Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Finds from the Grind - Red Box Again

My ride to and from Red Box on April 21st was the first real warm weather climb of the year.

After all the winter riding up to Clear Creek and one time up to Red Box, I couldn't tell you how happy I was to keep the cold weather gear at home. Of course, with warmer weather comes the increased likelihood of cramping. The descent from Red Box back down to Clear Creek has a 1 mile long climb at about 5 percent grade, and I've dubbed this stretch Cramp Attack Hill.

With the legs being stuck in a tuck position, even with some pedaling, the shock to the body after 6 to 7 minutes of a consistent downhill is pretty bad. I've learned pretty recently that the only way to prevent cramping is to get fit. Cramping happens in muscle groups due to fatigue, and many things can tire those muscles out. Overuse, a contraction held in place for a long time, hot weather increasing the body's heat regulation, so many things. So I found out two words to prevent cramping - Git Gud. Sucks, huh? Extra salt, pickle juice, electrolytes means nothing! Well, the pickle juice can help you unclench a cramp, but it doesn't prevent one.

With all this in mind, I decided that I would just take in more calories during a long climb and do more rides longer than the mileage marker where I usually cramp. Still, I will usually cramp on this one hill, but I'll be topped off with fuel to spin my legs faster so that the involuntary clench doesn't lock up.

Cramping is just a normal thing for endurance athletes, and as you can see, I'm not the only getting cramp attacked on that climb back up to Clear Creek. That dude walking is one of the strongest and fastest climbers in my area, but it's the start of Spring at this point and he wants to get fit for the summer racing season. I'm just happy that I've never had to step off the bike before I fell off to walk up that hill. I just grit my teeth and savor the feeling of ripping flesh off my thigh bone.

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