A cure for cramp?

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foxyrider
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A cure for cramp?

Postby foxyrider » 30 Apr 2018, 8:54pm

So bit of background first. Last year I had a serious DVT which kept me off the bike or any exercise really for 3 months. I started exercise again last August and I guess i'm pretty much back to the fitness I had 18 months ago. However since restarting riding i've had regular cramp like pains after riding - often several hours later. The doctor suggested this was fairly normal post DVT and not to be concerned.
That reassured me - not! Anyhow I have found that drinking plenty post ride lessens the cramping (yes I try to make sure salt levels are maintained too).

A couple of weeks ago I broke out the good bike and went for a ride - no after ride cramp - strange. I've since ridden a long, fast sportive on it and no real cramp, same on today's ride. In between I rode one of my other bikes and had the cramp issue.

So what's the difference? Well apparently 2cm in saddle height - the best bike having the saddle that amount higher than all my other bikes. By that it looks like riding slightly stretched is preventing the cause of the cramps to get a hold. I'm no doctor or scientist and everyone seems to be vague about the causes of cramp but I shall be raising the saddles on the other bikes!

Would be interesting if other sufferers could try this and see if it helps - it's certainly the first thing i've come across that seems to work (hydration and salt intake help but don't prevent it coming along for me)
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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John1054
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby John1054 » 1 May 2018, 8:18am

Look forward to hearing if raising your other saddles help. I get cramp at times - new one recently in the back of my thighs. Not very fit and Derbyshire's hills probably the cause?

backnotes
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby backnotes » 1 May 2018, 11:47am

It may be an old cycle tourist's tale, but I was told cramp can be caused more particularly by potassium shortage rather than salt / electrolyte depletion in general. Bananas are a good source of potassium so you could try eating a couple and see if that helps. It may be a placebo effect, or it may be that stopping for just long enough to eat a standard size banana allows the pain to pass. Or it may all be fake news from the Banana Marketing Board!

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SimonCelsa
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby SimonCelsa » 1 May 2018, 2:23pm

I recently completed a 100K Sportive - I tend to do just the one per year - and found the exact opposite!! I am normally on the cusp of cramping if I over exert and hence this year decided to try and get my hydration and feeding right. I also raised my saddle by about 2 cm just prior to the start (I don't ride this bike too often and it just seemed a bit low). Anyhow, relative disaster, it started with a near death inducing front end shimmy on the first downhill and after the midway beast of a climb I had to ease off and basically coast back as both legs were cramping, initially the calves - which I can just about live with - but then into the inner thigh which is abject agony & turns you pale, cold and clammy. I had eaten 4 bananas upto this point, 6 fig rolls and a handful of jelly babies along with 1.5 ltrs of juice. I didn't really feel as though I had been pushing that much either.....I was aiming to get around in a 'usualish' time of 3hrs 40min but it took 30 minutes more. I get the impression that cramp is part psychological and just fretting about it can bring it on?? Anyhow, whoever devises the miracle cure will certainly get my dollar,

All the best Simon

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foxyrider
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby foxyrider » 1 May 2018, 5:01pm

SimonCelsa wrote:I recently completed a 100K Sportive - I tend to do just the one per year - and found the exact opposite!! I am normally on the cusp of cramping if I over exert and hence this year decided to try and get my hydration and feeding right. I also raised my saddle by about 2 cm just prior to the start (I don't ride this bike too often and it just seemed a bit low). Anyhow, relative disaster, it started with a near death inducing front end shimmy on the first downhill and after the midway beast of a climb I had to ease off and basically coast back as both legs were cramping, initially the calves - which I can just about live with - but then into the inner thigh which is abject agony & turns you pale, cold and clammy. I had eaten 4 bananas upto this point, 6 fig rolls and a handful of jelly babies along with 1.5 ltrs of juice. I didn't really feel as though I had been pushing that much either.....I was aiming to get around in a 'usualish' time of 3hrs 40min but it took 30 minutes more. I get the impression that cramp is part psychological and just fretting about it can bring it on?? Anyhow, whoever devises the miracle cure will certainly get my dollar,

All the best Simon


Sorry to hear of your issues on the sportive. I think it very unlikely that the rise in saddle height had anything to do with the shimmy, they are almost always an effect of steering and load distribution.

Four narnas is a lot! My last sportive (172km in 5hrs) I managed about 3/4's of one spread between feed stations. (I had a couple of 'sandwiches', half a bowl of soup and about a litre of apple juice / cola in addition to the sports drink in my bidon). What I didn't have was cramp. I've got 120km with 2000m climbing in the Dales this weekend - i'll report on the cramp or not after that effort but i've not had cramp on today's 3/4 length/climb ride.

Just for clarification the cramp i've been suffering has been restricted almost completely to the leg affected by the DVT and then mostly restricted to the calf area which suffered from @ 10% swelling, more at its worst, for some extended period.
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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SimonCelsa
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby SimonCelsa » 3 May 2018, 5:32pm

172km in 5hrs!!???

Strewth, that's some going, you'd leave me for dead, cramp or no cramp,

All the best, Simon

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foxyrider
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby foxyrider » 3 May 2018, 8:00pm

SimonCelsa wrote:172km in 5hrs!!???

