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  1. #1
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    pre-rode race course and bonked

    We have a local race coming up on Sunday. By local, I mean it's literally a mile from the house. I plan to just ride the bike of garage straight to sign-in. You gotta love these kinds of races.

    The course is a 2x loop. The loop is a very common ride for me, but I have never ridden it twice. I've done lots of long-duration rides, just different routes. Doing the same loop twice just seems.... repetative.

    As usual, I did first loop pretty fast. I always do the loop as fast as I can, which means multiple 2-5 minute spurts of 180-190bpm effort (MHR:194). As usual, I was cooked after one loop. Then the second started. Ouch, I got to feel some serious pain. Halfway through I bonked. I consumed most of my energy drink and gel pack and still have 13 miles to go. Needless to say these 13 miles sucked and I was a wreck when I got home.

    I ate maybe 400 calories 2 hours before the preride and had 300 calories and 50ish ounces of water. I am going to add another gel pack or 2 and a bottle of water in the jersey pocket for the race.

    What would you change from above to reduce the bonking on race day? Eat more before... eat more during... electrolytes... reduce HR during max efforts... etc? I really can't drop my heart rate too much, as I need to be at the speed I'm riding to even contend. But spending ~20 minutes out of a 1:20 loop above LT isn't good for long-duration racing. My LT is roughly 179, tested by carmichael 8 minute max efforts.

    Thanks in advance...

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Take Friday off and ride easy on Saturday with a couple leg openers. Eat a bit more than normal the night before (like an extra bowl of cereal or something) -- not enough to throw you into bowel movement issues in the morning. Bring more gels and a couple energy bars. Eat your first at 45 minutes, and see if you can eat something in another 30 minutes, if not, see if you can eat something every 15 minutes until you can, then restart your timer. Bring one bottle of sports drink and one of water. A third (24oz) bottle in a pocket if it's 100 degrees or more.

    You should be fine.

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    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    What is the name of this race? Website?

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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    Take Friday off and ride easy on Saturday with a couple leg openers. Eat a bit more than normal the night before (like an extra bowl of cereal or something) -- not enough to throw you into bowel movement issues in the morning. Bring more gels and a couple energy bars. Eat your first at 45 minutes, and see if you can eat something in another 30 minutes, if not, see if you can eat something every 15 minutes until you can, then restart your timer. Bring one bottle of sports drink and one of water. A third (24oz) bottle in a pocket if it's 100 degrees or more.

    You should be fine.
    That's a lot of calories. Personally I wouldn't do half that.
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    Senior Member aicabsolut's Avatar
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    Hopefully if you can hang in the pack, your HR isn't going to be as high as when you ride it solo. Don't burn all your matches in the first lap. Say it takes you 3 hrs max based on your estimate of time per lap. If you think that you can absorb around 250 calories per hour, bring that much food. Have at least some of them contain electrolytes and easy energy (good sugars). Pre-hydrate well. Bring a couple big bottles. That's about as much as you can prepare in terms of nutrition in addition to the pre-race eating WR suggested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny View Post
    What is the name of this race? Website?
    Bandalier road race in los alamos, NM. It's the 36th annual, so it's gone through lots of iterations - different lengths/stages/etc. Next year they are thinking of adding a TT up to the ski hill. 3-4 miles, 2500ish feet climbing- after the race. Sounds grueling.

    Thanks for the nurtrition tips, WR!

    forgot website: http://tour-de-los-alamos.org/

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    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    This race, probably what, 2.5 hours?, I would eat a full meal ~3-4 hours before the race so that it moves out of your stomach by race start, then eat a protein bar ~ 2 hours before race start, then a couple of bananas ~ 1 hour before start, then high glycemic dried fruits like dates on the start line. Eat dates and fig newtons every 15 minutes during the first 90 minutes, then start on gels if that's what you like. YMMV. Good Luck. Looks like a great race.

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElJamoquio View Post
    That's a lot of calories. Personally I wouldn't do half that.
    Yeah, but we're talking to a guy who bonked in the OP... I had that scare this winter where I bonked two days in a row while training, and I added 7 Oreos and another PB&J sandwich to the daily intake to compensate. I certainly wouldn't recommending any drastic changes, which would risk digestive issues, and possibly racing with abdominal pressure.

    Does it help if I post an unrelated graph?


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    Good luck in the race.....I took a good, hard look at that one and decided that I'm not up for 4000 feet of climbing just yet (just getting back into racing). I'll be at the Bonanza Creek Classic next weekend, though!

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    Burning Matches. ElJamoquio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    Does it help if I post an unrelated graph?
    Always.
    Reacting is mind candy; it requires no thought. Thinking is tedious.

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    Senior Member goaliedb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palesaint View Post
    Bandalier road race in los alamos, NM. It's the 36th annual, so it's gone through lots of iterations - different lengths/stages/etc. Next year they are thinking of adding a TT up to the ski hill. 3-4 miles, 2500ish feet climbing- after the race. Sounds grueling.

