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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 07-28-07, 02:56 PM   #1
kenseth03
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Is this normal

I am returning to cycling after a lengthy layoff and a few pounds put on. I have started to get back into the swing of riding again but every now and then I will get really light-headed and dizzy. I have tried some of the gels and they do work after a short while. Does anyone else get like this? Is this what they mean when someone says they bonked?
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Old 07-28-07, 03:17 PM   #2
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No, bonked means you can hardly stay on your feet.
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Old 07-28-07, 04:44 PM   #3
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It's definitely not normal. I had a similar affect last year after pushing it really hard on a very hot day. I think it happened within a half hour after two rides. I happened to catch an article a few days after the second time on how one should do a cool-down ride after pushing it in hot weather. It cited the light headedness and feeling faint as the symptoms if you don't.

Now after I finish a ride in high temps/humidity, I do a slow ride in low gear and keep the cadence up a little for about a half mile or more to cool down. That ended the problem.

In my case I know for sure that I'm well hydrated, get the correct amount of electrolytes and get adequate carbs before, during and after the ride.

Al
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Old 07-28-07, 06:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kenseth03 View Post
I am returning to cycling after a lengthy layoff and a few pounds put on. I have started to get back into the swing of riding again but every now and then I will get really light-headed and dizzy. I have tried some of the gels and they do work after a short while. Does anyone else get like this? Is this what they mean when someone says they bonked?
It could be something as simple as working out too hard and/or not having enough carbs in your system, but we'd have to know more about what's going on. How fast you are riding, how far you go before it happens, how hard you feel like you're working out.

Having said that, however, the symptoms are troubling, and I think you should definitely see a doctor before you ride more.
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Old 07-28-07, 06:37 PM   #5
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When you say you are getting light headed & dizzy do you mean while you are riding or after you get done?
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Old 07-28-07, 06:44 PM   #6
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This may sound funny, but are you breathing normal or do you sometimes hold your breath when you are exerting yourself hard? Sometimes when we are pushing ourselves or struggling, we hold our breath and also tighten up (usually death grip the bars).
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Old 07-28-07, 07:25 PM   #7
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It happens mostly during a ride. I have had one instance when it happened after a ride. trl19, it's funny you ask that because the other day while riding I cought myself holding my breath on an uphill. Just as you said I was concentrating hard and just instinctavly was holding my breath. So I worked on my breathing trying to get into a relaxed breathing rythm. However on the next ride I got this dizziness again. Like I said I am getting back into bikeing after gaining some wait so 8 miles a ride is about as far as I go right now. I am usually about 12-15 miles per hour on mostly flat terrain with only one big hill. I take the Cliff Shot Blocks and Jell and they do seem to help somewhat. I am starting to wonder if it is a blood sugar issue. Thanks for everyones input on this. I think I'll talk to my doctor this week about this.
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Old 07-28-07, 07:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kenseth03 View Post
It happens mostly during a ride. I have had one instance when it happened after a ride. trl19, it's funny you ask that because the other day while riding I cought myself holding my breath on an uphill. Just as you said I was concentrating hard and just instinctavly was holding my breath. So I worked on my breathing trying to get into a relaxed breathing rythm. However on the next ride I got this dizziness again. Like I said I am getting back into bikeing after gaining some wait so 8 miles a ride is about as far as I go right now. I am usually about 12-15 miles per hour on mostly flat terrain with only one big hill. I take the Cliff Shot Blocks and Jell and they do seem to help somewhat. I am starting to wonder if it is a blood sugar issue. Thanks for everyones input on this. I think I'll talk to my doctor this week about this.
Are you diabetic? Might want to get tested and keep an eye on your blood sugar. Definitely go see a doc about this.
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Old 07-28-07, 07:58 PM   #9
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This is probably just low blood sugar. Try eating some carbs 1-2 hours before you ride. You really shouldn't need to eat anything on a ride of less than an hour, but you can try eating one gel right at the half hour point. Your system is unused to turning food into energy. This will improve fairly rapidly. Try to ride at least 4 days/week - consistency does more good than anything.

However, if you are trying to lose weight, beware of eating more calories than you are burning. You may only be burning 300-400 calories each 8 mile ride.

I got like that all the time when I started riding seriously, but usually only after 30-40 miles. It took a while for my system to adjust, and for me to learn to eat appropriately for my metabolism.
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Old 07-28-07, 08:22 PM   #10
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No, this is not really what "bonking" means. I don't think a person can really bonk over that short a distance - although it might be something similar in a sense if you aren't fit yet. I can sympathize with you. I never totally stopped riding, but I wasn't riding very far or fast the 4 years I was on dialysis, before getting a kidney transplant late last summer. Since the transplant, I've been riding a lot more, and with a lot more intensity. Sometimes though, if I push it too much, as I tend to do, especially in hot weather, I will get a little light-headed and even dizzy. I just take a break if necessary and then I slow down a bit. You're probably doing too much too fast. Are you pedaling at a fast cadence? Consider that you might not be fit enough for that yet. Maybe your legs can handle it, but your cardio-respiratory system can't keep it up. You have to gradually build up to it. But what I really wanted to suggest is that you're playing with fire if you are returning to this without getting a medical checkup first. It could be a blood sugar thing, but it could also be low blood pressure, and other things. Who knows. You really have to get checked out, and would suggest any wise doctor would schedule you for a heart stress test. You're not on any high blood pressure medication by any chance, are you?

I can only speak for myself, but I've found that if I bring a water bottle filled with half fruit juice (I like orange) and half water, with a little added salt, I feel better.
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Old 07-28-07, 09:05 PM   #11
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Yeah, definitely not bonking, which requires about 2.5+ hours and 45-55 miles or so until you can completely deplete your muscle-glycogen. You also need to be in shape to burn off calories at that rate, so it'll probably take a beginner at least 3-hours+ to burn off that much glycogen. And the initial symptoms of a bonk are very benign, you feel no pain. Just kinda gooey sluggishness with no energy and your muscles can only generate enough power for 10-12mph speed. And you're frantically scanning the trees and looking on the ground for carbs to eat.

I suspect the intensity is a little too high right before these dizzy spells. Better to back off the intensity a little and work on LSD, long-steady distance and work up to 3-hours and 45-50 mile rides over the course of 2-months. Then start picking up the pace.
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Old 07-28-07, 10:43 PM   #12
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Yeah, definitely not bonking, which requires about 2.5+ hours and 45-55 miles or so until you can completely deplete your muscle-glycogen. You also need to be in shape to burn off calories at that rate, so it'll probably take a beginner at least 3-hours+ to burn off that much glycogen. And the initial symptoms of a bonk are very benign, you feel no pain. Just kinda gooey sluggishness with no energy and your muscles can only generate enough power for 10-12mph speed. And you're frantically scanning the trees and looking on the ground for carbs to eat.

I suspect the intensity is a little too high right before these dizzy spells. Better to back off the intensity a little and work on LSD, long-steady distance and work up to 3-hours and 45-50 mile rides over the course of 2-months. Then start picking up the pace.
I'm confused. Are you saying that whether or not you bonk is completely independent of nutrition? I know that how much glyocogen you use at a given intensity level depends on how fit you are, but I thought whether or not you bonk is related to how much food you consume.
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