good thing about eating something in the morning is generally you also take in some fluids (but not coffee or tea which is dehydrating). Make sure you get a good glass or two os water down before you go out especailly if it's hot and humid out.

And some people have too much bile in their stomach - if you get a burning sensation during the day, it's probably not a good idea to do anything without first eating. However, I have to eat 1 - 2 hours before exercise or I have a problem. This means if making it to an early spin class, I drink my water and go without food until after my work out.
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Old 07-21-08, 03:34 PM   #16
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Also need to add - I learned this the hard way after suffering heat stroke... the body does not retain fluid in the stomach and intestines unless there is first some food (the food will absorb to some extent the water). If you drink water on an empty stomach it generally goes right through you. This is why when dehyrdrated it is also recommended you eat something with your fluids.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:28 AM   #17
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Very good information, thanks BCIpam.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:44 AM   #18
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Physical activity is full of minor discomforts, like a stitch in the side, that don't even begin to compare to the discomfort of a heart attack. If you're unused to physical activity, you may feel at first that any discomfort means a problem. In fact, it usually means nothing much. Indicators of an acute problem tend to be rather acute themselves.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:47 AM   #19
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Physical activity is full of minor discomforts, like a stitch in the side, that don't even begin to compare to the discomfort of a heart attack. If you're unused to physical activity, you may feel at first that any discomfort means a problem. In fact, it usually means nothing much. Indicators of an acute problem tend to be rather acute themselves.
Discomfort during any exercise can mean MANY things. Sometimes slight discomfort can mean you're doing something wrong, like in my case I'm taking quick shallow breaths leading to the stitch in side feeling. Sometimes it's an indicator you're doing something right... like when weight training that burning/sore feeling means you successfully broken down your muscles in preperation for new muscle growth.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:49 AM   #20
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Physical activity is full of minor discomforts, like a stitch in the side, that don't even begin to compare to the discomfort of a heart attack. If you're unused to physical activity, you may feel at first that any discomfort means a problem. In fact, it usually means nothing much. Indicators of an acute problem tend to be rather acute themselves.
I agree. I was, however, completely sedentary at that time, and probably near 400 pounds. So checking in to the hospital was probably a good move.

Oddly enough, I went to the other extreme on tour. When I broke a rib, I merely thought it was muscle soreness. Obviously I don't know my body that well.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:20 AM   #21
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I agree. I was, however, completely sedentary at that time, and probably near 400 pounds. So checking in to the hospital was probably a good move.
The point I was trying to make with the heart attack comparison is that many people use exercise discomforts as an excuse to quit. "If it hurts, don't do that" is the "advice" people get from many doctors. My point was that a stitch in the side is nothing compared to the pain of the heart attack you'll get if you don't exercise.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:55 PM   #22
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The point I was trying to make with the heart attack comparison is that many people use exercise discomforts as an excuse to quit. "If it hurts, don't do that" is the "advice" people get from many doctors. My point was that a stitch in the side is nothing compared to the pain of the heart attack you'll get if you don't exercise.
My apologies, I didn't follow it the first time. You are correct, of course.
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