Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 58
  1. #1
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Legs cramping at 40 miles

    Twice now, both legs started cramping at 40 miles. I could't get off the saddle without severe muscle tightness in the quads and medial greats, just above the knees. I didn't have this problem last year on rides between 40 and 80 miles. Had sore legs, but not severe cramping.

    Saturday started good, I felt strong for the first 30 miles. Then at apx. 45 miles, I stood up to power over a slight incline and the thigh muscles on both legs cramped up. I could hardly move the pedals, the cramping was extremely painful and debilitating. Once the pain sub-sided slightly, I down shifted to lower gears to try spinning faster and downing a bottle of an electrolyte drink (Nuun). I rode easy for several more miles and the legs started to respond. But I could never fully recover, any hill or incline was still painfully challenging. I rode with 2 buddies and we finished 85 miles in 5 hours and 40 minutes total riding time. We weren't riding for speed, just cruising at a comfortable pace.

    So what is the biggest reason why muscles cramp and are there other factors?

    My list of things to consider...
    1) Hydration
    2) Inadequate fuel, carbs
    3) Poor conditioning
    4) Not enough base riding
    5) Bike fit

    On #5, I'm not sure if the saddle height or setback is optimum, need to have this checked. I've switched off between saddles and may have this setup slightly off. Sunday, I measured the saddle height and it was low (again), raised it 4mm before a recovery ride and the height felt good. Could a low saddle cause cramps?

    Thanks for the help
    Last edited by GFish; 06-11-12 at 03:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Blanchje's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    West Michigan
    My Bikes
    Jamis Nova Pro, Giant Sedona
    Posts
    187
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Id be looking at #1 first. Sounds like you need to pre-hydrate better and not wait so long to replace electrolytes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Leander Texas
    My Bikes
    GT avalanche, '78 Gran Criterion
    Posts
    133
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would try stretching out both before and after the ride. Stretch everything, legs, arms, back, neck--you name it. A good long stretch, not a quicky 2 minute then jump on the bike--stretch until you feel loosened up then warm-up slow on the bike to work the kinks out.

  4. #4
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Blanchje View Post
    Id be looking at #1 first. Sounds like you need to pre-hydrate better and not wait so long to replace electrolytes.
    I drank apx. 20 oz plain water pre-ride and had a bowl of oatmeal. The weather was cloudy with temps in the 50's F.

    During that first 40 miles, because of the cooler temps and some drizzle, I likely didn't drink enough, maybe 16 oz. So you could be right.

  5. #5
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Minnesota/Arizona and between
    My Bikes
    Trek Madone 4.7 WSD, 1969 Schwinn Collegiate, Cannondale Quick 4, Terry Classic, Gary Fisher Marlin, Dahon Jetstream XP
    Posts
    3,890
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here are the theories:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/he...on/14BEST.html

    Cramping is still pretty much a mystery; mostly because no one has really studied the issue.

    There are three leading hypotheses about how to treat cramps and how to prevent them.There’s the dehydration proposal: you just need more fluid. But, Dr. Schwellnus said, he studied athletes who cramped and found that they were no more dehydrated before or after a race than those who did not have cramps.

    Then there’s the electrolyte hypothesis: what you really need is sodium and potassium.
    Michael F. Bergeron, who directs the environmental physiology laboratory at the Medical College of Georgia, said the electrolyte hypothesis applies to a specific type of cramp that is related to excessive sweating. It occurs, he said, when the fluid that bathes the connection between muscle and nerve is depleted of sodium and potassium, which was lost through sweat. The nerve then becomes hypersensitive, Dr. Bergeron said.
    “Usually you feel little twitches first,” he explained. “They last for 20 to 30 minutes and if you don’t do anything you can be in full-blown cramps.” Those cramps, he continued can move from place to place on your body, from one leg to the next, to your arms, stomach, even your fingers or your face.
    The solution, Dr. Bergeron said, is to drink salty fluids like Gatorade (the company sponsors his research). He said he had prevented cramps in tennis players this way.
    But asked whether there are any rigorous studies to confirm this hypothesis, he said no. “We haven’t done the study yet,” he said. “We’re at the point of kind of connecting the dots.”


