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Old 08-13-08, 09:54 AM   #1
bartturner
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Cramps in calfs. Despereate for help!

I have been doing short triathlons for a couple of years. I purchased a new bike, P2C, that I love. But I have started to have the beginning of cramps in my calfs. Luckly I feel the sharp tug and then it stopped. But it is freaking me out.

Last year during a tri when completing the bike stage I had a horrible cramp in my calf right at the end. I have never sufferred cramping in anything. I have run and biked off an on for the last 32 years.

What do people do to stop this? I fear if it goes all the way to cramp in my calf while climbing I will crash. The pain is just too great.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 08-13-08, 10:07 AM   #2
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Try getting some more potassium in your feed
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Old 08-13-08, 10:13 AM   #3
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Bananas and hydration.
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Old 08-13-08, 10:16 AM   #4
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A little more info.

I am in pretty good shape. I get the tugs in my calfs after about 45 minutes of riding. I ride a hilly course that has 4 steep hills. I got the cramps at 15 miles in last night. I ride pretty good clip averaging 18.5 - 19.00 mph.

I think it is related to my seating being to high. But I also thinking the raising of the seat is what has really improved my times and made my knees hurt less. I also get the tug really bad getting on and off the bike. So I think it is related to pointing my toes. WHen I finish riding now I ride to the edge of my car and use the car to get off my bike. Won't be able to do this in my tri in two weeks.
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Old 08-13-08, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bartturner View Post
A little more info.

I am in pretty good shape. I get the tugs in my calfs after about 45 minutes of riding. I ride a hilly course that has 4 steep hills. I got the cramps at 15 miles in last night. I ride pretty good clip averaging 18.5 - 19.00 mph.

I think it is related to my seating being to high. But I also thinking the raising of the seat is what has really improved my times and made my knees hurt less. I also get the tug really bad getting on and off the bike. So I think it is related to pointing my toes. WHen I finish riding now I ride to the edge of my car and use the car to get off my bike. Won't be able to do this in my tri in two weeks.
It is my understanding that a forward cleat position causes calf muscles to be more fully utilized during the pedal stroke. In contrast, a more rearward cleat position causes them to be less active. This has been verified by my own cleat positioning experiments.

Perhaps you have recently changed the relative position of your cleats, causing them to be more active?

Steve
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Old 08-13-08, 11:26 AM   #6
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If you are pointing your toes while pedaling, you are putting more stress on the calf muscles. Try lowering your seat just slightly- split the difference between where it was and where you raised it to, and see if your calves get some relief. I find a lot of my Spinning students ride "en pointe", and I try to cue them to keep their feet flat throughout the pedal stroke for that very reason. You may have to mentally cue yourself while riding. Just add it to your internal playlist.
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Old 08-13-08, 12:01 PM   #7
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I fear if it goes all the way to cramp in my calf while climbing I will crash. The pain is just too great.
If it happens just suck it up and push through it - many athletes and non-athletes (me) go through this. You won't crash.

As others have written - potassium, hydration, and moving cleats back should minimize the risk. Good luck
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Old 08-13-08, 12:13 PM   #8
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Magnesium supplements work for me. I tried many other things and some worked to varying degrees, but I've never had a cramp with Magnesium.

One of the other things that works well for me is rock salt. Before I discovered magnesium I use to carry a few pieces of rock salt in one of those little plastic zip-loc bags. Pop a piece in your mouth, if it tastes sweet suck it 'til it's finished. If it tastes salty spit it out... your body tells you if you need it.
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Old 08-13-08, 03:25 PM   #9
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Hammer Nutrition - Endurolytes

http://www.hammernutrition.com/za/HN...0047&AMI=10104

Capsules during the ride.
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Old 08-13-08, 05:54 PM   #10
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I'm a runner who had the same problem after starting to cycle again. I lowered my seat a bit, tried to keep my feet a little more forward on the pedals, and began an extensive program of calf massaging to keep my calves from getting too tight. I recommend massaging before riding to get your calves warmed up and massaging several times a day. To get deeper muscle massage, I use The Stick, although I've also used my knuckles. Good luck.


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Old 08-13-08, 07:59 PM   #11
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Don't jump to conclusions about electrolyte imbalances. The only way to know that for sure is with blood chemistry testing. Good nutrition is always helpful but don't get carried away with supplements.
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Old 08-13-08, 08:26 PM   #12
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Considering that you're in reasonably good shape, I'd be more inclined to look at bike fit/riding technique.

Consider a professional fit session at a reputable shop. You might be surprised how much difference it makes. Alternatively, get an experienced rider to have a look at your position, foot placement, cleat placement, and similar niceties.
Are you "spinning" in lower gears, or "mashing" in higher gears? This can play a part as well.
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Old 08-13-08, 08:26 PM   #13
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potassium gluconate (available at walgreens) does the trick for me to ward off cramps of any kind...i take 4-6 each hour or two and no problems, but without it i get cramps regularly.
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Old 08-13-08, 08:52 PM   #14
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try upping your calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Each helps the other absorb into the body. When the body starts to lose calcium it draws it from the least needed body part. Your bones and teeth need it most so the body pulls it from the muscles resulting in cramps. Women who cramp during their time of the month have found upping these three things 5 days before they start have had major relief in the cramping.
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Old 08-13-08, 09:04 PM   #15
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As soon as you feel the faintest hint of the start of a cramp .... pick up your water bottle and have a really good drink.
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