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Old 03-17-07, 09:15 PM   #1
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Lactic Acid Buildup? Noob starting to ride..

Hi there,

I am 23/f, 5'6" 210 lbs (with heavy bones and thick skin, You would never guess I weighed that, for serious lol ) size 16

I recenlty started riding and within 10 minutes of getting on the bike my calves and thighs start to burn. I do simple stretches to warm up but the pain is pretty bad once I start. I have read about Latic acid build up and doing good stretches, keeping hidrated and such, but I was wondering if anyone had this problem starting out.

I also read about if you have stomach/digestive problems that the lactic acid could be a problem as well.. Any pointers or thoughts?
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Old 03-17-07, 09:32 PM   #2
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Yes, that is quite likely lactic acid. When you start to ride, for the first few minutes you are in the "anaerobic lactic pathway" ... in other words you are getting your energy from your stored glucose, but without oxygen, and by-product of breaking down and burning glucose without oxygen is lactic acid. However, after have been riding for a little (like a few minutes) you switch to the "aerobic pathway", the lactic acid should dissipate, and you should be fine.

A suggestion ... start easy ... don't climb a hill first thing or sprint out of the driveway.

And I could be wrong, but I don't think lactic acid is related to stomach acid.
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Old 03-18-07, 02:52 AM   #3
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how's your diet?

eat more carbs, stretch, keep hydrated, and do interval training in addition to longer, low-intensity training.
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Old 03-18-07, 04:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Machka
A suggestion ... start easy ... don't climb a hill first thing or sprint out of the driveway.
I concur with Machka. Don't do intervals. Leave that for later, when you're well conditioned. You're doing right in stretching, and keeping well hydrated.. I'd leave out carbs for post ride ( taking in carbs only immediately after finishing ride). Try to do long low intensity rides, and you'll be burning fat, while building a strong base.
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Old 03-18-07, 06:04 AM   #5
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Novices tend to use too low a gear which puts too much stress on the muscles. Try to get into a lower gear so your turning around say 80 rpm if your spinning too slowly.

Also, don't worry too mch about what's going on and just ride to begin with and as has been suggested, start easy. Do some google searches, and/or get some books on cycling and training and educate yourself. That will speed your progress.

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Old 03-18-07, 07:50 AM   #6
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That pain will go away. Just ride as comfortably as you can. But ride. Try to increase your cadence, which is what cyclists call pedal rpm. Try to get it up to 90. You can count and glance at a watch. That may take months. But pedaling faster while not going faster will reduce the force you apply to the pedals. That should help, but it takes a while for the conditioning to work.

No matter how good a shape you are in, you can always make that pain come back, simply by riding harder. My legs hurt pretty good yesterday! And technically it's not lactic acid, it's lactate. Nothing to do with stomach acid. Though going really hard can upset your stomach, that's got more to do with blood flow.

Try to think of the pain as a good thing. It's just your body learning how to function better.
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Old 03-18-07, 10:20 AM   #7
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I think the OP has confused lactic acid with lactose. A lactose intolerant will usually get an upset stomach if he/she eats lactose in any form. Lactic acid in huge amounts could make you feel sick as well, or rather, the exhaustion that caused the lactic acid to build up will make you feel sick.
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Old 03-18-07, 03:58 PM   #8
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Your seat may be too low. It's just a thought, but I know if you don't have your seat high enough, you don't allow your legs to straighten out. When this happens, you'll feel that burn very quickly, even though you haven't had a good workout. This is how the get-fit-quick exercise machines work on tv, you feel the burn so you think it's working, but your muscles never fully extend themselves and don't work properly. You'll get short term results, but plateau very quickly.
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Old 03-18-07, 05:00 PM   #9
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Yeah, check out your body-position on the bike. Spin backwards with your heels on the pedal and you should have full leg-extension. This allows you to use other muscles in your legs like your glutes, hamstrings, calves. With too low a seat, you'll use primarily just the quads and overload those.

He mentioned the burn within 10 minutes of starting. Certainly hydration and glycogen-supply isn't a factor this early? Most likely he's pushing way too hard too soon on the ride in too big a gear.

So pick easier to spin gears to reduce lactic-acid build-up and muscle-fatigue at any given speed. You should never ever feel like you're pushing on the pedals. Instead, you should feel like a hamster on his spinning-wheel running like mad with your legs about to fly off. Typically this is 2-3 gears LOWER than what you'd normally use. So periodically, think about the gears you're using and shift into easier ones.

Lower gears also protect your knees from damage as the forces are lower for the same speed & power-output.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 03-18-07 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 03-18-07, 05:17 PM   #10
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There's no way to stop lactic acid/hydrogen ion build-up. All you can do is train to raise it to a higher level by doing rides around your current lactate theshold (LT).

By the way, stretching has no effect on this, but being properly hydrated, rested, losing weight, and eating just enough (or a little lower in the case of weight loss) to cover your calorie expenditures -do- have an effect on LT.

Acid stomach and lactic acid are not directly related.
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