Cramps when racing

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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby warthog1 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:14 am

donncha wrote:They discussed this on The Bike Lane recently. According to the sports scientists at the VIS, dehydration and electrolyte balance don't make any difference. Main thing is fitness.

People typically cramp when doing something they're not fit enough for.

Once their fitness improves to the level demanded by the task, no more cramping.


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+1 my experience correlates with this.
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by BNA » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:38 am

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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:38 am

warthog1 wrote:+1 my experience correlates with this.

When supporting a particular theory, one needs to carefully consider those cases where it does not correlate. Theories are made and broken on the negatives.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby donncha » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:55 am

sogood wrote:Articles have already been linked Derny Driver's post with ensuing discussions.

Oops! Forgot about that.


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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby warthog1 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:09 am

sogood wrote:
warthog1 wrote:+1 my experience correlates with this.

When supporting a particular theory, one needs to carefully consider those cases where it does not correlate. Theories are made and broken on the negatives.

I am not a scientist and couldn't give a rats if the theory is scientifically validated or not.
I should have been clearer in my post perhaps, my cramping also resolves when my fitness improves.
This was the only point I was making.
I still keep up my fluid and attempt to replenish my electrolytes with sports drinks however.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:11 am

warthog1 wrote:I am not a scientist and couldn't give a rats if the theory is scientifically validated or not.
I should have been clearer in my post perhaps, my cramping resolves when my fitness improves. I still keep up my fluid and attempt to replenish my electrolytes with sports drinks however.

Sorry Warthog1, my earlier comment wasn't directed at you personally but flowing from the main question on how valid the presented theory is. Otherwise we all have our personal experiences with cramp nasties. But note, without good validation of science here on BNA, the forum would be more like pub talk than something worthwhile.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby warthog1 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:18 am

sogood wrote: But note, without good validation of science here on BNA, the forum would be more like pub talk than something worthwhile.


That is what it is to me for the most part :wink: :)
Pub talk can be entertaining as can BNA
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:20 am

warthog1 wrote:That is what it is to me for the most part :wink: :)
Pub talk can be entertaining as can BNA

Yeah, on the entertainment channels, threads I mean. :mrgreen:
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby mikesbytes » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:18 am

The reality is that I'm a cramper. Not uncommon for me to cramp when I'm not riding, like in bed. I also cramp in muscles not associated with cycling.

I do a lot of training so the lack of fitness reason is unlikely for me, though I can't discount the type of training type.

I've cramped in my last 3 road races. NSW road champs, Aust road champs and Grafton to Inverall. NSW was the most disappointing as I was in a medal winning position when I cramped 800mts from the end.

In Grafton to Inverall, I consumed my first waterbottle in 40k and the second one was gone at 62k. At 64k I got a left hamstring cramp and had to eject myself from the bunch to fix it. Then came the 18k hill. at 72k I took 3 bottles at netural water, drank 1/2 a bottle and threw it away. Had to stop twice on the hill to remove cramps, took magnesium tablets on each occassion. at 80k I had consumed another water bottle and took on another neutral bottle, drinking about half of it by the crest, say 88k. President of NSCC caught me near the top and I rode with him for about 15k when he suffered a major cramp that put him out of the race.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby winstonw » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:44 am

mikesbytes wrote:The reality is that I'm a cramper. Not uncommon for me to cramp when I'm not riding, like in bed. I also cramp in muscles not associated with cycling.


The reality is, until one follows a sports science advocated hydration and electrolyte strategy, which starts 2 days prior to large events, and ends 2 days post, then it's another lap around Robin Hood's barn.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:47 am

mikesbytes wrote:The reality is that I'm a cramper... President of NSCC caught me near the top and I rode with him for about 15k when he suffered a major cramp that put him out of the race.

And it's infectious, all within 15km!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

That's bad luck. Talking about fatigue in general terms, how fatigued were you at those time points? Were there some serious accelerations that put you in the red zone? Do you get bed cramps also? What have you tried so far?

Irrespective, I don't think you'll be a good candidate for the VIS studies. It'll skew their almost conclusion arriving data set. :wink:
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby Aussiebullet » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:52 pm

Duck! wrote:
donncha wrote:They discussed this on The Bike Lane recently. According to the sports scientists at the VIS, dehydration and electrolyte balance don't make any difference. Main thing is fitness.

People typically cramp when doing something they're not fit enough for.

Once their fitness improves to the level demanded by the task, no more cramping.

