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Riding my age (plus), now working to avoid those nasty post-ride spasms

Old 05-16-15, 04:10 PM
  #1  
MinnMan
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Riding my age (plus), now working to avoid those nasty post-ride spasms

For my birthday, I treated myself to a century. It felt pretty good overall, but it was quite a bit longer than my previous longest ride this season, which was 65 miles.

I did everything I could to hydrate and take electrolyte pills, etc., and I didn't cramp up during the ride (a good sign) but I know I'm in danger of nasty leg spasms this afternoon and tonight. When I push the distance, it's always a risk for me.

In my experience, they come after my legs have been immobilized for a while - for example, when I've made the mistake of taking a post-ride nap, and then try to move my legs. So I'm trying not to stay in one place for too long - even though I'm very tired, I took a walk around the neighborhood with my daughter (another birthday treat), am puttering in the kitchen and elsewhere in the house, and so on - anything to keep from being stationary for too long.

We'll see if I can sit through dinner without screaming in agony.
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Old 05-16-15, 05:42 PM
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The latest on cramps is hydration and electrolytes have little to with causing them. That's provided you start and maintain a resonable balance. The cause they found is over exertion where you push much further than your body is under to. Your muscles in essence misfire.
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Old 05-16-15, 05:51 PM
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Have ridden 100+ centuries. Have never cramped. Drink of choice: plain water.
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Old 05-16-15, 06:03 PM
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Eat some Bananas? I heard that potassium can be good for preventing cramps.
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Old 05-16-15, 06:34 PM
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Get an over the counter med at CVS called Leg Cramps. I'm the worst leg cramper and these really help me. They used to contain quinine which dilates the blood vessels but could be a different make up now.
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Old 05-16-15, 06:48 PM
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All sound advice in this thread, but see what works best for you. I get more frequent leg cramps as I get older, and I treat them as a dehydration and/or electrolyte deficiency warning.
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Old 05-16-15, 07:14 PM
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It's all a part of ramping up the conditioning. What was your training mileage leading up to this wonderful occasion? (Happy Birthday)
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Old 05-16-15, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
The latest on cramps is hydration and electrolytes have little to with causing them. That's provided you start and maintain a resonable balance. The cause they found is over exertion where you push much further than your body is under to. Your muscles in essence misfire.
Yes, this is part of the story. If it were just electrolytes and hydration, the cramps could be in any muscle of the body. The fact that we get cramps in our legs is because we were over-exerting those muscles. So that's key. On the other hand, dehydration and electrolyte deficiency contribute to muscle fatigue, so one can't ignore them.

So far, so good. I got up from the dinner table twice to go to the Men's room, chiefly to make sure that my legs weren't stationary for too long. Maybe this doesn't show up in the research, but as I said, my experience is that the spasms come when I move after my legs have been motionless for a period of time.
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Old 05-16-15, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
It's all a part of ramping up the conditioning. What was your training mileage leading up to this wonderful occasion? (Happy Birthday)
I can't say that I trained for this particular event, but I've got 1500 road miles since mid-March and I've been sustaining above 200 miles/week since late April. I definitely had the legs to complete a century, but usually I do my centuries later in the season, when my conditioning is better.

Oh yeah, and not that anybody asked, but this wasn't an organized century. It was a 50 mile club ride that began 20 miles from my house, and I took the long way home.
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Old 05-16-15, 07:33 PM
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Happy Birthday, and keep going for it, your mileage is impressive.

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Old 05-16-15, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
The latest on cramps is hydration and electrolytes have little to with causing them. That's provided you start and maintain a resonable balance. The cause they found is over exertion where you push much further than your body is under to. Your muscles in essence misfire.
I agree about the over-exertion, but in my experience, it is a combination of all three things, particularly for leg cramps in the inner thigh and the calves (more the former). I have found after a lay-off from cycling, that riding long distances involves re-educating the muscles, and getting my rehydration and​ electrolyte routines right again.
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Old 05-16-15, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I can't say that I trained for this particular event, but I've got 1500 road miles since mid-March and I've been sustaining above 200 miles/week since late April. I definitely had the legs to complete a century, but usually I do my centuries later in the season, when my conditioning is better.

