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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 07-06-06, 11:47 AM   #1
MMACH 5
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Did I bonk?

I have a 45-mile round trip commute. Most weeks, I ride Mon, Wed & Fri. I keep a fairly comfortable pace, with a few miles of hammering mixed in, depending on how I'm feeling. I usually down a PowerGel at about the halfway point, and the Texas heat dictates that I drink two or three 25-oz bottles of water, each way.

Yesterday, I was heading home and felt a bit more tired than usual, so I used two PowerGels, (one at mile seven and the other at mile sixteen) and drank all three bottles of water. The humidity was pretty high and I was sweating like crazy. When I got to the house, I was absolutely exhausted. The strangest thing was that I could not stop shivering, (the thermostat was set at 78). I ate dinner, grabbed a blanket and conked out on the couch.

It seems that there are no lingering effects, today.

Does this sound like a bonk, a carb-crash or simple dehydration? It felt eerily similar to a mild state of shock.
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Old 07-06-06, 12:18 PM   #2
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Heat exhaustion.

Not good.
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Old 07-06-06, 12:26 PM   #3
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no bonk, just got too hot imo.
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Old 07-06-06, 05:50 PM   #4
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Heat exhaustion.

Have you considered a hydration drink rather than pure water? The good ones will be absorbed faster than plain water, which reduces that "sloshing" feeling, and makes you more likely to drink enough.

Bonks make you feel like you can't turn the pedals over. You may feel like you're going to die - or wish that you would die - but they aren't dangerous.

Heat exhaustion is dangerous. Any time your body seems to be having trouble regulating your temperature, it's something to pay attention to. Not meaning to scare you or anything, but it's not something to ignore.
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Old 07-06-06, 07:32 PM   #5
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Unless you have been starving yourself for a day or two, there is no way you could bonk in 45 minutes. You were almost certainly suffering from heat exhaustion. Since you are apparently riding more than sixteen miles in 45 minutes, you are riding at a pretty hard pace making it hard to stay cool in extremely humid weather. You should slow down in that kind of weather until you learn to sense and deal with the symptoms of heat stress. Generally, you need to consume cold fluids (consider a camelbak or polar bottles and refill them if necessary) and possibly taking a break to cool down in a convenience store.

Heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is a 911 kind of emergency and can kill you dead.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:55 PM   #6
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That's 45-miles, about 3-hours for a commuter. Definitely possible to burn through your glycogen-reserves especially on the return-trip as you probably didn't have anything to eat since lunch. Three 25-oz bottles of water in 45-miles is certainly enough liquids. If you were still sweating when you got home, then you certainly wasn't dehydrated with an onset of heat-exhaustion.

Try eating a 500-calorie meal before you take off and 200-cal/hr on the ride. Or about 6 gels on that trip. The energy-intake will allow you to do the ride faster, with intervals and sprints along the way. This improve your fitness and eventually, you'll be able to do that ride in just 2-hours.
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Old 07-06-06, 11:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. My wife has now done some research and says that yes, it probably was heat exhaustion, albeit a somewhat mild case. A more severe case, (which can come on pretty quickly), would include headache, dizziness and nausea.

For 18 years, I've had an ileostomy (like a colostomy, but they removed the entire colon, so it's named for the last part of the small intestine, the ileum), and since one of the colon's main tasks is absorbing fluids, I'm quite familiar with dehydration. I didn't have any of the usual signs of being dehydrated, which is why this was puzzling to me. This could have been a case of heat exhaustion caused by electrolyte depletion.

Just to clarify, my commute is 22.75 miles, each way. Going to work takes about 90 minutes while the ride home is more uphill so it usually starts closing in on two hours by the time I reach the house. With traffic lights, my actual pedal time is probably 10-15 minutes less than that, each way.
Last summer, my commute was 18 miles each way and I now realize how flat it actually was.

I do snack throughout the afternoon. I usually have a banana, a granola bar and then drink a can of Ensure+ about a half hour before I get off work. I usually drink my water at room temperature, but I'm going to refrigerate my fluids for tomorrow. I'm also taking two bottles of Gatorade and one of water.

Thanks again, everyone.
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Old 07-06-06, 11:40 PM   #8
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I'll go with a combination of all those. I'm not so sure heat exhaustion would have settled in on such a short/rather easy ride and one that you do plenty of times. I'm going with not enough food and tired to the degree that your body just wasn't up for it that day.
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Old 07-07-06, 07:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mothra
That's 45-miles, about 3-hours for a commuter. Definitely possible to burn through your glycogen-reserves especially on the return-trip as you probably didn't have anything to eat since lunch. Three 25-oz bottles of water in 45-miles is certainly enough liquids. If you were still sweating when you got home, then you certainly wasn't dehydrated with an onset of heat-exhaustion.

Try eating a 500-calorie meal before you take off and 200-cal/hr on the ride. Or about 6 gels on that trip. The energy-intake will allow you to do the ride faster, with intervals and sprints along the way. This improve your fitness and eventually, you'll be able to do that ride in just 2-hours.
oh, duh! I gotta learn to read. Still, based on the symptoms, it was heat exhaustion. Not likely to bonk in 22 miles.
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Old 07-09-06, 08:04 AM   #10
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After return from vacation (no bike riding), I went out for a ride just before mid-day (the Saturday before July 4th). Temp was high but humidity was not so bad. I felt fairly comfortable except that I felt I couldn't push very hard on the pedals. Spent the ride in lower gear and slower speed.

Later watching, the evening weather, found that the recorded high for my area was 99F. That's when it occured to me that it was the sheer heat that zapped my energy. It didn't "feel" all that hot because of the lower humidity but it was still hot. I was drinking sports drink as required and never dehydrated but the blunt heat zapped my strength.

So I guess you can maintain your hydration and still feel the affects of high heat.

Good Luck,
d.tipton
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