Quad cramps during outdoor rides

Anyone here deal with cramps? I really didn’t have issue with cramping until this year (of course I am riding way more than last year) and on rides with a lot of climbing/longer power efforts I almost get cramps. In other words I feel if I kept pushing that pace I would cramp but I back off so I don’t. Also, standing to pedal on climbs seems to get that crampy feeling. Something I also find interesting is I didn’t really have any problem over the summer when it was warm/hot but had problems in spring and now in the fall. For hydration I typically use Skratch hydration mix. I have also used precision hydration and had great results with that so I may switch back to their product and see if that helps.

The rides I have almost cramped on aren’t anything mileage or climbing wise I have not been doing so I do not think it is fatigue unless poor muscle activation.

A few years I did. What I came to find out was bike fit. Getting a propper bike fit had me seeing little to no cramping. Although, i still get the occasional cramp from hard efforts, lack of hydration and on the bike nutrution, getting a propper bike fit a few times a year has allowed me to be mostly cramp free. The other thing, i found was adding core workouts a few times a week.

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I have been thinking about bike fit as well. That is a good tip and something I should do.

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I second the idea to check your bike fit – especially saddle tilt as that can aggravate the hamstring nerves if it is off. Another thing to consider is whether you are warming up before jumping into the efforts. I find (especially in colder weather), that if I fail to warm up long enough I almost always end up cramping during my harder efforts/sustained climbs.

As far as electrolytes go, there is no clear consensus in the literature about whether or not certain electrolytes (e.g. sodium, potassium, etc) can prevent cramping. They may help make you less susceptible, but wont prevent them. Here is an interesting new study (cause I am a nutrition nerd :nerd_face:) regarding muscle cramping. In these athletes, the major factor associated with an increased risk of cramping was a lack of strength training (all the more reason to do our 10 week weight training plan)!


Strength starts next week! I also think you are right about me warming up, it’s taking me longer warm up with the cold so I will watch that for sure. In regards to saddle tilt, are you recommending I look for a flat angle, parallel with the ground?

@jdr365 For me, I needed to angle the nose of mine a little closer to the ground. It bothered me most on longer climbs as the upward angle was causing me to put too much weight on my sit bones right where my hamstring connects. The pain immediately went away after the adjustment.

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