Having just finished reading a post on electrolyte replacement by All Season Cyclist, it reminded me of my problems I have had since turning myself inside out on ride in Savannah, Georgia where I had a personal best time on a century. It was after that interesting experience that I began my research. Since that ride, I’ve been having reoccurring problems with cramps and muscle twitches, when pushing hard.
I found and started using Salt Stick. The instructions are to take one pill every hour on the hour during your exercise. I have used the product on two different official rides, a 100 kilometer and a 102 mile. I wasn’t expecting to feel instant relief, but I’m trying to come up with how I do feel . . . hmmmm, kind of like my left hamstring and a right quadricep muscle (particularly the rectus femoris) are trying to or wanting to cramp, but they can’t quite get there. Of course, as a cyclist, I can ignore such and ride on, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking about the “Savannah lock-up.”
Thanks to All Season, I might have another alternative. I truly do not like just putting anything into my body. I am very particular at what goes in, and I do NOT want my body to depend on alternative sources to function at a high threshold. I know. I know. Athletes use supplements all of the time. Maybe I’m not taking enough of the Salt Stick, or I just need to switch products. Okay, yes, the cramps have not hit hard like in Savannah, but the engine of my bike needs to roar like a lion. Twitching and the like tells me something needs attention. Time off of the bike? Maybe. Stretch better? Possible. Getting old? Okay I’ll give you that, but there has to be something out there.
I don’t know. Maybe I’ve reached another rung on the ladder and don’t have the knowledge of how to fuel my body correctly. I do know that fueling and hydrating are crucial when it comes to speed and distance (ever watch the Tour de France?). Professional teams don’t just hire some random dude to cook meals. He or she is a trained nutritionist/chef that knows exactly what to put in the riders’ bodies (for each rider), not to mention tailoring a meal for particular stages. To read more about this, check out this article. Yeah, I am well aware that I am nowhere near that level, but it does prove the point of how important hydrating and feeding the body is, in relation to performance.
For a while I was very comfortable with my routine. I understood exactly when to eat and drink, depending on my exertion level. Now . . . not so much. Since the Savannah lock-up, I have questioned my knowledge of what to do. I do not want to put forth that much energy and effort only to seize near the finish line. Just the other day, I caught myself holding off just a bit in a sprint section during a group ride when I felt my hamstring tap me on the shoulder. It’s a process. I’ll have to do learn and listen to other riders and do what I can do.