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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 10-31-08, 08:14 AM   #1
gearhead82
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Calves "locked up" on yesterdays ride

I was on mile 16 of 20 yesterday evening when all of the sudden both of my calves just locked up within about 10 seconds of each other. At times it was very painful and I almost couldn't pedal. I didn't want to stop for fear that it would get worse. I just started riding slower and over the next 2-3 miles they got better. I almost got a little panicky because it was almost dark and I only had a few minutes to get back to my car and was afraid I wouldn't be able to make it. This is about my 20th ride of this distance or longer, I work out, I eat pretty well, I'm only 26. Any ideas on why this may have happened? I'd hate for it to happen when I was 15+ miles away from home. It was pretty chilly (for me) at the end of my ride. About 45 degrees I think.
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Old 10-31-08, 08:35 AM   #2
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If what you're talking about is a cramp (pretty much the only thing it could be), you can alleviate it in the short term by getting off the bike and stretching the affected muscle. It won't be fun but it's the quickest way to alleviate the cramp. It's nothing to panic about, really. Longer term, there's probably something less than ideal in your nutrition. You say you eat "pretty well", but how well is pretty well? Do you get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables?
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Old 10-31-08, 08:38 AM   #3
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Are you sure it wasn't a cramp?

Sounds to me like you were dehydrated. Are you stretching after your rides? That will make a big difference on the next day also.
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Old 10-31-08, 08:44 AM   #4
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You went too hard, for too long, without enough training. Or it was too cold. Or both. If you have a good light there's no reason to worry about beating the dark.

20 rides of this distance is just a beginner. After riding all next summer it won't happen as easily. Take it easy. Keep your legs warm.
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Old 10-31-08, 09:03 AM   #5
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Yeah, I'm certain it was a cramp. I think I was probably a little dehydrated and its probably a combo of that and the cold. I will start stretching after rides and I need to remember that its important to drink lots of water even when its cold outside. I think I was avoiding drinking yesterday because I kinda had to pee and didn't want to have to find a place to stop before my ride was over.
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Old 10-31-08, 09:13 AM   #6
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Yeah, I'm certain it was a cramp. I think I was probably a little dehydrated and its probably a combo of that and the cold. I will start stretching after rides and I need to remember that its important to drink lots of water even when its cold outside. I think I was avoiding drinking yesterday because I kinda had to pee and didn't want to have to find a place to stop before my ride was over.
It reads as if it's a combination of overexertion, cold, dehydration, and perhaps loss of potassium. Pace yourself, dress warmly, drink lots, and bring a banana with you.
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Old 10-31-08, 11:45 AM   #7
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Think bananas. They are your friend (good source of potassium).
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Old 10-31-08, 04:25 PM   #8
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Think bananas. They are your friend (good source of potassium).
+1 . That's why I carry two or three bananas with me on every ride.
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Old 10-31-08, 09:03 PM   #9
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Dehydration. Drink more water. So what if you got to pee. It beats crashing because your legs seized up on you!
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Old 10-31-08, 09:12 PM   #10
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+1 . That's why I carry two or three bananas with me on every ride.
Plus one well placed banana can really help you with the ladies.
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Old 10-31-08, 09:34 PM   #11
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I got a bannana right here in my lap.
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Old 10-31-08, 10:06 PM   #12
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potassium deficiency can be identified with a simple blood test, if you don't mind the expense, why dont you get some blood work done, then you will know for sure.

bananas and lots of water will probably prevent you cramps, but if you have type 2 diabetes bananas will spike your blood sugar levels. But dont despare, a simple search for potassium rich foods will show you a list of other foods instead of bananas.
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Old 11-01-08, 07:53 AM   #13
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I had a twinge on Thursday but that wasn't too unexpected. It was a cold night (2c), we were keeping a decent pace (20-24mph at the time) and I'm prone to cramping.

I find that I need to keep my legs far warmer than most people and I drink a fair bit of water, I haven't found that bananas make any difference.
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Old 11-01-08, 08:14 PM   #14
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Dehydration. Drink more water. So what if you got to pee. It beats crashing because your legs seized up on you!
If you can't bring a banana or some other form of electrolytes, make sure you use something like HEED in your water bottles or take some electrolyte pills. Where I am at is extremely hot and humid in the summers and sometimes in the winters, and I sweat my electrolytes out by the bucket. I use Hammer's HEED unflavored and also use 4 Hammer Enduolytes per hour. Also remember to hydrate, but not over hydrate. I learned the over hydration lesson the hard way and it was way worse in my opinion.
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Old 11-02-08, 01:59 AM   #15
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Some people are prone to electrolite imbalances whenever they are exercising and losing weight. I ussually tell if my efforts are causing weight loss when I'm about 3-4 weeks into a program, and I'm awaken in bed to a cramping calf muscle.

I have been able to prevent this with lots of water, and half a banana each day. But now that I have diabetes, I don't go near the bananas yet I am still able to avoid the muscle cramps. I'm not sure what the differnence is. except I think my power salads which are high in greens could be high is potassium, too.

I did a quick check and found this page
http://www.weightlossforall.com/potassium-rich-food.htm
the table shows many foods that are richer in potassium than bananas. I think its the all bran that is helping me. I am not able to eat an all bran breakfast, so I eat it in smaller doses thoughout the day. Thats where my potassium is probably coming from.

Cheers!
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