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  1. #1
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    Fighting Leg Cramps

    Looking for advice with an ongoing nagging issue. Seems after I hit the 40 - 50 mile mark, my hammies start to cramp up. Yesterday I did a 70 mile cookie ride and had to stop and walk every mile the last 10 miles, to stretch my legs. I'm drinking plenty of fluids (gatorade), taking GU and cliff bar, and have even tried salt tablets. It's becoming frustrating because I'm moving at a pretty good clip and then WHAM!, the muscles start to cramp.

    Any ideas

  2. #2
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Hi Freerunner,

    E-Caps (Electrolyte Replacement Supplement) from Hammer Products are the solution. Not just salt but also other chemicals that you need (but sweat out). Take one every hour and no more cramps (well, you need to be hydrating too, but you seem to have that covered).

    On the double centuries I ride the ride organizations that put on the rides have E-Caps at every checkpoint (30- 40 mies apart depending the climbing from one to the next). I take two at each checkpoint and since I've started doing that, no more troubles with cramps!

    http://www.hammernutrition.com/produ...-energy-drinks

    Rick / OCRR

  3. #3
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    If your hamstrings are cramping perhaps you are overusing them. If your seat is too far back that will emphasize the back of the leg. You might consider moving the saddle forward a tad and see what that does.

  4. #4
    Senior Member love2pedal.com's Avatar
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    V-8 veggie juice

  5. #5
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    I find that I experience muscle cramps when I start to become dehydrated. That may not be what is causing your cramps, but be carefull to stay hydrated. (I know you probably don't need to hear this but I thought I would mention it just in case.)

  6. #6
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quads are really used a lot and hamstrings are not in bicycling = strong quads, weak hams. They get very tight. There are a variety of exercises and stretches to loosen and strengthen the hamstrings. This phenomenon is noted frequently in bicycle mags such as Bicycling, and by my physical therapist(s).
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  7. #7
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    You might try hydrating well and taking ecaps starting 3-4 days before the ride.
    Ride your Ride!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Bananas for potasium.

  9. #9
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    All of the above. Good luck
    Chief Executive In Charge Of Diddly Squat.

    Taking on a long hill is like fighting a Gorilla. You don't stop when you are tired, You stop when the Gorilla is tired.

    Now ridding a
    Felt AR4 with Mavic Super light Premium wheels
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    If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.

    In God we trust

  10. #10
    Senior Member BikeArkansas's Avatar
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    I consider myself the leg cramp king. I cramp every century and sometimes on shorter rides. However, if there is one cramp I can deal with is the hamstring cramp. After a very difficult set of hamstring cramps I found that standing would keep this from occurring. I have learned, especially on a long climb, to stand on a fairly regular rate. I learned to walk around during a rest stop if the ride has not hills to stand. Works very well for me. Now, if only the other cramps were that easy.
    I started riding my bike to get healthy. Now I try to stay healthy so I can ride my bike.

  11. #11
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by love2pedal.com View Post
    V-8 veggie juice
    Correct-V8 Fusion has potassium+ and other helpful anti-cramping stuff
    Ride your Ride!!

  12. #12
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    Dealing with leg cramps since 12 years old. All the common wisdom may help but medical science does not yet have the answer. Get a solution and you will be a gizillionair! The only thing I have found that helps after you start cramping is to try to spin your legs on the pedals with as little pressure as possible.

  13. #13
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Yogurt, dried figs, dates, tomato juice and V8 juice have more potassium than bananas. You can also add Lite salt to your diet. Its 50% potassium chloride. Regular table salt has no potassium.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  14. #14
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    My leg cramps seem closely associated with exceeding my fitness level - they are more common in Spring, after the Winter laziness. Haven't suffered any recently(knock on head), including this past Saturday's hilly and hot 50 mile ride.
    I'm betting that if I had tried the 160 mile RAIN, my calves would have started complaining after, say, 75 miles or so.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  15. #15
    Senior Member BikeArkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    Dealing with leg cramps since 12 years old. All the common wisdom may help but medical science does not yet have the answer. Get a solution and you will be a gizillionair! The only thing I have found that helps after you start cramping is to try to spin your legs on the pedals with as little pressure as possible.
    I agree with the spinning with little pressure. It has gotten me home a number of times.
    I started riding my bike to get healthy. Now I try to stay healthy so I can ride my bike.

