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  1. #1
    MDScaper MDScaper's Avatar
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    The second half of my rides take everything out of me...

    I have been biking now for about one year and I don't seem to be able to conquer the problem of my leg muscles seizing up during the second half of a long bike ride (for me that is 40-60 miles). I ride a Trek 7.5FX and 7.6FX and the issue that I talk about occurs mostly on the C&O Canal in Washington. This is a flat trail but does tend to get muddy (which adds to the misery!!!). For example, I was out this morning. I did 20 miles and I was doing fine. I took a 20 minute lunch break and then got back on the bike for the return trip. After just a mile or two I started to get the muscle soreness in my legs. Over time it just got worse to the point that I was having to stop every 2-3 miles. Any advice on what I need to do to overcome this would be welcome.

  2. #2
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    I think that a lot of factors can make a difference on your ride. Have you been consistent with your workouts, I ask because you can lose a tremendous amount of fitness in a fairly short amount of time. For instance if I take a month off, I will lose most of the fitness that I worked so hard to obtain last summer. How much water are you drinking on your ride and what are you eating and how much are you eating when you take a lunch? I'm a roadie, so I'm not that familiar with the whole muddy trail aspect, but for me, if I take a 20 minute break at all during a workout I will feel a lot more tired during the second half of my ride. Especially if I eat anything more than a powerbar. Maybe shorter breaks and take a look at what you're eating on your lunch. However, I don't think that what you eat would have that much to do with your soreness level. If it gets worse I would definitely talk to your doctor.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Main suggestion is to ride more. Your body will get used to the long duration of required effort. Right now it just doesn't know what to do.

    Other tips:

    1. Watch heartrate. High continuous heartrate fatiques the body much more than lower heartrate.
    2. Stay hydrated. Make sure to drinkn lots.
    3. Stretch when you stop for lunch.

    It took me a good couple years to get used to long rides. Don't be discouraged and just enjoy the ride!

  4. #4
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    Try slowing down quite a bit and see what happens. Sounds like you may go faster than you should.
    If that does not help, see your MD.

  5. #5
    MDScaper MDScaper's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for your input. I have been biking quite regularly since we have had a relatively snow-free winter. For lunch I just had a bag of peanuts and raisins and water! It wasn't much food at all and so I don't know if that would be a factor. It is possible that I am pushing myself too hard and I do tell myself to relax and enjoy the scenery. I heard from someone that I should avoid taking a break all together because stopping allows lactic acid to build up???? Thoughts?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Indyv8a's Avatar
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    Another suggestion I would make is make sure you are riding with a relatively high cadence. Spin your pedals, don't lift weights. You can move 1000 lbs. one pound at a time, but you can't just lift it.

    To do this use lower gears and let your legs pump rapidly. Do you have a computer? If you get one with cadence readings it makes it a lot easier. For a 40 mile ride, I would think you might want to especially drink more.
    Slow, but at least still moving...

  7. #7
    Senior Member troutbreath's Avatar
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    Do you stretch when you stop for lunch? If not, you might try. Perhaps you are having tightness just from being still while you eat, and you don't have enough "warm up" to make the return trip.
    Trek 4300 MTB
    Cannondale Synapse 6

  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    What everyone else said, plus stop taking breaks when your legs hurt. That teaches them the wrong lesson. Instead, focus on your pedaling. Pedal circles. If one muscle (i.e. quad) gets to hurting, pedal with your hams. Relax your legs as you ride and try not to tense up. Instead of stopping, just go slower until the pain stays manageable. Focus on what is causing the pain, and try to change that thing. Heels down, pedal round. When I get exhausted, I'll increase my cadence, which is the opposite of what your body thinks you should do. It's wrong. Be comforted by the thought that if you finish the ride and can still stand and walk, you could have gone harder.

    Oh, and check your bike fit. Your saddle may be too low.

  9. #9
    MDScaper MDScaper's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for your advice. I will heed it all and see what happens on the next ride.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Doesn't sound like you are eating and drinking enough.

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