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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-21-11, 02:41 PM   #1
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Muscle Soreness, Commuting, Clyde 300+

Can you have Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness for weeks and months at a time?

The Problem...
I am stiff and sore EVERY single day. To the point where walking after long periods of sitting/sleep can literally make me unsteady. It takes several minutes of walking around before the stiffness and soreness subsides where I am not walking funny.

When I look at muscle anatomy I am pretty sure the soreness in my front leg muscle is the Vastus Intermedius and Lateralis (top middle and top outside of my quad) and the back of my legs the soreness is the Biceps Femoris muscle from top down to where it attaches to my knee. I have some occasional soreness in my calves, abbductor, and glutes but NOTHING like my upper legs.

  • I am 5'11"
  • I am 37
  • In May I was probably 330 lbs
  • I am now about 310
  • My activity level for the last 20 years has been couch potato with a slow build up to nearly 400 pounds, with 2 or 3 really dedicated 50 to 100 pound weightloss periods. (always with rebound weight gain)
  • My diet is primarily high protein, high fat, ultra low carb (20-30 carbs a day) since May
  • I hydrate well 80+ ounces on commute days and probably 40+ on weekend days
  • I stretch about 5 min before every commute.

My Commute...
I have been commuting pretty consistently since May the same 12.4 mile round trip route to work on an entry level comfort bike. I occasionally take a day off here and there and had a couple of week long breaks where my bike was broke. I sometimes throw a 10 mile Sat ride in as well. Even if we take the month of Oct at a glance I have ridden to work M ~ F every day this month except 4th, 13th, and 19th. So out of 13 out of the last 15 business days. I am not doing anything really else with my legs except some light yard work and house cleaning.

I would bet my bike weights 30+ pounds, my backpack (with generally clothes and water bottle) is probably 5 pounds. I wear tennis shoes, I have platform pedals.

To work is a net 71 yard climb and from work net 36 yard climb. I have many more steep climbs in the morning. It takes me about 38 min to work (6.2miles) and 35 min from work (6.4miles) slightly different routes.

My top speed is around 18-22mph with this gearing.

My Concern...
Is this actually not soreness and possibly some sort injury? I figured by now I should not have to deal with daily soreness and stiffness in my legs. Has anyone dealt with this before?

I do see progress... weight loss, leg strength is much better, I can stand up on pedals up hills, etc...
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Old 10-21-11, 03:12 PM   #2
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In addition to riding 800+ miles since June, I've done alot of reading about exercise. The single most important thing I've learned is that the 1/2 hour to hour after working out is critical to recovery, because you need to replace the glycogen (carbs) that your muscles used. When I started riding I had the same symptoms as you, and for years I've had muscle soreness after even a leisurely walk.

Now I drink some Gatorade immediately after my rides, and calculate the portion using this equation that I got out of a book: 70 (calories/miles) * miles ridden * 20% .

I don't get too hung up about the exact amount, but I much prefer to drink too much instead of too little. I generally don't have any muscle soreness after my usual 10-12 mile rides, and even after my longest rides of 30 miles I've had very little.

Note that my rides are generally low impact - I'm almost exactly your height and weight and average 10-11 miles per hour. I've found that when I push the pace significantly higher, I need to replace alot more carbs.

Give it a try and see if it helps!
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Old 10-21-11, 03:14 PM   #3
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Two suggestions about what may be causing your pain.

Poor bike fit. Is your seat high enough? With your pedal in the down position, your leg should be almost but not quite straight.

Cadence - The rate that you pedal at. Count 1 for each full revolution of the pedal. I would suggest a cadence near 70 revolutions per minute. More if possible. This may require you to shift to a lower gear.
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Old 10-21-11, 03:14 PM   #4
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It could be an injury but I'd try extending your warm-up and warm down periods. I did this same distance every morning to the Y. I found I needed a 2 mile warmup and a 1 mile warm down to avoid problems.
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Old 10-21-11, 07:19 PM   #5
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DOMS is usually present 24-72 hours after exercise. I would try to make sure you are getting some good quality whey protein right after your rides which will help in recovery.. Fish Oil is also a good aid in recovery after workouts.. Stretching lightly before and for 5 minutes after a ride can also aid in recovery..

Make sure you get whey protein, I prefer designer whey which is available at vitamin stores and target. Target sell 2 pounds for 20.00.. It is easy to mix, just shake in a water bottle for 30 seconds and it dissolves very easily. Vanilla and Chocolate are the best flavors..
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Old 10-21-11, 07:22 PM   #6
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A couple of possibilities of many:

1. Bike fit. Seat in the wrong position?
2. How do you ride? Do you mash those pedals or spin lightly?

Stretch after your ride, not before. Warm up slowly by riding.

Do some walking as well as biking. Weight bearing exercises are good.

How do you feel otherwise?
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Old 10-21-11, 08:30 PM   #7
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Sometimes you just need to take a day off. Maybe ride Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday and take Wednesday off. If you don't want to take a day off, leave earlier every other day and ride at a gentler pace to massage the stiffness out.
Massage can help with specific tight spots.
Swimming is a good recovery exercise because the pressure of cool water on your body squeezes your lymph glands and drains them. Drink lots of water afterward. In fact, drink more water, period.
Mild over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ASA and Ibuprofin can help. So can foods rich in minerals like magnesium and potassium. (Dark green leafies, nuts, oatmeal, blackstrap molassess, etc.)
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Old 10-21-11, 09:32 PM   #8
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That's two recommendations for a 1-2 of low seat and/or low cadence, and I"ll add a third. Make sure your seat is high enough that your legs can almost completely straighten at the bottom of the stroke (here's some pics of my kids; I think I need to raise the oldest's seat!).

Also read about cadence; there are bazillions of threads around the BFs, in particular two current ones here in the clyde forum. When you ride, are you getting a good cardio workout? Or are you just tiring your legs? If the latter, then you are overworking your legs. Gear down, spin faster, until you find the point where your heart/lungs are holding you back the same as your legs.

Also I had the same idea as goldfinch that maybe you should also try stretching a little after your rides (as well as before) (also at other times of the day?). I don't think it's possible to do too much stretching, but it's certainly possible to do too little!
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Old 10-22-11, 05:33 AM   #9
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Nazran I have the same issues lately. One of the earlier posters said something about adding a Whey Protien drink after your workouts. I will say that over the summer months I was doing that quite a bit of riding and and did do the Whey Protien mix with 1% milk and a Gatorade drink from mix and did not have the same soreness issues. I am going back to that practice now because I was feeling much better afterwards.
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Old 10-22-11, 05:53 AM   #10
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Rest for two days.
Fred "The Real Fred"
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Old 10-23-11, 11:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Rest for two days.
Second this. Once you get muscle soreness continuing to stress the muscles doesn't give them a chance to recover.
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