Earlier this week I got a new bike
and on Thursday I went for my first road group ride. 11 other riders on various roads and trails in the twin cities area, about 30 miles total.
It was a lot of fun, but it would have been more fun had my legs (calves specifically) not started cramping up about 40 minutes into what was a ~2 hour ride. Part of the problem was that at the beginning I wasn't drafting well so I was working harder than the people in the pack, but at some point we hit some extended uphills and my calves just decided to stop working. It was pretty frustrating because I wasn't even breathing hard.
So, any recommendations on how to avoid muscle cramps? From what I can see, the conventional wisdom is that lack of electrolytes is a primary cause of muscle cramps -- I didn't know this beforehand, but I can imagine that in the future I would make sure to load up on electrolytes both before and during the ride (I just had water). Any other suggestions?