Strewth, that's some going, you'd leave me for dead, cramp or no cramp,

All the best, Simon


Cheers

I'm a long way off fit yet, i'm still shy of tackling anything too serious climb wise but this weekend will force me into at least some anaerobic effort!
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

toontra
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby toontra » 3 May 2018, 8:11pm

Making sure I drink enough fluid before and during long rides means I no longer get the crippling leg cramps I was plagued by. A very simple solution for me!
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foxyrider
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby foxyrider » 7 May 2018, 8:30am

Okay so TDY sportive completed, 2000m climbing, 129km, 5hrs 30mins. Quite a warm day and a lot of the climbing could be described as 'extreme', leg popping gradients of up to 20%. So quite a big effort, I was far from the fastest riders but most likely upper 20% of the field time wise.

I'll admit to being a bit light on hydration - the feed stations were so poorly organised getting extra fluid involved long queues and tbh the food on offer was miserable.

As far as cramp goes, a little 'climbing' cramp on the last proper climb and nothing reaching full on cramp afterwards or overnight. DVT leg if anything better than usual (I can usually get inadvertent cramps when stretching but not this morning).

So the higher saddle, more stretched riding position seems to work for me.

Anyone else brave enough to give it a go?
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 7 May 2018, 12:08pm

Hi,
Firstly, 20 MM is a mile, I tend to ride with a low saddle, that is low to my optimal and this could be 5mm max.
You could be super flexible, I am pretty flexible normally, so when my turbo saddle dropped an inch mid ride I did not notice until it dropped some more mid session :)

I am also in a similar boat as you, I am recovering from an accident, probably about 95 % fit, off bike for a month about 4 months ago.
I haven't suffered much in my life and could probably count the times of cramp after exercise on one hand up to about 4 years ago, never during exercise.

But my cramps of late are more from the tread mill walking at 4.5 mph on 10% gradient rather than cycling, and then only in bed next day.
Also a bit when riding with longer cranks.
Mine I am guessing are more related to stretching my hams differently on the tread mill and over ranging with longer crank, also I thinks its nerve related as I can get cramp like pains in one leg (hams, now both) which will come on on the tread mill, but never cycling, If I relax slightly its goes,just like on the bike a small twinge in lower leg can disappear as soon as it comes on by relaxing your style slightly.......seconds and its gone.

Last time I had cramps bad after exercise was a half marathon about 25 years ago after a break of five years of any exercise.

With age (59) and a tendency to dehydrate more plus tendonitis (minor) and silly ambitions, no wonder we get pains.

On sportives, did my first 100K over Dartmoor last year-
Just turned up on the day and rode course...no entry fee £40....
Scraped inside a gold medal time for age :)
Bike is 15 KGs with mudguards, rack, lights, pump, three bottle racks etc, etc :?
1950M of climb.
1:4 hills.
carrying food tool kit and 4 litres of water................2 litres on my back.
35 mm tyres.
Minimum gear used 46", max gear available 96".
Time 4Hrs 27 min.
Hope to do better this year on a 160K with a saving of 4.5 KG on the bike and to drop excess body weight of 7 KG, should go quicker 11.5 kgs lighter............add the 23 mm tyres and will be a wizzzzzzzzzzzzzz :mrgreen: Getting a bit peeved off getting overtaken on hills only to pass plastic bikes on the flat..............7.5 kgs....dream on.....
Priority Is Still 500K In 24......Just Dreaming..............Stay Focused Guys And Keep Sharp.....
You'll Find Me At The Top Of a Hill...............Somewhere

De Sisti
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby De Sisti » 7 May 2018, 12:53pm

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi,

Getting a bit peeved off getting overtaken on hills only to pass plastic bikes on the flat..............7.5 kgs....dream on.....

Why would it bother you? :roll:

ianrobo
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby ianrobo » 9 May 2018, 2:53pm

I cramped badly at about 300km on my weekend ride but got over it by stretching. No one knows for sure what causes them but I am starting to believe it is pure muscle fitness rather than any salty of other issues.

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foxyrider
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby foxyrider » 16 May 2018, 9:38am

Into third week of the 'experiment' (@ 1000km of riding) - continue to not get the cramp I was having post ride.

Next week will use the other bike with lower position to check the theory.
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby Vorpal » 16 May 2018, 9:49am

I read recently that a diet too low in calcium &/or magnesium can cause cramps.

https://www.health24.com/diet-and-nutri ... y-20120721
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foxyrider
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Re: A cure for cramp?

Postby foxyrider » 16 May 2018, 9:05pm

Vorpal wrote:I read recently that a diet too low in calcium &/or magnesium can cause cramps.

https://www.health24.com/diet-and-nutri ... y-20120721


Amongst other things. I do my best to keep all that stuff topped up - i'm beyond looking for answers chemical. Low salt content in food is a big thing for me, when it was taken out of just about every bit of cooking by the 'experts' I almost immediately started getting cramp - I now dose my food fairly liberally when I eat out and presto, cramp gone.

The cramp that's affecting me now has a different base cause, only starting after my DVT last year - clearly it is related to that.
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!