Oh yeah, and not that anybody asked, but this wasn't an organized century. It was a 50 mile club ride that began 20 miles from my house, and I took the long way home.
Conditioning is a strange and wild animal. Eat well and get your rest!
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Old 05-16-15, 10:34 PM
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Sounds to me like too little water during or after the ride.
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Old 05-17-15, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Yes, this is part of the story. If it were just electrolytes and hydration, the cramps could be in any muscle of the body. The fact that we get cramps in our legs is because we were over-exerting those muscles.
Most of the time my delayed-onset cramps come where you would expect -- in the hamstrings, the groin, the calves etc. But I can get them in really weird places like my wrists, or my neck, or the abdominal muscles just under the rib cage. I've even gotten them under my chin. Very strange, and painful!
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Old 05-17-15, 10:12 PM
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I have the same issue, spasms after several hours following hard exertion cycling. As a result I've done quite a bit of research and their are many solutions that work for some but there is nothing definitive, nor is the actual cause known. Potassium, magnesium, water, electrolytes, massages, all or none may help. Hope you find a solution to your problem. Did my age +4 today, 67mi with the first 16 as a time trial, which turned out to be not so smart...but I survived to tell the short tale.
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Old 05-18-15, 07:37 AM
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I managed to survive without major problems. There was one moment Saturday evening when I got off the couch. I had been there for perhaps half an hour and as I began to stand, my left thigh began to spasm. I froze in place before the spasm progressed too far and just waited for the tightness to subside.

Truly, for me the key after a very hard effort is to make sure that I do not let my legs stay stationary for too long.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Get an over the counter med at CVS called Leg Cramps. I'm the worst leg cramper and these really help me. They used to contain quinine which dilates the blood vessels but could be a different make up now.
I tend to suffer from cramps also but not seem to have found ways to deal with them. One way, as jppe says is the product from CVS labeled Leg Cramps and contains some quinine. I have have seen my calves quivering with the beginning of cramps while resting by the side of a road. A single pill had the calves back at rest within minutes. I must have looked in bad shape at the time because a woman motorist stopped to ask if I was all right.

My book on long distance riding by Burke and Pavelka (https://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-B.../dp/1579541992) reports that at the Furnace Creek 500, non-finishers who cramped and who had a blood test, were found to be low in magnesium. This finding may not be absolute scientific proof but it is a strong indication of susceptibility to cramping for some but not necessarily apply to all. For myself, I take a magnesium tablet in the morning of a long ride and carry several Leg Cramps tablets in a tiny plastic baggie. So far so good.
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Old 05-18-15, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
I tend to suffer from cramps also but not seem to have found ways to deal with them. One way, as jppe says is the product from CVS labeled Leg Cramps and contains some quinine. I have have seen my calves quivering with the beginning of cramps while resting by the side of a road. A single pill had the calves back at rest within minutes. I must have looked in bad shape at the time because a woman motorist stopped to ask if I was all right.
On this forum I generally take the attitude that whatever works for you is OK by me, but in the interest of full disclosure, people should know that Leg Cramps is a homeopathic remedy that is chiefly lactose with *micro-doses* of quinine, magnesium, and several other things. FAQ Ľ Hyland's Leg Cramps -

Also, their FAQ specifies "Homeopathic medicines are not designed for prevention, rather for symptomatic relief. We donít recommend taking these products for prevention of leg cramps, but these tablets (and our Leg Cramps Ointment) do provide fast relief of the symptoms." For the kind of spasms I experience, after-the-fact relief is entirely besides the point.

If that's your thing, go for it.
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Old 05-20-15, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
On this forum I generally take the attitude that whatever works for you is OK by me, but in the interest of full disclosure, people should know that Leg Cramps is a homeopathic remedy that is chiefly lactose with *micro-doses* of quinine, magnesium, and several other things. FAQ Ľ Hyland's Leg Cramps -

Also, their FAQ specifies "Homeopathic medicines are not designed for prevention, rather for symptomatic relief. We donít recommend taking these products for prevention of leg cramps, but these tablets (and our Leg Cramps Ointment) do provide fast relief of the symptoms." For the kind of spasms I experience, after-the-fact relief is entirely besides the point.

If that's your thing, go for it.
Sounds like false advertising in the FAQ section, maybe I"ll report to the FTC. EDIT: done

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Old 05-24-15, 01:08 PM
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Heck of a way to spend a birthday, but I've had some luck post-ride pushing a grocery cart for moderate leg stretching.
Make sure you have a grocery list, impulse purchases post-ride are a problem.
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Old 05-26-15, 08:25 PM
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Everyone is different, and your mileage may vary. But I find compression calf sleeves really helpful. I don't exactly cramp, but get twitchy weird leg stuff going. They also make compression tights and compression socks. Might be worth looking into.
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Old 05-26-15, 11:05 PM
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As soon as you get off the bike, wash down a 500/250 cal/mag pill with a recovery drink, say 25g whey protein and 50g carbs.
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Old 05-27-15, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bareyb View Post
Eat some Bananas? I heard that potassium can be good for preventing cramps.
It is, I have gotten in the habit of drinking a glass of V8 in the morning. I have no problems with cramps since then. I try to ride my age (63) once or twice a week.

Marc
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