Overcoming a psychological problem?

Michelle

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#1
No, not the fact I'm psycho, this I deal with not a problem.
However, I have a serious problem which I don't know what to do about.

I get hand cramps really bad, like arm pump where I can't hold on as it hurts too bad. It's always on the first ride of the day, and the reason I think it's psychological is, it's at the bike park where I learnt to ride. I notice it slightly if I'm riding somewhere else, but it never really develops into anything major. It's a sand based forest and gets pretty dry in summer (awesome fun in winter though) so I thought maybe that was the problem - gripping too tight there. However, if I'm riding elsewhere in the sand, it doesn't develop like that (we're only allowed access to certain parts of the forest on organised rides).

Last weekend the sand was pretty dry and rutty and I felt my hands at one stage and thought, heck, I can't stop for this, I've got to go on (fun harescramble) and it did go away (different part of the forest, not the park), but even if I do this at the park, it makes no difference, in the end it forces me to stop for ages or else I'm likely to hit something (been there, done that, no fun, ruins the day's riding).

Anyone have any ideas what I can do to stop it? I won't be at the park for at least a month, probably longer, but really would like to overcome the problem somehow.
Thanks in advance
Michelle
 
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#2
I would also be interested to hear peoples opinions on this, as i get really sore hands too, around the thumb area. I just figured it was me getting used to my bike, as it is a handfull :silly: Maybe someone else can comment??

Steve
 
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#3
Michelle and Steve.

Usually hand cramps develop from holding on too tight. Especially on the first ride of the day, you may not be as relaxed as you would be on the second or third ride.

A motorcycle is nothing but a big gyro. If you jump off of it at speed, the motorcycle will most likely continue on without you until it runs out of forward momentum and falls over. If you can let yourself relax and allow the motorcycle to do most of the work. it will be much easier on your body.

A lot of it is psychological, when you see those ruts coming, you are probably gripping tighter in anticipation, long before you actually get to them. Try to relax your grip until you actually get into the rough areas.

When you feel your hands starting to cramp, try to relax your grip a little. Also, you can squeeze a tennis ball or one of those spring type hand exercisers during the week to help build the muscles in your hands and forearms.

Just my $ .02, not even worth that here in Kalifornia.
 
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#4
I not really sure if this is related, but when I wake up in the morning, my hands hurt. They are pretty stiff and it hurts even more to make a fist. I couldn't possibly hold on to my handlebars until about an hour after I wake up. I'm thinking that this is related to riding somehow.
Does anyone have any ideas?
Thanks,
-Phil
 

Wraith

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#5
If the pain you are describing is located from the lower part of you'r knuckles, going down a little ways past you'r wrist. It's a good possibility it is the start of carpal tunel.:scream:
 
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#6
I think it might not be all psychological. I would try changing the position of the handlebar first (rotate back/forward) and changing suspension settings to find out if you feel better.

About the weak hands in the morning: Yeah, you might be developing carpal tunnel syndrome. I would be looking into that real closely.
 

Wraith

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#9
It would all depend on the things you do, like if you do alot of heavy wrenching, stuff like that. Most of the time it is due to repetitive motions. At you'r age it would be highly unlikely, but (I'm no doctor so take this as far as you want to) if your hands are really bothering you that bad, go to a real doctor and get checked out. It might catch something before it gets worse (if it is anything at all). For me, and most everyone I know, you either suffer with it or get surgery and still suffer with it.:eek: :( :confused:
 

Michelle

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#10
Thanks for the replies, I'll check my bar setup & see if that helps. I also got proven wrong yesterday and suffered really bad, in fact, I had to lift my throttle hand off with my clutch hand. After getting back to the cars, I found my friend was ready to go, so we just went & I hoped for the best. It went away not long after and was fine for the rest of the ride, but maybe that's because we were having so much fun laughing at each other struggling and getting lost.

It could well be bar position come to think of it. I was standing more once I'd warmed up, so am possibly too cramped when sitting - doh!
Cheers for the help, and those that may be suffering carpal tunnel, I hope you're not. (I think there was a thread about it a while ago, so maybe that will help too - will see if I can find it).
Michelle
 

KiwiBird

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#11
Gidday Michelle, I was told this trick a long time ago. Try warming up in stages - I start my bike and ride around for a couple of minutes and then come back to the truck and check my tires then go out for a couple of minutes more and then come back and fill my gas. Just short rides of no hard exertion. I find this helps on arm pump and muscle soreness the next day. The start/stop cycles seem to help the muscles warm up better.
 
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#12
Michelle.

One more thing. Try standing more and holding on to the bike with your knees and lower leg. Kinda like riding a horse. This frees up your upper body a little and lets you relax more on your grip.

Bar position and bend is a good area to look at. When I got my WR400, I rode it with the stock bars and got arm pump. When I changed the bars to the CR bend that I was used to, the arm pump went away.
 
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#13
Sometimes I'll get bad hand cramps in the beginning of my riding too. I try to ride around to get warmed up before I go and ride hard. Also, I try to make a mental note that I may be hanging on too tight and to squeeze harder with my legs/knees. This helps too. If you find your hands cramping make a mental note and see if are hanging on too tight. Maybe, when you find yourself going to your "riding area" try to focus on things ahead and not think too much of the area that intimidates you (which makes you hang on for dear life!!)

This usually helps for me. If you take it easy and keep on riding it usually goes away (mine does). Good luck!!
 

Humai

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#14
Michelle,

All very good advice in this thread.

The thing I'd like to add concerns the bike park. It is generally much more "washy" than the other parts of the forest due to higher traffic. This means that you cannot just go out and ride slowly first off to ease yourself into the ride, because riding slower in the washy sand is even more difficult than attacking it.

I get exactly the same problem as you do when riding at the park. I try to go easy and avoid entering into battles with my riding buddies for the first few kays if possible, which really helps.

You may wish to ride the firmer tracks close to the car park first, like the first part of the dead forest loop or the small loop in the "family area", before venturing out into the park proper.
 
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#15
Worth a try??

Michelle

Try a ride WITHOUT your gloves on!
Some gloves seem to restrict blood flow to the hands in certain positions, especially around the wrist area. Check to see if your gloves are too tight around the wrist?
Don't go for a wild ride without the gloves. Just enough to see if your hands feel different.
Nothing to lose but your pain....