In Real Life
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
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OK, let's clear a few things up ...
First, bonking. Bonking is when you run out of fuel. It's when your blood sugar level drops too low -- exactly like an insulin reaction in a diabetic or severe hypoglycemia.
Bonking has a pretty set list of symptoms:
1. "mental" difficulties - you become irritable with little things like all of a sudden your jersey isn't comfortable or something the person riding with you says annoys you ... you start to have trouble concentrating and if you're performing mathematical calculations as you ride, like I do, all of a sudden it becomes hard to add ... you cease conversing with the people you're riding with because all of a sudden it becomes too hard to carry on a conversation.
2. hunger - maybe. I rarely feel hungry when I ride so I miss this symptom all together, but others experience it.
3. dizziness and weakness - you'll feel light headed, it's hard to focus, your legs just don't have the same power they had.
4. exhaustion - you feel really tired and you've got no energy to turn those pedals.
5. nausea - all of a sudden you just don't want to eat anymore, you feel sick and you just want to lie down somewhere.
6. vomiting, diarhea - you're well into a bonk at this point and if you've reached this point, it is very difficult to recover. But if you ever reach this point, you've got to try to get some calories inside or your situation will get much worse.
Ideally about the time you start feeling irritable, and especially by the time the dizziness and weakness set in, you should eat or drink something with calories ... and keep it up regularly for the next hour or so.
But sometimes the symptoms can come on fast and furious and before you know it, you're into the nausea stage. If you ever reach that stage, start by drinking your calories - sports drinks, sugared pop, sweet iced tea - whatever you can take in. Do that for a while - sips every few minutes, then try gels - again sips every few minutes, then if you can stomach solid food start nibbling small bites about every 10 minutes ... and you might have to keep doing that for a number of hours before you start to feel more like yourself again.
It's a good idea to consume 250-300 calories per hour (from solid food and/or sports drinks) in order to ward off bonking. It doesn't sound like you ate anywhere near enough.
Second, cramping. The leading cause of cramping is dehydration. If you were dehydrated on Saturday's ride, and then didn't properly rehydrate through the week, then it is no wonder you cramped. While you are on your rides, you need to drink one 750 ml (3 cup) bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours.
Also, if you happen to be a heavy coffee or tea drinker, and if that is your main source of liquid during the week, you are just dehydrating yourself even more. Try drinking 8 glasses of water tomorrow to build up your hydration levels again.
Incidentally, dehydration can also cause a lack of energy, but that's different from bonking.