I recently road my second century this past Saturday and DNF because of cramps at about the 56 mile mark. At about 50 miles into the ride my thighs right above both knees started to cramp severely. I rode on and thought was going to get past this. At each rest stop I ate bananas for the potassium and I had been using GU energy gels every hour. I was drinking Cytomax, at least 1 bottle every hour.
I have never experienced ths before, I ran into 2 other guys that were having problems with cramps and were not able to finish.
Any suggestions on what the cause may have been?
Man can not live on Cytomax alone, your body needs H2O to transport all of the minerals you are taking in to your muscles. People get obsessed with sports drinks and forget about good ole water. Its nearly an epidemic of misinformation about minerals being the end all to cramp prevention, but the most important part of cramp prevention is hydration. Its VERY important to maintain good hydration when doing extended endurance events. You need to replace around 70% of water weight that you lose while doing an event. Try to drink around 1-2oz of water every 10 mins or so on your next century, this is a very general statement, but you can adjust to fit your personal needs based on how much you sweat. Continue to keep your nutrition up while riding, but hydration is where you will find the answer to your problem.
I can relate! Here's what I did: Heed by Hammer Nutrition mixed with a little Perpetum, sorta 50/50. Straight water as well, but in this heat 100-105, straight water "ain't gonna do it for long"...then Hammer gels, I sound like a commercial for them, but they work! Developed by scientisits that do the events and couldn't find anything they liked, they made their own! Mine usually hit about mi 40, so bad I couldn't move, so I understand your pain! Good luck, keep "tweaking"...
Go hard or stay in the yard...
Try out old good sea salt in your drinks to replace the minerals, sodium that your losing. Celtic sea salt best followed by black sea one i think? Pinch of that in your water bottle may help.
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Other posts suggest more water, which is correct. However, cramps could simply be lack of training miles. A proper training plan with a gradual build up to longer and longer rides are needed. During the long training rides, try alternatives for water, sport drinks and nutrition. Keep a journal and note which combinations worked and which didn't with a corresponding note on the weather conditions. You may find sports drinks with high carb solid foods may cause stomach upset. Remember, your body can only absorb about 250 calories per hour, don't over eat.
For my first Ironman triathlon (bike segment is 112 miles), I hired a coach and he had me biking up to 200 miles per week throught the summer (race in Oct.) with a proper long term build up starting in January on the wind trainer. He also had me seeking hills for medium distance rides.
Thanks for the great advice. I really think that Bob may have hit the nail on the head.
I had not ridden so many rolling hills in succession as I did the past August 1st.
I completed my first century back this past May; but this was a relatvely flat century in South Georgia.
Any hills I experienced were only a 4% or so grade and were longer.
I have started my hill training back on Tuesday nights riding a 5 mile loop 3 or four times; there are 5 climbs, 2 medium, 2 short and 1 long major climb.
But as far as the cramps it probably was a miriad of things, humidity, heat and under training on the hill. I know my gearing was also a factor; my lowest gear was 26 gear inches. I now have a low gear of 21 gear inches. I am having to compensate with my gearing until my fitness improves.
I am a big guy; even though I have lost 45 lbs I still weigh 235 lbs. I think as I shed more weight this will help immensely.
You got some good advice but here's hopefully a little more. I carry one bottle of plain water and one bottle of (take your choice - athletic drink). Additionally, I set my watch timer so that it constantly goes off every 11 minutes. That is my cue to drink on a regular basis - not much but that way I don't forget. Additionally, I rotate the drinks so that i don't get filled up but yet stayed properly hydrated. It's become quite funny now as on a group ride my friends hear my timer go off and yell "drink time." Also, remember that proper hydration starts about two days prior to your event so get plenty to drink the two days before you ride.
"If you're not gettting better you're getting worse."