I find that to be complete crap, quite frankly. I ride XC MTB, including 6+ hour enduros, HPV races (generally one-hour stints), and I sail a high-performance off-the beach catamaran. I'm least likely to suffer cramps on the MTB, even when my bike fitness is sub-par, because I can stay on top of hydration. I train in the HPV weekly for about eight months of the year, so the idea of "not being fit enough for it" just doesn't wash, because with the high interior temperatures that can be experienced, the body simply cannot handle the fluid intake required to keep pace with the losses through sweat. On the cat I'll sometimes find my hammies trying to cramp later in the day, usually when kneeling on the tramp deck pulling the spinnaker in, again because the demands of sailing the thing make it difficult to maintain optimum hydration, which includes electrolytes.


As well as different reasons for cramping there seems to be different types of cramping, I too cramp when kneeling, doing things like filling my gas tank up, crawling under the house, and even sometimes when I'm just laying around and have a big stretch and yawn I can cramp, this happens just as much in cold weather not fatigued not dehydrated as it does any any other state or condition.

Cramping when racing is amost certainly from overexertion, as I don't know anyone who regularly trains at race pace for 6hrs or does a mock Melb to Warny or Graften to Inverell on the rivet and ends up with an NP similar to the real deal,
so it should come as no surprise that we often see and experience cramping in longer events at all levels. :wink:

Take someone with a FTP of ~240w, and regularly does 6hr endurance training rides with an IF of .75, throw them into a 6hr event where they can just survive but end up cramping at the business end of the race, and upon close inspection of the race file we see and IF of .90+ up to the point cramp set in.
Raise that same persons FTP to 290w and that race becomes little more than an avg 6hr training ride with an IF of .75.

Like I said in another post without power data and someone with the knowlage to sort through it your all just flying blind and can't see the forest for the trees. :P
Sorry if this isn't what y'all want to hear but that's just the way it is unfortunately.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:59 pm

Aussiebullet wrote:Like I said in another post without power data and someone with the knowlage to sort through it your all just flying blind and can't see the forest for the trees. :P
Sorry if this isn't what y'all want to hear but that's just the way it is unfortunately.

Errr... Where's the data to support this statement? To this point, your suggestion has been that increased IF will see an increase in incident of cramps. But how specific is your suggested data? Do you have sufficient evidence to state it so categorically and confident at this stage?
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby Aussiebullet » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:43 pm

sogood wrote:
Aussiebullet wrote:Like I said in another post without power data and someone with the knowlage to sort through it your all just flying blind and can't see the forest for the trees. :P
Sorry if this isn't what y'all want to hear but that's just the way it is unfortunately.

Errr... Where's the data to support this statement? To this point, your suggestion has been that increased IF will see an increase in incident of cramps. But how specific is your suggested data? Do you have sufficient evidence to state it so categorically and confident at this stage?


I did not say an increased IF WILL see an increase in incident of cramps.
I said it should come as no surprise.

Would you be "surprised" or "shocked"? and be honest, if it were me I would be dissapointed but not shocked.
What I do know is if you do something over and over and expect a different result that is the definition of insanity. Albert Einstein. :mrgreen:

Using the example in my previous post, the beuty of having the data from said events (racing and training) is you now know the demands of your events, and now know you can replicate those demands in training over and over in all conditions without any difficulty. Without the data its anyones guess (flying blind), racing is fun so it's better to have tried and failed than not have tried at all.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:48 pm

Aussiebullet wrote:I did not say an increased IF WILL see an increase in incident of cramps.
I said it should come as no surprise.

Would you be "surprised" or "shocked"? and be honest, if it were me I would be dissapointed but not shocked.
What I do know is if you do something over and over and expect a different result that is the definition of insanity. Albert Einstein. :mrgreen:

Using the example in my previous post, the beuty of having the data from said events (racing and training) is you now know the demands of your events, and now know you can replicate those demands in training over and over in all conditions without any difficulty. Without the data its anyones guess (flying blind), racing is fun so it's better to have tried and failed than not have tried at all.

Thanks for the clarification.

No, I would not be surprised of the association. But it'll take a bit more to link the cause-effect relationship. But as suggested earlier, it does not explain all the cramps experienced by sports cyclists. Many experience cramps when the intensity was still at a moderate level. As such, it's suggestive that it's but one of many contributory factors.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby mikesbytes » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:13 pm

I don't have a power meter

For "G to I" I hadn't traveled far enough to be some sort of endurance problem. Anyway I'm looking at this overall and not just one event. I suspect in my case there a number of contributing factors.