    The third hypothesis is advanced by Dr. Schwellnus. He questions the electrolyte hypothesis because his studies of Ironman-distance triathletes as well as other studies of endurance athletes found no difference in electrolyte levels between those who suffered cramps and those who did not.
    DR. SCHWELLNUS proposes that the real cause of cramping is an imbalance between nerve signals that excite a muscle and those that inhibit its contractions. And that imbalance, he said, occurs when a muscle is growing fatigued.
    His solutions for cramps are to exercise less intensely and for shorter times, to be sure you had enough carbohydrates to fuel your muscles, to train sufficiently and to regularly stretch the muscles that give you problems. These recommendations are based on his recent study of Ironman triathletes, Dr. Schwellnus said.
    But while he advocates those practices, he said, they have not been proved in a rigorous study.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Hollister, CA
    My Bikes
    Volagi, daVinci Joint Venture
    Posts
    3,934
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There ought to be one of those standard flow charts for preventing, resolving cramps. At the end of flow chart everyone will be recommended to hydrate (more), increase electrolyte intake {Nuun, Heed, Endurolytes, .............**, take Tums (after onset), stretch, use rollers after each ride, don't ride so darn hard, etc.

    My experience has been that over-exertion which can occur on the tandem on steep pitches is the precipitating factor. The cramping may not occur immediately, but I've damaged the muscles and at some point later in a ride a minor surge will give me those hot flashes in my quads which foretell doom.

    I rode a 100K yesterday with 5000' of climbing. My single is not particularly low-geared, but I pedaled seated slowly on some pitches of 16% without the extreme effort involved in captaining the tandem - no cramps resulted. I did hydrate, had Nuun in my water bottles and took a few Endurolytes. I'm also web searching for the pagan god of cramps.
    Rick T
    --------
    Volagi - Triple"ized" and Tubeless
    daVinci Joint Venture

  7. #7
    Senior Member El Segundo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama USA
    My Bikes
    '07 Specialized Roubaix Comp, '85 Trek 470, '88 Trek 400T, '88 Diamondback Ascent EX, '56 Raleigh Superbe
    Posts
    256
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Never had really severe cramps until this past Saturday on a 45 mile MS ride. I was 42 miles into the ride when cramps in both quads stopped me and I could not bend legs or get off the bike. The weather was high 80's and I had been hydrating well all morning and eating fruit at the rest stops.

    A young rider stopped to check on me and offered some Hammer Gel which he said would work fast. I have never tried the stuff but was pretty desperate so I went for it. In 3 or 4 minutes the cramps were easing up and I was able to finish the ride at a good pace with my Good Samaritian.

    Anyone have any opinions about the Hammer products?

  8. #8
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Indiana
    My Bikes
    RANS V3, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer
    Posts
    11,543
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    About midway through a 46 mile ride with 11 other tandem teams this past hot weekend, we were riding harder than we are used to when by ourselves-----> both my calves let me know that they were considering cramping up. Fortunately, backing off the exertion level a little helped much. Finished the ride without catching the faster group but were able to comfortably ride with a few other teams at a fast-enough pace.
    I find that the basic cramp trigger is exceeding my fitness level.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  9. #9
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    My Bikes
    Pinarello Prince/Campy SR; Cervelo R3/Sram Red; Trek 5900/Duraace, Cervelo P2C/Duraace
    Posts
    6,024
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I am the king of cramps. I've narrowed my causes down to two things. Improper hydration with electrolytes either before a ride or during a ride. The second more recent cause is riding too hard or allowing the heartrate to get too high for a longer period than reasonable. But that probably also could be similar to insufficient controlled training at higher exertion levels for shorter periods.p
    Ride your Ride!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Jersey - outside the bibs.
    Posts
    3,470
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ride more.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  11. #11
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Around now and then
    Posts
    20,869
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    How about a muscle imbalance between quads and hip flexors? Just a crazy thought, but are you doing exercises such as bridges to balance the notoriously imbalanced muscles caused by bicycling?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  12. #12
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Antelope Valley, SoCal
    Posts
    2,456
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When you guys figure out the definitive, absolute solution, I'll pay you handsomly for the secret. I haven't cramped yet this year, since the weather turned cold last winter, but did cramp a whole lot last year. As with others, about the 40 mile marker. For me, it seems to be related to how hard I ride that first 35-45 miles. If I'm really, really pushing it, I'll tend to cramp in the calfs; only once in the thighs when I put on a massive burst of power in a situation that called for it.

