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Lets Go Hokies!!!
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when i ride i usually end up with a pain in my upper right calf about 20 minutes into my ride. it feels like i'm straining the muscle almost, but i'm not really working especially hard or anything, it just seems like its from the motion of riding. i know if you get pain behind the knee it means you have a saddle height problem, but this isn't really behind my knee, its lower than that, and it lasts after i stop riding. sometimes at night my calf will cramp up in the same spot while i'm sleeping. anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
 

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cleat position not quite right? If you've just started riding it could just be a lack of muscle development issue. The more you ride the stronger it'll get. Try cross training with other sports that emphasize calf movement such as tennis or basketball.
 

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I Type, Therefore I Am
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And don't forget to stretch! After you are warmed up, you can stretch on the bike. Then be sure to stretch it out good when you get home.
 

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Tried stretching, ice and NSAIDS?

I haven't had leg problems since I switched from running to cycling almost 20 years ago, but the standard first approach to stuff like that is to stretch (gently, no bouncing) but thoroughly, ice it after riding and try some kind of anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen or aspirin, but not Tylenol. IME, stretching takes a LONG time to show results--I'm naturally pretty inflexible, and it takes weeks of PIA effort to gain any improvement.
Just FYI, it's barely possible it could be something more serious, including a blood clot or circulatory impairment, so if it persists or gets worse, you might have it looked at.
 

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Calf Pain

I ran in college as well and switched to full time cycling in my graduate and post-grad years. I do find in some of the group rides that are emphasized for criterium practice after a lot of blasting up and down hills and sprints. I will try to chill up a hill at a high cadence and my calf muscles will lock up. I generally blame it on fluids and stretching. I went out the next week and drank a lot more water and stretched and the calf muscle improved greatly. I probably want to reposition my cleats a little more forward than they are at the moment. I think it is stretching my lower calf muscle a little too much. :aureola:
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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HokieRider said:
when i ride i usually end up with a pain in my upper right calf about 20 minutes into my ride. it feels like i'm straining the muscle almost, but i'm not really working especially hard or anything, it just seems like its from the motion of riding. i know if you get pain behind the knee it means you have a saddle height problem, but this isn't really behind my knee, its lower than that, and it lasts after i stop riding. sometimes at night my calf will cramp up in the same spot while i'm sleeping. anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
I got rid of this by backing off the mileage/intensity for a few rides, and concentrating on keeping my heels down.

I get it almost every season a couple of times when I start to ratchet the mileage or intensity up too fast.

You may have to look at cleat position/saddle height too, when you start lowering your heels.
 

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LLD? sitting square on the saddle at 90rpm under load?

HokieRider said:
when i ride i usually end up with a pain in my upper right calf about 20 minutes into my ride. it feels like i'm straining the muscle almost, but i'm not really working especially hard or anything, it just seems like its from the motion of riding. i know if you get pain behind the knee it means you have a saddle height problem, but this isn't really behind my knee, its lower than that, and it lasts after i stop riding. sometimes at night my calf will cramp up in the same spot while i'm sleeping. anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
if it's always the same leg, same place and not due to any particular prior non-cycling injury then I would bet you have a problem in your position on the bike. You may have right leg shorter than left, for example. If so you need to consider shims under your right cleat and/or LeMond wedges too - either or both. Are you sitting square on your seat when pedalling under load? One way to see if you look at your hips/thighs when pedalling and see if one is closer to the seatpost or go to your good bike shop, hop on the trainer and let their staff stand behind and watch to see if you are struggling on one side (bet it is the right side) when spinning at 90rpm+ at moderate load. If you are then read on.

How do I know? I most likely have the same problem. My X-ray confirmed my right leg is 5-7mm shorter, which is very common (most people have assymetries, only the degrees differ). I currently have a combination of a 5mm shim and 1mm Lemond wedge that seems to have helped. You may need more or less because you body may adjust in different ways to mine. The bottom line is that there should be no localised pain anywhere when you are riding. You should be eventy tired all over. Localised pain is your body telling you something you need to pay attention to, IMO.

Another possibility is that saddle is too high, try dropping it 3mm and see if it helps. But the fact that only one (right) leg is in trouble indicates some sort of discrepancy on your right side.

if you want to know more - post to Steve Hogg on www.cyclingnews.com, his replies really helped me and many others with similar bike-fit problems.
 

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I have suffered from charley horses on and off. Last year I was getting them in my left leg on my commutes home from work. I determined that, since I had hurt my right leg while running and was still re-habbing it, I was favouring my right leg and doing too much work with my left. I made an effort to even out the effort between my legs and that helped. I had also lowered my seat about 5 mm because I thought maybe I was over-extending on the downstroke. I tend to feel like a cramp is coming on if I am spinning at too high rpms, which is in line with the next paragraph.

My father recently gave me an article about cramping in atheletes and it said that cramping is not due to dehydraton or mineral loss, but is a result of the muscle being 'over active' (I can't remember the exact phrase). The solution was to slow down, but the article said that elite atheletes were unwilling to do that. When I feel a cramp coming on, slowing down seems to keep it from coming on.

Oh yeah, I moved my cleats back as far as they would go also. Thanks spyro for reminding me.
 
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