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Old 07-04-10, 08:49 AM   #1
bruce19
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So, what just happened to me?

I could use a little insight here. But, first a bit of history. Two weeks ago on a club ride we did 48 mi. at about 15 mph and 2,000 ft of elevation. At the end of the ride I got up to the ride leader (50 yrs. old, ex-racer and zero body fat as far as I can tell! ) and said, "How about if I give you a lead out to the end?" We were about 100 yds. from the finish. So, I jumped and he held onto my wheel. When he started to slingshot past me I picked up my pace as best I could. He couldn't lose me and turned and said, "That's all I've got." I said, "Me too" and we rode in together. It was really a nice moment. FWIW, I'm 64 and about 190 lbs which is 15 lbs over my best cycling weight.

So, yesterday the club ride went out for 57 mi. at about 14.9 mph thanks to 3,000 ft of elevation. As you might imagine, thanks to that extra 15 lbs, hills are not my friends. With about 5 mi. to finish, the group started dropping me on hills. Not by a tremendous amount but significantly. The same group leader and another really strong rider took turns dragging me up to the group. Strangely, once over the hill I actually could crank it up and catch the group although it was work. With a mile or two to go I couldn't stand to pedal thanks to quads in spasm. During the ride I consumed two GU gels, two bottle of Gatorade and a cranberry scone. Just trying to get some insight as to why I lost my legs. I should mention that at no time did my lungs or heart feel particulary stressed. Anyone? TIA
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Old 07-04-10, 09:07 AM   #2
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lactic acid buildup in the muscles?
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Old 07-04-10, 09:21 AM   #3
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Sounds like a lactic acid overload. Cool!

I haven't the expertise in Kinesiology but I think you just got to the point where your system couldn't eliminate the lactic acid build up your exercise was producing.

I think this could be a break through to a new level of leg strength if you handle it right. This is where a recovery ride comes in and a ramp up this week to that level of effort to "seal" in the new muscle you'll build. The problem is that age really works against holding those strength gains.

Sounds like you had a great work out. I'd go for a really easy ride today and maybe something Monday with some short intense efforts to get your heart and lungs going and then another long ride if you feel up to it Tuesday.
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Old 07-04-10, 09:22 AM   #4
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I switched from Gatorade type of stuff to Cytomax and the difference is amazing. Since I switched I have not had any cramping, and my energy stays up better. Also, on a longer ride, say 30+ or better, I will do a GU or equivalent every 20 minutes because it's easier to keep the tank full than to try and fill it when it's dry.
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Old 07-04-10, 09:33 AM   #5
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You over cooked your legs bridging back to the main group. Competition + adrenaline = a lot of power. You were not used to that level of effort when you are fatigued. More training with higher intensity work should eliminate the problem. The same applies to the lead out.
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Old 07-04-10, 09:42 AM   #6
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I should have mentioned that it was my longest ride to date. Most of my rides have been in the 15-35 mi. range. And, I tend to ride them like a TT. For some reason I love the feeling of totally pushing myself as hard as I can from start to finish. Although on the aforementioned ride I spent a lot of time spinning in an effort to conserve energy.
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Old 07-04-10, 09:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
With about 5 mi. to finish, the group started dropping me on hills. Not by a tremendous amount but significantly. The same group leader and another really strong rider took turns dragging me up to the group. Strangely, once over the hill I actually could crank it up and catch the group although it was work. With a mile or two to go I couldn't stand to pedal thanks to quads in spasm. During the ride I consumed two GU gels, two bottle of Gatorade and a cranberry scone. Just trying to get some insight as to why I lost my legs. I should mention that at no time did my lungs or heart feel particulary stressed. Anyone? TIA
Hills will do that especially when you're trying to keep up with stronger riders. Plus what the others said.
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Old 07-04-10, 09:57 AM   #8
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Most of my rides have been in the 15-35 mi. range. And, I tend to ride them like a TT. For some reason I love the feeling of totally pushing myself as hard as I can from start to finish..

Classic training error. You need to include some higher intensity interval training. To be able to do that you need to go easier on other rides to allow adequate recovery. I know it's fun to push all the time, but you inhibit improvement by doing so. The zone you're riding has been called "no man's land." Not intense enough to really improve; not easy enough to recover. On the one hand, I assume your income doesn't rely on how well you ride, so do what you enjoy. But on the other, if you enjoy getting better and want to hang better on the group rides, you need to incorporate some structure and discipline to your training. Each ride should have a purpose. And remember, you don't get stronger while training; you get stronger recovering from training.

