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Old 01-12-10, 11:19 PM   #1
klondike300
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Damn calf cramps

So, flat ride about 18 miler round trip. About a steady 18 mph pace. Do it weekly with a bunch of non riding workers and just sweep them up on the way back. On the way out, right calf seizes up and won't come out of pedal. Finally get it out and pedal one legged for about a mile, then not clipped in, then finally back in the pedal.
Couple miles later, left one seizes up so bad I can't move foot either up or down. Does this twice while I now pedal with right leg only until can get both back in the pedals.
Walking around I feel lumps in both calfs in almost the same spot.
Now I did put a new saddle on but am usually really good at getting fit right. Plenty hydrated, no odd foods.
Would a low saddle cause these? It felt a little low but nothing too bad. I have been sucking at stretching on a regular basis but was good over the weekend and last night. WTF???????
And don't call me old. I'm only 40 and 5 months old
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Old 01-12-10, 11:25 PM   #2
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Your getting old.
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Old 01-13-10, 02:18 PM   #3
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What's this "getting" part?
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Old 01-13-10, 03:33 PM   #4
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Forty is the new twenty-five, right?

I used to think I was reaching the limits of my legs when they cramped, but I was just running out of nutrients to fuel them. You might not realize it, but could be short on potassium, etc. Take your vitamins every day, and extra supplements for long rides. Try eating a banana, or taking a supplement when the cramps come, and see if they go away.

I've had cramps on short rides, and no cramps after riding 100 miles or more. It's weird that way, but still, usually goes back to nutrition. Since I finally made this connection, I rarely have cramping issues.
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Old 01-13-10, 04:55 PM   #5
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My two bobs worth is that the first thing to look into when it comes to muscle cramps is magnesium deficiency. Like potassium its required by your muscles to relax but its much more potent than potassium.

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Old 01-13-10, 05:03 PM   #6
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Old 01-13-10, 05:16 PM   #7
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Cramps are known as "Muscle Guarding" where the muscle was stretched to the point of damage and the muscle tightens up to protect itself from over-stretching. Problem is, this also causes a loss of blood flow to the area (known as ischemia) which causes more problems, and the pain-spasm-pain cycle begins.

Cramps, or the minor muscle strain that causes them, can be caused by a bunch of different things, like having a cold or a mild allergy, as well as dehydration and electrolyte imbalance (the stuff in Gatorade).

Make sure you are warmed up, properly hydrated, and you can do a stretch and massage on your calf's. One of the best things to do, especially in mid-ride if this happens, is massage the cramp out (very gently at first, and if it hurts, then stop as you'll make it worse) and find a curb or something. Stand on your tip-toes, then relax and do a good, easy, PAIN-FREE stretch of your calf with your toes/foot tipped up (front of foot on the curb. If it hurts to stand on you toes, then stop immediately).

The best way to get the muscle to relax is to do a PAIN FREE stretch for about 30 seconds, relax, then stretch for 45 seconds, relax, then stretch again for a minute. You'll get the muscle to relax with a minute+ of stretch, normally. But if you stretch too hard, it will just cramp up again, so you need to "Teach" your muscle it's OK to relax.

Once you get home, and days after, make sure you do a good stretch, then ice the area for 20 minutes. If the cramp doesn't go away, wait for 40 minutes, then do another 20 minutes (always 20 on, then at least 40 off).

Hopefully this will help alleviate the problem. Do some more calf raises and strengthen your calf's and the problem should go away.

Remember the 90% rule, when everything feels good again, you're at 90%. If you hurt it at 100% strength, and now you're at 90%, you'll probably hurt it again. So you want to be at 110% of your old normal to keep it from being injured again.

PS. Gettin old sucks!
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Old 01-13-10, 09:45 PM   #8
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I've pretty much done all the hydration/vitamins/diet/etc. I think it's more from lack of training. And seriously, the better my diet, the more muscle soreness I have. I'm sticking to meat covered meat and leaving the bunny food for the roadies. MY BP, HR, good and bad cholesterol are all better than average for my age so break out the top sirloin, vodka and chocolate baby!
Does seat height contribute? I've had back and knee issues that let me know my seat wasn't right but never calves.
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Old 01-14-10, 01:14 AM   #9
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Yes, too high works the calfs, too low works the quads more. But front and back can too. Try lowering it 1 mm at a time. That's a good pace for someone of your age. It would be worth the cost to get a bike fit. I'll be 41 next month.
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Old 01-14-10, 08:42 AM   #10
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Yes, too high works the calfs, too low works the quads more. But front and back can too. Try lowering it 1 mm at a time. That's a good pace for someone of your age. It would be worth the cost to get a bike fit. I'll be 41 next month.
If figured the too high might have contributed. I tend to err on the too low so that's why I was kind of shocked about both calfs hitting the same ride.
And what's that whole age crack? Huh? Huh????????
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Old 01-14-10, 09:45 AM   #11
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Geezer.

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If figured the too high might have contributed. I tend to err on the too low so that's why I was kind of shocked about both calfs hitting the same ride.
And what's that whole age crack? Huh? Huh????????
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Old 01-14-10, 01:46 PM   #12
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Geezer.
Son of a b!!!!!! ( Grabs walker and slowly skulks away)
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Old 01-14-10, 06:37 PM   #13
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Must be awful being that old. I don't remember, because that was 29 years ago for me! Really though, try magnesium and potassium supplements. I cramp without them.
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