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Well, that was a first!

Old 05-31-20, 01:28 PM
  #1  
jppe
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Well, that was a first!

I was in the last few miles of a ride yesterday when a weird thing happened. I had ridden about 65 miles with 6400í of climbing. It was a little more humid than I was thinking and I simply hadnít taken in enough fluids.

I was stopped at a traffic signal and restarted with traffic when the light turned green. My left foot was clipped into the pedal and my right foot was on the ground. When I got moving and tried to clip my right foot back in to the pedal, my right lower leg cramped up. It cramped such that my right toe pointed away from the bike and I couldnít get my foot or leg aligned with the pedal. Traffic is pretty heavy Iím trying to get moving but the foot and leg just wouldnít cooperate.

I was finally able to get the cramps calmed down enough to clip in by shaking my right leg while pedaling with one leg. It had to look pretty funny and I was having a decent laugh at my own expense. If Iíd been trying to restart on a steep hill Iím not sure that would have happened!!
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Old 05-31-20, 01:45 PM
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Yeah, trying to accelerate hard or starting out from a stop can bring on a cramp when you least expect them sometimes. Probably just combination of the moderately long ride and a little more heat than you've been used to recently.

If you've been drinking straight water for three or four bottles, you might consider what might be changing with your electrolyte levels. Salt, light salt and other things can add some more electrolytes to your drink. Personally though, Gatorade and other premixed "sport" drinks have too much electrolytes in them for me.

Three years ago I was finishing up a 63 mile organized ride and that last hill at a traffic light got me too. I'm sure I looked comical struggling through the intersection trying to get my left leg to uncramp. In that case, I really feel it was the medication I was on. Finding that severe cramps were a side effect of that medicine I quit taking it and never experienced such a painful severe leg cramp like that again.
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Old 06-01-20, 03:28 AM
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Been there. Usually gets me in the middle of the night after a hard ride, or just sitting on the sofa with my feet up.

Foot and leg spasms used to clobber me mid-range, so hard I'd have to pull over, tumble off the bike and massage and shake it out. That doesn't happen much anymore since 2017 when I made a few changes to my diet and supplements.

We all have our pet remedies and theories. I don't really know what works. I try to drink a 24 oz bottle per hour, more or less depending on temperature. I always add electrolytes and usually add creatine as well to at least one bottle. I take a bunch of supplements, including magnesium, potassium and calcium. I try the varieties that are supposedly metabolized more readily -- such as magnesium lactate. It seems to help.

And I've finally learned to anticipate full stops and unclipping so I'm in a gear I can turn one-footed, even uphill, in case I can't clip in for whatever reason -- cramps, bad case of the fumble-feet, etc. I've one-footed it across intersections. Looks goofy but it works so I can clear an intersection and take my time clipping in.
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Old 06-01-20, 12:40 PM
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Bare with me for a description of my biking experience and the situation prior to
cramping so you have all the info prior to the incident.
On a 200klm Brevet with total climb 4000m I experience leg cramps simultaneously
on both legs in the same location (VM). I have been riding systematically for 23
years. I ride quite a lot of Brevets with lots of climbing because the area where I bike
is full of mountains. I have ridden this particular Brevet twice before.
In all my riding I have never experienced cramping where I had to get of the bike.
This particular Brevet had a continuous 20 klm climb of 1450 m towards the end.
There were 2 other big climbs before this last one. The weather had turned
suddenly hot, and I suffered on the 2nd climb, and had to stop a few times. I had
plenty of electrolyte drink, sports drink, and gels. I was mostly drinking electrolytes,
sports drinks and not very much water. Before the last climb I had consumed 4 lit of
electrolyte and sports, and about 1 lit of water. I had drank 750 ml of coke in 3
doses, and had a sandwich with potato chips. I had taken magnesium 4 days prior to
the Brevet, and had eaten a few bananas.
As I started up on the final climb I had a strong craving for water. I tried drinking
some electrolytes, but my craving for water continued. It started affecting my
performance. I was climbing in a low gear. I felt a slight cramp in my right glute muscle, but it
didn't continue. All of a sudden my right leg cramped on the lower part of my thigh
slightly to the inside (VM). I stopped, and walked for 2 minutes, and restarted. Then
both left and right legs cramped in the same area. I stopped and walked again. I tried
remounting, and pedaling in my lowest gear, but after 10-15 pedal strokes both legs
cramped again. I found a water source, and drank about 1 bottle. I walked the tried
remounting 5-6 times, and every time both legs would cramp after a few pedal
strokes. I tried both heavy and light pedaling, but nothing helped. After repeating the
walking and mounting at least 5-6 times I massaged both legs where the cramp was
felt. When I remounted I was able to keep going in a low gear. I made a few stops so
I wouldn't aggravate the situation. I reached a water station, and drank a whole
water bottle. As I approached the summit I rode better, and reduced the stops. After
the summit and the downhill there were flat areas with a moderate incline. I was able
to pedal normally. The cramps had left.

