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  1. #1
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    Thighs Ache During Long Ride

    I get a deep thigh ache that usually hits me at mile 40 and will last for a few miles before it subsides a bit but not all the way. I'm staying well hydrated and eating adequately. This is not lactic acid burn. Average pace is 15 mph and fairly flat. Did 53 today and the last 5 were easier than the 5 prior to that. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    don't know, sounds weird, but sounds like a great ride. good job man. keeping cranking out the miles and I'll bet you work through it.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  3. #3
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    Good health?
    A recent physical exam showing no problems?
    Discomfort subsides in a reasonable time after exercise?
    Loss of strength concurrent with discomfort?

    Just some questions to help you get on the road to answers. Sometimes pain is normal, sometimes not.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
    Good health?
    A recent physical exam showing no problems?
    Discomfort subsides in a reasonable time after exercise?
    Loss of strength concurrent with discomfort?

    Just some questions to help you get on the road to answers. Sometimes pain is normal, sometimes not.
    Excellent heath, clean physical, recover quickly after getting off the bike. No loss of strength with discomfort.

    I would like to add that I am riding at or near my limits. This ache also sets in while climbing an average of a 2% percent grade over 2 miles. If I did this at miles 10, 20 or even 30 I would have no problem. I feel the normal burn during this time but the ache is hopping on board as well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    try potassium supplements. charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

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    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Minor View Post
    try potassium supplements. charlie
    Otherwise known as bananas.

    Staying "hydrated" only means drinking water. As charlie is pointing out, you need more than water. I like AminoVital powder to provide appropriate muscle nutrition during rides. Also Heed and Nunn products are very good.

    A good article is here : http://www.trismarter.com/articles/m...prevent-them-2
    "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."

  7. #7
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barrykai View Post
    I would like to add that I am riding at or near my limits.
    Maybe just back off a bit when the ache starts. Or say "Shut up, legs" a la Jens Voight.

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    I was drinking electrolyte recovery powder in my water as well as Honey Stinger waffles and gels. No cramping, excessive fatigue, dizziness, naseau, aching joints.....in other words, no symptoms of low potassium.

    Thanks for the link. Good information there.

  9. #9
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    Took several rests and slowed my pace. I did tell my legs to STFU but that just made it worse.

  10. #10
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Might just be reaching the limits of your fitness level.
    I get more crampy leg discomfort in Spring and less this time of year as I've built up my mileage.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  11. #11
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Minor View Post
    try potassium supplements.
    Also known as yogurt, dates, dried apricots, prunes, raisins, lima beans, OJ, baked potatoes, tomato juice, etc.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon 105

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  12. #12
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Also known as yogurt (gets messy in back pocket), dates(makes me poop), dried apricots(makes me poop), prunes(makes me poop, more), raisins(makes me poop), lima beans(never thought of that one), OJ(he's not a cyclist), baked potatoes(maybe, but look lumpy), tomato juice(not a fan), etc.(etc.)
    "The Doctor: Well, among other things, I *think* I might have just invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early. Do you know, they'd never even seen a banana before? Always take a banana to a party, Rose. Bananas are good."
    Last edited by RonH; 08-25-13 at 06:32 PM.
    "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."

  13. #13
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    ^^^ WTF??

    I didn't say any of that stuff. I just know what works for me.
    You don't have to carry some of those items. Stopping at a convenience store or eatery is allowed.
    Last edited by RonH; 08-25-13 at 07:04 PM.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon 105

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

  14. #14
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I blew myself up today. I rode 50 miles hard on Saturday and felt good all day. I rode 55 today and my thighs were on fire at 30 miles. I stopped at a mini-market and bought 3 bananas and more water. I ate, slowed down and limped back to my car which was on the other frigging side of a mountain. Stopping hurt worst than peddling so I just spun along in an easy gear. I thought I was going to be hurting big time tonight, but so far my legs are fine other than being tired.

  15. #15
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Perhaps your seat is too low? Occasionally my seat post has slipped -- or a bike shop set it lower while working on it -- and I noticed that climbing was much more difficult and my thighs hurt. Only later did I notice that my saddle was 1-2 cm lower than it should be.

  16. #16
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    I have something similar happen on 50 mile rides. Somewhere around the 3/4 mark, the legs begin to feel heavy and very tired and lack power. I don't fight it and assume it is a fitness effect. I allow myself to slow right down, shift to a lower gear to maintain revs and press on. A bit later, 30 minutes or so, I'm back to near normal and finish the ride feeling relatively strong compared to the low point. I'm near 100 % certain it is a fitness issue.

