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"Sparkle cramps"

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"Sparkle cramps"

Old 08-17-20, 07:56 AM
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David Bierbaum
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"Sparkle cramps"

I put that in the title, but I don't actually know what you call them. I kind of overdid it, doing a 50 mile ride to the Arch Grounds in St. Louis and back, yesterday, since I managed to do 40 miles without issue in the weeks prior. Unfortunately, there is a long section of the Confluence Trail that is gravel, and I was on that entire section on the way back, having crossed the McKinley Bridge on my home-bound leg.

Anyhow, after I got back, the rest of that evening I was suffering from what I was calling "sparkle cramps", where little areas of muscle in my thighs and calves would cramp for a fraction of a second as I moved. I did run out of electrolyte-water before I got home, and refilled my bottle with lemonade from a Casey's on the way back home. Anyhow, I'm curious about that particular effect, since it's the first time I've experienced it. Is it caused by loss of electrolyte or water, or by having to power through a long stretch of rocky gravel while I was out of energy, or both?

Also, I will never do that lemonade thing again. The Calypso Original Lemonade really slapped my tastebuds around and sort of burned in my throat on the way down, to the point where I had suspicions that it might be some sort of "hard" lemonade, but it wasn't. I'm guessing that it was just too strong for my level of hydration at that time.
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Old 08-17-20, 08:28 AM
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Hot day? That stresses you more and hydration is more critical. It might be a eye opener if you weigh yourself before and after a ride. The weight you loose while riding is mostly water weight via sweat. Lose too much and you'll be in bad shape for a while after the ride. Sometimes days if it's excessive.

Electrolytes play a big roll too. You have to find that balance that works for you. But electrolytes without adequate hydration will do nothing.

Last edited by Iride01; 08-17-20 at 08:42 AM. Reason: "too", not "to"
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Old 08-17-20, 08:32 AM
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Sounds like over-exertion and working muscle groups that you usually do not engage with on asphalt only road cycling. Looks like you challenged yourself and stressed your body more than it was conditioned too.
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Old 08-17-20, 08:33 AM
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You could carry some electrolite power in a small plastic baggie. Baggies come in all sizes from pill size to much larger. You could then mix your own when needed.
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Old 08-17-20, 09:04 AM
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This summer I've done a bunch of 70+ mile rides and 3 centuries up to 133 miles. I generally lose 4 or 5 lbs water weight.
I drink 1 or 2 bottles of lemon Gatorade that helps for sure. Some 120+ rides I drank 7 bottles and still lost 4 lbs. I drink 3 bottles of water for each Gatorade.
But in addition, I started taking an Advil with breakfast. I am now POSITIVE it helps reduce cramps a lot. The days I didn't take the pill were by far the WORST. I may or not take one at suppertime or the next day, if still stiff.
Advil is also the ONLY pill I trust for lingering pains when I pulled back soft tissues or others occasionally.

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Old 08-17-20, 11:18 AM
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At least I'm back to normal today. I've ridden 39 miles on a 98℉ day, and 40 on a mid-90 day, and been just dandy when I got back, but that last 10 miles was definitely a "de-dandyfier" for me, even though the temps were in the 80s.

I was going to loiter a bit more at the Archgrounds and eat something from one of those concession stands, but $5.00 lemonade (the cheapest thing on their menu) shot down that idea. Really, have things gotten this expensive while I wasn't paying attention? It really surprised me how many people were out and about on the Arch grounds. It was my first time there since they finished the renovation. They're currently repaving LaClede's Landing, so getting from the Riverfront trail to the Arch is a bit of a hassle on a bicycle.
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Old 08-18-20, 10:59 AM
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Unfortunately, there is a long section of the Confluence Trail that is gravel, and I was on that entire section on the way back, having crossed the McKinley Bridge on my home-bound leg.
I have a long history of riding the metro-east area. Most traveled route was south-side to Edwardsville. But i also had a lot of great rides by taking the metro from Schrewsbury to Bellville and then riding out through Freeburg and all points south.

I been to New Athens, Marissa, Oakaville, Lebannon and dozens of other little towns. My last grand rondo started from Collinsville - went out Greenville on the brand new trail - cut over to Livingston and came back into town using Quarcus trail through Edvill - etc etc.

The Madison Country trail system is a true bike trail gem !!.
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Old 08-19-20, 05:13 AM
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Try some DripDrip electrolyte powder. Comes in single serving Mylar stick envelopes, waterproof and easy to tuck into even a minimalist seat bag, jersey or sock. Amusing flavors like watermelon, lemon, etc. Very mild flavor, no unpleasant aftertaste. Best stuff I've tried, and I've tried 'em all.

Pricey but no worse than NUUN or others. Sometimes I'll use cheaper stuff like Propel for routine water bottles, but if I feel a bit woozy or crampy during or after a ride I'll mix up some cold water with DripDrop. Works within about 15 minutes. I've used it on two people who passed out from heat exhaustion and it worked quickly for them too.

There's nothing magical in it, same electrolytes as others, but they nailed the perfect balance of ingredients. It has just a tiny bit of sugar to help with rapid absorption of fluid.

It works so well I got some for a friend who runs a contracting business that involves a lot of hot work. He and his crew swear by it now, and they'd also tried many other sport drinks.

After hard workout rides or long hot rides I'll take a magnesium lactate capsule too. Seems to be the most effective form of magnesium. I got the tip from a friend who swears by SportLegs. I thought it seemed pricey and just bought the listed ingredients, which included mag lactate. That seems to be the real secret to SportLegs. Sure reduced my nighttime sudden cramps. I literally fell in the floor a couple of times with spasms in my sleep. Completely freaked out my three cats, who insist on sleeping with or on me. I'm happy. Cats are happy.
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Old 08-19-20, 10:22 AM
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Sportlegs? That sounds like some sketchy lingerie brand... Is there a non-pricey alternative to dripdrops? I'm a rice-and-beans person not by choice, if you get what I mean!
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Old 08-19-20, 12:36 PM
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I'm guessing that it was just too strong for my level of hydration at that time.
Have you considered a Camelback?

The best way to keep from cramping is to avoid getting low - or "over drinking" in the first place.

My personal is a strong mix of sport drink in a bottle - interspersed with sipping from a water-only Camelback
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Old 08-21-20, 07:11 AM
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I think when you ride "harder" and/or "longer" you should expect some extraordinary sensation during and after the ride. That is your trophy. After regularly riding 60 miles at a time, you will have to go 70-75 to earn any trophies. Good work man. Keep it up.
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Old 08-23-20, 05:58 PM
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Yay! For my effort, I should get a "I did FIFTY MILES, and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt!" T-Shirt!
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Old 08-24-20, 01:36 AM
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I got those sparkle cramps the op colorfully described, after a hot Sunday midday ride of 30 miles.

I drank enough, including electrolytes, but still had a sort of rippling minor spasms throughout my legs while resting.

I took a magnesium lactate and GABA (an amino acid supplement). Seemed to help within 15-30 minutes.
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