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Solution for muscle cramps on long rides?

Saturday, June 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

June
8
2013
Saltstick Caps

Saltstick Caps

Muscle cramps on long rides has never been a serious problem for me. Up until the 100 mile ride I did in the heat last Saturday, I think I’ve only had to deal with muscle cramps a couple of times.

But my rides are getting longer, and it’s getting hotter outside. On last weekend’s century ride I was very careful to consume lots of water, electrolytes, (GU gels, Sport Beans, Roctane energy powder, etc.), Clif Bars, Sportlegs, mustard packets–basically I did everything I knew to stay hydrated, fueled and cramp-free.

All of that worked up until about mile 88 (check out my post-ride blog for the details if you want). Despite everything I did, I suffered from extreme muscle cramps late in the ride, and when I returned home I was down 5 pounds.

I noticed some of the riders were using salt tablets, and so I started doing some research. I found a product called Saltstick Caps, and could not believe how positive the reviews were. On Amazon there are currently 73 reviews, and the average rating for the product is 5 stars out of 5. I read the reviews on Amazon, and also quite a few more on other sites. The overwhelming consensus? This product is phenomenal.

So, what’s in Saltstick Caps? Each capsule contains 215 mg sodium, 63 mg potassium, 11 mg magnesium, 22 mg calcium and 100IU Vitamin D. The Vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium. The capsules contain no sugar, fat, carbs or filler.

The recommended dose is one capsule per 30-60 minutes during activity. At less than 20 bucks for 100 capsules, this product is extremely light on the wallet.

I ordered a bottle of Saltstick Caps, and I’m anxious to give them a try. There is a handlebar dispenser available, but I passed on that. It only holds six capsules, and it doesn’t look particularly well-designed. One of the reviews I read suggested keeping the capsules in an empty Tic-Tac box, and I think that’s a great idea. I’m going to try that.

Another options is to open the capsules and pour the powder into an energy drink. Might try that, too.

If this product allows me to do long rides without having to fight through painful muscle cramps, it’s going to be worth its weight in gold to me! I’ll let everyone know what I think after I try them out.

Have any of you used this product? Have any thoughts, tips or tricks to share?

John Stone Fitness Comments

15 Responses to “Solution for muscle cramps on long rides?”
  1. Anxious to hear your review John, I’ve been getting quad cramps on longer rides lately, never had an issue in the past but I have never pushed myself this hard either.

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    • Good question, and the answer is that I don’t know the answer. :/

      Theoretically with the Saltstick caps I won’t need mustard anymore. I’ve got some long rides in the heat planned over the next few weeks, so I’ll keep everyone posted. 🙂

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  2. I’ve given this some thought, and I think I’ll use them both this way…

    – On those super hot days on long group rides (80km+) I’ll pop a salt cap every hour as a prevent. I know I lose lost of “salts” as I can taste it, and I get a skin rash on my forehead from it.

    – I’ll keep a few mustard packs on my jersey, and If I get a cramp, I’ll down a mustard pack then. I think the liquid form might work faster than a salt tablet and I really like the taste of mustard too.

    I’ll see how that goes. I’ve only cramped a few times on long ride, but it sure isn’t fun. I learn so much from your daily blog. Thanks John.

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    • I’ve heard the same thing, although we usually carry mustard packets for cramps (which are also extremely fast-acting and effective). I guess transporting the little mustard packets is easier than carrying a bottle of pickle juice.

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  3. I got the salt sticks based on your recommendation and I think they work well. Did a 99 mile mtn bike Race in Lutsen MN, took one on the hour every hour…no cramps. Did a 24 hour duo mtn bike race in Wausau WI, took 8-10 over the course of 24 hours…no cramps. In both races I was still standing up and pounding on pedals at times…no cramps, dog tired though. I’m sold.

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    • This is great to hear! Me and my friends have had similar experiences. In fact, everyone I know who had tried them has had nothing but positive things to say. Thanks for taking the time to follow-up here!

      P.S. You are a beast!

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