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Cramps(5 posts)

Sep 10, 2001 8:50 AM
Can seat position help with cramps? My bike set up hasn't changed nor has my diet, but after about 50 miles of hard riding (several hills) I start cramping.This has only occured in the last two months. The cramps are mostly in my quads but occasionally in my hamstring. Usually I slow the pace and the cramps don't effect me too much. However, a couple of times I was forced to get off the bike and stretch. Any suggestions?

Thanks for you help,
Hydrate and electrolytes ...Humma Hah
Sep 10, 2001 8:59 AM
I developed a painful back spasm at about 135 miles this weekend. I'd been doing a pretty good job staying hydrated on my usual sports drink (Gookinade ERG, mixed to 50% strength -- the formula is very high in potassium). We stopped at a convenience store and I picked up a bottle of PowerAde (a little more sodium, and I drank it full-strength). The back returned to normal in a couple of minutes.

Most people experience cramps due to insufficient potassium. Ultra-distance riders may need more sodium.

Sources of potassium: fruits, especially bananas. Morton's Lite Salt (50% potassium chloride). Morton's Salt Substitute (almost 100% potassium chloride). Gatorade has a little potassium, lots of sodium. Powerade is richer in potassium. Compare those to the various recovery drinks, some of which also have good electrolyte levels.
last 2 months? sounds like heat is a factor...Tig
Sep 10, 2001 9:05 AM
and with heat come extra sweating and the need for more water consumption. Without enough water, your muscles will cramp. Same goes with the lack of minerals. A good sports drink can help with that. Tums or Rolaids can help relieve cramps as a backup. Am I on the right track? My Saturday ride was so hot, humid, and fast, I drank 104 ounces of water over 40 miles. I'm a water hog, but it works for me.

If your hamstrings are cramping, it could be from a saddle that is too low, which causes your knee to bend too deeply at the top of the pedal stroke, and flexex these muscles too deeply as well. A seated position towards the back will use your large muscles more, including hamstrings and glut's. Do you slide back on the saddle when climbing? Position and/or water and mineral insufficiency can cause them to cramp.
re: CrampsChen2
Sep 10, 2001 9:43 AM
This has been a problem for me, but this year I have made a lot of progress fighting cramps. My formula is more training, more fluids, and especially more electrolytes. On longer rides I add a small amount of salt substitute (KCL) and regular salt (NaCl)to my water sports drinks. I can't go for much of the salt substitute because of its taste, but I do use a little. My favorite sports drink is Hydra Fuel, lemon lime flavored. This year on the Hotter'n Hell Hundred I carried pre-measured powdered Hydra Fuel with an added dash of salt substitute packed in small zip lock bags. On the way to the ride I picked up a handful of paper salt packets at the golden arches and carried those in a zip lock. I emptied one salt packet with the Hydra Fuel into every other water bottle during the ride and for the first time, 100 miles with NO CRAMPS.
re: CrampsKerry Irons
Sep 10, 2001 5:40 PM
Adventure Cyclist Sept/Oct. 2001 Muscle Cramps comments by Nancy Clark

5 theories (none proven, as science does not know the cause of cramps, and cannot cause cramps predictably): 1) hydration, 2) lack of calcium (doubted by nutritionists), 3) lack of sodium, 4) lack of potassium (not likely since the body has so much) 5) lack of pickle juice (lots of ions). Note, musicians get hand cramps, even though they are not likely experiencing any of 1-5.

My own experience has been that sodium and hydration are the keys.