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Old 07-04-10, 11:10 AM   #9
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It could have been that you had not completely recovered since the day before. Or you could have used up enough glycogen to make your legs go. Or you could have simply fatigued some from intense effort. I suppose if you had a state of the art laboratory to take blood samples and a biopsy from your quads, that could have given you a definitive answer but it is hardly practical.
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Old 07-04-10, 01:11 PM   #10
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Electro lites. That and trying to do too much too soon. And did you eat enough before and during the ride? And overtraining- and not fit enough for the high intesity work out that you are trying to do.

Too many reasons to wonder why you sufferred but I am in a position that I don't find myself in too often and that has been through lack of riding. So I am back to building myself back up. Take a 30 to 40 mile ride at a VERY comfortable pace. Work on the hills but not overwork but those gentle slopes for about 1/4 to 1/2 mile. I use them as interval training. Start at the bottom at a sensible pace but I do not cut cadence and I don't change down. Legs by the top and I definitely know they are there but they are not overworked.

And those quads--Any of us that have knee problems will work on those. I lay on the floor and do leg lifts with a straight leg with a weight on them. only a kilo or so initially but say 10 repetitions on each leg. As I find it comfortable I raise the weight. Currently up to 5 kilos in a carrier bag hung round the foot and 10 repetitions is hard. By the time I get to finding 5 kilos easy for 10 reps- The quads will be strong enough.
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Old 07-04-10, 02:05 PM   #11
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...all that, and everybody has an off day now and then, some of us (yours truly included) more often than others...

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Old 07-04-10, 02:11 PM   #12
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That long a ride and two bottles of liquid would not be enough for me. That would cause spasms and cramps in my legs. You could have started the day down a bit on fluids, also. I deliver mail, and can tell near the end of the day when I have not drunk enough.
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Old 07-04-10, 02:21 PM   #13
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That long a ride and two bottles of liquid would not be enough for me. That would cause spasms and cramps in my legs. You could have started the day down a bit on fluids, also. I deliver mail, and can tell near the end of the day when I have not drunk enough.
Good point. That's a five or six bottle ride for me.
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Old 07-04-10, 04:20 PM   #14
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If you are heavier than the other riders you will have to put out a lot more watts to keep with their pace on the hills. If you are behind on cresting the hills your added weight will give you a little advantage but as your speed increases that advantage is minimal, so you again need to put out a lot more watts to catch them. On a long ride this just adds up and you totally fatigue the muscles and you get no rest not to mention fewer opportunities to draft, no amount of fuel or electrolites will bring the muscles back - only rest. Hermes is correct, you need to train to get stronger if you are going to hang on these longer rides and if you are heavier than the guys you want to ride with and it's a hilly ride you need to be stronger than they are or else you need to match their weight. Gravity and wind resistance are cruel teachers.

Now on the hydration front, IMHO you were way under hydrated - 4 bottles would be more like it. You may have also been under fueled, two Gu shots are only 100 cal, you should have put in about 300 at the 30 mile mark and another 300 at 45 miles to get you home. the gatoraide and scone may have made up the difference but I doubt it.

On a long hard ride I usually have to force myself to hydrate and eat - but once I learned to do that it really helped.
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Old 07-05-10, 05:03 AM   #15
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I am inclined to think that you all are right about the hydration deficit and the need for more calories. It's always been hard for me to judge what I need on longer rides. Sometimes I just forget to eat/drink and most of the time I'm just not feeling any hunger. I'm going to have to force myself to keep a schedule. Thanks.
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Old 07-11-10, 04:42 PM   #16
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Having just had a similar experience, a 55 mile ride after which I sacked out on the couch when my legs cramped. Holy cow, pain. Did some research online about cramping and long rides, there isn't a definitive answer on cramps or hydration, or anything that causes them, at least not online. I've done this ride several times, but this was the first time I wound up with crazy cramping. Yes I was topped up on fluids, and yes like OP I tend to head out like it's a TT, and like to push myself, which always means the way home is a dogged trial. I'm still trying to figure it out, the only thing I can think of was lack of salt in my diet, so I'm upping the potassium and magnesium in my diet.
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