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Plagued with cramps once again....

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Plagued with cramps once again....

Old 11-20-18, 06:22 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Pretty much nothing to do with hydration or electrolytes, and as others have said, doctors are no help. Fitness, fitness, fitness is what fixes cramps. Train harder than you'll ever go in an event ride. Longer, too. However, plain old pickle juice, carried in a 6 oz. Hammer Flask, is a huge help. By the bedside, too. It takes ~3 oz. Brand name Tums, 500mg size, also works, but not as well as pickle juice. You can even buy pickle juice for this purpose in little bottles on Amazon, not expensive.

Also, try a 500mg/300mg calcium/magnesium capsule after every ride. Helps me.

It helps me to cross train also: mostly running, hiking, weight training.
I have friends that swear by pickle juice, but for me, quinine water or tablets does the trick very quickly. Luckily, I do not cramp often, usually on hot days. I also found that staying hydrated helps, so drink your water, even if you are not thirsty.
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Old 11-20-18, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by sen2two View Post
I normally ride once on the weekend. 30-40 miles. I did a couple 55 milers leading up to this. But nothing further.

I would also ride to work once a week to work. 23 miles each way.

I know this is not much compared to most riders on here. But I also ride the stationary bike for 60 minutes (HARD) before every workout I do off the bike. Which is almost everyday.

As I mentioned before though, I get the same cramps even if I hadnt ridden the bike. So the cramps are caused by a "workout". Not a specific type, ie; cycling. I am not trying to solve my cycling cramps. I'm trying to solve my cramping problem as a whole.



OK, next time you're building up to a century ...


1) Cycle comparatively more hills than you'll encounter in the century. Build up to that, of course.


In other words if the course is a 1.3 (relatively hilly for a century course), Cycle several 1.5 courses in preparation.*




2) Cycle up to75 miles rather than 55 miles. Plan so that you do a couple 75 mile rides in the weeks before the ride.




*Hills are calculated like this ...


If the number of metres of climbing on the route is 2000 metres, and the route is 160 km ...


2000/160000 = 0.0125 * 100 = 1.25


So if that's your century route, do some 80 km (50 mile) rides with 1200 metres of climbing. 1200/80000 = 0.015 * 100 = 1.5.




Increasing your fitness this way in cycling might help you in your other sports too.
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Old 11-20-18, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
I have friends that swear by pickle juice, but for me, quinine water or tablets does the trick very quickly. Luckily, I do not cramp often, usually on hot days. I also found that staying hydrated helps, so drink your water, even if you are not thirsty.
Quinine works, however . . .My wife used to take quinine for night leg cramps but was advised by her doctor to stop.
Quinine was taken off the market for leg cramps a few years ago by the Food and Drug Administration.
https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/quinine

Quinine can have serious side effects. See the link.
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Old 11-20-18, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Quinine works, however . . .My wife used to take quinine for night leg cramps but was advised by her doctor to stop. https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/quinine

Quinine can have serious side effects. See the link.

Wow CFB, I had no idea and never had a bad reaction to taking quinine. Good info, thanks for posting the info
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Old 11-21-18, 01:28 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
If it works why do we still get vegan athletes that cramp?
Vegan diets are no better or more sensible for humans than Meat only diets are. Vegan diets lack nutrients.

Potato chips deep fried in vegetable oil are Vegan but not healthy.
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Old 11-21-18, 01:34 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
It's impossible to change your body's pH. This is for a very good reason: if you could, you'd probably die. You can change the pH of your urine quite easily. This is sometimes misunderstood. However changing the pH of your urine will not confer any advantage to your physiology. Zero.

Sure, look it up. This silliness has been getting debunked for at least the past 50 years, which is when I first heard about it. Those 50 years haven't helped at all. Charlatans rule some subjects. There's a simple test: if the person promoting some nutritional theory makes money from said promotion, it's a scam.

Spirulina is not a scam. It's just algae and It's good for you: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907180/

Kudos to you for pointing it out. It's not horribly expensive if you buy it in bulk and cap it yourself, 00 caps, with a cap machine. Each of such caps is ~500mg. 2g seems to be a clinical dose. It does seem to pep one up a bit too, though I don't know why. We have a box of homemade spirulina caps in the closet which I'd forgotten about. $.02/g from BulkSupplements on Amazon or otherwise. Pretty cheap.

Its (almost) impossible to change your BLOOD pH. Which is why its so silly to test your blood for anything much at all and expect that the results mean anything.

