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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With roughly 7 weeks to go until Leadville, does anyone have any hints on solving an on-going quad cramping problem. I suspect that it is either a "muscle endurance" or hydration issue - it seems to be a problem that occurs somewhat consistently after roughly 5 hours of climbing. (Unfortunately being somewhat slow, the 5 hour mark leaves me a long rest of the race to suffer through!)

I'm using Perpetuum, Enduralytes and Hammer Gel. I'm going through a little less than a full water bottle of fluid per hour (in relatively cool weather). Siince I've started using the Enduralytes, the problem is greatly, but not completely improved.

Yesterday, after roughly 5 hours of mostly uniterrupted climbing, my quads started to cramp - some water and enduralytes and soft pedalling enabled me to work through it for the remaining 40 minutes or so . I had been careful to not go anarobic during the climb.

I've been doing at least one 4-8 hour ride per week since May and plan to keep doing that up until the race (except for one week of recovery in the middle). I've also been doing one day of trail running - short hill repeats - to help with the hike a bike sections.

So, any thoughts on finishing up the "build","peak" and taper periods to minimize this problem before 8/15?
 

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Sorry, I dont have any advice for you on the cramps.It seems like something you need to keep working on until you figure it out. It seems like you are going in the right direction as far as adding electrolytes. You might just have to keep adding until you figure it out. That is what training is for.

However, 5 continuos hours of climbing seems like a bit much.

My hill rides are 2.5 hours long and certainly that is not a continuous 2.5 hours long. My hill repeat days are 1-2 hours long.

Also where do you live to be able to do that much climbing at once? Me jealous!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Colorado

heythorp said:
Sorry, I dont have any advice for you on the cramps.It seems like something you need to keep working on until you figure it out. It seems like you are going in the right direction as far as adding electrolytes. You might just have to keep adding until you figure it out. That is what training is for.

However, 5 continuos hours of climbing seems like a bit much.

My hill rides are 2.5 hours long and certainly that is not a continuous 2.5 hours long. My hill repeat days are 1-2 hours long.

Also where do you live to be able to do that much climbing at once? Me jealous!!!
Morrison - Mount Evans. https://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/8540340. Roughly 48 miles from low point to high (with a couple of very short descents mixed in). From below 6,000 feet to over 14,000. Certainly not a "weekly" ride, but a great once or twice a summer one!

Photos from last year's version:
al ittle over 5000 feet into the climb... Mt. Evans in the distance.


The Top
Looking towards Collegiate RanGe
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
time down

From the Peak back to my house was 1:40 - there are a couple of short climbs on the way back. If you were going back to Idaho Springs, it's downhill the whole way.

I started from Evergreen, and rode down to Morrison first - so that's another 30 minutes or so of total descending.

The road coming off the peak is in pretty bad shape - major frost heaves, so you get beat up pretty severely for the first 5 or six miles.

As you research it - there are several ways you can do it - from Idaho Springs, from Bergen Park, a loop from Bergen Park - Idaho Springs - Evans - Bergen. You get the picture...

A fun way to do it (the road's closed to cars on the upper part for the race):

http://www.bicyclerace.com/
 

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chuckred said:
REFUNDS/RACE CANCELLATION
There are no refunds as a general rule. However, in the event that the race is cancelled before race day the promoter will make a best effort to refund a portion of each entry fee (once non-refundable race expenses have been determined) by the race organizer. Any refund checks owed will be mailed within 60 days of race cancellations. No refund will be given for cancellations on race day due to weather or other considerations outside the control of the race promotion.

