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Pre Ride Enduro Prep for the body

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I am riding in an enduro in the last weekend of this month. 70 miles or so. Finishing is my goal. It will be my first attempt @ one. I live in Houston so humidity is a bytch this time of year. The enduro is 1 hour north of town in the National Forest. We went riding last weekend and did a few loops equaling about 30 miles. I had the worst muscle cramps I have had in a long time. Legs, arms and back. I had the camel back full all day and drank constantly during the rides. I drink alot of water during the week. I had a full pasta meal the night before and had a decent breakfast followed with 4 bannanas. I work out 4 times a week. Each workout begins with a 30 minute 9 mile ride on the exercise bike. I guess I am looking for anyone who had delt with cramps and what remedies have worked for you 1/2 way through a race. Pull over and strech? Slow it down and fight through it? Pack some food in the camel back? Call it quits and race home and put the skirt & apron on and get dinner ready for the wife and kid?

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This is a great post.

And it sounds like you've pre-paid your dues..training.

I'm anxious to hear some experienced replies.

Curious: how old/young are ya?

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33 years old. Been riding for 3 years. Not really too often. I suck, but raced a few hare scrambles last year and had fun. Same jackass riding buds who got me into the races last year got me into the enduro. They have been riding for years. The hazing has already begun....

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sounds like you're headed the right direction. barring unusual body chemistry of some sort, fitness and hydration are two important anti-cramp measures. if i were you, i would add a couple things:

1) once a week, spend more time on the bicycle. 60-90 minutes maybe. i personally can't stand to work out indoors so i ride a real bicycle

2) until you solve the cramps problem, don't drink alcohol the night before a race. when i was road racing (bicycle) in germany, i found that even 1 beer (.5 liter) the night before a race would cause leg cramps towards the end of a long race.

3) start stretching if you don't already stretch. pay particular attention to the parts that cramp.

4) try to relax on the bike more. take it easy, especially at the start. remember it's not mx.

good luck and have fun.

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Call it quits and race home and put the skirt & apron on and get dinner ready for the wife and kid?

:devil::awww::lol::D:lol::D :D :snore::awww::lol:

No, don't do that, unless you're getting a different kind of cramps you didn't tell us about. :lol:

Like the others said, sounds like you're doing the right things, just keep at it. :thumbsup:

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Ride,Ride,Ride. When I was young and racing mottocross I used to train ALOT!!, and it payed off but when I got into desert racing and enduros I found that riding 10,12 or more hours a day 2 or 3 days a week kept me in good condition. I'm 45 now and still ride the tough stuff regularly. I only race select events now but find them to be easier than most of my weekend trail rides :devil:. Bottem line is to finish your first race so get yourself and your bike prepped as well as you can, don't ride over your abalitys, stay out of the way of the fast guys, and make it to the finish!!!. For the first time racer thats a win all on it,s own. :thumbsup:

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I ride moto and have a degree and 11 years experience in Exercise Physiology. Old bud push bike rider above speaks a lot of sense. The main cause is from poor blood supply to the working muscle or electrolyte imbalance. Your diet and fluid intake sound like its well covered, however it would be worth trying an isotonic sports drink the night before and one in the morning, but at least an hour before exercise. Also use isotonic sports drink in your hydro pack and drink small amounts regularly.

I would suggest that your main problem stems from poor blood supply caused by gripping the bars too tightly and not relaxing the forearms. The best way to alleviate this is to spend more time on the moto bike and learn to gripp the bike with your legs especcially during braking, accelleration and bumps. Read some articles on riding technique as technique is not my speciallty. But you must learn to relax your hands.

The Ulnar and Radial arm arteries terminate in the palm of the hand and the palmar venous arch originates in the palm of the hand. Any continuous pressure on the palm of the hand or overly tight hand grip will result in both poor venous return, porr arterial supply and Arm Pump. For some people arm pump will cause fatigue, while for others it will cause fatigue and cramp.

So basically hydrate well including electrolyte balance, and relax your arms. This should help significantly.

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This has been circulating in my neck of the woods, TUMS (calcium) and some sort of magnesium supplement. In combination supposedly reduces the amount of lactic acid the body can build or, helps the body eliminate the lactic acid, not sure. I don't really cramp up unless the ride is over 5 1/2 hours, and then at the head of the quads by the knee.

Try pedialyte and water 50/50, intense electrolyte charge and usually easy on the digestive tract, but I would test in a practice run first (no pun intended). Works great for me.

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I don't mean to pirate this post, but I have more questions along the same line.

I ride moto and have a degree and 11 years experience in Exercise Physiology.

Got a question for you, and I hope you studied nutrition as well. Do certain combinations of Amino Acids play a role in endurance? Are there supplements that can enhance an already fit person's stamina and strength, without going the whole-hog chemistry way? Curious, I'm 45 and was at the top of my fitness at 38, but can feel the years at times now. I know I'll never be as fit as I was, but can I stay close? Every advantage helps.

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I had the worst muscle cramps I have had in a long time. Legs, arms and back.

During the ride that you had alot of problems on, were you doing faster/more movements than usual? Was your breathing doing any huffing and puffing? Could you have been flexing/stretching your muscles with these movements or by just riding tense?

Cramping isn't something that has a clear answer. My understanding is that the reason's can be different for many people. Tolerance to stretching/flexing of the muscles being probably the biggest reason some people cramp and others don't.

Some people say that lactic acid build-up can be the culprit. Training for endurance (more aerobic in nature and using more slow twitch muscle fibres) but riding/racing anaerobicly (and possibly using more fast twitch fibres) are somewhat different beasts. Anaerobic riding will zap your energy quickly if you haven't trained anaerobically (in general terms). Many believe that this leads to easier cramping.

Others say that gradually training your muscles to stretch more effectively and at faster rates (be careful with this!)will allow them to build up a greater tolerance to cramping.

As for stretching during the race, be careful. You're looking for range of motion during these times, not flexibility so don't be holding a stretch for long. I'd say walking and gentle arm swinging, back movement would be best.

Anywho... that's a possible angle for you to consider, assuming you were hydrated and well "topped up" with nutrients (which is also another angle)

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I studied four units of sports specific nutrition but id have to say if there are any dieticians or nutritionist out there they would be better qualified to answer this one.

My understanding of it is yes amino acids will play a role in this but unfortunately amino acids cant be replenished quickly during or after exercise, as the synthetic amino acids provided in most dietary pills take some time to be absorbed deep into the working muscles. A balanced diet is the best answer with a variety of foods. There are some amino acids that are very difficult to obtain from natural food but generally speaking your body will make these itself any way. The body has an incredible ability to break down protiens and amino acids to make other amino acids and protiens required.

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Lilgirl what your saying makes perfect sense, but im inclined to think lactic build up while certainly being a contributing factor is not the mjor factor at play here. I suggest this because the forearms arent prime movers and generally dont have huge percentages of white (fast twich- anearobic) fibres. Yes his isotonic (Still) contraction will recruit some of his more powerful motor units but his cramps all over his body wouldnt be produced by the lactic build up possible in the arms. And theres no way his whole body is working anaerobically for this duration.

Lactic acid for sure will be a contributing factor, as will the repetative stretch shorten cycle of the musles causing internal micro tears and swelling, but I think this blokes problems are majorly related to electrolytes and arm pump.

I fully understand your thoughts and im aware of the many other factors including temperature and muscle postion that contribute to cramp. Id suggest he use electrolytes and riding technique to rule out the two major reasons. If that doesnt fix it then hes basically going to have to do more training in case lactic tolerance is a major factor.

Start with these two because he can change them quickly and easily.

PS to question on lactic acid by other post. Lactic acid is not a nasty, its a by product of the cells metabolism and use of glucose as energy in the absence of oxygen. It fatigues us because the pH of the cell falls and becomes more acidic. When we really exercise hard and produce large amounts of lactic it has other effects including elevated breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, feelings of nausea, clammy skin etc. Within seconds of reducing our exercise intensity the body begins breaking down lactic acid in the heart, liver and muscles to reuse it as energy.

The key to lactic acid is using it in training to develop tolerance and to create more enzymes to metabolise(break it down back into energy).

The body will adapt specifically to the demands you place on it. If you dont train or train aerobically all the time and back off every time you feel a bit of lactic creeping up on you, then you will have little lactic tolerance and your metabolism of lactic acid will be poor and slow.

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All useful information. Thanks for all the input. I have been reading about the electrolyte refueling during the ride. The 50\50 split in the camelback mixed with h20. I am riding this weekend and I plan on testing out some of the ideas presented. What about food the night before and the morning of? I have been hammerin the bannanas to help with the cramps, any other grubbage that will help?

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While nothing takes the place of proper conditioning, I’ll suggest a simple remedy, which may help. You have probably tasted your own sweat and should have noticed it is quite salty. I have weighed pre & post ride in hot humid conditions and noticed weight losses of over 5 pounds. Imagine how much salt or sodium was lost under those conditions. What happens when that volume of fluid is replaced with straight water? The remaining extracellular sodium (which is already depleted) is further diluted by the extra volume of water. By consuming the large volume of water, you have actually made the situation worse, not better.

The simple solution? The sodium loss must be replaced. I have found the easiest method is to increase salt intake the day before the race, the morning of the race, and most importantly during the race. I salt the meal prior to the race; I normally don’t use table salt. The morning of the race I place a small quantity of salt in the water I consume. Most importantly, I also add salt to my Camelback at the start and also when refilling it during the race. It is easy to consume extra salt slowly; too much salt rapidly ingested will pull fluid into the intestines and cause a watery diarrhea. I have not seen a sports drink, which I believe will replace the sodium we lose. I often hear people trying to replace potassium and magnesium. I doubt a normal individual with a reasonable diet needs a supplement but it should not be harmful.

We have been taught over the years that increased sodium-salt intake is harmful and may cause hypertension. While this is true in certain instances, a slight increase in salt should not harm a healthy individual. This may not be advisable for someone with severe hypertension or renal disease. Individual situations will vary; consult your physician if you have a question.

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I agree with on of the earlier post - ride a bike outside - inside is cheating! The wind and hills make a difference for leg and lung condition.

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John, i don't think there are very many people at risk of running low on salt, simply due to the ridiculous amount of salt that most americans get in junk food. when you sweat, you are losing more water than salt, so you are increasing the concentration of salt in your body (until you rehydrate). otoh, i put no salt in food, and don't eat that much junk food. there are definitely times (after 4+ hr bicycle rides in hot weather) where i crave salt. i usually get my salt from cheeto's.

salt-related hypertension is genetic, and doesn't affect that many people very seriously.

the simplest remedies are conditioning, hydration, and riding comfortably. those will pay big benefits in all aspects of your riding. i wouldn't worry about chemistry until i was sure i had done the easy things first.

mw

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Electolytes are the issue. I'm a serious bicyclist as well, so you learn a few things about your body when you ride a bicycle hard for 5 hrs or more. Electrolytes are actually minerals, which you need more of, so that is why you are cramping. Especially POTASSIUM, Calcium and magnesium. You mentioned bananas, which do have almost 600 mg. of potassium, but they are difficult to digest (organic are actually easier, less gas). In my opinion avocados are the best, high in potassium and easier to digest. Then go to health food store and get a good multi MINERAL supplement (I use and love Natures Life's Vegetarian Mega Mins and no I'm not a vegetarian) and perhaps an additonal potassium supplement as well (government regulates max potassium potency and it's pretty low). Then in your hydro pack use a hydration/electrolyte replacment beverage like Twin Labs Hydrofuel (experiment with this ahead of time, just to make sure it settles OK), don't use the more common drinks, they have a ton of sugar, not helpful, although something like a coke can work near the end, maybe last 15-30 minutes (too soon and you'll be sorry). Any good health food store should be able to help you with you questions/needs. I'd also take a couple of the potassium supplement tabs along just in case. You'll find you sleep a lot better and you'll feel more calm. This will also take care of any foot or calf cramps you are probably having when you are in bed. As the other writer said, no alcohol. The reason is that alcohol and caffeine both deplete the body of POTASSIUM, which is bad. That is one of the main reasons for hangover and that incredible thirst the morning after, chronic thirst a one of the potassium dificiency symptoms. It's part of the "formula" that maintains the balance of cellular fluids. I could go on and on, but I'm running out of ink. :thumbsup: Have fun and relax. (My apologies for a post the length of a book, but this is the abbreviated version!)

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We have been taught over the years that increased sodium-salt intake is harmful and may cause hypertension. While this is true in certain instances, a slight increase in salt should not harm a healthy individual. This may not be advisable for someone with severe hypertension or renal disease. Individual situations will vary; consult your physician if you have a question.

Sorry have to refute this one. As said above americans and austrailians consume far too much salt as it is. I would say this is dangerous advice for 95-98% of the population. The use of good quality isotonic sports drinks is the go (eg: Poewrade, gatorade, isosport. They contain some salt, but it is the proportion of pottassium to sodium and glucose that is important in rehydration. These guys have the percentages down pat with what all sports rehydration research supports. No research that i am aware of reccomends the use of straight sodium to replenish electrolytes.

As far as your sweat being salty, it is no saltier than any other body fluid. It appears to be saltier because the evaporration of the water content on the skin continuosly increases the concentration of salt in the fluid that remains on the skin.

The main reason salt is used in sports drinks is not to replace sodium lost, but to restore the potasium sodium balance used for osmotic transport in the body. Nutritionists will advise eating bannans for thier potassium content. The only reason sodium has been aded to sports drinks is because research continuosly shows that the spped of rehydration and glucose replacement to the working muscles is aided by certain potassium to sodium ratios.

Do not add sodium to your food or drinks unless specifically advised by a nutritionist or doctor who has carried out blood test showing you have low sodium and high potassium levels.

As far as the meal the night before a really good combo for most people is pasta and meat with bolgnaise sauce, served with a salad, followed up by a fruit salad with and extra banana in yours. Water as beverage or you can experiment with a sports drink (isotonic ).

Just paasnthru speaks a lot of sense, but be careful not to take in too much potassium like most minerals they become toxic when too much is ingested. If your hammering the banannas without them causing digestve problems then just stick with that for the moment. Id consult a sports doctor or nutritionist before going any further than dietary changes, as everyone is different and some of these dietarry pills (even if just vitamins and minerals) can exacerbate pre existing health conditions.

Remeber when the suspension specialist said change your clickers one thing at a time so you know whats going on...... Well? Same goes for you change your clickers one thing at a time.

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Sounds like some good buds!!

Don't forget the mental aspect of the enduro, some of them

are TOUGH!!!!

At some point your brain will start telling you

"Hey, we don't need this, there is cold beer in the

cooler....."

Don't fall for it!!!

Another mental aspect is all the timekeeping but for the

first one I would just try to finish.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!!

33 years old. Been riding for 3 years. Not really too often. I suck, but raced a few hare scrambles last year and had fun. Same jackass riding buds who got me into the races last year got me into the enduro. They have been riding for years. The hazing has already begun....

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