Cramp & My Cure

Cramp and my endless effort to find a cure, I think I’ve finally found one.

I also take a look at fixing my tyre’s and looking for some new ones, Not the easiest task but I’ve found a tyre that my surprise most of you.

I’m also getting ready for the challenge and next weeks ride around some place called London.

Hello and welcome to this weeks edition.  I want to start by saying a huge thanks to you all, for taking a look at the last blog.  I hope it’s helped you understand what lactic acid is and why we get it.

After looking into the problems we encounter as cyclists I thought I’d look at something that catches us all out, the dreaded cramp.  Plus I’ll be covering Great Weston Ride from last week which surprised me in more than one way.

I’ve also been looking at some new tyres and I think you’ll be surprised at what I went with, so grab a drink sit back and enjoy this weeks edition.

When I started cycling I was so unaware of what I was getting into its simply funny,  I mean who else thought “I was always riding as a kid, how hard can it be”.  Well like most of us out there I was up for a big shock when it came to riding a bike. 

I don’t mean the actual riding itself but everything that goes with it,  what clothing to wear and buy, what helmet to wear and get.  More importantly how riding a bike will effect your health yes it’ll make you fitter and increase your stamina, but it’ll also increase your pain threshold more than you ever think.

One of the biggest problems I have is cramp,  everything else I can get my head around and push through but cramp is my nemesis. What is cramp, well it’s a painful involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles, typically caused by fatigue or strain.

Cramp,

This is something I have experienced and I need it to stop.

I’ve never really been a big sports person but I have done a bit in my childhood.   I started with swimming as a young kid and oddly I was quite good at it.  This was the first time I felt the dreaded cramp, swimming hard and pushing myself whilst training was maybe to much for my legs.

I remember being pulled out from the pool with what felt like my calf muscle being pulled from my leg.  With some quick assistance I was back to normal but this was a pain I never wanted to feel again.  It was a few months on when I suffered again with this pain that I thought enough was enough.

I found that if I never exerted my legs I never had the pain, which was a shame as I had developed some good leg muscles.

A number of years passed and I was far from being an athlete, I wouldn’t exert my body any more than I needed to because I know I would suffer from that pain, I hated so much.

I’m 42 now knocking on the door of 43 and over the last four years I found a new calling, cycling was my new vocation but it had a dark side.  I found that on the shorter rides I’d be fine, I could climb any hill and ride as fast as the best.  It wasn’t until I started to push it up a bit and cover the bigger / longer distances that I started to suffer.

It wasn’t just the longer distances where I felt this incredible pain, after about 60 miles I found that as soon as I came to a hill of any kind I would start to get this muscle blowing pain.  I mean it wasn’t no little cramp pain oh no it was full on muscle busting.  Thats not the worst bit though, it wasn’t in one muscle or leg nope it’s in ever muscle in both legs.  I never knew this was even possible but it clearly is.

Being a cyclist who strives on the hill’s and longer distances I found this to be a recurring problem, I needed a cure and fast.  I read every article there was, I watched every video and spoke to countless doctors.  All of which said different things but agreed on one thing, know body knew what caused these muscle cramps.  Was it a lack of salt in my body, was it fatigue due to poor sleep, could it be the caffeine in the tea and coffee I was drinking. 

I did everything I was advised to do, Stretches before and after.  I watched my salt intake and even carried a few salt sachets on my bike rides, this never worked, it helped a little but not enough.  I stopped drinking caffeine drinks, this never worked at all, I stopped drinking alcohol to see if this helped as it also dehydrated the body.  Again I was confronted with the same results, I bathed in magnesium salts and took the tablets.   I also looked at natural remedies but the results were all the same.  This was starting to get annoying now and I was starting to think there was no cure.

As I started to increase the millage I found the cramp getting worse and more frequent, the cramp was getting stronger and I was hurting more.  I would find myself stood on the side of the road in the crouch position unable to move.  If I tried to stand the cramp would stop me, if I tried to sit down again the cramp would stop me. I couldn’t move in any direction without feeling the most excruciating pain.

It was on a long ride when I started to feel this pain, not 100% but it was letting me know I was going to have some serious pain if I carried on.  The problem was I was miles away from home and I had no alternative way of getting back.  I had to push on and try and get through the pain, unfortunately due to the route I was riding it was all hills and I knew it was going to be painful.  Then it came, this muscle blowing feeling was so incredibly I felt tears in my eyes forming, I knew it could hurt but this was something else.  After about 40 minutes I was able to relax and get back on the bike but I still had this pain, The following day my legs felt like I’d been run over, I was now suffering the after effects of cramp which was a new feeling.

