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  1. #1
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    What causes you to blow up?

    The old Second City routine comes to mind... "Blowed 'em up good." "Yep, blowed 'em up real good!"

    So, yesterday I was out on a ride of pretty moderate intensity, and did a couple of all out attacks on two short hills. The second I hit spinning as fast as I could under the circumstances (120rpm), and crested it as fast as I would using my normal technique. My heart rate went higher than it would have using my normal technique, within 4 bpm of my fastest-ever observed heart rate. It was a short effort, about 60 seconds. And I blew! Afterwards, my legs weren't particularly tired, but my energy level went out the window.

    Which got me wondering, does anybody know what happens, physiologically, when you blow up?

  2. #2
    Member hacker44240's Avatar
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    If you use up all of your muscle glycogen stores (like what happens quickly during a maximal effort which is powered almost exclusively via anaerobic metabolism) your muscles lose a source of energy and stop functioning properly. Add to that lactic acidosis and you blow up.
    Just remember that effort fueled by aerobic metabolism burns fat and is sustainable almost indefinitely. Effort fueled by anaerobic metabolism burns glycogen (glucose) and leads to rapid fatigue.

  3. #3
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hacker44240
    If you use up all of your muscle glycogen stores (like what happens quickly during a maximal effort which is powered almost exclusively via anaerobic metabolism) your muscles lose a source of energy and stop functioning properly. Add to that lactic acidosis and you blow up.
    Just remember that effort fueled by aerobic metabolism burns fat and is sustainable almost indefinitely. Effort fueled by anaerobic metabolism burns glycogen (glucose) and leads to rapid fatigue.
    if you use all your muscle glycogen stores, how long before you can recover? considering your of completely average build and have proper nutrition. i've never completely blown up before, so i'm just curious on what you should do to recover if you still have to keep riding.

  4. #4
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Sorry... I never noticed that this thread got resurrected (sp?).

    Merton, I'm not sure where the term comes from, but often after a maximal effort, you have no strength, energy, or will to continue at any significant level of effort. There's an anaerobic effort, which taken to extreme, will cost you far more in recovery time than you gained by the effort, but we're still talking seconds and minutes. When you "blow", it's like you've popped he balloon, and try as you might, it ain't gonna hold air no more 'til you fix it.

    I'm not sure I completely buy hacker44240's explanation. I don't think the effort was long enough to use up glycogen stores. But I'm sure that's a significant part of it. And what do I know, anyway? I suspect there may be a central nervous system component, too. In any case, I appreciate the input.

    Recovery depends... the situation I was describing, you're done for the day, so to speak. You can eat, etc., but you still won't be able to work hard enough to even get your heart rate up much. Time off the bike is the only real solution.

    If you have to keep riding, do what you KNOW you should do. When I've gotten into a serious bonked state, my judgement goes right out the window. So I have to disregard my judgement, and do what I know I should do. Get calories and fluid. Drink the right stuff, eat the right stuff, and get off the bike until my senses start to return.

  5. #5
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    yes, i blow up from time to time. this is directly attributed to the prep off the bike the day before. i need to be peeing like a racehorse the day/night before i ride (which is every day the sun shines) or i am blown on my fast rides.

    its nutrition and rest off the bike that determines how well i do on the bike. this is assuming that you are well trained to begin with.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  6. #6
    Member hacker44240's Avatar
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    There is a balance between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism that we all strive for in our performances (whether we realize it or not). For example (I'm just making up numbers here, but it is probably close), if you are sustaining an effort at roughly 60% of your maximum heart rate, you're probably darn close to fueling that via 100% aerobic metabolism. At that effort, you can go on almost indefinately. The harder your effort (the higher your heart rate goes), the more you shift towards anaerobic metabolism. Once you hit somewhere near the upper 80's to lower 90's percent of your maximum heart rate, you are now fueling your effort significantly via anaerobic metabolism. I don't think it is a linear relationship, but the switch from one form of metabolism to another is not sudden. Making up more numbers ou could imagine that at 80% of your maximum heart rate you're probably 50% aerobic and 50% anaerobic or something like that. In other words, if your going at that effort, you could sustain it pretty long, but not indefinately. Let's say you want to race a time trial. Your goal is to ride as hard as you can while barely being able to maintain it for the length of the course. You should be close to "blowing up" right at the end of the race. If you are racing a long road race, you go at a much lower effort so you can sustain it over a great distance, and have some juice left at the end for the sprint.

    Once again, fully aerobic metabolism = sustainable almost indefinately. fully anaerobic metabolism = sustainable only briefly. 50% aerobic and 50% anaerobic = sustainable for some time in between.

    You do not need a heart rate monitor to tell where you are along the spectrum either. You can tell by the way you feel with enough experience.

    I have no idea how long it would take you to recover. But for me, I would say a big meal and a few hours at least.

    If you are in the middle of a ride, it is critical to not get to the point of total fatigue (or failure if you are a weight lifter), because it is all over at that point, and you'll be miserable just trying to get yourself home.

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