Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    Member randplaty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Diego
    My Bikes
    08 Dahon Speed P8 & 84 Miyata 1000
    Posts
    43
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Is a headache a symptom of bonking?

    I just did a metric century today (Tour de Poway) and about halfway through I got a headache. I thought it was my helmet at first because it ached where the straps touched my head. I loosened the straps and it didn't help. I had ridden many miles with this helmet with no problems so I couldn't understand why I was getting this headache. I did feel weak in general, but that might just have been because of the ride.

    So I thought I might be dehydrated. I started drinking everything I had on me, but it didn't help. Then I thought perhaps I'm bonking, so I stopped and bought a coke and some trail mix at a CVS. Within a few gulps of the coke, I was feeling better. By the time I finished the 20oz coke, the headache was gone.

    Was that a bonk?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    363
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    That was what we call a "headache". I get headaches from dehydration regularly, and they don't necessarily go away just because I hydrate.

    Probably the caffeine in the Coke helped more than anything.

    KeS

  3. #3
    Crispy Member ahsposo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Open the Bag and Eat Me.
    My Bikes
    A Home Built All Rounder, Bianchi 928, Specialized Langster, Dahon Folder
    Posts
    6,380
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Possibly.

    I've had two *killer* headaches after an intense rides and not eating something.

    Of course it may just be an incipient brain aneurysm. Any double vision involved? Memory loss? Uncontrollable twitching?

  4. #4
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    other Vancouver
    Posts
    6,772
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I used to ride all over that area, and I got headaches. I moved to the Pacific Northwest, and I still get headaches. So it's not Poway that's causing the headaches.

    "Bonk" usually refers to a radical drop in energy level. Since exercise can suppress appetite, you can "bonk" by not eating enough before and during the event. Headaches generally aren't involved.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  5. #5
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    other Vancouver
    Posts
    6,772
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Any double vision involved? Memory loss? Uncontrollable twitching?
    I get that way when I walk into a fancy new bike shop. Then I remember I have more bikes and bike parts than I know what to do with already.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    257
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sounds like an electrolyte imbalance or something like that.

    If you are not used to processing a lot of calories and fluids and things it is pretty easy for your body chemistry to get out of whack. Everyone is different, but that is one of the things that can happen. You can even get a headache from an electrolyte imbalance by abruptly changing your diet.

    Bonking for me is where I have a hard time walking, maybe also talking and fine motor skills. My digestive system slows down too, making it pretty hard to take on calories and fix it. Liquids with simple sugars and rest (4-6 hours) helps me.

  7. #7
    Member randplaty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Diego
    My Bikes
    08 Dahon Speed P8 & 84 Miyata 1000
    Posts
    43
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I talked to my friend who is a doctor (who also did Tour de Poway) and he said it's a sodium headache meaning I was low in sodium, and coke has sodium. So I guess that's what it was.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    burlington VT.
    Posts
    2,227
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    sometimes I start getting a headache due to looking "up" from a semi tucked position for too long. when I start to feel it coming on I just relax my eyeball muscles alittle and look to the side or down at my front wheel instead of 60 yards in front of me.
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
    1997 Trek ZX6000, 6061w/manitou spyder, xt/xtr, time atac

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    38,704
    Mentioned
    34 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A bonk is low blood sugar and usually starts gradually with feelings of irritability, maybe a little dizziness, possibly hunger ... and possibly also a headache. Those are the early stages of a bonk. A full-fledged bonk gets much worse than that.

    But headaches while riding are more likely caused by dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, heat, exerting yourself too hard for your current ability (i.e. hitting your max hr on a climb), or around here in the spring ... magpies.

    Anyway it sounds like you did the right thing ... a coke would have provided you with both sugar and liquid.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Elevation 666m Edmonton Canada
    My Bikes
    2013 Custom SA tourster
    Posts
    496
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I started drinking lemon Gatorade on long ride days and felt much better. Half the bottle at breakfast and the rest on the way, besides lots of water. It just seems to settle my whole body down very nicely, ready for the exertion. The OP likely got a bit too hot also. The sugar in Coke helps but is a poor hydrater.

  11. #11
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    My Bikes
    '02 Giant Boulder, '08 Felt S32
    Posts
    922
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    A bonk is low blood sugar and usually starts gradually with feelings of irritability, maybe a little dizziness, possibly hunger ... and possibly also a headache. Those are the early stages of a bonk. A full-fledged bonk gets much worse than that.
    +1

    You hear term "bonk" casually thrown around a lot and what people are really feeling is just getting fatigued/dehydrated/hungry. If somebody truly bonks there is no question when it happens, and there is no desire to ever repeat the experience.
    '81 Panasonic Sport, '02 Giant Boulder SE, '08 Felt S32, '10 Diamondback Insight RS, '10 Windsor Clockwork

    Visit me at the Tundra Man Workshop

  12. #12
    Icantre Member stonefree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    the Bayou City perpetually under construction
    My Bikes
    2001 DBR Axis TT, 1998 Trek 5500 OCLV, 1993 Trek 1100, 1971 Raleigh Grand Prix, 1972 Gitane Attic Beater
    Posts
    384
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Caffeine addiction, sorry but that'll give you a headache.
    "If we don't change direction, we will end up exactly where we are headed."

  13. #13
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
    Posts
    9,622
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The headache is a sign of dehydration. If you started drinking a lot of water when you actually had the headache, you were too late. As the old saying goes, "eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty". If I'm planning a long ride, I'll start seriously hydrating before I've actually started the ride (the night before is usually a good time), and I'll keep hydrating well after I've finished it.