On my most recent ride I was confident I could quite easily cover the 100 miles required to complete the ride, with a few good hills thrown in I knew I would be on the border line of some cramp.  The first 60 miles were easy but the hill’s were starting to approach, it was here I started to feel the pain in my legs here we go again I thought.

It starts in the thigh on top by my knee cap, then it goes wild and hits every muscle, I felt it give a little pinch so I eased off to try and prevent the whole pain.  As I started to climb the steeper hill’s I felt my muscles tighten, here it is coming on strong and there was no stopping it. I could not get ride of this cramp no matter how much I tried to stretch out my legs it was there.

After some serious leg rubbing and stretching I managed to weaken the cramp and I was able to walk slightly.  I struggled up this hill that I would of normally flew up, I was soul destroyed and in supreme pain at the same time.  I pushed on for the remaining 40 miles and endured some of the worst pain I have ever witnessed.  I could hardly stand with the pain and it took me a good 50 minutes to try and get enough movement to allow me to drive home.

The following day I was still in pain, my legs felt heavy and tender.  I was suffering from the worst feeling I have ever known and there was no answer, I had tried everything was I to stop cycling or  continue looking for a cure.

I reached out to medical research centres and universities, looking for any one who could help. Whilst I offered myself for a medical trial.  I was then put in touch with a couple of retired professors who were able to point me in the direction of Nobel Prize-winning founder Dr. Rod MacKinnon

Was it possible that there was a solution to my nemesis, could this be the cure I’ve been looking for and causing such a problem with my cycling.

I found a possible cure and its called “its the nerve” but since then its now gone public and called “HotShot”.

When I first received this small box containing 20 or so little shots of ‘HotShot’ I was a little apprehensive to say the least, who wouldn’t be.  To be offered a solution to a problem but has not yet been recognised here in the UK was a bit trusting on my behalf.  However I wanted this problem to go, I wanted to know I had a cure to what’s been causing me so much discomfort.

I was advised to take a shot before the ride and to take one with me and as soon as I feel the cramp coming to take another.  I wasn’t to sure so rather than take it as advised I waited and went on a ride knowing I would get cramp after.  I managed the ride and as expected when in a relaxed state I started to feel the cramp show it’s self.  I knew this was the perfect time to try the treatment and see if it really does work.

I opened the bottle and poured it into a glass, yep it was a shot OK but it smelt really nice.  It had an aroma of elderflower and had a light yellow tint.  There was one thing I was advised to not drink before I took the shot, milk or peanut butter, the reason was because it coated the inside of the mouth and effected the Shot.  So here I was ready to see if this HotShot would do its job, HOLY HELL as I started to drink the shot I thought my mouth was going to catch fire. 

I now know why they called it HotShot, but it was a weird and nice taste in one.  I think I was more stunned than anything but it’s too late now I’ve drunk it.  All I have to do now is wait and see if it works. 

Now if you’re not familiar with cramp then I’ll try and explain it quickly Muscle cramps are caused by the nerve, not the muscle. Even the best-trained, most nutritionally fit athletes can suffer from them.  Your muscles cramp up when motor neurons in your spinal cord start firing off spontaneously and repetitively.  HOTSHOT stimulates TRP channels in your mouth, oesophagus and stomach, sending signals to calm your hyper-excited neurons, so you can prevent and treat muscle cramps.

If you want to know more about cramps then take a look at this info sheet, it’ll explain everything in a better way than myself.   http://www.teamhotshot.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/HOTSHOT-White-Paper.pdf

It was really a case of twenty minutes and I had no cramp, so I needed to see if it would work on a long ride.  Well I get out quite often so this wasn’t a problem but rather than take one before I went out I took one with me to see if it worked on the move.  I was as expected halfway through my ride and I started to feel my legs tighten up,  first in the calfs and then in the thighs.   I popped the lid and downed the shot,  as expected my mouth went into over time with the flavours and to be honest its not as bad when your cycling. 

Now I felt the muscles wanting to cramp but they never got to the point of actually cramping, is this it.  Was this the answer I was looking for,  I had to try it on a few more rides first to be sure.  So I left it a few days and went out again, exactly the same scenario and yet again I was drinking the shot.  As before I felt the multitude of flavours along with the zingy feeling, this was defiantly a taste I wont forget but it seems to do the trick.

I tried this out on a number of rides and I can confirm I haven’t had cramp life I used to get, my suffering days are gone.   Does this mean I’m going to have to take these shots everytime I ride?well if it means I don’t get cramp, then its a small price to pay.

