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Bonking? or Blowing?

Old 06-27-09, 12:52 PM
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Bonking? or Blowing?

Subtitle: you're never too old to do something young and stupid.

Instead of my usual "slow and easy" 35 miler I joined a group of hammerheads at 8 AM for a 30 miler "B ride".

The start is about 1/2 hour away, and I had to get some things done before I got there, so I left at 6:30. Out the door I scarfed down about 230 calories worth of food. For a 30 mile "B ride". In 85F weather.

I felt great and hung in there without hardly any problem until about an hour into the ride. If you've ever been driving along and run out of gas, your throttle becoming increasing less responsive to your foot, then you've experienced something very similar to what I felt.

I envied all the dead possums and turtles on the side of the road. I welcomed the vultures circling overhead, my one wish being that the flock would deliver the coup de grace swiftly and mercifully, and that they not eat my road ID so my remains could be identified later in the day.

One member of the group, doing exactly what you'd want someone to do, slowed down and pulled me the next ten miles in spite of me asking him to go ahead and catch the main group. Riding along on his fixie he made pleasant chat in hopes of distracting me from my suffering. I really wanted to kill him.

When I got back to the parking lot I felt like I was going to either puke or faint. I loaded up my stuff and headed to the nearest source of food and water around: the White Castles.

Hadn't I suffered enough?

I have felt like absolute unrefined crap ever since. the penultimate mercy is that my family is on a shopping expedition and have left me to recover in peace. Whatever they buy is fine with me.

One bright spot: whoever came up with the idea of filling your polar bottles part way with water and sticking them in the freezer overnight, you rock. That is probably what kept me alive out there.

I assuming this was a bonk and not a blow. I don't ever want to do it again.

And that is how I spent my day.
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Old 06-27-09, 01:05 PM
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I did this recently on a 60 mile large group ride. I'm 59 and I let myself get pulled into a paceline with 20 year olds. I hung in there great for about twenty minutes and then started to fade. I recovered from the paceline but it took all my reserves to barely make the last eight miles and I was wasted and somewhat dizzy for the rest of the day. Also, temps were in the high eighties with typical GA humidity.

I'm in great shape for 59....but I'm no longer 29. Or 45.
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Old 06-27-09, 01:29 PM
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every time I've bonked, I wanted to eat the roadkill. In fact, the way that I know I'm nearing a bonked condition is when the road starts to look good to eat along with a very light/empty feeling. Hard to know the exact physiological reason for a blowup like yours, but when I've bonked I recovered that day after eating.
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Old 06-27-09, 02:09 PM
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Weak Link,
Sorry to hear about your bad day but that is one funny story

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Old 06-27-09, 02:45 PM
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When I started riding- I rode with a group of about my age that had started about 2 years before me. They trained me right- kept my pace down and always had someone to help me up the hills. Those rides used to hurt towards the end- but after about 6 months- they decided that we ought to do longer rides. They still had the 2 years extra riding that I had and the only concession I got was they would stay with me on the flat- but on the hills everyone takes their own pace. Those hills were lonely.

Then when I was up to 35 miles offroad- they stepped it up a bit. 60 mile road rides-on a mountain bike with knobblies. The worst bit was that after 40 miles it was Breakfast time. I finally knew that I was up to their standard when I was looking forward to the breakfast.

It took a full 18 months before I could stomach food on a ride but as soon as I could-I realised I was fit. And bike rides now get a good breakfast before hand and I do manage to get a good cafe En-Route for PIE or breakfast.
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Old 06-27-09, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
60 mile road rides-on a mountain bike with knobblies.
Whew...that hurts just to read.
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Old 06-27-09, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
Whew...that hurts just to read.
Far better than 60 miles offroad any time.

Don't really mean it as Mountain biking is great. Just wish I had the energy to do it now.

But back to bonking- There are always telltale signs that it is about to come on. One of which is exactly as Weak link noted and compared to a car running out of fuel. It is not pleasant but this is only the first sign. Although I do not carry food with me- In the wedge is a Gel pack for those occasions if I get the warning that a cafe stop is required.
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Old 06-27-09, 02:59 PM
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[QUOTE=The Weak Link;9177497]I envied all the dead possums and turtles on the side of the road. I welcomed the vultures circling overhead, my one wish being that the flock would deliver the coup de grace swiftly and mercifully, and that they not eat my road ID so my remains could be identified later in the day. [QUOTE]

A wonderfully poetic description of a bonk.
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Old 06-27-09, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
Subtitle: you're never too old to do something young and stupid.
...I welcomed the vultures circling overhead, my one wish being that the flock would deliver the coup de grace swiftly and mercifully, and that they not eat my road ID so my remains could be identified later in the day.
to avoid this problem get a metal dog-tag ID at Walmart for $5 I believe. That has given me a great deal of peace of mind under similar circumstances.
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Old 06-27-09, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ironhorse3 View Post
to avoid this problem get a metal dog-tag ID at Walmart for $5 I believe. That has given me a great deal of peace of mind under similar circumstances.
Only works until a crow, raven, or magpie flies off with your shiny bit of metal.

Then it's dental records and/or DNA testing.

Great retelling, WL! We've all been there.
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Old 06-27-09, 04:34 PM
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Having been there and done that, this sounds like a bonk to me. It aint fun. The good news is that you had enough left to get back to the barn and a bud to escort you in the endeavor.

Our group rode 38 miles today. I ate well before the ride, drank like the proverbial fish, ate during the ride and still lost 3 pounds and had minor leg cramps. Heat index was around 112, give or take a little. We had a nurse riding with us today. After I cramped, she checked on me during the remainder of the ride.