  16. #16
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Yesterday was the worst leg cramps I have ever had. My planned ride was 45 miles but at mile 35 I was reduced to walking a half mile and the trying to ride as far as I could. I don't ever want to experience that amount of pain again. I have tried Potassium pills ... didn't work tried magnesium pills... didn't work. I eat what I think are more than my share of bananas... don't help. Tomorrow I am going to try E-caps. I have also heard that Quinine water works well... Anyone have any knowledge about this?
    SloSpoke Jim

  17. #17
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjc9640 View Post
    Yesterday was the worst leg cramps I have ever had. My planned ride was 45 miles but at mile 35 I was reduced to walking a half mile and the trying to ride as far as I could. I don't ever want to experience that amount of pain again. I have tried Potassium pills ... didn't work tried magnesium pills... didn't work. I eat what I think are more than my share of bananas... don't help. Tomorrow I am going to try E-caps. I have also heard that Quinine water works well... Anyone have any knowledge about this?
    I can report that after 3 or more gin and tonics I have never had a cramp I can remember.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  18. #18
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjc9640 View Post
    I have tried Potassium pills ... didn't work...
    That's because potassium pills are limited (by law) to 99 mg per capsule. The items I mentioned above all have 500+ mg per serving and taste much better than a capsule.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  19. #19
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Gin and tonic ... good idea

    At 99 mg per capsule I guess I would have to take about a half a bottle at a time.

    Good info from both of you...
    SloSpoke Jim

  20. #20
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    PLease be aware of potassium high dosage dangers. Don't know how much you plan on taking . . .

    http://www.nutrient-world.com/mineral-resource/dangers-of-high-potassium-levels.html

    http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2007/...ngers-of-pota/
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  21. #21
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    The OP hasn't come back so I don't know if this is a troll. But, in case this is serious, the answer for me and for everyone I know is to increase leg strength through excercise and use. Unless your diet is really attrocious that usually isn't the cause. If cramps are a routine thing the cause is usually lack of leg strength and total body fitness for the exercise regimen.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Philipaparker's Avatar
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    I had severe leg cramps after riding, so much so I couldn't walk or would wake up at night with cramps in my ham strings. I tried eating bananas taking pills etc etc. Three things I did that really helped, one was getting my bike fit. Proper seat hight and cleat position I payed $80 bucks here in San Francisco for a Specialized trained fitter to fit my bike. Second I discovered GookinAide now called VitaLite. Developed by a doctor that was an Olympic contender and couldn't tolerate Gatorade. I have a friend that is a tennis pro that turned me on to it. So I drink that before, during and after I ride. No more cramps for me. Third I started stretching there are any number of stretching routines I stretch every morning as soon as I am out of bed. No more cramps for me. Hope that helps you.

  23. #23
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    The OP hasn't come back so I don't know if this is a troll. But, in case this is serious, the answer for me and for everyone I know is to increase leg strength through excercise and use. Unless your diet is really attrocious that usually isn't the cause. If cramps are a routine thing the cause is usually lack of leg strength and total body fitness for the exercise regimen.
    Gosh-I'd hate to think of how much more exercise I'd have to do if that were the case. I kinda think the high humidiy and the significant loss of electrolytes while exercising is a significant factor-at least in the area I'm accustomed to riding in.
    Ride your Ride!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe View Post
    Gosh-I'd hate to think of how much more exercise I'd have to do if that were the case. I kinda think the high humidiy and the significant loss of electrolytes while exercising is a significant factor-at least in the area I'm accustomed to riding in.

    If you "kinds think" I'd hate to go against that. But, unless there are other symptoms than just leg cramps it is unlikely there is a serious electrolyte deficiency. Check it out with your medical provider.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  25. #25
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Today was my third day to use the E-caps that Rick recommended. My legs have never felt better. This morning I took 2 before I left the house and 2 more about an hour into my ride and 2 more before I got home. I feel like I can leap tall buildings in a single bound after my rides now.

    Does anyone have a capsule that can make me faster than a speeding bullet.
    SloSpoke Jim

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