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What is causing my leg cramps?(7 posts)

What is causing my leg cramps?kushogun
Oct 7, 2001 8:09 PM
Hello everyone, hopefully I can get some help on a problem that I have been having since I have been riding. I am a serious recreational rider who likes to do a local race every now and again. Anyways, almost every ride I will get cramps in my calves. Usually around the 18-20 mile mark they start to tighten, and if I stop at a light and put my foot down the calf goes and cramps for a painful 2 minutes or so. What is causing this? Could it be I have my pedal cleat to far forward causing me to use a lot of my toes when I pedal. I wonder if this may be it because when I cramp my toe points downward. Could it be the cooler temp? Not enough water when I ride? I understand it may be a combination of these, but if anyone who has had bad cramping problems in the calves, any help would be greatly appreciated. Everyone have a nice day and a better ride!
re: What is causing my leg cramps?Chen2
Oct 8, 2001 5:57 AM
Sounds to me as if your cleats are too far forward. The pedal spindle should be directly under the ball of your foot.
If you are sweating a lot you need more fluids and more electrolytes (salt), but since your cramping is specific to your calves it sounds more like a cleat adjustment is needed.
Not enough info.......Len J
Oct 8, 2001 6:09 AM
but I'll ask you a few questions.

1.) Do you keep your toes and feet relaxed when you pedal? Constant tension in your feet can cause what you describe. Concentrate on relaxing your feet to correct.

2.) Are you ankling while you ride? I.E do you continually use flex in your foot to move the pedals? Over exaggeration of this can cause overuse of the calves.

3.) Are you hydrating enough with sports drinks? Some people need more electrolytes because of the way they sweat. I agree with a previous poster that you would think this would result in general cramping, however, I think that the most stressed muscles will cramp first (which is why I ask 1 & 2 above)

My .02

Your legs!! just like the question...DT
Oct 8, 2001 1:15 PM
...asked by wives of many husbands..."Honey, do these pants make my butt look big?", to which many husands (want to) respond, "No, your butt makes your butt look big!" :o)
Some theoriesKerry Irons
Oct 8, 2001 5:12 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. This assumes you keep a high cadence. Of course it could also be those magic Ksyrium wheels that make you go 1.5 mph faster and overwork your muscles :)
Oct 8, 2001 5:47 PM
Well it definately seems like I am getting raked over the coals by a non-forgiving forum about the wheels. Ok maybe it was more of a placebo affect than I thought, however, if the wheels increase my avg. speed from 18.9 to 20.2 mph on a consistent basis, then they were worth the psychological boost. A lot of any sport is confidence in your ability, as well as with your equipment. What kind of bike do you have? I am sure you could have spent less money on a bike that gives you the exact same results, and why did you do that? Because you think it may help you perform better, so in the end it does. The power of the mind my friend, never underestimate it.
See excellent response to this post on Racing board. :-) nmLazy
Oct 8, 2001 8:40 PM