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Old 08-01-05, 08:43 AM   #1
SuwaneeHardtail
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Leg Cramps - while riding???

I've heard a lot of complaints from people getting leg cramps AFTER a serious mountain biking run. I was mountain biking this last weekend and had horrible trouble with cramping in my quads WHILE biking. It started about 45 minutues into our ride (felt great up to that point) - both legs at the same time - only the quads, this was fun!!! It would tend to go away after sitting down for 5-10 minutes, but would strike again every time I attempted a serious uphill. When the ride was finished, my legs felt fine, no cramping afterward.

I have been biking on and off for about 12 years now and have had this problem only on one other ride, probably two years ago. Haven't seen the problem since so I didn't think much of it... The ride last weekend was my first mountain bike ride in months, however, I am very active and excercise several times each week when not riding, including jogging, tennis, etc.. the point is that although I haven't biked in a while, I'm still in pretty good shape...

Does anybody know what causes this, or more importantly, how to avoid it? Thanks to anyone with suggestions! - Jim
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Old 08-01-05, 08:46 AM   #2
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I was getting the same type cramps a few months ago. I started taking a potassium pill daily and started drinking cytomax on my harder rides. I'm not sure which of the two was the solution but I haven't had any cramps since.
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Old 08-01-05, 09:17 AM   #3
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This has happened to me before but in my calf muscles. There are many factors that can cause cramps but most of the time its either dehydration or low blood levels of calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, etc... This might explain why it doesn't happen to you very often. I'm not sure where you live but it's been hot and dry for most of the US this past month. As active as you are water won't be enough. You might try a sport drink. I like Gatorade. If you have insurance go to your doctor and have them do a blood test and ask him/her what they think. I don't think there is anything wrong but if you are low in a certain area you can change your diet accordingly.

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Old 08-01-05, 10:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowCel
I was getting the same type cramps a few months ago. I started taking a potassium pill daily and started drinking cytomax on my harder rides. I'm not sure which of the two was the solution but I haven't had any cramps since.
Be careful taking the Potassium pills. You don't want a Potassium imbalance. Could be very deadly! You should check with your doctor before taking Potassium pills if you have not already.

More than likely the cramps are do to improper water consumption. It is very hot these days and the body will need a lot of water.
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Old 08-01-05, 11:49 AM   #5
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Thanks to all for the input. Pretty much all others that I was riding with last weekend had similar input regarding the vitamin imbalance / lack of water... Both are possible, however, I use a "Camelback" religiously and I must have drank at least as much water as I have on past rides, and I can't count the number of times I've biked those particular trails without problems. I'm biking in Georgia, so it has been very hot, but last weekend was not so bad, so it didn't seem unusual... The vitamin imbalance seems more likely to me - I've been working out almost seven days a week lately, including heavy weight training, cardio outside, ... My guess is that I am depleting vitamins continually and it finally caught up with me. I used to take a good high potency multivitamin, maybe that's what saved me in the past - lately I've just been taking the cheapy one-a-day that my wife picked up at Walmart... I think I will buy some good vitamins maybe that'll get me back on track. Good suggestion for a physical also, I'm due anyway... One other thing to note, during my lunchtime workout today, I had the same crampy feeling in my chest after heavy dumbell presses - I'm sure it's related... Thanks again - Jim
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Old 08-01-05, 05:13 PM   #6
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the only thing you should worry about is Potassium. most likely none of the other nutrients would be the culprit. take multivit. every day, and a banana now and then or some OJ couldnt hurt.

edit: just read your post in full.... um, have you ever heard of overtraining? might want to read up on it.
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Old 08-01-05, 08:28 PM   #7
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So far I have never suffered from cramps of any kind after a ride. Even on the super hot days with long climbs. I always stay hydrated and am addicted to VitaminWaters.
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Old 08-02-05, 07:55 AM   #8
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Keep in mind too, that it is entirely possible to over-hydrate with just water. I forget what the syndrome is called but it can be uncomfortable and fairly serious. Find a sport drink that you can live with, and use that in addition to water.
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Old 08-02-05, 08:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuwaneeHardtail
Thanks to all for the input. Pretty much all others that I was riding with last weekend had similar input regarding the vitamin imbalance / lack of water... Both are possible, however, I use a "Camelback" religiously and I must have drank at least as much water as I have on past rides, and I can't count the number of times I've biked those particular trails without problems. I'm biking in Georgia, so it has been very hot, but last weekend was not so bad, so it didn't seem unusual... The vitamin imbalance seems more likely to me - I've been working out almost seven days a week lately, including heavy weight training, cardio outside, ... My guess is that I am depleting vitamins continually and it finally caught up with me. I used to take a good high potency multivitamin, maybe that's what saved me in the past - lately I've just been taking the cheapy one-a-day that my wife picked up at Walmart... I think I will buy some good vitamins maybe that'll get me back on track. Good suggestion for a physical also, I'm due anyway... One other thing to note, during my lunchtime workout today, I had the same crampy feeling in my chest after heavy dumbell presses - I'm sure it's related... Thanks again - Jim
Even though you're drinking while you're riding you could still dehydrate. Whenever I know I'm going for a good ride, I start hydrating myself the day before. If you're going on longer rides, you may want to also consider a supplement. It sounds like you're taking a lot out of your body so daily recovery is very important.
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