Had a passing thought about getting a blood test to check for anything that has low levels.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:10 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Had a passing thought about getting a blood test to check for anything that has low levels.

That's always a good start to get a baseline. You need to exclude the common and generic factors first.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby ft_critical » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:41 pm

Aussiebullet wrote:Cramping when racing is amost certainly from overexertion, as I don't know anyone who regularly trains at race pace for 6hrs or does a mock Melb to Warny or Graften to Inverell on the rivet and ends up with an NP similar to the real deal,
so it should come as no surprise that we often see and experience cramping in longer events at all levels. :wink:

Take someone with a FTP of ~240w, and regularly does 6hr endurance training rides with an IF of .75, throw them into a 6hr event where they can just survive but end up cramping at the business end of the race, and upon close inspection of the race file we see and IF of .90+ up to the point cramp set in.
Raise that same persons FTP to 290w and that race becomes little more than an avg 6hr training ride with an IF of .75.

Like I said in another post without power data and someone with the knowlage to sort through it your all just flying blind and can't see the forest for the trees. :P
Sorry if this isn't what y'all want to hear but that's just the way it is unfortunately.


+1. Exactly what I said too.

Sorry Sogood N=2, maybe 3!
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby Aussiebullet » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:00 pm

mikesbytes wrote:I don't have a power meter

For "G to I" I hadn't traveled far enough to be some sort of endurance problem. Anyway I'm looking at this overall and not just one event. I suspect in my case there a number of contributing factors.

Had a passing thought about getting a blood test to check for anything that has low levels.



I figured you didn't have a PM,
not wanting to sound like a broken record, but this is where a PM really earns it's keep, if you were well within your limit's intensity wise then we could have seen that and ruled it out.
But even for short durations ~30min and high IF 1.05 - 1.10 I have twinged and am quite certain had I continued cramp would set in, without a PM I would have been "flying blind" and had no real idea what, where, when or why I was having these issues, even though I was fit and felt great up to the point of twinge or cramp, also frequent high end racing where I have cramped seemed to set a trend and exacerbate the problem until I back off the highend stuff for a while.

It's less of a problem now as I train speciffically for the demands of my races, lot's of work at either end year round, or "raise the left, fill the right"


A blood test may or may not find something, I hope you get it sorted it's extremely frustrating I know.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:17 pm

ft_critical wrote:Sorry Sogood N=2, maybe 3!

No problem. Because it's statistically and logically insignificant. :mrgreen: :P :P
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby mikesbytes » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:54 pm

If a blood test finds nothing then that's a result in itself, as it shows what not to focus on.

I don't consider that there's a single issue causing the problem, I suspect it will be a combination of factors
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby ft_critical » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:03 pm

sogood wrote:
ft_critical wrote:Sorry Sogood N=2, maybe 3!

No problem. Because it's statistically and logically insignificant. :mrgreen: :P :P


Always N+1 with you statisticians!
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:11 pm

ft_critical wrote:Always N+1 with you statisticians!

I know! Yet, they can also help you prove anything you want. ;)
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:16 pm

mikesbytes wrote:If a blood test finds nothing then that's a result in itself, as it shows what not to focus on.
I don't consider that there's a single issue causing the problem, I suspect it will be a combination of factors

Another consideration for you along the "fatigue" line is, knowing the volume you do, have you adequately recovered from your other riding/physical activities before the event? How did you rest? Have you tried to take a longer rest block?

In any case, a PM may give you an insight, expensive one at that, but not a specific treatment. It can help you train and others but you'll still have trouble capturing all your riding with it. But per good clinical practice, review the basics ie. Blood and biochemical screen and a good chat with your GP on your general cramp problems. Then move on from there. But also bear in mind that the normal range is defined by the general population. A normal range on blood test may not completely exclude your need for supplement under specific conditions. But it's a start.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby mikesbytes » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:18 pm

Resting is complex for me, as it costs me money to rest :(

I took different tapering strategy's into the NSW and Aust ITT/Crit/Road champs with the viewpoint of analysing the data to see what difference the tapering made

I'm gathering that rest/tapering probably comes into the fatigue discussion. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:44 pm

mikesbytes wrote:I'm gathering that rest/tapering probably comes into the fatigue discussion. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Could be. Could you be chronically fatigued with the volume you do? I know you are supremely fit aerobically, but how are your muscles?
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