Help me figure out this muscle feeling

Okay so yesterday was a long ride for me. 93 miles, 5:19 in the saddle, lots of rolling hills, and one steep 6 minute climb. A total of 6k feet of elevation gain. I was also riding with two guys who were stronger than me, so i was definitely pushing a harder pace than I would have on my own. Normally my daily rides are 60-90 minutes long, with the occasional 120-150 minute ride, and i ride an average of 5-6 times a week.

Around 65 miles in and after the big climb, I started feeling something like cramping in my legs when i would pedal out of the saddle. It would hit my inner quads, but only when i would load up each leg on the downstroke. It felt like a cramp, or like an acute stiff sluggish feeling, but i could work through it and it would go away the moment i stopped pushing.

At another point, i attempted to stretch my tricep and my lat muscle contracted into something much more identifiable as a cramp. When these issues started, my first guess was that i was sodium depleted.

Today is a rest day and i feel fine, albeit tired.

My fueling was probably a little light. Before the ride i ate two waffles with peanut butter. During the ride I consumed a total of 186 grams of carbs, somewhat spaced evenly out. A bottle of Skratch superfuel , a bottle of gatorade, big Rice crispy, then a cafe stop where i ate a bacon egg and cheese croissant and a small bag of doritos.

I’ve never really had this feeling before. It was a pretty cold day (~4 Celsius/ low 40s F).

So yeah, just trying to figure out if i was having “cramps” or if it was something else?

Fatigue and fatigue cramps because you usually don’t ride that long.


Figure your muscles run out of fuel around 2-3 hours, roughly. On a ride like that I’d slam 120g before the ride - big bowl of granola with blueberries, about a cup of orange juice, and a banana or two just before the ride. Then about 60g/hour. FWIW.

That doesn’t address your muscle feeling, personally don’t recall ever having that feeling.

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The latest thinking on cramps is that they aren’t necessarily related to electrolytes / hydration, but a “self-protect” mechanism for your body.

Given that, my guess is you simply jumped into the deep end of the pool and pushed your body a bit further than it wanted to go…nothing wrong with that occasionally.

That said, most people will also tell you that you under-fueled for that ride (despite the gut-bomb at the cafe stop).


Sure sounds like cramp after going a bit harder for longer, as you get use to it you’ll might find that you weren’t little light on your nutrition after all. Well done on the ride btw :slight_smile:


I once did a century on 5 hour sleep on a banana and clif bar. Similar sensations at the end. Bonked so so so hard. that breakfast plus 30 carbs an hour riding at a hard pace is bonk-city. I bet if you had more fuel on board you would have felt better. Try more carbs next ride and then you’ll have more data! But for me it was one of the few times I ever truly had cramps all over my body.

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