More cramps

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More cramps

Postby jasimon » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:59 pm

I've been experiencing cramps in rather odd circumstances recently and was hoping some of the members here might be able to suggest some ideas for further investigation (I realise there is only so much one can do over the internet).

I don't get to commute any more so, to make up for it, I take evening rides along the Epping Rd bike path. It is a fairly quick loop of about 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back. But, invariably right at the end I'll be right on the edge of cramping - if I stand up or push hard I will cramp. I can do multi-hour rides on the weekend without cramping but this short half hour loop seems to be a sure fire way to induce a cramp.

I have a suspicion that the profile of the ride has something to do with it - because it seems hard to believe that it is dehydration or anything like that on such a short ride. The return leg is mostly uphill from the Lane Cove River and Mowbray Rd to the Pacific Highway - then it is downhill and rolling back to Naremburn. It is on this last section that I get the cramps (or have to be careful to avoid getting a cramp). Could the alternation between steady climb and fast rolling downhill on the big ring be inducing it? Any suggestions for what to think about?
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by BNA » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:11 pm

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Postby sogood » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:11 pm

Are you pushing too hard for your 30mins? Muscle fatigue at the end of the session? Do you stretch after one of these sessions?
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Postby jasimon » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:42 pm

How would I define pushing too hard? While I don't have a computer, I think I keep my cadence reasonably high (80+?) and don't really push big gears.

Once I'm off the bike it's OK - and my muscles don't feel tired. Mostly I work up a good sweat. I don't stretch although I probably should. (My flexibility is otherwise very good - as assessed at my last physical).
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Postby sogood » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:31 pm

Do you feel tired? How does it compare with your normal rides? Also, make sure you hydrate yourself well. At the end of a work day, it's easy to be a little dehydrated.
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Postby pine » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:17 pm

.I used to get that when I ran to fast to soon. I think you will need to stretch before hand and then just do easy 5min to 10 before you push harder gears. Your body may think it is wind down time in the evening and then you hit it with a cycle. Maybe the early morning suits you more. That’s my 5c worth
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Postby RobRollin » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:08 pm

A soloution to look at is to stretch before and after riding and also eat more bannanas. Potassium is a good source of vitamins to stop cramps. It also could be because your muscles are not used to working at that intenisty as yet and after the muscles have been depleted of energy they are cramping.
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Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:52 pm

I have found magnesium good for stopping cramps.
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Postby lemmiwinks » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:56 pm

I'd second the magnesium. I've been having problems so I took a supplement before the race on Saturday, 30km hard (for me) riding no sign of cramping. Didn't take one yesterday before the bunch ride because I thought I was getting enough through my sports drink, left calf cramped on the final sprint. Still "won" though :lol:
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Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:23 pm

lemmiwinks wrote:I'd second the magnesium. I've been having problems so I took a supplement before the race on Saturday, 30km hard (for me) riding no sign of cramping. Didn't take one yesterday before the bunch ride because I thought I was getting enough through my sports drink, left calf cramped on the final sprint. Still "won" though :lol:


Does your sports drink have magnesium? Mine doesn't, which I find quite ridiculous :!: I will remember to check next time.
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Postby sogood » Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:27 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:Does your sports drink have magnesium? Mine doesn't, which I find quite ridiculous :!: I will remember to check next time.

Staminade is one common sports drink that contains Mg.
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Postby simonn » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:14 pm

sogood wrote:Staminade is one common sports drink that contains Mg.


FWIW, my wife used to get cramps on her commute. She started drinking 1/4 - 1/2 strength Staminade instead of water during her ride and no longer gets them.
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Postby lemmiwinks » Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:06 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:Does your sports drink have magnesium? Mine doesn't, which I find quite ridiculous :!: I will remember to check next time.


It does now. Made the same mistake as you the first time, so I checked the labels carefully before buying this time (also helps that I knew what to look for this time around). Ended up with Endura Magnesium hydration formula as there didn't seem to be much choice in town and this was the only one I found with magnesium in it. This one ticks the boxes for things it should have in it, tastes pretty bland though.
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Postby jasimon » Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:39 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I will try better hydration/magnesium sports drink as a first step.

I don't think it is the intensity per se. I can go as hard or harder for longer on the weekends and not have problems. I also think I am getting warmed up as the first 5 minutes is a gradual uphill that I don't push too hard and then the next 5-10 is a fast run downhill in the bus lane that involves big gears (or coasting) but no significant pushing. But, maybe I am more of a morning person - I'll have to try the run of a morning to see.

I didn't get a chance to see if better hydration was working on my last run on Thursday as I got a slow flat just as I was about to 'stretch out' on the downhill run from the Pacific Highway. Pumped it up and limped home.
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