No one really knows much about cramping. One of the reasons for this is that research into the topic is rare because cramps are notoriously random and apparently there are many different types of cramps and also it will take a brave cyclist to allow a researcher to stick some medical probe into a muscle that’s experiencing one.
All I can say is that I generally know what causes them in me. It’s usually a very hot day, I’ve been riding over around 100ks and I also suspect one can be triggered by moving a muscle in a slightly different manner to the default motions of cycling. It’s like your body gets so used to that zone it gets upset if you alter it.
That last point becomes more acute post-ride when I try to bend over to take my shoes off or I am lying in bed trying to sleep and a foot — so used to having to push against something (and slightly bent towards my shin when riding) — starts cramping cause it’s free and can now “relax”.
Anyway — more on all that later.
We had 6 of us today which is pretty much a proper crew. At the meet-up point at Planet Cycles there was me, then Dayne, then Jesse arrived. Then Scott, Tom and finally Shirts.
The day started on a downer — I quickly discovered trying to take a snap of the sunrise that it seems not only my Garmin, but also my camera was a casualty of that wet ride last Saturday. The back display screen wasn’t functioning — which bizarrely echoed what had happened to my Garmin. So my photos will be a bit more shit than usual cause I couldn’t see the shot I was composing and I couldn’t even be sure the shot was taken. Ugh.
Dee will be grateful Scott has shaved the mo and is working on a new beard.
Scott was rocking his fixed wheel with TT bars — the rest of us were on gears, though of course Shirts was also avec TT bars.
Originally the plan was to head towards West Mt Cotton Road and then hit Serpentine Road in Redland Bay and then swing home via Cleveland. But while we were mashing the plans got altered. First we hit Mt Petrie Road which gave Scotty a bit of a workout. So I said, “We’ll cut out West Mt Cotton Road” — which is pretty brutally steep and not very much fun if you just have one gear.
“Don’t alter the plans for me!” he said.
But before all that Tom randomly said, “Take this right”. And we all obeyed and it was firstly down Rochedale Road and then into Ford Road through Sheldon. I’ve never been on these roads but it was amazing. Really pretty, quiet and packed with stuff to gawk at like transmission dishes, weird houses, horses and a place that had it’s very own half-sized rugby league field.
I caught Scott instagraming on-the-bike. So I had to get into his photo:
Another shot by Scott.
It was fun to watch Scott climbing with his two water-bottles in the back of his jersey bobbing around. Tom thought it was “mesmerising”.
Then the troop headed towards the West Mt Cotton summit. It was doubly complicated for Scott. Because he was brakeless, he had to somehow slow down during the initial 20% drop which has a potentially nasty corner at the bottom, and then he had to dig himself out of that gully. Ow. We all went first but Dayne stuck with Scott just for the LOLz and to document his suffering. Dayne is such a good mate!
This is Dayne’s pic — which I think is fucking amazing!
And I think I captured the very moment Dayne took this shot:
Dayne’s selfie to celebrate!
“That wasn’t much fun,” Scott said at the top.
So we made our way down and then on Beenleigh-Redland Bay Road Shirts led us and time-trialled all the way along. It was absolute mashing and things went by so fast I had to take Dayne’s word for the fact we narrowly avoided two squashed turtles in our line. We consistently held the speed above 45 and Scott had to pull out cause he just couldn’t consistently spin that fast. I needed an excuse to rest so I dropped off the back too — ostensibly to keep Scott company.
We were now about 65 kms into the ride and I still hadn’t refilled my water bottles. And there were no places to fill up so I had to steal some of Shirts’ water. Eventually we got to stop at civilisation — a servo somewhere near Victoria Point. Dayne demonstrated how spraying yourself — when you are all sweaty — with compressed air was amazing. He was right. Even in your shoes apparently!
So thankfully we made it to Cleveland and had a chance to eat and rest. I was so desperate for food I dived into the cafe and ordered the first thing on the menu. Our table was so crowded Jesse managed to tip his whole meal all into his lap. We laughed so hard I got the first of my many cramps for the day — in my chest.
Scott took this sneaky pic!
On our way again and naturally Shirts became — THE SHIRTS. Everyone was getting quiet. There was just suffering and I was in too much pain to take many photos.
For some reason we took this scenic route and around Wynnum I was just over it and feeling tweaks and twinges of an epic cramp about to wave over me. I was also starving again and so sick of drinking water that felt like it had just been boiled. It was around 115km from home for me at this point and I don’t think there is much point riding when it sucks and you’re gonna pay for it for days later.
So I bailed and Dayne decided that was a good idea too. And below is what remained of the crew saying goodbye and heading home.
On the train there was an empty VB can and I couldn’t resist posing for a photo which Dayne took.
So I got off at Park Road and slowly hit those last 10ks. My legs were a mess and cramping and I was so, so hungry. I made it to the fish n chip shop at the Baroona Road shops and ordered my lunch — I was craving salt and more salt. Then as I was riding down Baroona with that meal swinging from a plastic bag from my bars — I heard this, “DAVE!” And turning around it was Jesse. RANDOM!
After devouring my lunch I had a massive dual-leg cramp in the living room which locked my legs straight — like they were suddenly in full length casts. I could feel myself getting dizzy and sick with pain. Luckily it faded. See I need to keep my legs moving post-ride when I am susceptible to cramps. I have learnt that if you jiggle them around — kinda simulating the motions of the bike — that seems to help. If you get sedentary — that’s when they arc up.