Which brings me to the price, this is where my heart falls to pieces.  They sell these shots in packs of 6 or 12,  for a pack of 6 there $35 and for 12 $65.  Then  theres the cost of shipping because it’s not available here in the UK yet.  After all this the cost of it stops me in my tracks, I don’t mind paying for something that can cure my cramps but everything has a price and does my cramp warrant this price. This is something I have to consider and see if they can get a distributer here in the UK, or cut the costs to include shipping.

Either way I need to see if there’s another way of getting this product into the UK, because it’s been the best thing I’ve ever used and I’ve tried everything.

I hope you don’t suffer with cramp like I do but if you do then this really might help you out.  The thing with cramp is there is no final case that say’s exactly what causes it or how to overcome the problem, but this has worked for me and I’ll keep using it until there’s a clear and definitive case that explains everything and how to stop it completely.

Till then I hope you never suffer with it and if you do I feel your pain, I hope this helps you as it’s helped me.

Check out the information about cramps at the end of this blog.

Taking part in the Great Weston Ride was a real pleasure, with memories of the first time I took part in this ride flooding back.  The one thing I remember was it was really well organised and everyone was nice and friendly.  How could it be better than the last time, something we always ask ourselves.

When I started to ride it was the Great Weston Ride that really got me into cycling, I had never even thought about riding the 56 miles the event had planned. 

Well from the moment we arrived it had the same feel of being another well organised event.  We all started from the Park & Ride in Bristol at around 07:30 it’s began.  One thing that was different from when I first took part in this ride was the route options available, this was a really good idea and I know other event have route options but this was different. 

The routes were laid out by yellow markers and if you wanted to do the extra distances and climbs then you could follow the blue signs.  The difference being was that you could do any or either of the extra distances as they all ended up joining the original 56 mile route.  This was a really good idea as it kept the riders in closer proximity allowing you to meet and ride with other cyclists.  Unlike other events I’ve taken part in when you choose a different route you don’t rejoin the route for most of the ride.  However the GWR made the route so you were able to do what ever you felt like doing, this was a really good idea and one other events should adopt.  It not only ensures everybody finishes but allows the riders to really ride the their ability without over doing it.

One thing I really want to mention was the marshals, they were really good.  When you look at any event these marshals are there to not only help out where ever they can but also make sure the riders taking part are safe.  The original route covers 56 miles from Bristol to Weston Super Mare via the Mendips via the costal towns of Burnham On Sea finishing at Weston. 

Over the whole route there was a main stop at Hugh Sexy School where hot drinks and cake were available with a bacon roll at a bargain price of £2.50.  I perfect stop in my eyes, but there was also a short stop at the base of Burrington Coombe where water was available and a bike mechanic.  This is probably the one thing I would say would be a nice addition rather than a stop at the bottom of Burrington maybe a better stop at Priddy green where riders could take a little break and refuel.

This was the only thing I’d like to see a little more of, this was the stops where water was available, especially when its hot.  However when you get to the finish line the ride becomes all worth it,  your  welcomed by a very friendly bunch of marshals who are there to welcome you and give you the medal you’ve earned.  Then one of them gave me a bottle of water and a token to get a free fresh Beef Burger.  Which I must say was amazing thanks to the Cowshed, the burger alone was worth the ride but it gets better.  Butcombe beer was there also with a beer van selling the coldest beer ever and with the burger, I was in heaven.  I think some of the riders felt like they were knocking on heavens door but all in all a really great turnout.  One other thing I liked was the support transport back to Bristol after the event, this was a very good idea and reduced the amount of people getting into a busy seaside town. 

I’ll be interested to see how it goes next year and if they do anything with the route,  I’d like to see a slight change from the end section.  This I’m sure will be something the organisers will be looking at to make it that little bit more interesting. 

Over all this is defiantly an event to look at no matter what level of cycling your at, there were a large variation of riding abilities taking part .  From the cycling clubs to the cyclist who just wanted a gentle ride out.  I was really impressed with the effort everyone put in to complete the ride with safety being maintained. 

There were some moments that made me laugh along the way but I’ll explain more at a later date, otherwise it was a really good day and I enjoyed every bit of it.  So for any of you that haven’t tried this event its one to get on the calendar for next year.  

Well done to Darren and the team for providing another quality route to get under your belt.

Great Weston Ride Slideshow

Just before I took part in this event I did my normal pre bike checks, only to find a monster split win the front and rear tyres.  I thought my continental gatorskins were supposed to be bomb proof! What was I to do, I didn’t want to rush out and buy more tyres before the ride without having a good look at whats available.