The levels of minerals in your bones and intracellular/extracellular fluid can change quite a bit though but we can't easily test these levels so we just ignore them.
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Old 11-21-18, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
Vegan diets are no better or more sensible for humans than Meat only diets are. Vegan diets lack nutrients.

Potato chips deep fried in vegetable oil are Vegan but not healthy.
Wait, so there's more to preventing cramps than avoiding these "acidic" foods than you let on? What about all the athletes that already avoid the foods you pointed out? How is there undefined "alkalinity" levels not prevented their cramps?
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Old 11-21-18, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
The whole issue of muscle cramps is brought on by your body depleting your muscles stores of electrolytes in order to keep the blood at the correct level.
Considering that:
1. There's no expert consensus on what causes cramps.
2. There's no way (by your own words) to really measure muscle stores of electrolytes to confirm your theory.
It seems like it may be premature to state that cramps are caused by depleted stores of electrolytes at this time.
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Old 11-21-18, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Wait, so there's more to preventing cramps than avoiding these "acidic" foods than you let on? What about all the athletes that already avoid the foods you pointed out? How is there undefined "alkalinity" levels not prevented their cramps?
I suggested that people do their own research on acid/alkaline balance. I only listed a few of the major culprits. For better or worse some fruits and vegetables are pretty acidic too although I did say that "green" vegetables are the main alkalisers.
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Old 11-21-18, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Considering that:
1. There's no expert consensus on what causes cramps.
2. There's no way (by your own words) to really measure muscle stores of electrolytes to confirm your theory.
It seems like it may be premature to state that cramps are caused by depleted stores of electrolytes at this time.
Believing that the problem will be solved when we have an "expert consensus", is the first mistake and a major muddying of the waters. There is already an "expert consensus" that blood tests for minerals are pointless but that doesn't stop Doctors and pathology companies making big money from doing tests.

There's much worse corruption that cost lives going on in Allopathic Medicine than this example so there's no point crying over it. Move on.
Do your own research on acid/alkaline foods.
Spirilina isn't a miracle cure but its a simple and convenient way of getting more "green" into your diet.
My experience is that the single most important mineral to prevent cramps is Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is common with artificial fertilisers being one of the major causes of a lack of Magnesium in our food and unfortunately Magnesium deficiency is VERY difficult to correct. The more you NEED Magnesium the less you absorb.

Last edited by AnthonyG; 11-21-18 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 11-21-18, 03:33 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
I suggested that people do their own research on acid/alkaline balance. I only listed a few of the major culprits. For better or worse some fruits and vegetables are pretty acidic too although I did say that "green" vegetables are the main alkalisers.
So you have no way to test or quantify the "balance" required, how much of each food type is needed to achieve this, and no way to determine if its the reason for preventing cramps but you have no problem stating it as fact. Gotcha.
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Old 11-21-18, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
Believing that the problem will be solved when we have an "expert consensus", is the first mistake and a major muddying of the waters. There is already an "expert consensus" that blood tests for minerals are pointless but that doesn't stop Doctors and pathology companies making big money from doing tests.

There's much worse corruption that cost lives going on in Allopathic Medicine than this example so there's no point crying over it. Move on.
Do your own research on acid/alkaline foods.
Spirilina isn't a miracle cure but its a simple and convenient way of getting more "green" into your diet.
My experience is that the single most important mineral to prevent cramps is Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is common with artificial fertilisers being one of the major causes of a lack of Magnesium in our food and unfortunately Magnesium deficiency is VERY difficult to correct. The more you NEED Magnesium the less you absorb.
You seem to be conflating pH and electrolyte/mineral levels, which are not correlated. While blood ph is tightly regulated, electrolyte/mineral concentrations are not and easily measurable and EAMC occurs over a wide range of values and is not corrected in individuals when this number is brought up substantially in subjects after onset
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Old 11-21-18, 03:45 PM
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I had/have cramps exactly as you describe. Usually hours after a ride while sitting on the couch or laying in bed. Usually on the bike I would just power through with my good leg it until it subsides, but thats damn hard to do sometimes.

The calcium/magnesium supplement recommendations are pretty solid. I've heard plenty about pickle juice too, but the sodium content is ridonkulous. The whole point of pickle juice is to get potassium. Which it has...in the form of potassium-chloride, but with my budget, I ain't buying a jar of pickles for the juice & with my blood pressure, that chloride ain't gonna do me any good. So I did my research and came up with Low Sodium V8.

A 16 oz glass of Low Sodium V8 juice has 50% your RDA of potassium, only 100 calories and a sodium content in the single digits. Drinking a 16oz glass of Low Sodium V8 after every ride fixed my cramp issue.
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Old 11-21-18, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
You seem to be conflating pH and electrolyte/mineral levels, which are not correlated. While blood ph is tightly regulated, electrolyte/mineral concentrations are not and easily measurable and EAMC occurs over a wide range of values and is not corrected in individuals when this number is brought up substantially in subjects after onset
Mineral levels in blood are controlled pretty tightly as well. Maybe not as tightly as pH but still pretty tight.

I've been very deficient in Magnesium but blood levels ALWAYS say that your levels are OK. I've given myself an intramuscular injection of Magnesium Sulphate the night before a blood test and my results were ever so marginally high.

Assessing the results of blood tests are no better than reading tea leaves.
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Old 11-21-18, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
I had/have cramps exactly as you describe. Usually hours after a ride while sitting on the couch or laying in bed. Usually on the bike I would just power through with my good leg it until it subsides, but thats damn hard to do sometimes.

The calcium/magnesium supplement recommendations are pretty solid. I've heard plenty about pickle juice too, but the sodium content is ridonkulous. The whole point of pickle juice is to get potassium. Which it has...in the form of potassium-chloride, but with my budget, I ain't buying a jar of pickles for the juice & with my blood pressure, that chloride ain't gonna do me any good. So I did my research and came up with Low Sodium V8.

A 16 oz glass of Low Sodium V8 juice has 50% your RDA of potassium, only 100 calories and a sodium content in the single digits. Drinking a 16oz glass of Low Sodium V8 after every ride fixed my cramp issue.
Very nice, like my wife's potassium supps before bed. They don't fix it entirely for her, but they help. The better her conditioning, the fewer night cramps, limit being excellent condition = zero night cramps.

However the thing about drinking pickle juice has nothing to do with its electrolyte content. When I first told my doctor about it, he assured me that I was full of it. Electrolytes take a minimum of 20 minutes from mouth to blood, however pickle juice can stop cramps in seconds, never more than about a minute and a half. Physiologists have done some experiments and conclude that it's the taste and nothing more that stops the cramps. The taste activates something in the brain which turns the golgi organs (google) off, cramp gone. This works with pickle juice, mustard, a preparation known as a Hotshot, and 500mg brand name Tums. I don't know of others but they probably exist.
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Old 11-21-18, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Very nice, like my wife's potassium supps before bed. They don't fix it entirely for her, but they help. The better her conditioning, the fewer night cramps, limit being excellent condition = zero night cramps.

However the thing about drinking pickle juice has nothing to do with its electrolyte content. When I first told my doctor about it, he assured me that I was full of it. Electrolytes take a minimum of 20 minutes from mouth to blood, however pickle juice can stop cramps in seconds, never more than about a minute and a half. Physiologists have done some experiments and conclude that it's the taste and nothing more that stops the cramps. The taste activates something in the brain which turns the golgi organs (google) off, cramp gone. This works with pickle juice, mustard, a preparation known as a Hotshot, and 500mg brand name Tums. I don't know of others but they probably exist.
Hmm...Interesting. That's something I never would've thunk. Kind of cool, actually.
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Old 11-21-18, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Hmm...Interesting. That's something I never would've thunk. Kind of cool, actually.
What's missing from the tale is the evolutionary aspect. IOW, Why? Ancient beer was that bad?
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Old 11-21-18, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
What's missing from the tale is the evolutionary aspect. IOW, Why? Ancient beer was that bad?
...Or ancient beer was so good, Nomadic tribsman quit roaming with cramps, sat down, had a beer and started culture, society, farming, and the world as we know it!
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Old 11-21-18, 07:13 PM
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Increase fitness.

Pickle juice on nightstand for late night cramps. I get it by the gallon jug from Amazon (Best Maid)

Stun gun to trigger opposing muscles and immediately unlock contractions.
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Old 11-23-18, 06:13 AM
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Nobody knows for sure what causes cramps. Anyone who claims to have solved the cramping problem with this supplement, that training regimen, or the other miracle cure has solved it... for themselves. It won't necessarily cure anyone else's cramping.

Manny Pacquiao, a elite level boxer, experienced debilitating leg cramps for years. It hindered his performance and may have factored in a couple of critical losses. He's been a fitness buff, never really out of shape, has enough money and clout to gain access to the world's best advisers, but never could solve the cramping problem. So it's not necessarily lack of conditioning, inadequate diet, or some magical supplement.

For decades I've had occasional problems with foot cramps -- usually the arches, sometimes the top of the foot -- and leg cramps. The leg cramps tend to be thighs while riding, calves while sleeping.

The only thing that seems to matter for me is the interface between my body and the physical activity.

I've always had weird feet -- long, narrow, bony with high arches. If my shoes don't fit perfectly I'm gonna be miserable. And it's not easy to find shoes that fit my size 11 A or B width feet properly. I usually compromise, getting shoes that fit pretty well, then add orthotics to make them work for me.

In late 2017, after two years back in the saddle and getting stronger and faster, I'd get painful cramps in my feet on fast group rides. At that point I was still using platform pedals and various shoes. I was ready to try anything to fix the cramps. It was getting dangerous -- I had to pull off quickly and signal the riders behind me to avoid crashes. I usually tagged onto the back of any group to avoid those problems, and it seemed like I didn't want to take a pull or help out.

In January this year I finally switched to clipless with rigid soled shoes that fit properly. The foot cramps stopped -- on my road bike. I still use platforms on my hybrids and still occasionally get foot cramps on those rides.

Saddles and bike fit mattered too. Switching saddles and setting up the bike to suit myself minimized the thigh cramps during rides. As little as 1/8" to 1/4" adjustment in saddle height, fore/aft adjustment, tilt, etc., all make a difference.

I still get the lower leg cramps while in bed. Pops up out of nowhere. And it gets darkly comical, as I lurch out of bed to stretch the calf to relieve one cramp in the gastrocnemius, the opposite side tibialis anterior muscle spasms. It'll flip flop back and forth like that for minutes as I desperately stretch one side, then the other. My cats have decided I'm a lunatic.

I do take supplements, including extra magnesium and potassium. I use electrolytes on most workouts and rides, even when it's not hot outside. I'm careful about my diet and fluid intake. I stretch and do exercises to keep the whole body reasonably fit. I've tried the pickle juice and the cider vinegar and every other darned thing. But the only thing that really seemed to make a difference while riding (or running, walking, etc.) was the body/activity interface stuff -- the shoes, saddle, the stuff that goes between us and the bike.
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Old 11-23-18, 10:41 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by sen2two View Post
As I mentioned before though, I get the same cramps even if I hadnt ridden the bike. So the cramps are caused by a "workout". Not a specific type, ie; cycling. I am not trying to solve my cycling cramps. I'm trying to solve my cramping problem as a whole.
Here's one thing to consider.

An acquaintance of mine has a strange condition in which certain muscles of his (in only a particular area of his body) get severe cramps occasionally, and/or blood clots. Can't recall the name of the condition, but it hits him badly when he really goes after strength exercises in that part of the body. No other muscles on him do this ... only those in the affected area. He does mild exercises, and he's fine. If he hits it hard, in those muscle areas, he gets cramping and severe risk of blood clots in the region.

Might be worth asking the doctor about. Might be more going on than simply a stretching-or-electrolytes thing.
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Old 11-23-18, 11:42 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Nobody knows for sure what causes cramps. Anyone who claims to have solved the cramping problem with this supplement, that training regimen, or the other miracle cure has solved it... for themselves. It won't necessarily cure anyone else's cramping.

Manny Pacquiao, a elite level boxer, experienced debilitating leg cramps for years. It hindered his performance and may have factored in a couple of critical losses. He's been a fitness buff, never really out of shape, has enough money and clout to gain access to the world's best advisers, but never could solve the cramping problem. So it's not necessarily lack of conditioning, inadequate diet, or some magical supplement.

For decades I've had occasional problems with foot cramps -- usually the arches, sometimes the top of the foot -- and leg cramps. The leg cramps tend to be thighs while riding, calves while sleeping.

The only thing that seems to matter for me is the interface between my body and the physical activity.

I've always had weird feet -- long, narrow, bony with high arches. If my shoes don't fit perfectly I'm gonna be miserable. And it's not easy to find shoes that fit my size 11 A or B width feet properly. I usually compromise, getting shoes that fit pretty well, then add orthotics to make them work for me.

In late 2017, after two years back in the saddle and getting stronger and faster, I'd get painful cramps in my feet on fast group rides. At that point I was still using platform pedals and various shoes. I was ready to try anything to fix the cramps. It was getting dangerous -- I had to pull off quickly and signal the riders behind me to avoid crashes. I usually tagged onto the back of any group to avoid those problems, and it seemed like I didn't want to take a pull or help out.

In January this year I finally switched to clipless with rigid soled shoes that fit properly. The foot cramps stopped -- on my road bike. I still use platforms on my hybrids and still occasionally get foot cramps on those rides.

Saddles and bike fit mattered too. Switching saddles and setting up the bike to suit myself minimized the thigh cramps during rides. As little as 1/8" to 1/4" adjustment in saddle height, fore/aft adjustment, tilt, etc., all make a difference.

I still get the lower leg cramps while in bed. Pops up out of nowhere. And it gets darkly comical, as I lurch out of bed to stretch the calf to relieve one cramp in the gastrocnemius, the opposite side tibialis anterior muscle spasms. It'll flip flop back and forth like that for minutes as I desperately stretch one side, then the other. My cats have decided I'm a lunatic.

I do take supplements, including extra magnesium and potassium. I use electrolytes on most workouts and rides, even when it's not hot outside. I'm careful about my diet and fluid intake. I stretch and do exercises to keep the whole body reasonably fit. I've tried the pickle juice and the cider vinegar and every other darned thing. But the only thing that really seemed to make a difference while riding (or running, walking, etc.) was the body/activity interface stuff -- the shoes, saddle, the stuff that goes between us and the bike.
You've already solved your cramping problems, you just don't realize it yet. You've proven to yourself that exercise induced cramps result from overworking a muscle. Reducing work on the cramping muscles fixed the problem. That's one way to go. The other way to go is to increase training load on the cramping muscles. There are many possible things to try.

Suggestions . . . Shin cramps: go for fast walks at least once a week, say 3-4 miles, dropping the pelvis, lengthening the stride, moving right out. Calf cramps: On a stair do one set of one legged calf raises to exhaustion, full range of motion, twice a week. When you hit 30, start doing 3 sets, equal reps, exhaustion on the last set. Quad cramps: try running once a week, ~3 miles, comfortable pace. Or do full range of motion barbell squats, 3 sets of 12, weights chosen to produce exhaustion on the last set but progressive from set to set. Might have to do the first set with no weight, all the way down, hams on calves.

Anyway, the idea is to work what's cramping, a lot. It takes several weeks for this to take effect - don't expect immediate results.

Meanwhile, at the first sign of a cramp, drink 3 oz. pickle juice. It'll shorten the length of the cramp. What's bad about cramps is the resultant muscle damage, which interferes with training. You get DOMS for no reason.
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Old 11-25-18, 09:24 PM
  #48  
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what leg muscle(s) cramped... quads?
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Old 12-07-18, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by sen2two View Post
Maybe I am "fit" in reference to the workouts I normally perform, but not in the right areas needed to correct my cramping problem? I have read cycling will shorten hamstrings, while deadlifts lengthen them. Maybe stretching, Yoga, and warmups are making me more bendy, but doing anything for the problem at hand?
I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But I have met several...

I too have suffered from cramping on longer rides. Even shorter rides of 30 miles or so. For me it's always in the calf muscles. You didn't mention (or I didn't see) which muscle group is affected for you, but it's definitely a leg muscle being used to propel the bike forward.

I've noticed that I tend to get cramps when I am pushing myself to a longer distance than I've trained for up to at that point in the season. I've always been a poor winter trainer, so I am typically starting each riding season with tremendous losses from the year before. So I'll cramp on the 30 mile ride until I've done a bunch of 30 mile rides. Then I'll cramp on the 50 mile ride until I've gotten used to that distance. And so on...

I am planning on a Century in 2019, and fully expect cramping to be an issue unless I have truly worked up to riding that distance.

I do notice that electrolytes SEEM to put the cramps off a bit longer in the ride. So I would stick with those. Dehydration does seem to be a contributor for me.
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Old 12-07-18, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS View Post
I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But I have met several...

I too have suffered from cramping on longer rides. Even shorter rides of 30 miles or so. For me it's always in the calf muscles. You didn't mention (or I didn't see) which muscle group is affected for you, but it's definitely a leg muscle being used to propel the bike forward.

I've noticed that I tend to get cramps when I am pushing myself to a longer distance than I've trained for up to at that point in the season. I've always been a poor winter trainer, so I am typically starting each riding season with tremendous losses from the year before. So I'll cramp on the 30 mile ride until I've done a bunch of 30 mile rides. Then I'll cramp on the 50 mile ride until I've gotten used to that distance. And so on...

I am planning on a Century in 2019, and fully expect cramping to be an issue unless I have truly worked up to riding that distance.

I do notice that electrolytes SEEM to put the cramps off a bit longer in the ride. So I would stick with those. Dehydration does seem to be a contributor for me.
As has been repeated many times above, cramping is an issue of lack of fitness for the activity being attempted. Training is the solution. If you cramp during training, you're probably doing it right. Keep at it. To prevent damage, as soon as the first twinges develop, drink pickle juice. For calf cramps, see post 42.
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