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Cramp. What do you know?

planktonplankton Posts: 78
Recently I had tonsillitis and was given antibiotics. Last weekend it was almost cleared up but I just had to get out on my bike.
For a few miles I felt fine but was then attacked with bad cramp. I turned to come home but it got so bad I had to stop and walk a few times.
I had an energy bar, food and my usual energy drink. I ate and drank more but it did not go away.

I'm wondering if my fitness has just badly dropped as I didn't let myself recover enough or antibiotics have an odd effect. Maybe the two.
So, after my rambling, what do you know about cramp and how to prevent it. Also is there a way to stop it increasing once it's started and I'm miles from home?

thanks in advance

plankton

Posts

  • holmeboyholmeboy Posts: 674
    They reckon cramp's caused by lack of salt's in the blood so they recommend Isotonic drinks to replenish soduim/potassuim etc. seems to work as the last time I suffered, after doing an 65 mile Audax (had cycled from home 25 miles to start) cycling home got calf muscle cramp on the first hill after setting out for home, drank an isotonic and no more cramp. Obviously was'nt blasting home but done descent pace, mainly on the flat right enough.Definitly suffered more from cramp a few years ago when first upping the Mileage, very seldom now. 8)
    I suppose being ill tends to empty the body of a lot of it's resources and antibiotics can effect the stomach, so I suppose this does'nt help things.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    holmeboy wrote:
    They reckon cramp's caused by lack of salt's in the blood so they recommend Isotonic drinks to replenish soduim/potassuim etc. seems to work as the last time I suffered, after doing an 65 mile Audax (had cycled from home 25 miles to start) cycling home got calf muscle cramp on the first hill after setting out for home, drank an isotonic and no more cramp. Obviously was'nt blasting home but done descent pace, mainly on the flat right enough.Definitly suffered more from cramp a few years ago when first upping the Mileage, very seldom now. 8)
    I suppose being ill tends to empty the body of a lot of it's resources and antibiotics can effect the stomach, so I suppose this does'nt help things.

    They reckon...

    would the 'they' be the sports drink manufacturers by any chance?

    There were a few great threads over on slowtwitch.com led by an expert in the hydration field called Tim Noakes. If I interpreted him correctly he suggests that cramp is not caused by hydration or salt issues but by a lack of specific fitness. He suggests that a lot of research done in this field is sponsored by the drinks companies so may not be reliable.


    I don't know what's true or not, I don't know if I've interpreted things correctly, but I'm left wondering who the 'they' are and if the 'they' are correct.

    Sorry to jump on your post, I'm just wondering...
  • In my experience (of ridiing my bike and getting cramp) it's a combination of existing fitness, the difficulty of the ride, how hard you push, hydration, amount you sweat....

    I sweat a lot and usually get a few twinges on a long ride especially if it is warm - my ideal hard 100 miles would be done on an overcast day in May about 18 degrees with no wind.. As soon as it gets above 20 the chances of cramp goes up as I sweat more. Things that have helped me are getting fitter so hills don't knacker me out so much, taking more water with me (I've got two bottle cages on the bike and two behind the seatpost) and using Edurolyte capsules from Hammer. I'm convinced the later work well as even if I'm not cycling regularly I get cramp in bed at night or sitting at my desk or walking to shops or sitting on the floor (I get a lot of cramp, esp. in my feet) and the Endurolytes help prevent this too.
  • holmeboyholmeboy Posts: 674
    got calf muscle cramp on the first hill after setting out for home, drank an isotonic and no more cramp.

    The "they" Im referring to is Mainly bike Magazine's ie Cycling Weekly.

    Try cycling a long hard hilly 90 miles without eating/drinking and see if you get cramp. :roll:
  • APIIIAPIII Posts: 2,010
    I was just reading an article about cramp this afternoon that determined that salt/hydration could be a factor, but cramp was more likely to be brought on by asking your body to exercise at a higher level than it is used to. Cramp is more prevalent in spring/early summer apparently, and this would fit with the traditional cycling regime of base winter miles followed by more intense training in the spring. The conclusion seemed to be to allow the body time to adapt to the increased activity - not so easy to put into practice when your half way into a century ride!
  • planktonplankton Posts: 78
    Oh dear I did wonder if it was general fitness and I have been bogged down with colds all winter and not ridden anywhere near as much as I would have liked :(

    Still at least I have an excuse to get a bit obsessive about riding again.

    I have been looking at making my own drinks of a small amount of salt, apple juice and water. The only bad effect has been a slight increase in wind :oops:
    When I had the bad attack I was on my normal energy drink though as it was a longer, harder ride on a hotter day. Which would suggest my overall fitness is to blame.

    Thanks for the info though and if anyone is interested in the link chrisw12 mentioned you can find the info here,-

    http://forum.slowtwitch.com/Slowtwitch_ ... t_P2297723
  • jthefjthef Posts: 226
    I sweat a lot on my rides and suffered from cramp at nights but I now use SIS GO all the time I use a weak mix for general cycling of up to about 2 hours of 20 g per bottle. If the ride is going to be longer, very hard or it is hot I will increase the strength. since I started using this I have only and 1 or 2 bits of cramp at night and no ware near as bad as it use to be. Also I try to drink a bottle per hour, the longer you go the more important it is.
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    jthef wrote:
    I sweat a lot on my rides and suffered from cramp at nights but I now use SIS GO all the time I use a weak mix for general cycling of up to about 2 hours of 20 g per bottle. If the ride is going to be longer, very hard or it is hot I will increase the strength. since I started using this I have only and 1 or 2 bits of cramp at night and no ware near as bad as it use to be. Also I try to drink a bottle per hour, the longer you go the more important it is.
    Yes but the more you ride, the fitter you get too.

    It's a bit like the patient who goes to their GP saying "I've got a cold" and the doctor says "right, each morning stand up and sing God Save the Queen". The patient looks confused but promises to try it and wow, five days later they feel better!

    Cramp has several causes, a loss of water or salt can be one cause but it's also stress on the muscle, tightness or general fatigue where the legs simply tell the brain to sod off.
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