I had a good look at the tyres and inspected the cracks, they were huge and I mean huge.  What could I do instead, I went full A-Team on them in a bid to try and repair them for the ride.  The first thing I started with was to sand the area of the tyre slightly with some sandpaper, making the surface rough so all the crap was gone on the tyre.  Then I applied some tyre glue (the same as you would get in a puncture repair kit) into the crack.  Leave this to dry and then sand again, this would cause little bits of rubber to build up and fill the crack with the soft glue.  Then apply more tyre glue and repeat the process.  Once this has been done and the crack look filled then apply some Super Glue. 

Let this dry for a couple of hours, even though it may be quick drying leave for longer to cure.  Then again sand to smooth off, this should be fine now and will last a fair few miles.  I can prove this as I did just that on the recent ride. 

However the fact was I needed to replace my tyres and I wasn’t sure what to get.   When I put the question out there on Facebook i received the expected response.  Continental was the main reply from a large amount both the gatorskin and the gp400s but there must be others. 

From what I found the tyres all seem around the same price, if I said in the £20 – £30 range then I wouldn’t be far off.  So what was I going to look at, Conti, Michelin, Vittoria and Schwalbe, so many to choose from and all have so many different types. What we don’t realise is that the type of tyre we choose has our lives in its making.

The tyre is one of the main reasons most cyclists don’t or won’t decend as fast they would like. Having confidence in the tyre and its ability in grip is a trust most will never overcome but there is a possibility of doing so with the right tyre.  Not only the the tyre will also allow you to roll smoother and quicker gaining ground without dispersing to much energy.

Knowing the Conti was a fairly good tyre after using them for years was an easy way of just getting the same tyre, but I wanted to know if with todays technology there was a better tyre out there.  I looked in depth at all the different brands and type of tyre I wanted.  It was at this point I realised I need to look at two different tyres.  One for the winter and another for the summer, this will be a much easier way of looking for the right tyre. 

The problem here was that I would still be looking at a huge variety of tyre available to the everyday cyclist.  So I narrowed it down to two, the Continental and the Schwalbe.  My choices were the Gatorskins and the GP400S, both really good tyre but also very expensive.  Then in the Schwalbe I had the One and the Double D, the difference between the Schwalbe and the continental were the compounds and the style of tyre.  The prices of them both were very close but the Schwalbe were slightly cheaper.

After looking at the different options I finally decided to go with the Schwalbe,  the reason for this was because I liked the science in the Schwalbe tyres.   After receiving delivery I went about changing the rubber over, it’s test time and I’m putting myself and my bike in the fate of these new tyres.

Now I used to ride motor bikes and I never really had any fear whilst riding but it helped me develop a trust in my tyres, its this trust and understanding of what there capable of that allows me to enjoy my cycling even more.

Don’t think that just because the tyres are really thin that they don’t have any grip, wrong they have an amazing amount of grip.  There are a few things you have to remember though, everything has a limit. Plus if its wet then its reduced but more importantly look out for the wet drain covers, in the world of rubber and wet drains there a bad mixture.

What I will say is though is from what I have tried so far with the Schwalbe one there’s a really noticeable difference.  I’ll be covering this in the review on these tyres I’ll be doing shortly but if you find a few little cracks or splits then don’t think there not repairable. 

tyre repair
tyre fix

Next week I’ll be taking part in the big ride around some place called London.  I hear its a big thing because the roads are closed for thousands of cyclists.   I’ll be taking part in the 100 mile ride along with some friends who I’ll be meeting up there.  I’ll make sure I get as many pics and video as I can so you can see what fun we have. 

I’ve also got some brilliant new bits to look at that look like they could make a huge difference to our cycling and I mean a huge difference.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the website for up to date news on the next review and blog.

Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and group and follow me on instagram and twitter.  I hope to see you at the Ride London next week,  so till then stay safe and remember Smile 🙂

Press the button below to read more about cramps from the Dr’s who aim to find a cure.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Shaun
    Reply

    Del…. Nice article about cramp – something I suffer from for years – during my Motocros and Enduro days, and now my cycling too!!!
    Did you eventually get ANY HotShots from a UK source, or can you only get them, from the States?

    • Del
      Reply

      Hi Shaun,
      Sorry for the late reply. I sourced the hotshots from the states but I believe there is a UK agent now. If you go on there website you should find details on there, if not send them a quick email and they will return. Thanks for the comment I hoe you have some luck on the cramp situation. I know it hurts like hell. Ill have more blogs coming soon as well as more product reviews.
      Cheers
      Stay safe
      Del

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