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  1. #1
    The guy in the 50+ jersey PAlt's Avatar
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    SPECTACULAR Bonk!

    Well, I guess everyone eventually has this happen, was my turn. Rode in my 4th RAIN ride yesterday with not such a good result. We started at 7 A.M. in 74deg and 80% humidity. I felt fine, well rested and ready to go. I went out strong near the front, and got in a group running around 24MPH average through the first 60 miles.
    My SAG crew of the wife and daughters met me on U.S. 40 just before I made the turn to head around Indianapolis. Got fresh bottles and headed off again. I'd been eating, and taking Endurolytes at regular intervals. Ran mostly solo for the next 20 miles, temps by now around 85-90.
    Caught another group and by the time I reached the lunch stop in Franklin, IN (91 mi.), I was still on a 23 mph pace, even sitting thru a few traffic signals. Met my crew at the lunch stop for bottles, and off again. Didn't feel as good as I had at mile 60 (last bottles), but not terrible.
    As I started off again, temps were now in the 90+ range, and this part of the route was out in full sun. Close to mile 100, I knew my time was off by about 4 minutes from last year, and suddenly it became a big effort to push the pedals. Kept pushing along, but now the sweat was pouring off, noticed my bib had salt crystals on my quads, and by now had gone through a bottle and a half in about ten miles.
    I still had about twelve miles left to go to the next meet with my crew, and now started feeling cramps in my calves, lower quads, and in the arch of my feet. Went another 5 miles, where there was a Quick Mart, so I stopped to get another bottle of water to get me over the hump, still feeling pretty bad. Another rider had stopped as well, and obviously was having issues with the heat. He'd bought a gallon jug of cold water, and was filling his bottles and pouring it over his head. He offered to douse me and I accepted. That cold water almost made me pass out from the shock. I got water, filled my bottles, and limped to the next meet as the route returned to U.S.40.
    My wife and girls were waiting there with fresh Heed bottles, and I stopped to get them. Immediately, my calves, quads, and arches seized up. I got very nauseous, and pretty dizzy as well. Sitting down only felt worse. I was cooked.
    In that last 20 miles, my average dropped from 23 to 20MPH. I've NEVER not finished an event, this was a TOUGH pill to swallow, but my bride reminded me that heat stoke and a hospital stay or worse was not a wise choice for a husband with two teen-aged daughters. Not sure why this happened, I was very good about fluids, food, and electrolytes. I've certainly got the necessary miles in this year. Just a lesson I guess, that it CAN happen to any of us.

  2. #2
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Sorry about the bonk but averaging 25 MPH for a 160 mile ride? The reason to push that hard is.......

  3. #3
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    I bonked once years ago. Every pedal stroke was agony, I thought I would never make it home. How did you maintain 20 mph?

  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Sounds like you over-exerted yourself in the heat. Spin more and be less concerned with beating last year's time.
    Have done double centuries without personal support crew.

  5. #5
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    What was the temp and humidity in the previous events? I agree with the others that you over exerted yourself with the high humidity and high temp I think a slower pace would have been in order. Of course hind sight is always 20-20. Sometimes a person just doesn't realize until its to late to slow the pace. I always go by by heart rate monitor and keep it in a certain range that I know I can maintain for the event. I know it can happen to anyone. Kinda like a sailor I knew that teased us about getting seasick on a fishing trip. Guess who got sick?
    Chief Executive In Charge Of Diddly Squat.

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  6. #6
    The guy in the 50+ jersey PAlt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgary View Post
    How did you maintain 20 mph?
    The 20 MPH average was over all 112 miles I managed to ride. I'd have to do the math, but losing 3 MPH in the last 20 miles means I lost a LOT of speed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil85207 View Post
    What was the temp and humidity in the previous events?
    Last year conditions were almost perfect with temps in the mid 50's at the start and no higher than 70 at the finish. Skies were overcast for the most part all day. Two years ago mid sixties at the start and 85 at the finish.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    Sorry about the bonk but averaging 25 MPH for a 160 mile ride? The reason to push that hard is.......
    To HTFU & get the drugs out of my system, besides, it was only around 23 MPH before the bonk

  7. #7
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    A good answer, I'll grant you that.

