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Most cramps are due to overuse, especially when it is not as hot out and hydration is less of an issue. So, if you've recently ramped up the duration and/or intensity of your rides, then you need to dial it back some. Also, be aware that if you're experiencing cramps due to overuse, you will be more likely to cramp for a period of time until your muscles have time to fully recover. Could be weeks, for a bad case of cramps.

Hydration, the second leading cause, is more likely when it is hot out. As the previous posters have noted, you need more electrolytes and fluids before, during and after your ride. There are various products out there (Gatorade, Nuun tablets, and the like).

Then, more rarely, there are medical conditions that can lead to cramping - you need to see a Dr.

Also, some medications can make cramping more likely - see Dr. or pharmacist.

It's hard to determine the cause of your cramps from the information you've given, therefore it is difficult to give specific advice.






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Hydration should be a part of your daily activities. If you are riding in warm weather, you should be thinking about hydrating before, during, and after rides. Also, there are such things as fatigue cramps. If you are really pushing harder than normal, cramping could be related to your training versus your hydration.

Just yesterday, my buddy cramped just following a really hard, hilly, mountain bike ride. He hydrates well and the only reason for his cramping was the hard pace.
 

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Sure, it's natural to think that heat = dehydration, but in reality, dehydration happens frequently even when it's cool/overcast outside. Comfortable temperatures and conditions will often trick an athlete to hydrate less until it's too late. Additionally, cooler weather, especially in the winter time, means drier weather and evaporative losses contribute to greater dehydration.
 

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The important thing is to treat it before it happens. Once the muscle cramps, whatever you drink or eat will take about 2 hours to bring any benefits. Potassium is an important chemical for avoiding cramps. Banana, coconut water, apricot and baked potato are some of the potassium rich sources.

Sometimes it's hard to avoid it and when it does happen, the top remedies I've been hearing about are pickle juice (too bad, not many people carry it for bike rides) and beer (relaxes the muscle but it may just "finish" your race if you are in one).
 

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Just to reiterate:

Most of the replies to this thread address hydration and electrolytes. Yes, dehydration and electrolyte depletion are significant causes of cramps. However, the most frequent cause of muscle cramps is overuse/fatigue.

People tend to focus on hydration/electrolytes to the exclusion of other causes of cramps. Certainly hydrate and replace lost electrolytes, but if you are fatiguing your muscles you can still get cramps no matter what and how much you drink or eat.





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I have used pickle juice once after I cramped up severly, it worked great, now I take it often.

Tony

The important thing is to treat it before it happens. Once the muscle cramps, whatever you drink or eat will take about 2 hours to bring any benefits. Potassium is an important chemical for avoiding cramps. Banana, coconut water, apricot and baked potato are some of the potassium rich sources.

Sometimes it's hard to avoid it and when it does happen, the top remedies I've been hearing about are pickle juice (too bad, not many people carry it for bike rides) and beer (relaxes the muscle but it may just "finish" your race if you are in one).
 

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According to my Dr, make sure you're getting enough Calcium as well staying hydrated and replenishing your electrolytes.

I used to be very prone to calf cramping and now I stretch my calfs before I ride and sometimes during a break or two along the way. The above and stretching have taken care of the issue for me.
 

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I still have problems with cramping myself. It's important to drink lots of water during your rides, especially those lasting more than two hours. Additionally, I've found it helpful to take Electrolyte tablets which can be found at your local health food stores. Electrolyte depletion from the muscles during exercise is one of the chief causes of cramping.
 

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I'm 53, when I started riding a couple years ago cramps were horrible. I think riding by itself did help because I was out of shape. I now take Potassium tablets and the cramps have gone away.
 

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LIke others said - hydration, potassium, have a choc milk or something when you get back. And too all that I'll add a massage...foam roller is good but you can do a self massage if you don't have one.
 

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I get cramps and remember reading a list of just about every solution you could think of but the best one they saved for last and was more helpful than all of the other tips. Train harder. I won't get a cramp when I am riding with my daughter on an easy 10 mile ride but will more likely get a cramp when riding with a group that is faster than what I'm use to or riding longer than what I'm use to. When I put a lot of miles on my bike, work those hills and work on keeping a strong pace, I won't get cramps as much in the long run
 
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