Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

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Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

Postby sparco » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:52 am

A newbie into road cycling and have been enjoying it, specifically the amount of weight I have lost since starting.

On Saturdays I usually do an 80+km ride with a bunch sometimes solo. I have noticed that during the return leg of the ride (around the 60k mark), every time I stop and put my foot down (red light) and start to pedal again, my legs starts to stiffen and sometimes ache. This causes me to slow down and get dropped. But, if we don't stop (no red lights), I can manage to stay with the group and arrive home without any stiffening of the legs.

My question is, is this a fitness issue and should go away, or is there a way to remedy it?

Cheers.
Joey
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by BNA » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:32 am

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Re: Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

Postby Marty Moose » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:32 am

Sounds more like you are struggling with acceleration after stopping. The ride must be on upper limit I assume.Try some short
sharp intervals in your training.
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Re: Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

Postby VRE » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:14 pm

Sounds to me like lactic acid buildup in the muscles, perfectly normal after you've used them fairly strenuously, and then stop using them briefly, before starting again. Google it, and you'll find numerous useful explanations for it.
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Re: Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

Postby sparco » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:03 am

Thanks for replies :D

Marty Moose wrote:Sounds more like you are struggling with acceleration after stopping. The ride must be on upper limit I assume.Try some short sharp intervals in your training.


The ride on my gauge is already bordering to my limit. After stopping, I can accelerate standing up with the group without any problems, its when they up the pace again that I feel the stiffness on my legs and starts to ache specifically when there is a slight climb or incline. This is the time I get dropped and struggles all the way home. I will try some sort of interval training and see if it helps.

VRE wrote:Sounds to me like lactic acid buildup in the muscles, perfectly normal after you've used them fairly strenuously, and then stop using them briefly, before starting again. Google it, and you'll find numerous useful explanations for it.


You are probably right. But how do I go about it, aside from what Marty Moose has suggested, more riding I suppose.
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Re: Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:46 pm

VRE wrote:Sounds to me like lactic acid buildup in the muscles, perfectly normal after you've used them fairly strenuously, and then stop using them briefly, before starting again. Google it, and you'll find numerous useful explanations for it.

I suggest googling the lactic acid myth.
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Re: Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:49 pm

sparco wrote:A newbie into road cycling and have been enjoying it, specifically the amount of weight I have lost since starting.

On Saturdays I usually do an 80+km ride with a bunch sometimes solo. I have noticed that during the return leg of the ride (around the 60k mark), every time I stop and put my foot down (red light) and start to pedal again, my legs starts to stiffen and sometimes ache. This causes me to slow down and get dropped. But, if we don't stop (no red lights), I can manage to stay with the group and arrive home without any stiffening of the legs.

My question is, is this a fitness issue and should go away, or is there a way to remedy it?

Cheers.
Joey

Assuming you have no health or injury issues, then it's most likely just a case of being relatively new and needing time to develop your aerobic fitness. It takes a few years to develop the legs well for this sort of riding - building up the capacity to ride more and ride harder takes time.

Another thing to consider is to validate your bike fits you properly.
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Re: Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

Postby Baldy » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:23 pm

Hmmm lactic acid is a myth doesn't quite have the same ring to it as shut up legs.
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Re: Stiff (ache) legs after stopping

Postby VRE » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:04 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
sparco wrote:A newbie into road cycling and have been enjoying it, specifically the amount of weight I have lost since starting.

On Saturdays I usually do an 80+km ride with a bunch sometimes solo. I have noticed that during the return leg of the ride (around the 60k mark), every time I stop and put my foot down (red light) and start to pedal again, my legs starts to stiffen and sometimes ache. This causes me to slow down and get dropped. But, if we don't stop (no red lights), I can manage to stay with the group and arrive home without any stiffening of the legs.

My question is, is this a fitness issue and should go away, or is there a way to remedy it?

Cheers.
Joey

Assuming you have no health or injury issues, then it's most likely just a case of being relatively new and needing time to develop your aerobic fitness. It takes a few years to develop the legs well for this sort of riding - building up the capacity to ride more and ride harder takes time.

Another thing to consider is to validate your bike fits you properly.

I did search for "lactic acid myth" and found some very informative web pages, so thanks for that :) , I'm happy to admit I got sucked in by the myth.

However, none of these web pages explained why after we stop after some fairly strenuous cycling, and then start again after a brief pause, the legs ache a lot, and then the aching subsides after you've been moving for a minute or two. You said it could be due to lack of practice in Joey's case. I've been cycling all my life, and have averaged considerable distance and climbing over the last several years, and I get exactly the same symptoms when stopping at traffic lights then starting again. Several years ago, on a Great Victorian Bike Ride day that had a tougher than usual route, when at the time I was out of practice and my leg muscles weren't as developed as they are now, I had exactly the same symptoms when stopping and starting. This makes me wonder if these symptoms are somehow independent of your fitness level :idea: .
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