water & stomach cramps

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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:24 pm
Location: Toowoomba, Qld

water & stomach cramps

Postby DarrenL » Sat May 04, 2013 8:51 pm

thought I might run this past you guys for any suggestions

First up, compared to most here, I'm probably just a casual rider, but I'm slowly trying to work myself up to some bigger rides.
A couple of years ago I participated on a fairly hilly 50km ride. I was doing fairly well, when my legs suddenly lost all strength up a long hill about 3/4 distance and then cramped up. I pulled up and got off the bike, had to sit down as my quads were trembling and seized, I could barely bend my legs. What I found unusual about this is I had very little warning. Legs were doing fairly well up to that point and gave little to no warning they were going to give up. But I had pushed too hard with cramped legs, so they didn't recover for the remainder of the ride, so every little hill was a struggle. I made it to the end, but it was hell.

One thing my g/f commented is that I don't drink much water during the ride nor do I have any of those gels/electrolytes in my water. I did eat a banana along the way though. So I put it down to lack of fitness and probably not drinking enough water. I've been working on the fitness, taking on a lot more hills on my rides and the cramping hasn't happened since. I've also been trying to drink more water on the rides. But this is where the problem occurs. Even if I take small sips of water, I get stomach cramps, mainly when pushing up a hill. But even if I'm not pushing hard, the water seems to bloat my stomach, I don't seem to process it. About half an hour after a ride, I get really thirsty and drink around a litre of water within about half hour and whilst it does still sit in the stomach I don't get stomach cramps if I'm off the bike.

Last weekend I went on fairly challenging hilly training ride (challenging for me, probably a walk in the park for you guys!) but it wasn't a very long ride - just 25km. I had completed the ride a couple of weeks ago with moderate ease with some Endura in my water bottle, but only drank maybe 1/4 of a 750ml bottle. This time it was a fairly hot day so I drank a bit more water (straight water) Got through about 350ml, which isn't much, but good for me. Stomach cramped up fairly bad again on one of the hills. I got to the top and the quads felt a bit weaker than usual. But I pushed on. Hit the next long hill and about half way up the legs let go again. Cramps. I pulled out a lot earlier this time, so it didn't do as much damage and after about a 15 minute rest I was able to resume the ride and complete it relatively easily.

So I've got a situation where I believe my lack of water intake on the ride is possibly leading to leg cramps..... But the problem is, I can't seem to drink water on the go without stomach cramps.... Has anyone come across this situation before ? It was suggested by someone I know who rides that I may need an electrolyte solution to assist in absorbing the water. Now it may just be a coincidence, but on the first time I did that ride, I did have Endura in the bottle and I didn't cramp up. But then again I didn't drink as much as I did on the second ride (with pure water). I'm going to start putting electrolyte in my water from now on and see what happens, but don't want to be barking up the wrong tree...

Any ideas, suggestions ?


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foo on patrol
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Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:12 am
Location: Sanstone Point QLD

Re: water & stomach cramps

Postby foo on patrol » Sun May 05, 2013 6:48 am

You need to be drinking plenty of fluids the day before and early on the morning of your rides. To late to try and hydrate on the day, I can't help you with the stomach problem though. To satisfy yourself on deficiency of any vitamins, get a blood test. :|

I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Goal 6000km

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