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  1. #1
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    cramplike pains in gluts and quadriceps.

    Dear bike colleges

    First of all, sorry for my incomplete English

    I'm riding road and mountain bike in Denmark, most road, and have been doing it for about 15 years now , more ore less intense. I have a recurrent problem, especially when my form is peeking, and it has held me back from getting any mentionable results in local bike races.

    General I'm in good shape, I ride my road bike 3-4 times a week, usually 50-90 km with guys in our local bike club. 2 times a week I work out in a gym to get my torso and arms worked over as well.
    The problem occur when my form is peeking, and I am doing more sprints and hill interval training. After a rest period of 3-5 days, usually associated with holidays, ore travels. The Symptoms set in when I get back on my bike, usually feeling very motivated to work out, and fresh after some days off. After only a few 100 meters and at a hart rate at only 120bpm, gluts and quads begins to cramp. Not like ordinary cramp that occur when you are out of sugar and water after 100km bike race. Usually you can stop and stretch, and get some liquid, and energy, and the cramps disappear again. This is different. The pain is the same, even more intense, and I cannot stretch it away. It feels like an acid dispersing in the muscle tissue. Usually this is followed by 2-3 weeks where the pains are returning in the gluts and quadriceps. Some times even during sleep, and so severe, that I can hardly walk, when worst the muscles are swollen and very sore. I have had taken blood tests during these periods, and they show CK (Creatine Kinase) levels approx 50 times higher than normal, indicating extensive muscle breakdown. After 3 weeks I can start biking again, but of course the condition is poor. However I quickly regain muscle strength. My doctors here in Denmark has not been able to give any explanation yet. Over training could be an explanation, but what mechanism causes this total breakdown after some days rest. We have been speculating in some genetic disorder like CPT2 or some other problems associated with metabolism. The accumulation of metabolic by-products or fats in the muscle tissue. However the symptoms always set on after a period of rest, where the muscles should have been able to restituate. The symptoms have been most severe when the shape is very god, and seems to be enhanced by supplement of creatine phosphate. I've stopped using creatine phosphate several years ago because I was suspecting this to be the problem. But I have had the symptoms several times since without creatin supplement. I've also speculated that some important nutritions could be missing, but I'm usually keeping a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and fish, combined with mineral and vitamin supplement, so I don't find that plausible.

    Have any one experienced symptoms like this, or have some of you any ideas what could cause these symptoms.

    Hoping for answers

    Best The Dane

  2. #2
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    I have the same symptoms and have not found a definitive answer yet either. Four days off the bike is my onset time and the pain is quite extraordinary. It is good incentive to ride!

    I have been to two GP's and a Sports Doctor and none have found a cause. I have also tried Chiropractics using the Graston technique and massage therapy.

    The only suggestion so far has come from a triathlete friend who maintains it is probably an inability to clear Lactic Acid.

    I am interested to hear other responses as well in hopes of finding the cause.

  3. #3
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    I have no idea what this is, but here are some things I'd try:

    * hot bath after exercise and the night before resuming exercise. This is something a coach recommended to me once, and it's supposed to help wash lactic acid out. As just about any theory regarding lactic acid this one is not universally supported, but heck, even if it doesn't work, a hot bath is fun.

    * stretching a lot: on riding days, during the break, and the day when you start riding again after a break. Maybe something like a foam roller might help too.

    * "cooling down" after a hard ride: do not just abruptly stop riding, but ride for ten-fifteen minutes at a slow pace; apparently this helps pump lactic acid out.

    * doing some light physical activity involving glutes and quads even on your days off. E.g., you can just leisurely ride a bike to the store, or do stationary bike, or elliptical trainer at the gym... Nothing extreme, no need to go for high heart rate.

    * easing back into riding. Take the first 1 or 2 km (more, if necessary) at a leisurely pace; treat it as a warm-up. Then gradually pick up the speed.

    I don't know if any of this would work, but if I were you, I'd give anything simple enough a try, especially when physicians have no answers.
    Stomping as lightly as I can...

  4. #4
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    Thanks chephy, That is pretty much my routine and the biggest relief for me is the hot baths with Epsom salts. The only way to avoid the condition is to keep consecutive rest days to two.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your replies, and good advices.

    For me the symptoms always occur when I have done something extraordinary. I am a heavy rider 78 kg, and likes tempo cycling and sprints. I'm not so much for the mountains because op my weight. When I have done a lot of sprints, and my pulse have hit max 3-4 times during a ride. The symptoms are most likely to appear one of the following days. The only way I have been able to predict the symptoms I by measuring my resting heart rate. After a hard ride the resting hart rate I usually increased by approx 7-10% the morning after. Sometimes this increase last for 3-4 days. If I keep on riding the following days the rest hart rate stays high, indicating over training, and I will most likely have the symptoms after a few days rest. I don't feel any other signs of over training, like sleepiness, or soreness in the legs, and the motivation to bike is there. If I stop riding until my rest hart rate is normal again (typical 3-4) days the symptoms I unlikely to occur. Its hart to stay of the bike for 4 days, especially when you have to coordinate your training with work and family.

    I don't know about the lactic acid theory. The latest research indicates that lactic acid is quickly processed in the muscles after workout, within a few hours. It could be the damage done to the muscle fibers, or other cellular structures by lactic acid during workout, that could be the problem, resulting in some other waste substances accumulated in the tissue. I don't know, but hope to learn some more about the actual chemical process that is taking place in the muscles when this is going on.

    Best The Dane

  6. #6
    50000 Guatts of power 127.0.0.1's Avatar
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    get checked for ketones in urine and also if you are diabetic...could be an endocrine system problem
    I like fat bikes
    and I cannot lie.

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