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  1. #1
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Leg cramps, boy do they hurt

    My normal rides consist of about 30-35 miles 4-5 times a week and I don't seem to have much trouble. Lately I have started to do at least one 50-60 mile ride per week. After getting home from the 50-60 mile ride I tend to get leg cramps even into the night. I know most of you are not doctors and don't play one on TV but if you stayed in a Holiday Inn last night what do you do for leg cramps:
    SloSpoke Jim

  2. #2
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Eat potassium pills, eat bananas, eat peanuts, eat watermellon, eat raw potatoes......

  3. #3
    Old Fogy
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    Magnesium supplement helped me.

  4. #4
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Eat potassium pills, eat bananas, eat peanuts, eat watermellon, eat raw potatoes......
    I do consume a lot of bananas but Perhaps I should eat more. The Potassium pill would probably be a better method
    SloSpoke Jim

  5. #5
    Road Nazi Hunter Donegal's Avatar
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    This is going to blow your mind..................TWO BEERS!!!!............. Every time I ride over 50, I finish with 2 beers and haven't had a cramp in years. Also, the heavy acid buildup will not be there. You will recover faster and feel better tomorrow, guaranteed. Try it, you will be a believer. Everyone I ride with knows about our secret recovery drink. It is rumoured that in England, the second bottle cage was for a pint of stout.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I don't usually get cramps but I did a long ride Saturday with a lot of climbing and I was sick before the ride. I went anyway and got dehydrated. I was O.K. until the last two climbs when I got nauseous, then got a bad cramp inside of my right thigh. Somehow I rode through it and finished the ride. When I got home I layed on the floor for a while and when I got up I got a killer cramp in my hamstring and it's still sore now, Monday evening. I blame it all on the dehydration.

  7. #7
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    Drink lots of water before, the day before and also during the ride. Bananas before and during and after as well.

  8. #8
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    you might want to check with a real doctor before consumming to much potassium,hyperkalemia can cause problems with the old heart.

  9. #9
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    For years I used an Isotonic drink on rides called Isostar. One ride and my ride mate lost his water bottle so took my spare bottle while on the ride. He used to suffer with cramps on most rides but not this one. That was the end of his cramps as from then on he used the same additive and it did seem to cure him.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donegal View Post
    This is going to blow your mind..................TWO BEERS!!!!............. Every time I ride over 50, I finish with 2 beers and haven't had a cramp in years. Also, the heavy acid buildup will not be there. You will recover faster and feel better tomorrow, guaranteed. Try it, you will be a believer. Everyone I ride with knows about our secret recovery drink. It is rumoured that in England, the second bottle cage was for a pint of stout.
    +1 Guinness makes you Strong!

  11. #11
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    Because I take a diuretic for control of my blood pressure, I'll cramp and be dehydrated during a ride if I'm not careful. As I understand it, the diuretic depresses the level of electrolytes in the blood stream.

    During the ride, I tend to drink a lot of Gatorade, and I have begun to take a capsule full of electrolytes known as Endurolytes. The product is made by Hammer Nutrition. For my after-work rides, which range from 15 to 25 miles, I do not take a capsule. For a 30-mile ride, I may take one just before the ride. For long rides, 50+ miles, or those with a lot of hills, I may take one or two per hour.

    Endurolytes contain sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium Vitamin B-6, and manganese. Between the Gatorade and the electrolytes, I tend not to cramp during a ride or thereafter. I'm still experimenting with proper dosage, and I try to keep them to a minimum.

    During the work week, I eat a banana in the morning and one in the afternoon. This seems to work for the after work rides.

  12. #12
    Recreational Commuter
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    My personal anti-cramp prescription:
    1. Drink lots of gatorade-ish electrolyte beverage. More than you think you'll need. Drink at regular intervals whether you're thirsty or not.
    2. Eat Banannas.
    3. Post Ride beverage: Beer (if good beer is available) or Low Fat Chocolate Milk.
    Riding the Ohio MS Central Ohio Challenge tour, July 12th.

  13. #13
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donegal View Post
    This is going to blow your mind..................TWO BEERS!!!!............. Every time I ride over 50, I finish with 2 beers and haven't had a cramp in years. Also, the heavy acid buildup will not be there. You will recover faster and feel better tomorrow, guaranteed. Try it, you will be a believer. Everyone I ride with knows about our secret recovery drink. It is rumoured that in England, the second bottle cage was for a pint of stout.
    I can't say if that works, but I can verify that Don can put away some beer (a trait we share).

    Hydration and foods with lots of potassium is my cramp avoidance routine. If you get tired of bananas, figs are good. Fig Newtons fit easily in a jersey pocket.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  14. #14
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    I eat dates and yogurt. Much more potassium than bananas. Also try tomato or V8 juice.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

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  15. #15
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I've tried dried apricots after reading Machka's posts and they are a real treat on a remote ride.
    More potassium than bananas and a burst of flavor when you're tired of bars and Perpetuem.

  16. #16
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    I had heard to drink Quinine water but it is not without risks:
    http://ww.uniontrib.com/uniontrib/20...1c23factm.html

  17. #17
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    As a cramp affection-ado I was amazed to learn that medical science does not really know what causes cramps.

