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Why are my calves cramping?

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Why are my calves cramping?

Old 03-27-08, 01:04 PM
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quito70
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Why are my calves cramping?

About 45 minutes to an hour into a hard push on the bike my calves get "flutter cramps" that don't go away until I slow down. If I keep on pushing they go into complete spasm. I'm hydrated and stretched, and in good shape. I'm pushing hardest with my quads, hamstrings, and gluts, but they're fine. My heart and breathing is fine. Its frustrating to have this one body part hold me back from riding with the faster guys. Is it my pedal stroke, my shoes, bad genes.......??? Any thoughts?
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Old 03-27-08, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by quito70 View Post
About 45 minutes to an hour into a hard push on the bike my calves get "flutter cramps" that don't go away until I slow down. If I keep on pushing they go into complete spasm. I'm hydrated and stretched, and in good shape. I'm pushing hardest with my quads, hamstrings, and gluts, but they're fine. My heart and breathing is fine. Its frustrating to have this one body part hold me back from riding with the faster guys. Is it my pedal stroke, my shoes, bad genes.......??? Any thoughts?
not to be contrarian here, but i've always heard that cramps are usually from lack of hydration, specifically a lack of electrolytes.

are you drinking plain water or a sports drink? not to say that plain water is bad (or gatorade good), but even plain water with a bit of salt may do the trick to keep you hydrated better.

hope that helps.. i've had cramps in the past and after some stretching, resting, and eating/drinking i was good to go.
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Old 03-27-08, 01:18 PM
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Do you donate blood?
Low Iron?
Low sodium or potassium? - Try V8 before a ride.
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Old 03-27-08, 01:20 PM
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Go to the Training and Nutrition forum

Do a search on the word "cramps" in post titles.

Read the pages of threads that appear there.
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Old 03-27-08, 01:20 PM
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Has it always done this? Do you have your bike fitted?
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Old 03-27-08, 01:24 PM
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Do a search, there are lots of posts on cramping and links to outside help on the subject.

I have had cramping problems since about 12 years old so that is for the last 46 years. The amazing thing is that medical "science" does not know why muscles cramp. My personal cramping has been reduced since I started taking 250 mg of magnesium per day. If you are 100% sure that your riding position is ok and you are well hydrated you have to go to the "what is my body asking for when I cramp" route.
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Old 03-27-08, 01:27 PM
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Have you been eating your bananas?
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Old 03-27-08, 01:55 PM
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Listen to Zappa.
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Old 03-27-08, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by otismedina View Post
Have you been eating your bananas?
+1, and make sure you're drinking enough.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:02 PM
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I had this problem when I started racing again, but drinking water only. Gatorade (mix) fixed it forever.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
I had this problem when I started racing again, but drinking water only. Gatorade (mix) fixed it forever.
1+

My very first group ride was 60 miles.

Started cramping 40 miles in (my calves).

Next ride, brought Gatorade.

Problem never came up again. Any ride over 40 mile now, I bring Gatorade. Shorter than that, water is okay unless it's at race pace.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:14 PM
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BTW, the mix is best; better than the bottled stuff. I put half a scoop into a large size waterbottle, then just add water and shake and it's not too strong like the bottled stuff tends to be.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
I had this problem when I started racing again, but drinking water only. Gatorade (mix) fixed it forever.
Same here, except Cytomax. God, I love that stuff.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:17 PM
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I had a serious problem with this until i started taking sportlegs. totally worked for me.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
BTW, the mix is best; better than the bottled stuff. I put half a scoop into a large size waterbottle, then just add water and shake and it's not too strong like the bottled stuff tends to be.
+1 to the mix. I vary the mixture based on expected nutritional needs. 1/2 scoop for training rides. 2 scoops for races (yeah, like syrup). That gives me some more calories when needed.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:27 PM
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Old 03-27-08, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by pseudobrit View Post
Same here, except Cytomax. God, I love that stuff.
+1 on the Cytomax (Grape is my favorite). It is awesome.

Last year when I rode the MS150 a friend who was riding cramped off and on the first day. I gave her some Cytomax for the second day. Her exact words later on (a year later) to me were, "You saved my life. I Love that stuff (Cytomax). I don't have any problems with cramping anymore when I drink it".

I really is a great product - https://www.cytosport.com/Product.aspx?ProductID=5. And I see they have more than 3 flavors now!
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Old 03-27-08, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
+1 to the mix. I vary the mixture based on expected nutritional needs. 1/2 scoop for training rides. 2 scoops for races (yeah, like syrup). That gives me some more calories when needed.
Hmm... 2 scoops for races. I might try that this weekend. I've only this year started racing and so my races are getting progressively longer. The first was only 26 miles. Second through fourth were 33 miles each. This weekend, I'm in the 4's now, so it's gonna jump to 51 miles.
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Old 03-27-08, 03:28 PM
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electrolytes are your friends
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Old 03-27-08, 03:35 PM
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+1 on everything said here...try a sports drink....I was cramping awhile ago...went to a sports drink and didn't have an issue after that...I use the GU2O and like it a lot.
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Old 03-27-08, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
BTW, the mix is best; better than the bottled stuff. I put half a scoop into a large size waterbottle, then just add water and shake and it's not too strong like the bottled stuff tends to be.
Alternatively, carry one bottle of plain water and one of sports drink. You need sports drink, but plain water tastes so much better. When sports drink is all you have, it can taste like crap after you've been out all day and you don't drink enough.
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Old 03-27-08, 03:51 PM
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are you "toeing" (toes pointing down through pedal stroke)? this caused me to cramp in the calf when i first started riding. Try to focus on pedal form and see if it hepls.
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Old 03-27-08, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jameyj View Post
+1 on the Cytomax (Grape is my favorite). It is awesome.
I prefer the orange Tang flavor. My husband likes the pink lemonade flavor.

I carry a bottle of Cytomax and a bottle of water. I have to alternate the drinks or I'll burn out on the 'max.
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Old 03-27-08, 04:00 PM
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For me, cramping happens when I don't drink enough. Water, sports drinks, all help but you have to drink them. I did an experiment where I used a Camelbak with water and a bottle of sports drink. With both, I drank a lot of water and used the sports drink every 15 minutes, a swig or two. No cramping. Then I tried a bottle of sports drink and a bottle of water. I drank a lot less, got some cramps in my calves. I went back to the Camelbak. I have to learn to drink more when I'm just carrying bottles.

-soma5
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Old 03-28-08, 04:41 AM
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I am hydrating with Cytomax (grape), and have my Cliff bar before, and a GU pack after an hour. I'm thinking maybe my cleat position or a re-fit. I drove up to Boston from Rhode Island to get custom fitted because of two very bad knee's (ex-basketball), and felt great on the bike. Maybe its time to drop another $85 and go back this year and try again. I can ride for ever at 15-16 MPH. As soon as I kick it up to 18-22 mph the calves crap out after an hour. Maybe just do toe raises in the gym to strengthen the muscle?
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