    I may well have accused you of Embellishing but I talked to some
    People on Saturday who were going RAINing the next day. They said with the Westerlies, few steep climbs, and a disciplined paceline folks
    can indeed turn out some smokin' times.

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I know it was 30 odd years ago but I got onto salt tablets when I was Racing Karts (Go- Karts) I used to do Endurance races- 6- 12 and 24 hour events. One hour driving and one hour rest. One event and we were over 100F for the event and high humidity. Salt tablet every hour and we were fine but one of the other drivers in my club did not believe in salt tablets.

    He developed all the symptoms that you had. By the end of the 6 hour event and he was off to hospital with heat stroke.

    It is surprising how much liquid you need and how much salt loss you will have. Especially if you are "Over" exerting yourself with the speed you were trying to keep up. If you sweat that much- it is not only Fluids you are losing. One sure sign you had was the salt crystals. As soon as you start losing that amount of Salts- They need replacing- unless the crystals were an excess that the body had to start with and that is very hard to do.

    I know salt is frowned upon nowadays for medical reasons- but the body does need some. Go stark raving mad as you did in trying to stay up the front and you need extra. Ordinary salt may not be included much in your diet- I know I don't take a great deal nowadays- but it is a necessary chemical that you require. Don't know if drink supplements will replace it adequately but I use a couple of things on the long rides that do help replace it.

    One is a salty snack--or 3-- and the other is marmite. Marmite is made from salt and a couple of marmite sandwiches will replace the essential salts that you have lost on the ride. And the good side effect is that it will clear the palate so you can start taking the drinks with additives that have finally said you are going to "Up Chuck" if you have another gulp of the stuff.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  9. #9
    The guy in the 50+ jersey PAlt's Avatar
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    Looked at my HR data from Saturday. Looks like I rode at Z4 sub threshold level or higher for 62% of the time I was in the saddle. If Hermes, AJet & other students of analytics are checking in, perhaps they can provide a bit of insight as to whether I, in fact, "cooked" myself going out too hard for conditions and resultant heart rate(s). Just trying to understand cause(s) to prevent a recurrence in the future.

  10. #10
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I think the base "cause" is because we are boys in grown up skin. We don't know when to come in out of the rain. Congrats and glad you made it home. You sound like you were very cooked in my unprofessional opinion.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  11. #11
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    PAlt is in great shape and form right now so this is indeed a really big surprise. His conditioning was well groomed and tailor made for this event and as I recall averged 21-22 mph for the entire 160 miles last year, and I'm willing to bet he was in at least one more notch better shape this year. Knowing his mileage and conditioning I'm as perplexed as anyone regarding his unexpected misfortune. His pace the first 91 miles is not that much different than what we did last year for that same stretch. And for the symptons to come on so suddenly just seems abnormal. I know I was feeling somewhat puny last year and after eating a banana it really seemed to quiet my stomach.-but I think what I had for breakfast contributed to my situation. The only thing I can think of is the combination of the heat/humidity. But compared to the riding PAlt has been doing in NC lately I would have thought his body would have been more acclimated to the weather that day.

    All I know is that somedays are just terribly bad days for whatever reason--but generally those are followed by days that are so much better than expected. I've noticed that during the TdF there are some really strong riders that just have a crappy day here and there. I'm betting some of his next posts are all about new PR's and some amazing results.
    Ride your Ride!!

  12. #12
    The guy in the 50+ jersey PAlt's Avatar
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    Thanks, Joe! Not sure I deserve all the accolades, but I sure appreciate the plug.

  13. #13
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAlt View Post
    Looked at my HR data from Saturday. Looks like I rode at Z4 sub threshold level or higher for 62% of the time I was in the saddle. If Hermes, AJet & other students of analytics are checking in, perhaps they can provide a bit of insight as to whether I, in fact, "cooked" myself going out too hard for conditions and resultant heart rate(s). Just trying to understand cause(s) to prevent a recurrence in the future.
    Hi PAlt: It is unclear to me why you had a problem. I think the simplest explanation is lack of preparation for the effort expended and since you were going fast you were using a lot of glucose power production.

