/ Cramps during intense excercise
The trigger appeared to be the transition between carrying the bike and riding.
I'm aware that the most common cause is electrolyte deficiency but this is unlikely here as they began about 2 hrs into the rides and I had been using electrolyte drinks in both.
After the TdBN experience I made sure I warmed up thoroughly prior to the 3 peaks but if anything the cramps were worse.
Most people think cramps is caused by electrolyte loss, but there have been a lot of studies done recently which show that electrolytes do not actually play much if any part in it, but it is purely down to untrained muscles.
I've read this on a number of sites, but afraid I can't provide links to any of the studies.
Do you do any long training rides with both cycling and carrying ?
> > Do you do any long training rides with both cycling and carrying ?
Yes, I prepared thoroughly for the event. I did 'go deep' in both events and that was my first thought, that I'd just over cooked it.
Have you been getting the cramps during training?
If not then it would suggest that there is a mismatch between the level you are training at and the level you are trying to race at.
Are you using a heart rate monitor to pace yourself? This would highlight any difference between training and race efforts. Ie if you are riding for 3hr at 150bpm in training then trying to race for 4hr at 160bpm it wouldn't be a surprise if you run into problems.
> If not then it would suggest that there is a mismatch between the level you are training at and the level you are trying to race at.
I'm starting to think that this is the case.
A friend and I both had similar experiences (me with mountain biking, him with trail running), where our training had included long workouts, and intense workouts, but then on race day the combination of length AND intensity was too much and we both had bad cramps.
Reading up on cramps later on lead me to some of the stuff that IainRUK on here referenced about ultra-distance running, like this: http://www.irunfar.com/2012/07/waterlogged-a-dogma-shattering-book.html and this http://www.pikeathletics.com/blog/exploring-causes-of-exercise-associated-muscle-cramps-part-iii (and others..)
It seems that cramps are a neurological effect, only indirectly related to blood chemistry. It's your brain telling over-used muscles to shut down.
However, lots of people still say that salt tablets or salty food relieves cramp - this is backed up by a study in which people drank pickle juice (urrrr). The interesting thing here is that salt tablets or salty juice relieve cramp in 30 to 90 seconds. This is held to be too fast for blood chemistry changes and reinforces the idea that it's neurological: the TASTE of salt makes the brain stop cramping up the muscles.
So current advice seems to be to increase intensity in training, carry salt tablets just in case and don't drink too much. All things that I will bear in mind if I ever do another race.
That irunfar article has lots of very thought provoking content - maybe I'm wasting my money buying Nuun tabs.............
I was not alone. There were many fellow sufferers strewn by the trailside. It seems to be the transition between walking and riding that is the problem.
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