    Doesn't seem to be fitness related as I can easily ride a double-metric century. Well, maybe not "easily", but certainly do-able on a weekly basis. Also doubt it is a hydration issue. Might be, but I highly doubt it. Not a nutrition issue either.

    I wish I knew for sure, but for the past three-four months, with my daily vitamin/medicine routine, I've been taking a capsule of Potassium and another of Magnesium. Don't think my level of effort has lessened this season. Only once, near the beginning of taking the Potassium and Magnesium did I get a hint of the calfs wanting to cramp up. I backed off for awhile and all was well.

    Who really knows what's going on and what's the cause. Nobody knows for sure, and what works for one persone doesn't work for another. Guess it's just one of those life's mysteries.
    Deut 6:5

    ---

    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
    - Vizzini during his "battle of wits" with the Man in Black

  13. #13
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Hollister, CA
    My Bikes
    Volagi, daVinci Joint Venture
    Posts
    3,934
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by volosong View Post
    ....... Nobody knows for sure, and what works for one persone doesn't work for another. Guess it's just one of those life's mysteries.
    +1
    Rick T
    --------
    Volagi - Triple"ized" and Tubeless
    daVinci Joint Venture

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    NZ
    My Bikes
    More than 1, but, less than S-1
    Posts
    3,416
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There are a bunch of reasons why cramps can occur. I've suffered cramps for different reasons over the years. But, last year I found a new cause.

    I was getting cramps well into my rides. These seemed to be fast onset. Not the slow somewhat controllable variety I had experience at controlling through hydration or effort. I could resolve them by stopping and rubbing my thighs. Within minutes I would feel almost like new. Make it another 5-10 minutes into the ride and at the slightest increase in load, WHAM.

    Turns out the elastic on my new shorts were a little tight. Put on old worn out shorts, no cramps. New shorts, 0:45-1:45 into ride, cramps. I cut the elastic at the seam on the inside of my thighs. No more cramps.

    I believe circulation, or the reduction of it, was the primary cause.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  15. #15
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Mesa Arizona
    My Bikes
    Felt AR4 and Cannondale hybrid
    Posts
    2,249
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by El Segundo View Post
    Never had really severe cramps until this past Saturday on a 45 mile MS ride. I was 42 miles into the ride when cramps in both quads stopped me and I could not bend legs or get off the bike. The weather was high 80's and I had been hydrating well all morning and eating fruit at the rest stops.

    A young rider stopped to check on me and offered some Hammer Gel which he said would work fast. I have never tried the stuff but was pretty desperate so I went for it. In 3 or 4 minutes the cramps were easing up and I was able to finish the ride at a good pace with my Good Samaritian.

    Anyone have any opinions about the Hammer products?
    I have been using Hammer products for years. Mainly gels, recoverite, and enduralites, a hydration aid. Now they have a new fizz product bit I haven't tried it yet. You won't find any stuff in their products you can't pronounce, if you know what I mean.
    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
    Cannonade Hybrid

    If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.

    In God we trust

  16. #16
    Senior Member Hoshnasi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cerritos, Ca.
    Posts
    559
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Bananas, eat more.

    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...E4T/weight.png

    Quote Originally Posted by crushkilldstroy View Post
    This is the best thing you can do to prevent a hangover.
    21. Buy more meth.
    22. Shoot up more meth.
    23. Don't go to sleep.
    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    I built a self-trepanning rig that I use after bike wrecks in which my helmet splits and I can't remember how I got home.
    I'll sell you plans for five dollars.

  17. #17
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoshnasi View Post
    Bananas, eat more.
    The first sag was 25 miles, ate a whole banana, 1 hard boiled egg, a few crackers & cheese, a couple apple slices and a piece of bagel with peanut butter. Hmmm.......maybe I overate?

    Well, looks like lots of possibilities. After reading the replies, I now believe the cramping is related to inadequate fitness. I just haven't ridden enough this year or put in enough hard rides in. It's strange though, since I wasn't pushing or riding hard. Never felt like I was winded or hurting before the cramps set in. It was a real bummer, realizing I needed to ride slow to even finish.

    Thanks all for the replies, much appreciated.

  18. #18
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Uncertain
    Posts
    6,670
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    I find that the basic cramp trigger is exceeding my fitness level.
    This. I rarely cramp. When I do, it correlates with my having not recovered properly from a previous ride before attempting another hard effort.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    2,549
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I rarely cramp as well, but I also stretch before and after rides,
    and make sure electrolyte levels are okay.
    Think about adding another bananna .
    Yum.