I have recently read the literature on the web about cramping with all the vague
causes for cramps. My personal evaluation is that the cramps were caused because
I was dehydrated (water craving), and being tired from the previous climbs. After drinking water and resting the leg muscles
by walking my body slowly recovered. My body needed almost 1 hour to recover.
The short massaging was just coincidental.
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Old 06-01-20, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by yannisg View Post
Bare with me for a description of my biking experience and the situation prior to
cramping so you have all the info prior to the incident.
On a 200klm Brevet with total climb 4000m I experience leg cramps simultaneously
on both legs in the same location (VM). I have been riding systematically for 23
years. I ride quite a lot of Brevets with lots of climbing because the area where I bike
is full of mountains. I have ridden this particular Brevet twice before.
In all my riding I have never experienced cramping where I had to get of the bike.
This particular Brevet had a continuous 20 klm climb of 1450 m towards the end.
There were 2 other big climbs before this last one. The weather had turned
suddenly hot, and I suffered on the 2nd climb, and had to stop a few times. I had
plenty of electrolyte drink, sports drink, and gels. I was mostly drinking electrolytes,
sports drinks and not very much water. Before the last climb I had consumed 4 lit of
electrolyte and sports, and about 1 lit of water. I had drank 750 ml of coke in 3
doses, and had a sandwich with potato chips. I had taken magnesium 4 days prior to
the Brevet, and had eaten a few bananas.
As I started up on the final climb I had a strong craving for water. I tried drinking
some electrolytes, but my craving for water continued. It started affecting my
performance. I was climbing in a low gear. I felt a slight cramp in my right glute muscle, but it
didn't continue. All of a sudden my right leg cramped on the lower part of my thigh
slightly to the inside (VM). I stopped, and walked for 2 minutes, and restarted. Then
both left and right legs cramped in the same area. I stopped and walked again. I tried
remounting, and pedaling in my lowest gear, but after 10-15 pedal strokes both legs
cramped again. I found a water source, and drank about 1 bottle. I walked the tried
remounting 5-6 times, and every time both legs would cramp after a few pedal
strokes. I tried both heavy and light pedaling, but nothing helped. After repeating the
walking and mounting at least 5-6 times I massaged both legs where the cramp was
felt. When I remounted I was able to keep going in a low gear. I made a few stops so
I wouldn't aggravate the situation. I reached a water station, and drank a whole
water bottle. As I approached the summit I rode better, and reduced the stops. After
the summit and the downhill there were flat areas with a moderate incline. I was able
to pedal normally. The cramps had left.

I have recently read the literature on the web about cramping with all the vague
causes for cramps. My personal evaluation is that the cramps were caused because
I was dehydrated (water craving), and being tired from the previous climbs. After drinking water and resting the leg muscles
by walking my body slowly recovered. My body needed almost 1 hour to recover.
The short massaging was just coincidental.
I can totally relate to what you posted. I take all kinds of supplements like magnesium, potassium, calcium etc. I'm the worlds worst cramper and have tried everything. It certainly doesn't help that I'm normally riding 6+ hours in the Carolinas humidity. Getting both legs cramping at the same time is not an unusual event for me. I actually think I strained a muscle on one ride where I was just pushing through the cramps and might have exerted too much pressure on one set of muscles that were cramping.

I usually drink fluids with electrolytes although after several bottles of those water is about as good as it gets. I only drink caffeinated sodas (Cokes) when riding. I try to limit the amount I drink but sometimes if I stop for lunch I drink a lot more. I have seen a correlation between too much caffeine and cramping in past rides. The one drink that has helped me more than anything else while cramping was HotShot. They are expensive so usually I only carry those when I'm doing an event versus training rides.

It's interesting that I can go ride 1000 miles in Colorado with tons of climbing and not cramp one time. Just based on my experience and what affects me but I do think the higher humidity and increased perspiration have an effect on how much I cramp up. Effort makes a difference as well.
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Old 06-05-20, 02:44 PM
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yannisg
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I can totally relate to what you posted......

Thanks for responding.
My conclusion of the simultaneous cramping of both legs was a result of a few factors.
1. Going hard on the previous uphills before the last 20 klm climb.
2. Sudden increase of the temperature on that specific brevet, and the body not being acclimated. Although the humidity was low.
3. Lack of hydration. My body craved for water.
Since then I have increased the ratio of water to electrolyte drinks, and monitor my effort on the climbs.
I haven't had a repeated incident.
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Old 06-05-20, 04:50 PM
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One more vote for hydration. I can always tell when a cramp starts while climbing the last hill before home. Grab that water bottle and chug.
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