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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 07-22-09, 11:55 AM   #1
Big Lug
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Road riding vs. Mountains and Cramps

So i have been back into riding for about 4 months now and am getting back to my previous best performance levels and even surpassing the previous levels in Road riding. When i am on the mountain bikes i never have issues with cramps or soreness. But the last 2 Road rides i have went on (20.1 miles each, avg. 18mph-ish) Toward the end of the ride which about 8 miles of that is bridge attacks over the river 10 times. I get really bad calf cramps. Bad to the point of i need to get off the bike in a hurry! I ride 10-15 miles in the trails and have no issues what so ever. I eat at least 3 hours before the ride and have a fruit and nut bar at the start of the ride. During the ride i have a diluted G2 Gatorade and water mix and another water. What should i try differently? What am i doing wrong? Why is this not happening on the Mountain bikes?

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Old 07-22-09, 12:23 PM   #2
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Was it hot out? It sounds like dehydration. Are you making sure you are drinking enough water? Do you carry a hydration pack while mountain biking and only bottles on the road. Sometimes we tend to drink more if using a hydration pack. Also can you really compare your road rides to mountain biking? Do you do the same consistant speeds, distance etc?
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Old 07-22-09, 01:15 PM   #3
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Fit issue? Are you using clipless? I get really bad calf cramps when I do much "ankling" on my road bike...
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Old 07-22-09, 01:47 PM   #4
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Was it hot out? It sounds like dehydration. Are you making sure you are drinking enough water? Do you carry a hydration pack while mountain biking and only bottles on the road. Sometimes we tend to drink more if using a hydration pack. Also can you really compare your road rides to mountain biking? Do you do the same consistant speeds, distance etc?
I normally just use 2 bottles regardless. I don't ride at the same consistency on the mountain as i do the road. But the mountain is rougher at higher levels.I normally drink plenty of water (i think) a bottle before and 2 during. It has been in the 80-90s.
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Old 07-22-09, 01:49 PM   #5
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Fit issue? Are you using clipless? I get really bad calf cramps when I do much "ankling" on my road bike...
I do use clipless. How can i tell if it is a sizing issue? I don't understand the "Ankling" term. I also have clipless pedals on the mountain bike but rarely clip in and it is a totally different fit.
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Old 07-22-09, 01:56 PM   #6
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Ankling is when you use your ankle in your pedal stroke (engaging your calf muscles), so at the bottom of the stroke you're pushing down with your toes. I think it's generally frowned upon. I'm no fit expert, but you may want to check your saddle height and the fore/aft position of your cleats. Post in the road forum, those guys can be really helpful with fit problems.

It doesn't really sound like you were dehydrated to me... You may also want to stretch thoroughly, etc.
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Old 07-22-09, 02:25 PM   #7
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Sounds like you need a better source of electrolytes. I am also in FL and lately it has been really hot and humid. I need 2 bottles in 2 hours, on really hot days I find that a hammer gel packet helps with cramps and fautigue. If I cramp though it is my quads and not my calves. So perhaps you have a combination of fit and nutrition issues.
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Old 07-22-09, 07:10 PM   #8
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I normally just use 2 bottles regardless. I don't ride at the same consistency on the mountain as i do the road. But the mountain is rougher at higher levels.I normally drink plenty of water (i think) a bottle before and 2 during. It has been in the 80-90s.
Most bike bottles are 750-800ml, you need at least 1L per hour, at 20℃/68℉, add 25-50% for each 5℃/8℉ increase in temperature, at the lower end if you don't sweat much, if you drip then toward the upper end of the range. Urine is usually a good indicator of hydration, if it's clear with very slight colour then your hydrated well, if not they your dehydrated to some degree, the darker it is the more dehydrated you are.
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Old 07-23-09, 05:40 AM   #9
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I still don't see dehydration... You can ride what must be a couple hours offroad (trail riding is slower, right?), but a one hour ride on the road all of a sudden causes severe dehydration, and you only cramp in your calves?
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Old 07-23-09, 06:33 AM   #10
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I still don't see dehydration... You can ride what must be a couple hours offroad (trail riding is slower, right?), but a one hour ride on the road all of a sudden causes severe dehydration, and you only cramp in your calves?

Yep its only my calves and primarily the most severe in my left calf. I am doing some testing next week (next long ride). I am gonna try to electrolyte up and water up and see what happens on a 20mile ride. And if that is a no go i till go to the LBS and ask if i am not fit right.
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Old 07-23-09, 09:22 PM   #11
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if your seat is high it puts more emphasis on your calves. personally i like having a high seat on the fuji. if i am doing a long ride like in the 100mile range and there is alot of climbing my calves are much more likely to cramp badly. on my pacer i purposely have the seat lower and on the same ride i don't cramp or feel like one would be coming on.

so as long as your taking in enough calories and liquids then it is a good possibility it could be your fit on the bike. on a mountain bike you are more likely to have a lower seat so you can stand while going over bumps and obstacles.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:39 PM   #12
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Hmm it sounds like i am getting them because i have my seat rather high on the Road bike and i have been steadily raising it maybe i need to go down a bit.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:56 PM   #13
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It also may be too much Q factor. (Linear width of the crank and pedals from pedal tip to pedal tip as a straight line). Mountain bikes have a wider Q on the crank than a road bike. Are you using the same shoes and pedal setup on both?
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Old 07-26-09, 04:52 AM   #14
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It also may be too much Q factor. (Linear width of the crank and pedals from pedal tip to pedal tip as a straight line). Mountain bikes have a wider Q on the crank than a road bike. Are you using the same shoes and pedal setup on both?
Nah they are different shoes and pedals.
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