    Also, don't rely solely on water. It's good to factor in some of those horrible-tasting electrolyte sports drinks, or maybe some fruit juice as well.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  14. #14
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    My Bikes
    several
    Posts
    4,206
    Mentioned
    25 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tundra_Man View Post
    +1

    You hear term "bonk" casually thrown around a lot and what people are really feeling is just getting fatigued/dehydrated/hungry. If somebody truly bonks there is no question when it happens, and there is no desire to ever repeat the experience.
    ^^This^^

    I've had a bit of a headache from tiredness & dehydration a bunch of times, but I've only actually bonked once.

  15. #15
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    YEG
    My Bikes
    See my sig...
    Posts
    26,088
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can trigger headaches... your physician friend seems to have made a pretty solid diagnosis and the coke is loaded with caffeine (a stimulant), loads of sugar, and sodium which is a short term fix.

    Bonking, as it relates to cycling and physical activities refers to a state of sedition where your body just refuses to work because of muscle glycogen deficiency where the legs quit but the brain keeps humming, blood glucose deficiency where the brain quits and the legs keep turning, or the full on bonk where everything quits and you will be lucky to not fall off your bicycle.

    I like the British version of bonking better.

  16. #16
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    NYC & Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    My Bikes
    1976 Fuji SRR, 2005 Fuji Del Rey, 2009 Mach 2
    Posts
    240
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by randplaty View Post
    I talked to my friend who is a doctor (who also did Tour de Poway) and he said it's a sodium headache meaning I was low in sodium, and coke has sodium. So I guess that's what it was.
    Coke has no added salt, and only contains 35mg sodium per 8oz serving, about 1% of your daily allowance. It even says on the label, Very Low Sodium. So your "doctor" friend is a quack.

  17. #17
    Senior Member The Chemist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Shanghai, China
    My Bikes
    Giant FCR3500
    Posts
    492
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
    I started drinking lemon Gatorade on long ride days and felt much better. Half the bottle at breakfast and the rest on the way, besides lots of water. It just seems to settle my whole body down very nicely, ready for the exertion. The OP likely got a bit too hot also. The sugar in Coke helps but is a poor hydrater.
    Yes, I found Gatorade to help immensely. I did a lot of riding this summer in Shanghai's heat and humidity, and I found that Gatorade really helped me get rehydrated on long rides.

    I found that a headache for me was a clear sign of dehydration, so as soon as I even got the slightest headache, I started drinking much more.
    Luke Richardson - Shanghai, China
    Giant FCR3500 - "Big Red"

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    38,704
    Mentioned
    34 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tundra_Man View Post
    +1

    You hear term "bonk" casually thrown around a lot and what people are really feeling is just getting fatigued/dehydrated/hungry. If somebody truly bonks there is no question when it happens, and there is no desire to ever repeat the experience.
    Well, a bonk is a process as the blood sugar level drops. Irritability is one of the first ones I'll notice. Later, I might notice the "difficulty thinking" symptom. Where I might be able to do mental mathematical calculations early in a ride, I might have difficulty when my blood sugar level starts to drop. I am experience a bonk ... but just the early stages of a bonk. And later, I might start feeling nauseated which is not a good thing. For me, that's a dangerous place to be because I no longer want to eat, but that's exactly what I need to do in order to get out of the bonk.


    These sites explain a bit about the process ...
    http://www.medicinenet.com/hypoglycemia/page2.htm
    http://www.emedicinehealth.com/low_b...a/page3_em.htm
    http://diabetes.webmd.com/tc/hypogly...sugar-symptoms

  19. #19
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    7,271
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Back during my college daze, I found the best hangover remedy to be two aspirin and a glass of too-thick, flat, Coke, no-ice, from the funky soda fountain in the cafeteria. I don't know what it was about that stuff, but I've never found anything else to work near as well. Never had a headache on a bike other than when starting out with a hangover, which a good ride always cured.

  20. #20
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    other Vancouver
    Posts
    6,772
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    I like the British version of bonking better.
    +1000!!!
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  21. #21
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    YEG
    My Bikes
    See my sig...
    Posts
    26,088
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    +1000!!!
    There is nothing like saying, "Honey... I feel some as if I am about to bonk here."

    And it never happens while we are riding our bikes.


  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    YEG
    My Bikes
    See my sig...
    Posts
    26,088
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    Coke has no added salt, and only contains 35mg sodium per 8oz serving, about 1% of your daily allowance. It even says on the label, Very Low Sodium. So your "doctor" friend is a quack.
    The can I have here says 40mg sodium and 2% of the RDA with 160 calories (42 grams of sugar) and about 40 mg of caffeine in Coke Classic... diet coke actually contains more caffeine which might explain why people drink that crap.

    It is a little speed ball of sugar and caffeine that was one of the earliest energy drinks.

  23. #23
    Icantre Member stonefree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    the Bayou City perpetually under construction
    My Bikes
    2001 DBR Axis TT, 1998 Trek 5500 OCLV, 1993 Trek 1100, 1971 Raleigh Grand Prix, 1972 Gitane Attic Beater
    Posts
    384
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    So many addicts in denial about caffiene withdrawal....it's a diuretic, for crise sake!! Some analgesics even have caffeine in them. That's how you get hooked. The drug generation in the drugged world. Bonk this.
    "If we don't change direction, we will end up exactly where we are headed."

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •