Quad cramps!

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Posted: Oct 13, 2021 at 0:55 Quote
Hi, so for my whole riding existence I've suffered with quad cramps just above my knees. Now up until recently I've put it down to fitness or poor hydration, but no matter how fit or hydrated I seem to be on big days of pedaling up or pushing up I still develop cramps and none of my riding buddies who are less fit and healthy seem to suffer. Now the other thing I think could be having an affect is how I wear my knee pads. I've always had tight pads for fear of them slipping and this is the exact location the cramp occurs. I always buy medium fox pads as I never thought I had especially large legs.

Has anybody else experienced this and rectified the issue with bigger pads or found better ways to deal with it on big rides?

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 at 1:09 Quote
How far into the ride? What are you eating pre ride and into the first hour of climbing?

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 at 1:27 Quote
I'd say 4-5 hours depending on effort exerted and a solid breakfast pre ride usually eggs on toast or porridge. Plenty of good stuff on the ride aswell like oat bars energy gels sometimes and bananas and again a solid lunch of some sort, pasta or a sandwich. I always use hydration tabs aswell. I've played with nutrition, hydration, stretching and fitness for many years and it doesn't seem to change.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 at 1:32 Quote
Any lifting in the gym? If I ignore leg work and do not maintain lifting my bodyweight at least at squads/leg press I cramp like clockwork at 15 miles. Left quad in the area you are talking about.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 at 2:00 Quote
That's a good point tbh. I haven't had access to a squat rack since covid and the addition of a 3rd child. I'll see if I can get one at home or something weighted. I'm fairly light so body weight never seems worthy lol.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 at 5:57 Quote
I'd get cramps every ride very similar to your situation. I was riding every weekend and feeling, looking healthy, but I would bring pickle juice with me - about 1/2 liter - and finish it all and that would stave off the cramps if I was lucky.
I decided to change some things:
(1) First I started adding electrolyte to my water. I used to be a "only clean, fresh water in my Camelbak" person. I started putting powdered Gatorade in the water and moved up to Skratch.
(2) Second - no drinking alcohol the day before a ride. Not one beer or glass of wine - save it for celebration afterward.
(3) Third - more training on weekdays. I picked up a Tacx power trainer and started riding on afternoons in the winter after work. First was just easy rides to figure it out and eventually picked up the intensity. I think this has been the real key.

Ever since I put in the weekday training rides and included electrolytes I have only had one cramp situation that I was able to recall. I've seen my fitness improve markedly - I can clean climbs I've struggled with before and I can ride for hours with less effort. My old riding buddies are blown away by how strong I can ride.

I still use Skratch in my Camelbak and I still avoid pre-ride booze. I bring a little, 4 ounce bottle of pickle juice with me on rides but haven't had to use it.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 at 12:14 Quote
I had to google most of these things . I rarely drink anyway but will bear that in mind and I'll give the pickle juice a try. Didn't even know that was a thing. Thanks

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