Joe Gustafson, an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer who’s a local rider out of Jamestown wrote this article about lactic acid for us to post on the site. There’s some good info here so check it out.
Let us know what you think!
You know that burning sensation you feel in your quads during that hard effort climb? You will most likely hear your cycling buddies talk about lactic acid burn. The old theory behind lactic acid is that it makes the muscles more acidic which causes them to hurt and burn and then interferes with their ability to contract, so you feel tired. Now researchers have shown that muscles contract more efficiently when lactic acid accumulates in them.
Electric currents cause muscles to contract. This electricity is generated by cell membranes causing potassium to move inside cells and chloride ions to stay outside. With vigorous exercise, potassium ions accumulate outside cells. As large amounts of potassium ions accumulate outside cells, electricity is not generated and the cells cannot contract. Another ion called chloride accumulates outside the cells and prevents potassium from getting back in. Lactic acid removes the chloride, so it is easier for potassium to get back inside cells.
Staying hydrated, and consuming gels will keep your body fueled properly while on those long hard effort rides, and during races. Remember to take recovery days until your muscles feel fresh again. Some great products to consider for any ride lasting longer than an hour are of course the popular single gel packs such as Carb Boom.
These have about 50 mg of potassium per serving. I personally recommend the 650 ml bottle of Hammer Gel Rapid Energy Fuel. This is a bottle consisting of 26 servings with a great price at $24.95. Some riders prefer to dilute the gel with water to make it easier to ingest, as it can be quiet thick. The gel is kept in what\’s called a “gel flask” and can be stored in the back pocket of your riding jersey. Talk to your local bike shop about different options for refueling while out on the road.