    Thanks for the nurtrition tips, WR!

    forgot website: http://tour-de-los-alamos.org/
    Good luck!

    This is a great race! This was always a "must do" for me when I was living in NM. I have memories of the climb when you turn on to Jemez Rd! And watch out on the descent into Ancho Canyon

    Geez, how I would love to be back in NM, and Los Alamos is my favorite area.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by palesaint View Post
    We have a local race coming up on Sunday. By local, I mean it's literally a mile from the house. I plan to just ride the bike of garage straight to sign-in. You gotta love these kinds of races.

    The course is a 2x loop. The loop is a very common ride for me, but I have never ridden it twice. I've done lots of long-duration rides, just different routes. Doing the same loop twice just seems.... repetative.

    As usual, I did first loop pretty fast. I always do the loop as fast as I can, which means multiple 2-5 minute spurts of 180-190bpm effort (MHR:194). As usual, I was cooked after one loop. Then the second started. Ouch, I got to feel some serious pain. Halfway through I bonked. I consumed most of my energy drink and gel pack and still have 13 miles to go. Needless to say these 13 miles sucked and I was a wreck when I got home.

    I ate maybe 400 calories 2 hours before the preride and had 300 calories and 50ish ounces of water. I am going to add another gel pack or 2 and a bottle of water in the jersey pocket for the race.

    What would you change from above to reduce the bonking on race day? Eat more before... eat more during... electrolytes... reduce HR during max efforts... etc? I really can't drop my heart rate too much, as I need to be at the speed I'm riding to even contend. But spending ~20 minutes out of a 1:20 loop above LT isn't good for long-duration racing. My LT is roughly 179, tested by carmichael 8 minute max efforts.

    Thanks in advance...
    You didn't say how many calories you burned before you bonked. If your glycogen stores are filled up and topped off before you ride, you should really not in theory truly bonk until you burn at least 1500 calories. For some guys it could be 2000 or more. How many calories per hour are you burning? It sounds more like you stores are not topped off and so you're starting with an empty tank... you might up your carb intake (and lower, say, fat intake accordingly) for several days before the race.

    Disclaimer: YMMV but let me put it this way, on a 2 hour RACE, maybe even a little longer I do not eat anything solid. I take 400 calories in bottles (2 x 1 litre) and that is plenty, at 800 calories per hour.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjcampbell View Post
    Disclaimer: YMMV but let me put it this way, on a 2 hour RACE, maybe even a little longer I do not eat anything solid. I take 400 calories in bottles (2 x 1 litre) and that is plenty, at 800 calories per hour.
    I did feel OK until well into the 2 hour mark. Total ride time was 3.5 hours - probably would have been right at 3 hours if I hadn't faded.

    I am 6'0 and 143lbs as of yesterday. I don't have much reserve and, as WR guessed, need to eat more often during a fast ride than most.

    I don't think I fueled up beforehand quite as much as I could have. I'll pig out more the night before and eat a good breakfast. That and a few more gels (maybe fig newtons) should keep me topped up.

    And YES, this race is a good one and los alamos is a great town to ride in. I'll do a short write-up after the torture is over.

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    Personally I'd stuff myself before such a race. I ate a relatively large tuperware worth of pasta and meat sauce in the 3-4 hours before one of my races (I was at the race site from 7 AM on, my race was at 1 PM). Also some coffee, egg sandwich, some other stuff. Since you're a mile from the course you can use your own bathroom, and I would. Then I'd go ride to the course.

    I'd eat carb rich foods for the day or so before too. Not "carbo loading" per se (since there is no carb-deficient process) but just "carb eating". For me pasta/rice with a meat sauce works well. Electrolyte type stuff too. If my legs don't feel a bit swollen the day before then I'm lacking something.

    btw you're 5 inches taller than me and almost 40 pounds lighter. I may eat too much (well, I know I do at some level) but I'd bet that you were a bit deficient in your caloric intake prior to your bonking ride. It's fine being on a diet but you need fuel to ride hard and once you run out of fuel you're SOL.

    I rarely bonk but I will collapse in a state of fatigue after a few hours.

    cdr

  15. #15
    fair weather cyclist pjcampbell's Avatar
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    I think you should look at it a little more mathematically. You took in 300 calories in 2 hours. Take in more. Figure you start with 1500, figure out how many calories you are burning per hour and then keep it in balance. No more than 300/hour though. Now if I could only have a BMI of 19.4. I'dbe flying up hills.

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    If youre going to "load" before the race do it the day before not the morning of.......
    Please remember that all statements unless quoted, are strictly my opinion of what happened. That there are as many opinions as there are spectators attending. I just choose to publish mine on this forum. And would NEVER intend to purposely hurt or discredit any other cyclist.... With that said... HTFU!