    Since it was hot, I suspect your HR was elevated so that HR was not a great indication of power production. Let's say for the sake of argument that you were at z4 for several hours. That is a monstrous effort since the definition of z4 is a one hour effort. I did a z4 40K ITT for an hour and I was cooked at the finish. I did another ride after but it was very easy.

    You were probably in z2/z3 most of the time unless you were off the front or climbing. However, the heat / humidity consumes a lot of energy just to keep the body cool.

    On hard longer rides, I use a lot of gels and drink a lot of water to stay ahead of energy production and allow enough time for absorbtion. I like Smart Water. However, we do not have the heat and humidity that you faced. And the stomach has a limited capability to absorb water and energy. So you may have just got behind in your hydration and energy and it once that happened, it takes time to recover and there was no escaping the heat or pace.

    This is a situation where one has to know oneself very well.

  14. #14
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    In the TdF, the commentators were discussing the amount of fluids used on a hot stage. Some guys go through 22-25 bottles in 6 hours. Now some of that goes over the head, some gets spilled and a lot gets consumed. On a 6 hour hot ride I might typically go through 8 bottles. I would say I'm very under hydrated using the example of the pro riders. Of course I'm not putting out the power they are but still it is quite the difference. So to me, it sounds like you just got behind on your fluids and perhaps calories. Once you plow through your glycogen reserves it is pretty much over.

  15. #15
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Riding hard for long distances, IMO, requires some help with matters of training preparation but also hydration, caloric intake and composition of energy drinks. I do not know if you watched any of Armstrong's prep vidoes on his web site but there was one where he was in Hawaii with Dr. Stacy Sims. Dr. Sims runs the human performance lab at Stanford University, is a member of our racing club and a member of Team Tibco's professional women's racing development team (at least in 2009). Unlike most stuff one finds on the internet, she has credentials, actually rides a bike and advises Armstrong. Here is an excerpt from our message board where she discusses electrolyte drinks.


    personal choice. but the research shows that if you were to ingest equivalent calories from a protein+carb vs carb drink then the performance would be the same. GI distress and rate of dehydration are different-but that is dependent upon osmolality and composition of the drink.

    What you want to have in a sports drink (to actually work!)
    2 sugars (glucose, sucrose, glucose polymers) but not fructose, maltodextrin, high frutose corn syrup- all these cause GI distress)
    sodium (Citrate preferably, but hard to find)- minimum 200-240mg/8oz
    potassium- maximum 200mg

    ideally you want no more than 40g carbs per liter (or rather 10 g carbs per 8oz).

    Options on the market you should try:
    NUUN or Camelbak elixir plus 1x EmergenC sachet* - you will have to make sure you have food in the pocket as this is strictly for hydration and cramp prevention

    FRS-X (well, not available until after the Tour de France/august timeframe).

    If you need/want to know why, I'll forward references etc....


    I suspect Lance had a lot of testing done using different drinks and compositions to optimize hydration and energy intake on the bike.

    My observation is that most cyclists wait way too long before drinking and eating - case in point. I attended a couple of training camps with my coach. We start out as a group and most of the participants are Cat 1 and 2 with a couple of 3s. We roll out for an hour warm up loop before we start the climbing. The pace is fast and the little climbs tough.

    The coach goes to the front and sets the pace. We will be going along and he will lift a water bottle over his head and the peloton takes a drink - pretty funny. But few drink before cue by the coach! At the bottom of the climb, we regroup and he reminds riders to start eating and drinking. We have a sag wagon at the top of the climb with food and water. After each climb, we eat and refill water. If we get behind in eating or drinking, we will not be able to do the five climbs prescribed for the day. The climbs are typically between 18 to 25 minute efforts at z3/z4 power followed by a long descent to the start by another route which adds some spinning before we climb again.

    I suspect in the TdF, Bruyneel is on race radio telling those guys to eat and drink. There is a famous quote that one of my buddies uses which is "your racing IQ goes down as your power goes up." It means that riders make poor choices in tactics and energy replenishment and hydration when they are put under the duress of high power.
    Last edited by Hermes; 07-21-10 at 11:33 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Great effort, PAlt.