That is a bunch of BS

However, I am trying to figure a way to get out there this year to do it. Hmmm, want a house guest for a few days? J/K
 

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I used to cramp in my quads/etc. at that same point. What really brought me out of it was 2 things
1. "always hydrating" I always have a bottle of water in my hand and the week before a race I drink more water and take a bottle with Nuun and an endurolyte the night before. I also make sure and take vitimins.
2. Stretching before and during the race is a big factor. there is a study of muscle cramping (spindle and GTO)....that explains the benefits to stretching to avoid cramps (can even be done on the bike and I do it).

if your body is depleted of water and nurients you are going to cramp....and there is nothing you can do about it. I did a long endurance race after having "Montezuma's Revenge" for several days the week before the race. I was a mess and cramped quite a bit.
 

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I'd suggest a couple of things that aren't specifically related to cramping, but may have some bearing on it coincidentally.

First, stop doing so much climbing. 5 hours roughly uninterrupted is waaay too much. You'd be much better off doing shorter, harder climbs with moderate 'endurance' days thrown in. Read C Carmichael's reports on how he went from NOT making the 9hr cutoff to doing it relatively easily.

Second, when you decide you must do a long climbing day, do NOT climb up Mt Evans. The impact of riding that hard at that elevation requires significantly more recovery than lesser workouts. Unless you're training for the Mt Evans HC, you don't need to climb higher than 12000ft, maybe even 11000ft. When working out at that high an altitude, your power drops off significantly, so you're not building strength, AND you aren't gaining any 'high altitude' adaptation unless you're also sleeping above 9000ft or so. On 08/15, your training at up 11000ft will be more than enough to allow you to function well at 12000ft for one day.

Lastly, rest more. Almost anyone can benefit from this tip, and unless you're under 30, your weekly climbing sufferfest is hurting, not helping, especially if you're not getting enough sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good points...

The idea of more rest and less training time seems so counter-intuitive, yet I know you're right. I have actually been backing off to some degree, and then every now and then start to panic that I'm getting behind. But, my race results (few) have improved over the same events from last year.

Mt. Evans is such a great climb to have in the back yard - it's one of the reasons I like to ride, so in a sense, it's an event in its own right - so I try to do it once a year...

I would like to check out Carmichael's report - do you have a link?

I live at about 8,000 feet, so while it may not be high enough to be totally adapted to Leadville's altitude, I don't feel wasted just by being there. I think I will try doing some more rides down "low" instead though. I am aware of the "train low, sleep high" theory. But, again, unfortunately, the great classic rides are high, and they beckon in the summer, and they are as much a reason I ride as Leadville...

As for being under 30... well, at least both of my kids still are! I guess I better get off to bed!

scooter2468 said:
I'd suggest a couple of things that aren't specifically related to cramping, but may have some bearing on it coincidentally.

First, stop doing so much climbing. 5 hours roughly uninterrupted is waaay too much. You'd be much better off doing shorter, harder climbs with moderate 'endurance' days thrown in. Read C Carmichael's reports on how he went from NOT making the 9hr cutoff to doing it relatively easily.

Second, when you decide you must do a long climbing day, do NOT climb up Mt Evans. The impact of riding that hard at that elevation requires significantly more recovery than lesser workouts. Unless you're training for the Mt Evans HC, you don't need to climb higher than 12000ft, maybe even 11000ft. When working out at that high an altitude, your power drops off significantly, so you're not building strength, AND you aren't gaining any 'high altitude' adaptation unless you're also sleeping above 9000ft or so. On 08/15, your training at up 11000ft will be more than enough to allow you to function well at 12000ft for one day.

Lastly, rest more. Almost anyone can benefit from this tip, and unless you're under 30, your weekly climbing sufferfest is hurting, not helping, especially if you're not getting enough sleep.
 

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Chuck:
Don't listen to these haters on too much training! One can never have too much training, especially climbing. (Usually, you can have too much of a good thing.) I do recommend steep and long climbs. Last weekend, I did 7 hours and 60 miles of climbing to get me to 15,000 feet of climbing in one session. Keep pushing hard man! As Art has said, "You gotta learn to suffer, then you gotta learn to love it."