    Used to count on the 40-50 mile cramps in my thighs. All advice above on food and supplements is good but you may still get em.

    My opinion is that cramps are just your body's way of saying, stop doing what your doing to me.

  18. #18
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    First, I believe it is important to recognize that leg cramps can be caused by different things. For example, many cramps are caused by fluid or electrolyte imbalances. Others can be caused by extreme environmental conditions or metabolic problems (e.g. so hot that it is impossible to maintain adequate fluid levels). Yet others can be caused by repetitive motion that triggers a fatigue response (this is an interesting one, because in effect there is neural input telling the muscle to contract, but the neural input telling it to relax is no longer functioning at a similar level. Think about the person who gets hand cramps after typing for long periods of time. He or she is not sweating. Hence there is likely to be no fluid or electrolyte imbalance. Rather, fatigue is causing the cramping). Hence, no single cure will work for everyone.

    If you get cramps in muscles that are doing very little work while cycling, a fluid/electrolyte imbalance is likely in play. If, however, you only get cramps in muscles doing most of the work, then you are probably looking at fatigue as at least a partial cause.

    Sometimes poor fit can be the cause of cramps, because over time, the muscles are forced to work in an unnatural way and fatigue more quickly.

    With all of that said, a reasonable approach might be to keep well hydrated and electrolytes in balance, gradually increase your level of fitness, and make sure you have a proper fit.
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  19. #19
    WMD
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    Cramps are usually from lack of water. Drink more and stretch after a ride.

  20. #20
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    My 0.02: hydration and or salt. Both must be right or I cramp during or after rides. I'm a heavy and salty sweater. Motrin will help. Also a cup of Joe after ride does wonders for my recovery.
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  21. #21
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big john View Post
    I've tried dried apricots after reading Machka's posts and they are a real treat on a remote ride.
    More potassium than bananas and a burst of flavor when you're tired of bars and Perpetuem.
    I love dried "California-style" apricots. But dislike the more common "Turkish / Mediterranean" style ones, which have been soaked in sugar.

    However at times the sulfites in them can bother me - they kind of "catch my breath" where I feel I have to labor a bit to breathe.

    My cramping issue is foot cramps, right in the arches of both feet. Wow, that can be a painful way to wake up at 3 am. Doesn't happen too often.

  22. #22
    Senior Member 1bluetrek's Avatar
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    I may need to speak with a Doc. No matter how well I hydrate I still cramp after 40 miles. Gatoraide, Heed, endurolytes, bannannas.It dosnt matter. Strange tho, I only cramp on spokane rides so far, which really bites cuz I love Spokane!
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  23. #23
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    First, I believe it is important to recognize that leg cramps can be caused by different things. For example, many cramps are caused by fluid or electrolyte imbalances. Others can be caused by extreme environmental conditions or metabolic problems (e.g. so hot that it is impossible to maintain adequate fluid levels). Yet others can be caused by repetitive motion that triggers a fatigue response (this is an interesting one, because in effect there is neural input telling the muscle to contract, but the neural input telling it to relax is no longer functioning at a similar level. Think about the person who gets hand cramps after typing for long periods of time. He or she is not sweating. Hence there is likely to be no fluid or electrolyte imbalance. Rather, fatigue is causing the cramping). Hence, no single cure will work for everyone.

    If you get cramps in muscles that are doing very little work while cycling, a fluid/electrolyte imbalance is likely in play. If, however, you only get cramps in muscles doing most of the work, then you are probably looking at fatigue as at least a partial cause.

    Sometimes poor fit can be the cause of cramps, because over time, the muscles are forced to work in an unnatural way and fatigue more quickly.

    With all of that said, a reasonable approach might be to keep well hydrated and electrolytes in balance, gradually increase your level of fitness, and make sure you have a proper fit.
    It is my opinion that the repetitive motion theory is the cause of my leg cramps. I do keep well hydrated although it is mostly with water. I eat fig bars and bananas on occasions but probably not often enough. I also read the post about V8 and I love dried apricots. I think the physically fit thought is good as most of my rides over the last year have been in the 25-35 mile range and now I have started to set a goal of at least one 50-60 miler per week.

    and thanks for all of the good input...
    SloSpoke Jim

  24. #24
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    And I thought that the leg cramps were mine exclusively. Great suggestions. I was wondering if I should go back to glucosamine and chrondroitin. Currently I'm seeing a physio, who tells me it's not a muscle strain but a muscle contraction problem. She is using acupuncture needles to ease the stress on the muscles. It's painful but nothing like those cramps. Like an old sage she says our bodies are trying to tell us to back off. I've dropped the pace a bit but still maintaining the mileage. This week has been good, two rides of 30 plus and no cramps.
    I do the gatoade and bananas so I'll try some of other of the suggestions

  25. #25
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post

    My cramping issue is foot cramps, right in the arches of both feet. Wow, that can be a painful way to wake up at 3 am. Doesn't happen too often.
    Getting foot cramps at night SUCKS! Among the more entertaining cramps are the ones when you are at the dinner table and you have to straighten your leg NOW! If you don't kick the person across from you it's funny, or when it happens to someone else. You see that look on their face and they suddenly scoot their chair back 2 feet.

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