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Old 08-07-06, 06:15 AM   #1
stonecrd
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Ride from Hell

Yesterday we decided to forgo our usual group ride and shoot for 65mi @ 18mph. My normal Sunday ride is 50mi at about 19mph and we have done this 65mi course a few times this year. It was about 80F/85% RH and as usual I took 48oz of gatoraide and 2 power gels.

The ride is going along well until about 25mi when I start to feel a little tired in the legs and I am sweating even more heavily than usual(I sweat a lot). I start hydrating at a faster rate and get mid way through my second bottle by 32 miles plus have a gel. Now we start heading back and I am really feeling bad, no gas in the engine, can't go faster than 16mph. We stop at a grocery store and I buy another bottle of gatoraide and chug a coke. Feeling a bit better we start out, but now after about 10mi farther my thighs start cramping. I try to ride through it but just can't and end up calling my son for a pickup after 48 miles.

When I get out of the car at home both my legs go into complete cramping and I can't walk and I am gritting my teeth in pain. My hands and fingers also start cramping badly and I can't hold anything. After a bit of walking around the house in the AC and drinking more fluid things get better, but I am sore and tired today. I have no idea what caused this, I have ridden farther and faster in hotter weather before with the same level of hydration with no problems. Yesterday was hell and I hope it doesn't happen again.
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Old 08-07-06, 07:04 AM   #2
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I'm a Clydesdale, and I also sweat a lot. Sweat so much the mosquitoes don't bother me in the summer, I do. Though I'm in medical recovery right now, my usual Saturday run down here in Texas are 30-50 miles, though not as fast as your rides.

My only advise is to hydrate before you go. Eat something before you go, and eat every hour or so. I use both water and gatorade this time of year, about 2/3 water. My other key body indicator is that if I don't have to urinate at least once in three hours after drinking 48-60 ozs of water, then I'm not getting enough fluid.

Last Saturday I did 20 miles on dirt as temp went from 98 to 105, with RH of about 50%. I went through 60 ozs of liquid and was dragging the last 10 miles. I could feel heat exhaustion in the form of prickly skin constantly tugging at my body so had to stop several times. I still don't understand what happened and why it was so bad. Sometimes the heat is just too much.
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Old 08-07-06, 07:51 AM   #3
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El Bonko............like El Nino........sometimes comes on almost mysteriously while we cast around for answers like dehydration, not enough calories, biorhythms are low, etc. Ask Floyd, Iban Mayo, etc.
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Old 08-07-06, 08:09 AM   #4
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bonk. usually loss of sodium,potassium,and zinc help produce the cramping, with deydration.
by then you ae pretty screwed
I had the same problem yesterday on a 32 mile ride, the temp here in texas was @ 101 by 9:30 A.M. this is what was shown on by bike computer. I just could not get any energy or even enjoy the ride, kept it around 17-18 mph and rode home
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Old 08-07-06, 08:57 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by HAMMER MAN
bonk. usually loss of sodium,potassium,and zinc help produce the cramping, with deydration.
by then you ae pretty screwed
I had the same problem yesterday on a 32 mile ride, the temp here in texas was @ 101 by 9:30 A.M. this is what was shown on by bike computer. I just could not get any energy or even enjoy the ride, kept it around 17-18 mph and rode home
Yep, sometimes you just get yourself in a bind. I was over near Jacksboro on the trail and had no choice but to just take it easy and get back to the truck. But once you bonk, in my experience you're not going to fix the bonk for at least an hour or so, and that is if you have the right fluids and some food.
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Old 08-07-06, 09:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monoborracho
Yep, sometimes you just get yourself in a bind. I was over near Jacksboro on the trail and had no choice but to just take it easy and get back to the truck. But once you bonk, in my experience you're not going to fix the bonk for at least an hour or so, and that is if you have the right fluids and some food.

