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Cramp - ouch!!!

bombdogsbombdogs Posts: 107
Had only my second-ever race the other week and all was going well.
The race was 25 laps over 60-miles round a circuit and was open to 2nd, 3rd and 4th cat riders.
Pace-wise, it was quite high as there was very little wind - in fact, hardly any - so top speeds were about 34mph and averaged around 24/25mph (couldn't tell you exactly as my computer stopped working after 25-miles into the race).
All was going well, as I have been putting in some serious virtually every nigth since November, but with just four laps to go distaster struck when I swerved to avoid a crash in the middle of the pack.
I stuck my left knee out to help me swerve quickly and something just twinged, then cramp set in.
God, I was in agony. Went out the back and couldn't get back on. Managed to keep going - although I had to pedal the remaining laps mostly with my right leg and even avoided getting lapped (don't ask me how).
Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else has had this happen to them? Also, my left leg has been feeling a bit weird since, very achy.
I drank plenty of electolite sports drink during the race and was well stocked up on carb gels, so I know that I wasn't dehydrated.
Cheers in advance for all yor help, guys and girls?


  • slunkerslunker Posts: 346
    I have just started geting the same problem. Haven't cramped before but now I have cramped up in the last 2 races in both legs. Both in the same places, the inner thigh. Always made sure I'm hydrated.

    The pain will be from excessive cramping where the muscles have actually had a slight pull.
  • Gary DGary D Posts: 431
    I don't race at all but I have suffered cramp on two or three rides recently. After doing a little research, there doesn't seem to be one clear answer or opinion.

    I thought it was electrolyte deficiency so I now always use Nuun tablets in my drinks bottles with half water and half orange juice. I also tend to drink quite a lot during a ride.

    However, the conclusion I came to is it is dehydration. It is caused though by not drinking enough 1 or 2 days before the ride. It seems as though trying to top up fluids just before or during a ride doesn't work as effectively and still doesn't prevent me getting cramp.

    For example, I did a 57 mile ride on Saturday on my own. I started to cramp in my calves at about 22 miles. By that time I had already drunk 2 x 750ml bottles!! I rode to my brothers house and re-filled both bottles and drunk them before I got home :shock: :shock: . The cramp was ever present all the way home. I then realised after thinking about it, that the previous 2 days I had been working in the office and had "forgotten" to keep drinking. I had also played tennis on Friday evening and had just not replaced enough fluids.

    It is not a very scientific conclusion, but for my case anyway, I think I am on the right track. I need to keep drinking and stay hydrated at all times.

    Hope this helps,

    Oh and I feel like I've been raped by an Orangutan :shock: And I've got legs like Girders :lol:
  • Slow1972Slow1972 Posts: 362
    I agree that pre-race hydration is important. I had cramp for the first time on a race on Sunday and the only two factors were 1) I had been out on the P**s with clients on Thursday night and so struggled to rehydrate friday and saturday (don't really drink more than the odd couple of pints here and there so a long session was a bit of a shock to the system!) 2) I stupidly didnt drink a full bottle of drink (with carbs) in the hour prior to the race as I have always previously done (to the point that I usually need to have a big leak immediately before the start)

    I got big cramps in the last half lap, lost position and so ended up mid bunch after riding in/off the front third all the way round and feeling pretty strong prior to that. Also stupidly tried to pedal through the pain rather than backing right off. I now have very very stiff calves as a result. Last time I did this a couple of years ago I found a very very gentle ride gets the blood circulating through them and loosens them up so that's the plan for tonight/tomorrow morning

    Lessons - big drinking sessions take too long for a 37 year old to recover from. Don't forget the pre-race hydration as if you haven't done it the drink you have during the race may be too little too late imho.

    I think the other thing is that, irrespective of all the above, there are times when you race where you just push yourself that little bit harder or longer than your body is used to and maybe cramp is also a your body's response to that too.

    So the plan this week is back to no big drinking session thursday, plenty of water friday and saturday and a bottle on the way to the race sunday
  • alp777alp777 Posts: 211
    Wow.....freaky, i got cramp today at the end of a 70 mile ride in my left inner thigh, never had it before, but i reckon mine was due to the fact that i have just got a new bike, shoes and pedals.......and maybe the fact that i had a few lagers last night and only drank 1 1/2 litres of energy drink throughout the whole ride.

    It will be interesting to see if it happens again.
  • LingfieldXCLingfieldXC Posts: 134
    i got bad left calf cramp when stretching after a ride last week, which resulted in a twinging for a couple of days afterwards and i didn't ride for a few days after it felt better just to be safe. i used deep heat which seemed to help.
    Your'e never alone with schizophrenia.
  • When I make up a drink bottle I always add abit of table salt - not so much that you taste it but enough to top up the reserves. If you drink just plain water or juice then I think this eventually causes the cramp.

    Works for me anyway....
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  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    I've often get cramp in early season races, it's even cost me a result or two. There's some hidden rule that I get cramp on the last lap of a race, no matter if it's five laps or fifeteen, the bell lap seems to go hand in hand with cramp. :cry:

    I've looked into this a lot and there are many reasons behind cramp, it can be from salt losses, dehydration, diet, muscle fatigue and more. There's no single cause, no single solution.

    Surprisingly, exercise physiologists don't know the precise cause of cramp yet, it is still a semi-experimental area of physiology and medicine. I've written an article on it here, it might help some:

    Your right no one cause, but usually a mixture of the above.
    The biggest one I see in people is lack of preperation.
    They think they can do a 125 mile sporitve without the right prep, not just the milage, but the intensity of the rides is higher, which fatigues the muslce.
    It seems most cyclist think the cramp is from de hydration so think if they drink a lot it will go away.
    Before I start racing I ensure for at least 4 weeks I do some higher intensity training rides, and treat first couple of races as training or I end up cramping on last lap also :D
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