  17. #17
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Could it be a cadence issue for the first 50 miles?
    Ride your Ride!!

  18. #18
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I would have mentioned the following sooner, but I don't think it applies to these situations

    "getting you 2nd wind" I have read refers to situations where due to exercise your oxygen level drops in your bloodstream and then later as your respiration catches up the oxygen level catches up, giving you a feeling of renewed energy.

    anyway I think that's how it goes, but I think the "2nd wind" comes much sooner that 3/4 through a long ride

    here's some info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_wind
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  19. #19
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    ^^^ WTF??

    I didn't say any of that stuff. I just know what works for me.
    You don't have to carry some of those items. Stopping at a convenience store or eatery is allowed.
    It was a joke.
    "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."

  20. #20
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    This week I walk/jogged 3 miles on Sunday, 6 interval sprints on Tuesday and did an easy 17 mile ride today (should have been easier but its 102 in DFW). I'm hoping to see a difference this Saturday when I do the exact same route/distance as last Saturday. My only concern is that I've increased my training too much, too soon and possibly overtrained?

    JPPE inquired about cadence. My Cateye Strada does not measure that but my riding buddies have Garmin GPS's that do. I will try to synch my cadence with theirs to see where I'm at.

    I'm having a bit of anxiety about the Saturday ride. The challenge is welcome but the pain is not and I just can't bring myself to calling my wife to pick me up if necessary. Its going to be HOT too. To hell with it, I'm going to sleep in and blow it off.

  21. #21
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    Bananas never worked for me but pickle juice sure did. Still does. I normally have a small shot every morning. Great for re-hydrating, inflammation reduction and digestive issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    How are you ever going to live in the real world if you can't get along with people who don't believe what you do?

  22. #22
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Don't push as hard; try an easier gear!

  23. #23
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    Did another 50 on the exact same route with higher heat and a 6 mph headwind on the last 10 miles and did not get the ache.

    2 changes were made prior to this ride. One was that I ramped up my training during the week before and increased my seat height an inch or so. The increased training might have been too much too soon so its hard to say if that is what made the difference. The seat height I've been using is what the LBS set up when I bought my bike but on a group ride a few weeks ago the manager of the LBS said I could go higher. I really didn't think this would make a difference since the seat was high enough that I could extend my knee at full extension while sitting on the seat if I contorted my hips a bit. The increased height doesn't really feel any different but possibly the "an inch is a mile" effect is revealed at the end of a longer ride? Either way, I'm happy and will keep both of these changes. It's a good feeling to know that issues and problems usually have a solution with a little thought and motivation.

    Thanks for your help guys

  24. #24
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    Excellent, barrykai--sometimes small tweaks help lots. Me personally, if I mash the pedals too hard early in the ride or stand too much to climb, the cramps hit me in the 40-45 mile range also. If I concentrate on a faster cadence/lower gear and avoid mashing/standing during climbs I'll usually finish 50-60 milers without pains. So try a faster rpm in lower gears and I'll bet you'll notice a difference.

  25. #25
    Ancient Clydesdale 2 wheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barrykai View Post
    Did another 50 on the exact same route with higher heat and a 6 mph headwind on the last 10 miles and did not get the ache.

    2 changes were made prior to this ride. One was that I ramped up my training during the week before and increased my seat height an inch or so. The increased training might have been too much too soon so its hard to say if that is what made the difference. The seat height I've been using is what the LBS set up when I bought my bike but on a group ride a few weeks ago the manager of the LBS said I could go higher. I really didn't think this would make a difference since the seat was high enough that I could extend my knee at full extension while sitting on the seat if I contorted my hips a bit. The increased height doesn't really feel any different but possibly the "an inch is a mile" effect is revealed at the end of a longer ride? Either way, I'm happy and will keep both of these changes. It's a good feeling to know that issues and problems usually have a solution with a little thought and motivation.

    Thanks for your help guys
    An inch is a HUGE change in seat height!! Normally, seat height is changed 1/4" or less at at time. If your seat was, indeed, an inch low, that would explain why your thighs hurt.

    If your seat was that low, there's a good chance that other settings could be way off, too. It would be a good idea to play with seat fore/aft adjustments, saddle tilt and bar height. It's important to try small changes to see what improves the comfort of your bike, which will lead to better performance and less pain.

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