I love hot weather and ride better in hot than cold weather, and very seldom do i ever have a problem in the summer
I am still feeling the effects from yesterday, quite lethargic and my legs still feel heavy and dead.
I believe my probelm was already somewhat set as I started with no fuel or anything to eat.
a couple of cups of coffee, 1 gel and a MT. Dew.
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Old 08-07-06, 09:30 AM   #7
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Sounds like you might have caffeined out! Coffee and the Dew would have put you on buzz mode, and when it wore off you were running on empty. Think carbs, fruit, some refined sugar but not too much, and start out hydrated well in advance. Don't over hydrate on the ride, a good Carmichael article on that in the lasts Bicycling Magazine...
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Old 08-07-06, 09:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonecrd
It was about 80F/85% RH and as usual I took 48oz of gatoraide and 2 power gels.
What did you eat before the ride? Did you have a few brewskis the night before?
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Old 08-07-06, 10:23 AM   #9
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I did have a couple of glasses of wine the night before but this is pretty standard for me on Sat night. I had a good dinner of pasta the night before and had about 500 cal for breakfast including my daily bananna. All of the events leading up to this ride were pretty much the same as every week. The one thing we did do a bit different on our Sat ride was to interval a small hill we have nearby. It's only about 100' but is a 8% grade. I did this about 4 times pretty hard. It could be that this stressed my legs more than normal, although I really didn't feel bad Sat or at the beginning of the ride on Sun. I looked over this link http://www.ultracycling.com/training/cramping.html which seems to say cramping is in a large part do to muscle stress more than hydration or electolyte imbalance.
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Old 08-07-06, 05:01 PM   #10
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You mention that when you were getting out of the car you started cramping up again, did you continue to drink even after you stopped riding? Most people think to drink before and during a ride, but not after.
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Old 08-07-06, 06:59 PM   #11
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My guess is that for whatever reason your body was not hydrated well enough prior to the ride. This can easily happen if it is hot for several days prior to the ride. If your conditioned well enough to ride those distances then it just should not happen that many miles into the ride.
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Old 08-08-06, 08:31 AM   #12
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I did drink more water on the car ride in and continued to hydrate all day. The day before after the ride I mentioned I did do yard work which involved cutting the grass, trimming bushes etc for about 1-2hrs in the Sun/Heat and was dealing with the heat then as well. I guess it is possible that I got in such a hydration debt on Sat that it caught up with me in Sun. I did not ride yesterday and will go out today, my legs still ache from the cramps but I expect that once a ride a bit that will go away. I also plan to stretch more after rides to see if that helps. Thanks for all of the input everyone.
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Old 08-08-06, 09:23 PM   #13
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I had similar symptoms last Sunday. I believe that I caused it with the following:
We had a Tandem bike which is heavy, sort of. (do not tell my stoker that I said that)
There was this biker leaving before us and of course my mission for the day was to catch up with him.
My normal routine is to warm up for twenty minutes before I push all out. In this case I did not and paid the price. So, my opinion is that this was caused by improper warm up period.
Could that be your problem also?
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Old 08-09-06, 01:17 AM   #14
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Listen to your body man.
Carrying on when your body says stop got one of my riding mates an early coffin, so it is not funny.
My mate was a phys ed teacher and he was FIT, bonked and died in the middle of the night with heart failure.
He was 58 years old and the strongest climber on a bike I have ever met. Used HUGE gears in the older
German style of riding up hills. Even his widow mentioned that after his last ride he said he should have listened to his body more but carried on with the bunch, so he would not be left behind, he sure is in front now!
just put this in as food for thought.
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Old 08-09-06, 06:49 AM   #15
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My guess is that you experienced a sodium/potassium imbalance. The description of your cramping, and the apparent over consumption of sodium indicates that electrolyte imbalances were indeed contributing to your distress. Furthermore, your own comments suggest that you simply can't or won't remember to drink in smaller more evenly spaced amounts.

Most people continue to misunderstand the relationship of fluids, minerals and hydration status have upon on muscle performance. Many of the comments in this thread demonstrate the ignorance of the need for a "balance" of electrolytes, with respect to each other as well as the quantity of fluid ingested.

Luckily, just "throwing mineral drinks and fluids" at the problem works for many people, but once in a while it backfires.
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Old 08-09-06, 08:24 AM   #16
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Richard - I don't recall saying I over consumed sodium? As mentioned I have done 2-3hr rides at least weekly for a year and have not had this problem with my usual hydration of 16-24oz of gatoraide/hr. In addition in this particular case I accelerated my hydration by finishing 48oz of gatoraide in about 1.5hrs and stopped for an additional 48oz which I consumed during the final few miles and my wait for a pickup. So I think I went out prepared, but it is likely that I may have been still dehydrated based on my previous days activities even though I did not feel it. Also based on my reading of scientific information on cramping it is more likely that in addition to contribution of dehydration/electrolyte imbalance I stressed my legs by doing the hill intervals the day before. As I have about 5,600 miles in the last 12 months all of them in S. FL I have a pretty good feel for what I need to do to ride 50+ miles distances. Greater than 75mi would be a different story. What I am trying to understand here is what was different that cause the collapse so that it does not happen again.

Cycler - I definetly listen to my body and wear a HR monitor on all rides. In this particualr case when I was having problems my HR was at 85% max while riding behind my partner and doing 15mph. I knew at that point I could not finish the ride as earlier under the same circumstances my HR was about 75% of max riding at 18mph. Between the cramps and the elevated HR I knew I was in trouble and stopped.
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