To add insult to injury, I noticed that the local politicians chip sealed a favorite local bike route. They are scum-sucking bottom feeders. There was nothing wrong with the road.
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Old 06-27-09, 05:16 PM
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230 calories huh?
Man if that is what bonking is I hope I never do it, have not yet(knocking on wood).
You write a good read for the bonk report though, be proud.

Also it is real good to hear that there are guys willing to help out. I have never been involved with a group ride so I dont know what it is like trying to keep up with a faster pace than I can go, the pace I chase is my own.

Hope you recovered well too after all.
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Old 06-27-09, 06:22 PM
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I looked so pitiful today that my wife went out and bought me $40 worth of Clif ShotBloks. Now THAT is pitiful.
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Old 06-27-09, 06:27 PM
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Sorry to hear about your experience today, definitely sounds like a Bonk, most of us know cause it has happened to us as well. The Clif ShotBloks aren't a bad idea, I always take along a number of GU's just in case. Lesson learned and tomorrow you will feel better once all the glycogen stores have been replenished
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Old 06-27-09, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by the weak link View Post
i looked so pitiful today that my wife went out and bought me $40 worth of clif shotbloks. Now that is pitiful.
htfu:d
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Old 06-27-09, 07:10 PM
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It's hard to say that you bonked within 1 hour of the start and having eaten something 1 1/2 hour prior. It might be that you didn't pace yourself and just wore out quickly. I have done this in a organized ride with several speed groups, you try to stay with the lead dogs and you can - for about 10 miles, your putting out all you have and they are cruising along. Once you have totally exhausted yourself you have little left to finish. I find the best thing to do in that case is stop, rest about 5 min and stretch - then finish the ride at a more reasonable pace. But I was not there, it may indeed have been the dreaded bonk. Anyway - I enjoyed the artistic liscense.
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Old 06-27-09, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
The start is about 1/2 hour away, and I had to get some things done before I got there, so I left at 6:30. Out the door I scarfed down about 230 calories worth of food. For a 30 mile "B ride". In 85F weather.

I felt great and hung in there without hardly any problem until about an hour into the ride. If you've ever been driving along and run out of gas, your throttle becoming increasing less responsive to your foot, then you've experienced something very similar to what I felt.
Bonking...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonk_(condition)

Excerpt..."Athletes engaged in exercise over a long period of time produce energy via two mechanisms, both facilitated by oxygen: via fat metabolism and via breakdown of glycogen into glucose, followed by glycolysis.

How much energy comes from either source depends on the intensity of the exercise. During intense exercise that approaches one's VO2 max, most of the energy comes from glycogen.

The average human body stores enough glycogen to generate 1500 to 2000 kcal of energy. Intense cycling or running can easily consume 600-800 or more kcal per hour. Unless glycogen stores are replenished during exercise, glycogen stores will be depleted after 2 hours of continuous cycling or 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 km) of running."


I question that you bonked. With your breakfast and glycogen stores, you should have been okay. I suspect it was more about the heat and humidity, hydration and electrolytes coupled with a pace you were unaccustomed to. One can feel pretty bad putting out a lot of energy (more than you are used to) in the heat and humidity.
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Old 06-27-09, 07:54 PM
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You're probably right. I do think, however, that my relative lack of LSD rides this season has adversely affected my endurance and fat metabolism. Heaven knows I have enough fat stores to last me awhile.
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Old 06-27-09, 10:03 PM
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I agree with Hermes, the ride was too short to bonk. You may have been dehydrated or you may be coming down with a cold that will surface in a day or two. When I get a stiff back during rides I know a cold is in my immediate future.

It was a bad day none the less, get over it and get back on the room as soon as you can.
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Old 06-28-09, 02:25 AM
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It's funny, I wouldn't have expected you to get "penultimate" wrong.
Tough ride. Good story.
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Old 06-28-09, 06:15 AM
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This brings up a point. When are you tired and when do you bonk. The only time I think I bonked was on a 70 mile ride, of which I completed only 55 miles. This ride was in very high heat and was the day after a 82 mile ride. I had no choice but to call my wife for help. She rescued me by driving to my location and bringing recovery drinks. I have been very tired quite often, but I had no choice that time. I could not make it in.
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Old 06-28-09, 06:39 AM
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In the few times I have bonked, I have been able to recover quickly with a gel, food or sport beans and water. That coupled with 15 minutes of rest and I could get back on and ride at a reduced pace. Recovery was pretty quick once I got showered, ate and rehydrated.

The one time I seriously dehydrated, I felt pretty much as you so poetically described but noticed a real decline in my bike handling skills (couldn't hold a line and didn't really care.), eyes started to burn, sweating reduced, muscles hurt and my mouth was dry every 5 minutes. I still felt like I had energy, but couldn't convert it to power at the pedals. That took 2 full days and gallons of water to recover from although I didn't want to get out riding for 4 days.

The moral.. be mindful of water intake and force yourself to drink whether you want to or not.
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Old 06-28-09, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
It's funny, I wouldn't have expected you to get "penultimate" wrong.
Tough ride. Good story.
I don't think I got it wrong.

Explain.
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Old 06-28-09, 09:40 AM
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Glad I have continued to read this thread because I was really wondering what "Bonk" was. I had an idea but now know. I dont want to bonk ever but I am sure it could/will happen if I keep increaseing my time and milage on the bike.

Your family did well in buying you something.
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Old 06-28-09, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
I don't think I got it wrong.

Explain.
Apologies. I that was the penultimate mercy, I guess I missed what the ultimate mercy was.
I will go back and reread.
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