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Personally I'd stuff myself before such a race. I ate a relatively large tuperware worth of pasta and meat sauce in the 3-4 hours before one of my races (I was at the race site from 7 AM on, my race was at 1 PM). Also some coffee, egg sandwich, some other stuff. Since you're a mile from the course you can use your own bathroom, and I would. Then I'd go ride to the course.
    I wish I had 3-4 hours before the race to start fueling up. There's no way I'm getting up at 4am to do this though. I'll probably get up at 6:30 and eat a big bowl of oatmeal with an egg and english muffin. Briefing is 7:45am, 1.5mi parade to start line, my cat takes off at 8:20.

    I got a lot more good responses than I was expecting. Thanks a bunch!

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    What do you mean by bonked? I can honesty say I have never bonked because I didn't eat enough before or during a race. I have used up everything in a race to the point where I just couldn't turn the pedals anymore, but thats not bonking, thats just blowing up.

    On the other hand, I have gotten light headed, tunnel vision and nauseous in 45 minutes from not drinking enough water, but again, thats not bonking.

    Sounds to me like you just blew up, not bonked.
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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palesaint View Post
    I wish I had 3-4 hours before the race to start fueling up. There's no way I'm getting up at 4am to do this though. I'll probably get up at 6:30 and eat a big bowl of oatmeal with an egg and english muffin. Briefing is 7:45am, 1.5mi parade to start line, my cat takes off at 8:20.

    I got a lot more good responses than I was expecting. Thanks a bunch!
    I really recommend you eat much less in the morning, or eat much earlier. Maybe skip the oatmeal if you're going to eat at 6:30.

    I just got done screwing myself over for hill repeats today. I had a Calorie panic about 1 hour before my ride: I could just tell I wasn't topped off. So I ate a banana nut muffin. Then I ate three more. By ride time, I could tell my stomach was consuming all the resources, and I had no power. It was uuuuugly.

    Om nom nom...

  20. #20
    Trying to keep up ericcox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElJamoquio View Post
    That's a lot of calories. Personally I wouldn't do half that.
    Soul crushing requires a little extra fuel.

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    If you're bonking in practice the race might kill you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    What do you mean by bonked? I can honesty say I have never bonked because I didn't eat enough before or during a race. I have used up everything in a race to the point where I just couldn't turn the pedals anymore, but thats not bonking, thats just blowing up.

    On the other hand, I have gotten light headed, tunnel vision and nauseous in 45 minutes from not drinking enough water, but again, thats not bonking.

    Sounds to me like you just blew up, not bonked.
    I've read several posts that declare that hardly anyone ever truly bonks... just "blows up" as you mention. But when you are dizzy, can't quite see straight, on the verge of not sweating and almost getting goosebumps with an incredible desire to just stop riding, -I- call that bonking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    I really recommend you eat much less in the morning, or eat much earlier. Maybe skip the oatmeal if you're going to eat at 6:30.

    I just got done screwing myself over for hill repeats today. I had a Calorie panic about 1 hour before my ride: I could just tell I wasn't topped off. So I ate a banana nut muffin. Then I ate three more. By ride time, I could tell my stomach was consuming all the resources, and I had no power. It was uuuuugly.

    Om nom nom...
    HHmm, four banana nut muffins = 1000+ calories doesn't it? I am talking a normal bowl of oatmeal (300), an egg (90) and an english muffin (145). I then have 2 hours to digest before the race starts. Shouldn't be a problem... I hope?

  24. #24
    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palesaint View Post
    HHmm, four banana nut muffins = 1000+ calories doesn't it? I am talking a normal bowl of oatmeal (300), an egg (90) and an english muffin (145). I then have 2 hours to digest before the race starts. Shouldn't be a problem... I hope?
    I think you'll be okay with this. Oatmeal moves through the system quickly. The egg is a slow digesting fat/protein which will provide some slow releasing energy in the intestine. Just keep something small in your stomach regularly. I carry a zip lock baggy with the top rolled down 2-3 times with dried dates and fig newtons. You may like something else. These are more complex carbs than gels which will release energy slower. Gels are for when you are closer to glycogen depletion and need something that can be immediately converted into energy. This event should take ~2.5-3hrs. Glycogen depletion normally occurs after 2 hours of very hard effort. That is bonking or hitting the wall. So at the 90-120 minute mark, you may want to switch to gels for a quicker energy boost, depending on how you feel. I start using my own mix of simple sugars at ~ the two hour mark in longer road races.
    Regularity is the key. Every 15 to 20 minutes on the clock. Watch the other riders. When the pace slows, people are eating and drinking. Do this. When you see others eating or drinking, consider it a reminder.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    You should probably take with a grain of salt a comparison of your performance over an ~60 mile course by yourself vs. your performance in a race with a peloton. Very different beasts, especially if you are readlining yourself several times a lap. Racing a somewhat hilly 60 mile course is about energy conservation, and hiding in the pack is one of those energy conservation tools. This is not a hugely hilly course, so riding in a pack will make an absolutely huge difference.
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