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I had done 10 laps, really pushing myself, and was deciding if I should break next time round or the time after that, when I started to notice a pain at the tops of my legs, just below my butt cheeks. I get this on rides sometimes, but normally 2+ hours in, not about 70 mins. I realised that I had hardly been out of the saddle, and maybe had been too fixed in a low aero position, either on the drops or down low on the stem, a bit like an improvised TT position. Maybe I had also been pushing too hard, certainly it was the hardest I have ridden continuously, although at that point I was still able to lap consistently. Within half a lap, it was excruciating, and I knew I would have to stop at the end of the current lap.
Pulled in to the pits, and getting my leg over the top tube was murder. I couldn't squat, I couldn't even sit in a chair. Eventually I sagged on to the grass and lay on my front, then rolled over and started bending my knees, pulling my feet up to my bum and pushing out gently. Walking also helped. For a time, I thought I would be going home in an ambulance I was that concerned.
I did get back on the bike about 15 mins later and managed 5 or 6 laps but they called time, so had to stop. It still hurts now, 5 hours later, although not as much. Two days later it has almost gone but not quite.
So is this cramp or something else? I have had cramps in my calves feet before, but that feels a bit different, and hasn't happened on the bike or after a ride. As I say, I do get the pain to an extent after 2 hours, but moving on the saddle or coming out of it makes it go away. Today, getting out the saddle helped, but not completely.
I have had the shorts for several hundred miles, but I think maybe I wasn't sitting on the padded parts. I rode the bike over 5,000 miles last year and nothing about the position of the bars/saddle/stem has changed.
What really worries me if this happens on Ridelondon, or worse out on a solo ride 50+ miles from home, I will be well and truly up the creek.

9 comments

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notfastenough [3722 posts] 3 years ago
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Sounds strange. So it's your glutes then, but not the whole length of them? I'd be inclined to first book in to see a physio. Explain the problem and ask them to confirm the sequence and proportion in which you muscles are firing. I'd then book somewhere decent for a bike fit and get your position looked at.

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mooleur [537 posts] 3 years ago
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Might be a silly suggestion is there maybe a risk of your saddle might being too wide?

I was confuzzled for months as to why part of the top of my left leg would go completely numb & the surrounding area become agonisingly painful during rides, swapped my saddle to a much narrower one (for a girl, the original one I was using was quite padded and very wide) and the numbness and pain went away.

Get yourself to a specialized store and have them map your sit bones just in case, maybe.  1

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Stumps [3471 posts] 3 years ago
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It sounds painfull mate, it might be something really simple like a build up of lactose acid in your legs or dehydration.

Like both other posts have said get a bike fit done and its surprising how the difference of a cm or so can be so much more comfortable.

Hope you get it sorted though  1

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alexjones5 [27 posts] 3 years ago
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sounds like cramping. You say that something similar happens on long rides after 2+ hours. You smashed it for 10 laps (probably above your lactate threshold) which would produce the same amount of lactate as 2 hours into a ride quite easily.
Advice would be to check seat height as this could be contributing but also look at what you are eating before/during rides, especially re Ride London

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Daveyraveygravey [524 posts] 3 years ago
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Thanks for the feedback people! I also posted this on Bikeradar and over 50 have viewed but no-one has replied, strange.

I had been pushing myself way beyond normal for me, and was concerned about how much my pace would drop later on, before this attack.

There is a local Specialised with a bike fit set up so will definitely be booking myself in after pay day.

One of the guys at work does extreme tri-events (he was talking about a cross channel swim, lejog, and then a run along the Welsh mountains, ffs!) and he also thinks it was the length of time I had been on the drops pushing myself.

During the 70 mins or so of effort, I drank over a litre of water and had a gel; I'd also had breakfast and more water before hand. Perhaps that wasn't enough for the effort I was putting in, but I'd say it was slightly more than what I would consume normally in an hour.

I am also going to look into foam rollers, have a read a little about them but not really sure where to get them or how to use them yet.

The episode cast a real shadow over the day; not only was I concerned about getting home after, but if there are any long term effects or damage. I don't want to have to give up cycling, or drastically change what I do. I'm not a club racer or TT fanatic, I'm just a middle-aged geezer who's reasonable on a bike.

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mooleur [537 posts] 3 years ago
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Plop some electrolytes in your water, could just be you need some extra salts to compliment the carbs too  1

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alexjones5 [27 posts] 3 years ago
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gels and drinks won't help I'm afraid. It sounds like its the amount of effort you are putting in above your threshold which will produce lactate no matter how much you eat/drink.
Interval training above and below LT will help push this up as will racing more.
All the best

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DrJDog [410 posts] 3 years ago
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Funnily, I have just bought Tom Danielson's (well, I think it is mostly by his physio) book on core strength, and he mentions this exact thing somewhere in it. I have just skimmed it so far, but this problem pops up, can't remember what's causing it, but it's because you are too weak.  1

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Colin Peyresourde [1812 posts] 3 years ago
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Foam rollers are good. But get yourself a lacrosse ball and then sit on it and move it around..... And I mean push it into the glute, you don't want it popping up where the sun don't shine. That will really get into the tissues there. There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to use a roller. Get a hard roller, as the real intention is to get into muscle, like a masseur. Check out www.mwod.com

However, as a few others have said, your issue sound like it was related to being in a over stretched position. I would be careful with that. Perhaps you ought to go easy for a bit as if you are over stretching your glutes/hamstrings. Tendon/muscle damage is the last thing you want as it can mean a long delay and potentially a lengthy recovery. I would seek out a physio for a good assessment.