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kr1skr1s Posts: 125
Might be in the wrong forum guys/girls but has anyone any tips for combatting stitch whilst on the bike?
Trek Madone 5.2 08
Specialized Tricross
Scott Scale
Twitter @ChrisBedford1


  • pbracingpbracing Posts: 231
    Do you get them often? Maybe don't eat too soon before a ride. I thought I heard once that anyone can suffer with them, even top athletes and they don't know exactly why they occur. Thoughts anyone?
    Why not? My bikes.
    Summer & dry days ... /Trek1.jpg

    Wet winter days & going the shops runaround ... rello1.jpg
  • Are you drinking water or isotonic drinks?

    Often too low body salts
  • kr1skr1s Posts: 125
    i tend to drink science in sports GO when.

    Think its true about eating/drinking large amounts before the off as it only seems to occur if i ride late in the day, early mornings are never a problem

    I just wondered if there was a tried and tested way of dealing with it in the saddle if it does occur...
    Trek Madone 5.2 08
    Specialized Tricross
    Scott Scale
    Twitter @ChrisBedford1
  • BigDarbsBigDarbs Posts: 132
    I had exactly the same problem. I was quite concerned as I considered myself fairly fit. I raced mountain bikes at expert level for 13 years, then stopped racing but carried on riding. For the past 12 months I have been training properly again to start racing on the road, and I started getting stitch occasionally which had never happened before. I only get it in maybe one in every 7 or 8 rides, and generally when giving it some onions uphilll.

    There seemed to be no real pattern to it, I varied the time that I ate before riding, used plain water or energy drinks etc, I couldn't replicate it.

    As I couldn't prevent it, I started to look for ways to deal with it. I think it may have been on this forum that I found the best advice. Having read a lot around the subject, there seems to be no real certainty about the causes of stitch, but this is the solution that works for me every time.

    When I feel it coming on or it suddenly appears, I take a very, very deep breath and exhale hard through my mouth, forcing every last drop of air out of the bottom of my lungs, repeat this 3 times. hey presto, no more stitch!

    I have now perfected this technique so that as soon as I feel it coming on I carry this process out (sometimes one deep breath and hard exhale does it), and it prevents it coming on any further. I have also started to make sure my breathing is very even and deep when working hard on the bike, as this definitely helps with preventing it coming on at all.
  • kr1skr1s Posts: 125
    well thanks for the advice

    Id wondered if some different breathing may help

    I have the similar complaint where its completely random when it occurs, except early morning rides
    Trek Madone 5.2 08
    Specialized Tricross
    Scott Scale
    Twitter @ChrisBedford1
  • I had this problem and posted on here a couple of years ago (I think).

    I tried everything mentioned above, but what I found was that although it seemed to be random, it was actually linked to heart rate (for me).

    If my heart rate is too high for a sustained period, then I get stitch and once I've got it, it comes back every time my heart rate goes up above a certain threshold. You might find that the breathing exercises are actually just controlling your heart rate.

    I have no scientific evidence for this but it worked for me all last year in TTs. I still get stitch at the end of a TT but I can control the point I allow it to happen because I know how hard I can push and for how long I can sustain the pain before it slows me down.

    The HR was quite high which is why I found it in TTs rather than in training.

    Hope this helps
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    @BigDarbs - similar background to you, used to race MTB, road and TT then stopped and started MTBing and road riding again last year after a 15 year break and I've been getting stitches the odd ride to (which never used to happen), not found a way to stop them though but will give your technique a shot.

    Don't think it's to do with a lack of salts in the body as per ride_whenever's post - that's more the suspected cause of cramps. Current theory on stitches is they're from stretching the ligaments that support the liver - which although makes sense for running doesn't hold up as well when cycling IMO as there's much less force being exerted up and down the body. I guess getting up out of the saddle on a cimb and really going for it does have similar movements/stress as running, not sure all mine come after out of the saddle riding though.
  • I was tood by a PTI when in the forces that it was caused by shallow breathing and a good few structered deep breaths solve it try breathing deeply in the the nose and exhale till lungs are empty, you tend to sound like a steam train when you do this but I find it really helps
    "BEER" Proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy
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