    I do good to average 16+ mph for a century. I do have some friends suggesting I join them for a double century in Malibu next year (the Grand Tour?). I will be satisfied to finish

  17. #17
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    except for the sweat sounds like heat stroke ... no? ever pour water on your head? sounds like a really tough ride! I don't know how people can do it - been watching the pros in the TDF and I'm just amazed.

    btw: some news program had a PSA about how much water we can lose every 20 min in very hot weather and the guy held up a 1 liter bottle of water. maybe those are the stats he used but not far from it
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I used to do a 12 hour ride offroad. We had a sag wagon that carried water and food that we met frequently. My son-in-Law drove it and every time we met- even if it was just a wave that all was OK- He held out water bottles- only 500 mls but he wanted to see us drink that before he lost sight of us. We were using Camelbacks and carried extra water in bottles and at each Sag stop he measured how much water we were drinking. If it was not at least 1 litre per hour- he made us drink a 500 ml bottle before we moved on. And on the hot year we were keeping intake up to 1 1/2 litres an hour as a minimum.

    That worked- Pee stops were minimal and the colour was clear.

    And it did not matter what the temp was- he still checked that we were drinking enough. Even if the temp was not high- we were still working hard and losing fluid. And on the food front-- We gained weight on that ride on the amount he made us eat.
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  19. #19
    The guy in the 50+ jersey PAlt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    except for the sweat sounds like heat stroke ... no? ever pour water on your head?
    Rum - If you re-read the original post you'll see that the cold water over the head was really the best "signal" that I was in serious trouble. Potentially passing out is not good...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Hi PAlt: It is unclear to me why you had a problem. I think the simplest explanation is lack of preparation for the effort expended and since you were going fast you were using a lot of glucose power production.

    Since it was hot, I suspect your HR was elevated so that HR was not a great indication of power production. Let's say for the sake of argument that you were at z4 for several hours. That is a monstrous effort since the definition of z4 is a one hour effort. I did a z4 40K ITT for an hour and I was cooked at the finish. I did another ride after but it was very easy.

    You were probably in z2/z3 most of the time unless you were off the front or climbing. However, the heat / humidity consumes a lot of energy just to keep the body cool.

    On hard longer rides, I use a lot of gels and drink a lot of water to stay ahead of energy production and allow enough time for absorption. I like Smart Water. However, we do not have the heat and humidity that you faced. And the stomach has a limited capability to absorb water and energy. So you may have just got behind in your hydration and energy and it once that happened, it takes time to recover and there was no escaping the heat or pace.

    This is a situation where one has to know oneself very well.
    Hermes - Thanks for taking the time and effort to respond both times. As to prep, I'd just ridden a century the prior week in 80+ deg. temps in the mountains with about 10K of elevation gain in 6:23, and still had gas in the tank, so I guess I thought I had the chops to do RAIN .
    Regarding the HR data, I've been professionally tested and had my HR zones set by a USAC Expert certified coach, the data is from my Garmin 705, the distribution data is from Training Peaks. I went back and re-examined the information, and specifically:
    Z4 : 2H 14M
    Z5A: 25M
    Z5B: 35M
    Z5C: 3M
    Total ride time was 5H 22M, so 63% and some change at those HR's. I agree with you that without a power reading, the true "measure" of effort is elusive, but the data does tell me that in higher heat / humidity, elevated HR's are a warning sign of the need for better hydration and / or nutrition. I thought that I was on that pretty well with about 1 20oz bottle per hr., but that obviously was not enough. I was taking Endurolytes at the rate of 2 caps per hr, again, obviously not enough. Calories from bars at arnd 250, with additional from the Heed in my bottles. I'll also agree that "knowing oneself" is also about having the discipline to know that even when feeling good, over distances like that ride, it's better not to use that occasion to "reach" too much over what you know to be your limit, regardless of how you may initially feel. Tough but important lessons...

  20. #20
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Were you able to look at any finishers times you rode with to see how they compared to last year's times? If the ride was indeed more challenging due to the weather you'd see folks times 15-30 mins slower than last year. I can't imagine the conditions for riding any better than 2009.......

    FWIW you're intake in fluids, ecaps and nutrition is 2-3 times what I normally do. Good for you! I would have probably been in a rescue vehicle by 100 miles on this one!
    Ride your Ride!!

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