HOTSHOT: Not Just For the Elite.

Read Tad Hylkema's story:

I raced bicycles for years, both road and mountain bikes. I was a champ -- at cramping, that is. I didn’t cramp much during races but afterward, sitting around recounting the race, they would hit me. During all those years, I blamed lack of training, not the right training, not hydrating enough, not drinking electrolytes, not drinking the right electrolytes… Since I was working in the bicycle industry, I had the ability to get many samples from different manufactures promising that they would eliminate cramping. Nothing ever seemed to work.

Years later, I heard a radio program, People Pharmacy, on public radio, and they talked about mustard working to relieve cramps, plain yellow mustard. So I tried it, and it did work, but not very predictably; sometimes it worked other times it didn’t. Sometimes one packet would do it, sometimes after three packets, nothing. Fortunately I like the taste of mustard.

Then one day while at work, I stumbled across a tweet for #ITSTHENERVE with the mention of cramp relief. I went to the website and read about the founders and the research they did. I wrote to the company saying I couldn’t wait to try their product, given my history and they asked if I would like to try some. Of course, what did I have to lose?

What I want to emphasize is that I no longer compete. I don’t go out on hard training rides; no more sprints, intervals, or threshold work. Now I just ride my bike, and not as often as I would like to. However, I still cramp. And this came to full meaning on a recent ride of mostly very fit MAMILs (Middle Age Men In Lycra). This was going to be my longest ride of the year with some great climbs in the Driftless area of Wisconsin, which has, by the way, some of the best road riding in the U.S.

Halfway through our ride, we stopped in a small town to grab lunch at the local brewpub. Up until then, I was feeling great and even pushing the pace on the climbs. However, I knew the second half was going to be different. I was fatigued as we set out from lunch, and I knew it was going to be a long slog for the rest of the ride.

About fifteen minutes after leaving, my calves started to cramp. I knew of the caution not to use HOTSHOT within 30 minutes of eating dairy products, and we had pizza for lunch. I was able to ride through those cramps by changing my pedal stroke. A few minutes later after a moderate climb, my quads and calves started to cramp and I couldn’t pedal through it. I decided that even though it might not be a half hour, I was going to down the HOTSHOT.

The feeling of the cramps subsiding was amazing. About a minute after consuming the shot, I could feel them easing, all while I was still riding. About a minute after that, the cramps would “twinge” a bit but go as quickly as they came.  About a minute after, just the smallest hint of a cramp that would also come and go. It was actually an incredible feeling as I felt like the cramps were being pulled from my body.

My legs were shot and I struggled on all the hills after that, but no more cramping. I was the last one into the post-ride picnic but it was all because of fatigue and not cramps. In fact I was able to enjoy the picnic cramp free, and post-ride is always where I worry about cramping up.

I look at the athletes that have been endorsing HOTSHOT and I know that I will never be like them. Quite frankly, I don’t want to anymore. I enjoy riding my bike and actually looking around and seeing things. However, cramps aren’t exclusively for the elite athletes, they are non-discriminatory and will attack anyone. When I trained hard and raced hard I cramped. Now that I don’t train for anything and just ride, I still cramp.

I am so glad that I stumbled upon HOTSHOT. If you see me on a longer ride there will be this little bulge in my jersey pocket the shape of a HOTSHOT bottle. And at home you will always find one on my nightstand! 


Heading to the Summer Games: Read about Steeplechase champions Evan Jager and Colleen Quigley

HOTSHOT Science: What causes a muscle cramp? Read here

The Nerve is the Boss of the Muscle: Take control with HOTSHOT.  Here’s how

Back to blog