  20. #20
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Pensacola, Florida
    My Bikes
    CAAD 10 4
    Posts
    6,653
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For me it is hydration and electrolyte intake/uptake. I don't cramp often but when I do it is Katy bar the door for me. Eating Bananas and drinking an electrolyte replacement drink will do the trick to stop them but it is a painful interlude. I try to get fully hydrated at least a day before any heavy activity.

    I have severe muscle spasms in my abdomen from all of the surgeries and if you find a magic potion for cramps/spasms I'll pay you handsomely for the secret. Muscle relaxers don't do the whole relief thing also.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  21. #21
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sterling, VA
    My Bikes
    '77 Fuji S-10S, '82 Fuji Team, '88 Fuji Saratoga, '08 Scattante CFR, '12 Jamis Sputnik, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT
    Posts
    2,391
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    OP Didn't Say

    OP - you've received good inputs: magnesium, potassium, bananas, Enduralites, etc.

    What I want to know is your weekly base miles and average speed during those rides. Average cadence during these rides?

    Then during the ride in question - what was the speed of the group? Cadence?

    Absent any of this information, I'm still leaning toward a cadence that's too slow and power output that is substantially (>10%) above your sustained average. These two things will lead to problems after an hour and a half or so.

    My suggestion for longer rides is to back off of the power, increase the cadence, and pay attention to hydration and electrolytes and fuel. You shouldn't have trouble with 40+ miles. Slow the pace down.

    Elastic too tight? That was a great post - these kinds of things happen. Infrequently, I've had tight pelvic muscles that slightly change my seating. Sometimes takes 1/2 hour to warm up and loosen to the point of proper rotation forward on my touring bike. On an otherwise comfortable saddle, I get dull or stabbing pains down my leg and in in the knee area. Once my pelvis is loose - no pain at all for hours of riding. You have to learn how your body responds...
    Last edited by Phil_gretz; 06-12-12 at 05:45 AM. Reason: typo

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Bristol, R. I.
    My Bikes
    Specialized Secteur, old Peugeot
    Posts
    1,490
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For myself, calf muscle cramping seems to be related to efforts at a harder pace than I'm accustomed to. If I feel the first hint of a beginning cramp, standing on the pedals and dropping heels to stretch the calves helps. Sometimes I have to get off the bike to stretch calves. This year, I've tried Sport Legs tablets and they help or stop cramps altogether.

    On a club ride earlier this year, I began to cramp when a passing ex racer told me to pour cold water from a water bottle on my leg, and, to my surprise, it worked.

  23. #23
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    What I want to know is your weekly base miles and average speed during those rides. Average cadence during these rides?

    Then during the ride in question - what was the speed of the group? Cadence?
    Average weekly base miles > 40-100 miles
    Average speed > 15.5 - 17.5 mph (depending on elevation gain)
    Average cadence > 85 - 100 rpm's

    Group average speed (on flats) > 15 - 17 mph
    Group cadence > 80 - 90 rpm's

    On the group ride, I had to guess at cadence. I washed the bike the day before, forgetting to cover the Cateye wireless sensor. Had only speed during the ride and Sunday on a recovery ride, no cadence or speed.

    On weekly base miles; struggling to find enough time to ride this year. Plus, lots of wind and rain doesn't help the motivation.

    I'll need to keep working on fitness both on and off the bike, and stretching. The later, is something I don't do often enough, certainly not after every ride.

  24. #24
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by berner View Post
    For myself, calf muscle cramping seems to be related to efforts at a harder pace than I'm accustomed to.
    I keep reading about calf muscles cramping. I've never experienced this. Over the last 2 rides, it's been my thighs cramping just above the knee. And why are both thighs affected at the same time, I find this strange. It must have something to do with electrical stimulation of the muscles.

    Am I doing something wrong or have the bike setup incorrectly? Does having the seat to low create problems if the legs are not extended properly through the pedal stroke?
    Last edited by GFish; 06-12-12 at 02:08 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    How about a muscle imbalance between quads and hip flexors? Just a crazy thought, but are you doing exercises such as bridges to balance the notoriously imbalanced muscles caused by bicycling?
    Bridges?

    I'm currently not doing anything other then biking. Is this bad? What should I be doing?

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •