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Spoo

Cramp

Hi All

I have a couple of reasonably long rides (well for me anyway) coming up this month starting with a 100 miler in Manchester this weekend. The problem is I've been getting cramp no matter what I've tried to do to stop it and it seems to happen almost every time I do more than 40 or 50 miles (even if they were what you'd call garbage miles)

I was also crippled by it on a recent 3 peaks walking challenge I did with work (on the first mountain Sad )

Knowing that its a possibility I try to do the obvious things, a bit of a stretch pre-ride and at any stops, drink a lot of fluids (including electrolytes) and try to eat regularly and I know its probably a daft question but am I missing something? Any tips?
grrr

It depends on where you are getting the cramp to be honest.

Stretching and keeping warm are the best protection, this is easier said than done on some parts of the body.
berck

Most of my friends who have cramping problems take endurolytes for help. This is in addition to the electrolytes you get in the sports drink / gels. They all swear by them.

I generally use the endurolytes as it warms up more. I've often felt that most of my friends who have this problem also don't quite drink enough liquids on the ride either. They all say the drink alot though Wink
Spoo

On the bike it tends to be in my quads, on the walk it was in my calves followed by my right quad completely seizing up.

I'll look into the endurolytes and I may invest in some 'Deep Heat' spray before Sunday to try and keep my muscles warm. Oh and drink more Smile

Thanks for the advice its really starting to ruin nice rides and the worry of getting cramp early is kind of mentally tiring.
Aether

It is most probably dehydration that is causing the cramps, no matter how much fluid you try and drink on the day you may well struggle to keep hydrated sufficiently.

It is important to start the hydration process way in advance, I am talking several days, this will get your body used to dealing with taking on lots of extra fluid and will keep you well hydrated so that you are not playing catch up on the day.

Also bizarrely eat bananas, I am told that as well as being a great source for energy they also help prevent cramps.
Enchantress

Cramp eh? That will surely put a damper on a long ride.

A few things....

Do you eat while riding?
Do you eat before riding?
What do you drink while riding?

Having said all that, bear in mind that recent research suggests that counter to popular thought, cramps can be brought on by fatigue (lowered rates of neural firing) rather than by electrolyte deficiencies.

So to address that angle, what is your training routine like? How hard are you doing these rides?

You want to cover your bases I think - both from an intensity-training angle, as well as that of the hydration-nourishment perspective too, in order to diagnose the problem.

Best of luck in improving your condition.
Spoo

Ok so having done the ride on Sunday i thought I'd give a quick status update.

Training: I might as well be honest from a kick off, I hadn't trained enough! With holidays and a pretty hectic work schedule in the past 2 months I had done 1 rides of a reasonable length (~30miles) since a 60 miler in early July. To supplement this I'd commuted to work (2miles) about 5 times and done roughly 5 more 15 mile 1 hour bursts around town. Other training included the three peaks challenge mentioned plus 3 more 6 hour mountain walks. So not exactly the best lead in and as Enchantress mentioned fatigue could defintiely be a factor.

Ride itself: This was a 100 miler starting in Manchester and looped round Cheshire. For those not familiar with the area it was probably as flat a century as you'll get in the UK.

Intake: Huge bowl of Pasta the night before washed down with about 300mls electrolyte drink (yuk! Sad ).

Morning - I struggle to eat so early but I managed to get down a packet of salted crisps and a couple of normal cereal bars. Plus a free Red Bull Cola at the start gate (possibly the most horrible thing I've ever tasted  Confused )

During the ride I had - Fluid - 3 1/2 waterbottles (2 with electrolyte powder), 1 cup of tea, 1 glass orange squash
Food - 3 gels, half a malt loaf, 1 cheese sandwich, 1 banana, 1 energy bar.

The ride itself went ok, although the lack of training did show, all was well till the half way stop, then after getting a bit of a paceline going I did my turn at the front and couldn't get back on, just didn't have the legs :S. After about 10miles 'tranquillo' I started to feel ok again then the cramp finally kicked in at about the 90 mile point (first quads then worse in my hamstrings), which almost ruined what had been a good day as I had to stop about 3 times.

All in all it was probably an improvement given it only happened near the end, I have about three weeks before a 90miler from Oxford to Cambridge and I hope to get some more training in and consult the doc about the cramp issue and endurolytes so I can hopefully be free of it the whole way.

Thanks for the advice! Smile
berck

Sounds like an improvement. FYI: When I do a century ride, I usually go through 5 to 8 24 oz water bottles (half of those bottles contain cytomax). Heat and climbing will push it up, cool and flat towards the other end.
Spoo

So it seems like I'm still a bit short on the amount of fluid I'll need, so I'll try to up my intake a bit both during the ride and in the days before. I tend to forget to drink regularly and I'm probably not disciplined enough to reach for my bottle whenever I get a chance.
Ralphnorman

I remember reading somewhere to eat after the first hour and every half hour after that, and to drink every 10 mins. I've stuck to this religiously and i've never bonked for lack of food. Cycle Sport or maybe Cycling Weekly was the mag i saw it in....
MAILLOT JAUNE

Good advice ralph, but I think bonking is different from the cramps that spoo is suffering.
berck

It takes a bit of trial and error to get it right. One thing you can use as a gauge is the need to relieve yourself during the ride. It you never feel the need, you haven't drank enough.

You can also drink too much. I've done that too. Not fun either. Sad

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