I recently worked with an avid cyclist that has ridden in the Copper triangle bike ride the past couple of years and has had some trouble with cramping up on the climb up Vail Pass. After talking to him and getting some background information we started to look past the obvious dehydration cause of his cramping and on to other possible causes. Other than dehydration cramps one of the usual causes of cramping is lactic acid build up in the muscles that your body is not clearing quickly enough. Due to the fact that my client has exercise induced asthma it could be a lack of oxygen issue, it could also be not enough time training at altitude to teach your body to function as efficiently as possible in the thin air. Another root cause could be that he rarely stretches and tight muscles have a high tendency of cramping, especially after riding that long and grinding up the slopes of Vail Pass. After a few coaching sessions and some assisted stretching and foam roller work his legs feel better, and with some bike specific training to improve his efficiency and VO2 he will hopefully be on his way to a cramp free ride next year, a theory we are going to test next month on the slopes of Vail Pass.
For more information check out my website: www.elevationathletics.org