Back to your question, electrolytes is the problem. You aren't consuming enough. If you are using endurolytes, pop another 1 or 2 pills at the 4 hour mark and then keep that dosage up. If you start tasting salt in your sweet, you are consuming too much.

Personally, when I was using endurolyes, when I did cramp, I noticed they were quit severe. For this season, I dropped Hammer for Infinit Nutrition. It is much easier than Hammer, and customized to your body weight. With Infinit, I have had some very minor cramps this summer, which has been fixed by a couple more drinks.

Climb man! Climb higher!

Vance
 

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mcmurv said:
Chuck:
Don't listen to these haters on too much training! One can never have too much training, especially climbing. (Usually, you can have too much of a good thing.) I do recommend steep and long climbs. Last weekend, I did 7 hours and 60 miles of climbing to get me to 15,000 feet of climbing in one session. Keep pushing hard man! As Art has said, "You gotta learn to suffer, then you gotta learn to love it."

Climb man! Climb higher!

Vance
Hater??? Nah, just someone who's made the mistake of overtraining too many times. At my age, and apparently at Chuck's age, it is very easy to overtrain, or more appropriately, under-rest.

Anyway, Chuck, I couldn't find a link to the specific article I'd seen from CC before. Googling for it just brought up a gajillion links to various ride reports. So, in a nutshell, here's what he said in the article I read earlier: in 2007 he made the mistake of doing lots of long mtb rides with lots of climbing, ignoring any real intensity in his training. He could ride all day, but if he went into the red zone even a little, it was game over. In 2008, he cut way back on his long rides and spent more time doing shorter, harder intensity training AND did quite a few of the Sand Creek XC race series events to prepare him for the intensity he was likely to face if he pushed a bit too hard.

On a related note, a friend and former roadie/'cross teammate of mine with ooodles of talent and excellent off road skills did lots of 8-13 hour mtb rides last year, silly things like Waterton Canyon over to Buffalo Creek and back, with lots of diversions along the way. He did NOT break 9 hours and complained mightily of having been overtrained on race day. As boxers would say, he left his fight in the gym.

Time will tell if he's on the right track, but this year he's just focusing on hard road racing for his intensity and a few mid-range mtb rides to make sure he's okay on his feeding regimen.

S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Guys

Great advice from everyone - knowing my training and history, I think each of you has hit a grain of truth.
 

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You also may be suffering from a magnesium deficiency. Recent research suggests endurance athletes are setup for a mag deficiency because we sweat so much out. (And Endurolytes and most other electrolyte supplements don't supply enough magnesium - it's the most expensive electrolyte component).

PM me and if you are interested and I can suggest some good sources. Don't want to be accused of spamming the list tho;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sarah K said:
You also may be suffering from a magnesium deficiency. Recent research suggests endurance athletes are setup for a mag deficiency because we sweat so much out. (And Endurolytes and most other electrolyte supplements don't supply enough magnesium - it's the most expensive electrolyte component).

PM me and if you are interested and I can suggest some good sources. Don't want to be accused of spamming the list tho;)
Thanks - I've been taking Ca Mg supplements, but just looked at the dosage, and perhaps need to up it a bit.
 

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Every 20 minutes, One sip of 100 cals of Perpetum, followed by four gulps from hydopack which has nuun in it has kept me from cramping at altitude and endurance. B
 

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I battled cramps for years. Tried more endurolytes, nuun, fluids, elete, and most recently Infinit. I still was getting cramps. At a 6 hour race a few months ago I started to feel the onset of cramps and immediately backed off my pace. One of the pros rode up behind me and asked if I was okay since I shut down so quickly. I told him I was cramping and he just said, "breathe, ALOT!". I started making full exhales and inhales and my cramps subsided within a few minutes and didn't return the last few hours of the race. I've had one race since and the "breathe alot" advice seems to have cured my problem. After thinking about what causes cramps it makes complete sense to me now. Fluid and electrolytes obviously play a role, but the answer may be much simpler.
 
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