3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Forum rules
The information / discussion in the Cycling Health Forum is not qualified medical advice. Please consult your doctor.
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:07 pm

3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Postby JetRangerMike » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:36 pm

Looks like I am in real danger of needing to back out of the 3 peaks 2017 due to leg cramps. :(

Has anybody ever experienced leg cramps like this?
A fortnight ago, every time I would walk or do any exercise at all for 5 minutes or longer I would end up with cramps in my legs somewhere. The cramps would move from different muscle groups, sometimes in the hamstrings, sometimes in the calves, sometimes in the each of the quads, sometimes in the glutes etc. And typically it is very hard to get them to release - to the point that by the time I walk the 10-15 minutes to work from the carpark I am in agonising pain and sweating etc.

The day before the cramps started I did the Ride for Pain (ironically), which was about 5.5 hours of fairly hard riding (though not the hardest ride i've done in the last couple of months). And had plenty to drink with electrolytes (about 7L) - and had to pee part way through so I don't think dehydration was an issue.

Since the symptoms started I've been taking magnesium, eating plenty of bananas (for potassium), drinking milk (for calcium) and have taken a couple of multi-vitamins just in case. I've up'ed my stretching program to see if that would help, but end up putting my back out last weekend.

I've been and seen my GP, who ran some bloods with nothing unusual. I've been to a Physio who's best guess (having never seen it before) is that it's something strange going on with the leg nerves, so he's given me some stretches to go and other exercises. But after 5 days, there has been no improvement.

So, after 2 weeks off the bike ... and no idea when I'll be able to get back on the bike, I'm starting to come to the realisation that unless things changes very quickly my 3 peaks campaign is over.

Anybody got any ideas?

Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:14 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: 3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Postby Hagar » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:30 am

I do obstacle racing (Spartan, Mudder etc) as well as riding and on my first long races (5hrs +) I was getting very bad cramps, to the point where I literally could do nothing other than fall over and wait for my team to help bend me back into shape enough to continue. I don't know why, but once I started getting them, they seemed to start happening earlier and earlier in races, despite doing all the electrolyte/magnesium/salt stuff. They were also causing my recovery time to blow out to at least twice as long as it should be. They were happening on the bike sooner than they should have too.

None of the standard solutions seemed to do anything more than slightly reduce the problem. I went googling and read about pickle juice. Apparently it started in American football. You get a jar of pickled onions, throw the onions away, and take a shot of the juice at the first sign of a cramp. I've tried it in my last three long races (11, 7 & 7 hrs) and it has stopped cramps each time. I carry a small 250ml bottle of juice in my pack, and take a shot whenever I feel the first twangs. For me at least, while it tastes absolutely horrible, it works. I don't quite understand why, because it's almost instant relief, so it's not like it's something getting into the bloodstream and to the muscles. I've read somewhere that it's some sort of nervous system hack, and that American mustard has the same effect, but I haven't tried that.

Posts: 1346
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:35 am
Location: Earlwood

Re: 3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Postby vander » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:46 am

Mike, this jumps out at me as something more then just muscle cramps. Muscle cramps generally happen from unaccustomed activity (eg going too hard or too far) as Hagar mentioned there is a number of things meant to try and help some work for some people some dont its pretty hit and miss. However in your case its happening after 5min of walking etc I almost feel like its something else. Has the milk and bananas helped? Another one that can often be helpful is oranges.

Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: 3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Postby Galeforcephil » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:16 am

An ironman mate of mine swears by watermelon as a cureall for his cramp potential. He also swears it stops you getting DOMS too

User avatar
Posts: 10374
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:14 pm
Location: deep in the pain cave

Re: 3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Postby jules21 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:08 am

wait - are you saying the cramps just keep returning, even days later when you're not doing heavy exercise?

User avatar
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:12 pm

Re: 3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Postby Ivanerrol » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:03 pm

I have suffered severe cramps for years and years. From my jaw down to the toes.
Family on my fathers side seem to all suffer from cramps. My sisters also suffer.

My cramps decreased significantly after starting cycling nine months ago. If I don't cycle for a week the cramps will make a sudden appearance.

I've tried to do some in depth research on cramping. It seems that their is no definitive medical knowledge on exactly why they occur.

Being from a Electrical/Electronics background I have a theory that it's bodies electrical system.
Your heart generates the electrical supply for your body and the nerves carry the "Current" around.
Electrolytes help the conductivity of the nerves to distribute the electrical impulses.

Pickle juice is one big dose of electrolyte. I have seen studies into pickle juice and cramps but there is no definitive medical evidence of why it works.

My neighbors 14 year old nephew is a tennis fanatic. His coach makes him drink a glass of salt water before a 3 set game on a hot day to avoid cramping up.

Unfortunately quinine tablets were banned a few years ago. These did have an impact on cramps. Another reason why the Brits in colonial tropical countries years ago subsisted on G&T's (Quinine in the tonic)

You would think with all the money that's poured into sport, sports institutes, specialist sports physios etc there would be some research that would pinpoint the exact cause of cramping, yet there isin't - only theories.

jetrangermike. You night want to have yourself checked out and find out if you have a very mild case of M.S.
"Follow your passion - go Broke. Follow an opportunity get wealthy" - Mike Rowe - Dirty Jobs

User avatar
Posts: 10319
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:08 pm
Location: If you need to know, ask me

Re: 3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Postby RonK » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:30 pm

Hagar wrote:I went googling and read about pickle juice. Apparently it started in American football. You get a jar of pickled onions, throw the onions away, and take a shot of the juice at the first sign of a cramp. I've tried it in my last three long races (11, 7 & 7 hrs) and it has stopped cramps each time.

Hardly surprising - look at a standard pickling recipe and you will see onions are "pickled" by soaking them in a strong brine solution for 24 hours before bottling with vinegar, herbs and spices.

As it happens I have enjoyed a drop of pickle juice since I was a kid growing up in tropical Darwin. I also took salt tablets and regularly ate Chinese salty plums. Still do when I can get 'em.

So you are drinking salty vinegar. It would be easier to take a salt tablet or an isotonic drink.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Posts: 358
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 10:04 pm

Re: 3 Peaks campaign ending cramps?

Postby battler2 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:43 pm

ive come to understand cramps have more to do with the nervous system and any conditions that may arise from that, even the way up to the brain.

i have to ask if you've taken any antibiotics lately, or even lifetime. some do nerve damage even long after taking them. any other symptoms?

age? also, genetics play a part as well. some people just have better nerves than others, same goes for healing them as well.

magnesium is vital for cramps, twitches etc. might not be taking enough. 600mg at LEAST daily. magnesium chelate is best, absorbs better. i dont use any other form. except a bath with epsom salts (do this!).

stress levels? can also contribute

you're not vegan are you? b12

even overtraining, or bike fit.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users