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  1. #1
    Plays in Traffic 1ply's Avatar
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    Cramping while riding

    The past two rides I've been getting some severe cramps in the calves 1/2 hour into my ride. I'd like to do a century this year and it will take that much longer if I have to get off the bike to stretch every 30 minutes.

    What can I do during or before the ride to avoid this? As a backgrounder, I'm clipped in on the balls of the feet and my seat seems to be at the correct height with my knee very slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Could I be sitting too far (5mm ?) forwards? I can play with the seat position and not much else. Maybe I'm deficient in some vitamin - HELP!
    2006 VFRfive less than 5000k for sale. 2011 MB FantomCross 105
    Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser: Obesity epidemic, Global warming. If only there were a common solution. B'ah that's crazy talk.

  2. #2
    ... . Tmax1's Avatar
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    After dia;ing in your bike fit, here's what I do:

    I take four tablets of Bio Plasm. It's a "hoo doo guru" homeopathic salts concoction I find at my local health food store. It has all the essentials that you need potassium, magnesium, calcium and stuff.

    Google it.

    It works for me in preventing cramps. I use some afterwards also and don't cramp at night when I try to sleep.

    I've been on rides and seen people cramp to the point of not walking and a dose after a bit has helped them as well.

    Might help. Try it.

    my 2 cents~jg

  3. #3
    pointless & uncalled for
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1ply
    The past two rides I've been getting some severe cramps in the calves 1/2 hour into my ride.
    Unless you are indulging in severe pedal mashes from cold then I would actually very strongly recommend seeing either a doctor or a sports physician. This sounds like an odd condition, particularly of you are in good shape, and could have a number of causes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Too high a seat may have your calves fully contracted all the time in order to point the toes down. Will result in cramping. But could be pedaling motion as well.

    Most likely, yeah, sounds like he's mashing big gears to me. Shift two gears lower and the cramping will go away. If it was a longer time, like 2-3 hours into the ride, I'd say it was lack of electrolytes. The solution would be using energy-drinks with electrolytes and possibly adding some supplemental electrolytes.

  5. #5
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    Drink before the ride, and when you start riding, ride easy in lower gears for 10 mins. Add pinch of salt and a pinch of 'No-Salt' to your water bottles.

  6. #6
    Plays in Traffic 1ply's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Too high a seat may have your calves fully contracted all the time in order to point the toes down. Will result in cramping. But could be pedaling motion as well.

    Most likely, yeah, sounds like he's mashing big gears to me. Shift two gears lower and the cramping will go away. If it was a longer time, like 2-3 hours into the ride, I'd say it was lack of electrolytes. The solution would be using energy-drinks with electrolytes and possibly adding some supplemental electrolytes.
    Sounds like I should take it easy the first little bit and let the muscles warm up. When I think about it, I take it easy down my driveway (3 seconds) and it 25-30kph from there on... point taken.

    Is there some warmup (not on a bike) or stretching that I should do before a 1-1.5hr ride?
    2006 VFRfive less than 5000k for sale. 2011 MB FantomCross 105
    Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser: Obesity epidemic, Global warming. If only there were a common solution. B'ah that's crazy talk.

  7. #7
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    It's not an electrolyte or vitamin problem. Electrolytes are not going to be depleted after one-half hour.

    How long have you been cycling? I suspect that you are simply overdoing it on your rides. Perhaps you are going too hard for your fitness level? Maybe you should slow down a bit and work on increasing the amount of time on each ride as opposed to increasing distance.

  8. #8
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    You want to check your cleat positioning too. I was having bad calf cramps after an hour of riding. I looked at my cleats and they were set nearly full forward. Your calves need to work overtime when they're set like that. I put them back 1cm and lowered my seat as well to avoid the toes down pedalling.

    No cramps since.

  9. #9
    Plays in Traffic 1ply's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mach42
    You want to check your cleat positioning too. I was having bad calf cramps after an hour of riding. I looked at my cleats and they were set nearly full forward. Your calves need to work overtime when they're set like that. I put them back 1cm and lowered my seat as well to avoid the toes down pedalling.

    No cramps since.

    Good point, I will try that as mine are maybe 2mm from full forward now.

    To answer the other questions, I am fit enough to handle a 1 hour ride (all I have time for right now) at an average speed of about 22km/h (14mph), and I could go longer but these cramps slow me down.

    I'm moving the cleats before my ride tonight - and I guess I'll have to lower the seat 1/2" or so.
    2006 VFRfive less than 5000k for sale. 2011 MB FantomCross 105
    Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser: Obesity epidemic, Global warming. If only there were a common solution. B'ah that's crazy talk.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Drink one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours out there.

    While you are riding consume foods with potassium and sodium such as bananas, dried apricots, salted almonds, and potato chips.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Have you considered "intermittent claudication"?

    Info from the British Heart Foundation

  12. #12
    Plays in Traffic 1ply's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
    Have you considered "intermittent claudication"?

    Info from the British Heart Foundation
    I'd have to say no, as until about 1 week ago I've never had it happen. Even though I have ridden a mtn bike for about 1.5 hrs straight last year, followed by about 1 hour on the trails and 1.5 hours back.

    ^^ that's part of the reason I got a bike more suited to riding on the road, I hated taking the car to 'go biking'.
    2006 VFRfive less than 5000k for sale. 2011 MB FantomCross 105
    Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser: Obesity epidemic, Global warming. If only there were a common solution. B'ah that's crazy talk.

  13. #13
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    99.999999% of the time you need to add some potassium to your diet.
    Potassium is critical for blood flow and nerve health. Cramps are muscles
    screaming for food (blood) or oxygen(blood again). Potassium helps the
    body deliver the blood promptly.

    That said ,add ONE tablet of 595mg Potassium Gluconate each morning with
    breakfast to avoid this concnern. It will help or do no harm. Just give it a try
    for a week or two to find out. Bannanas will help but not at quickly as a supplement
    tablet will.

  14. #14
    Plays in Traffic 1ply's Avatar
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    So I got back from a 10k ride earlier and after moving the cleats about .5cm back no pain!
    2006 VFRfive less than 5000k for sale. 2011 MB FantomCross 105
    Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser: Obesity epidemic, Global warming. If only there were a common solution. B'ah that's crazy talk.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Excellent. I hope that solved your problem.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  16. #16
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    I'm sorry, I need to bring this topic back up, I'm having the same issue but it's during high intensities, and it's only in one leg, I've been riding for several years with the same cleat position and setup however it only recently started to cramp up on me, particularly during intervals or races. I have been getting all the nutrients into my system that I need. I was recommended to actually go to a massage therapist and have them do a deep tissue massage, does that normally help at all?
    '02 Bianchi XL Boron (Training/Crit Bike)-'06 Specialized Stumpjumper (MTB)
    '05 Orbea Lobular 100 (RR/CR Bike)------'05 Colnago MIX (RR/CR Bike)
    '07 Redline Conquest Pro (CX Bike)------'05 Alan Ultral Cross (CX Pit/Backup Bike)

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    ....
    '02 Bianchi XL Boron (Training/Crit Bike)-'06 Specialized Stumpjumper (MTB)
    '05 Orbea Lobular 100 (RR/CR Bike)------'05 Colnago MIX (RR/CR Bike)
    '07 Redline Conquest Pro (CX Bike)------'05 Alan Ultral Cross (CX Pit/Backup Bike)

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