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After thoughts on a bonk

Old 04-09-11, 01:10 PM
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After thoughts on a bonk

So, I finally was an idiot and pushed a bonk on yesterday's century ride. At mile 97, with only 2 liters of water, one bottle of powerade and 3 bananas in my system, I found out how bad it could be.

Weather: 95 degrees. Winds out of the SSE at 31 with gusts upwards of 45. My overall ride took me on a constant west, south west to north west pattern. I wasn't going to attempt to loop this one, so instead had my wife running about an hour behind my last leg so that we could stop at the McAlister's Deli in McAllen. I rode north on 77/83 to Raymondville, then doubled-back to Harlingen, then along Interstate 83 using that as a makeshift windblock. It worked well, other than this was at 3-4 p.m.

I stopped at the fourth in a series of stop lights. Noticed I was a little lightheaded. Started trying to increase my powerade consumption over water. I was seriously sweating, so I knew I was far from dehydration. But a cursory look at my bibs showed they were snow white. I was dumping sodium fast. I called my wife at this point. She was about 5 miles behind me, coming up. I was already deep in the crap at this point, and I could sense it. Legs were a bit wobbly, but I figured I'd just pace out the last 3 miles and my wife would catch up with me.

I just rolled out on the fourth light when I couldn't see out of my sunglasses, they had smeared somehow. I pulled off to the side of the road and wiped them down. My hands were going bonkers. I dropped them into my crank and lost about 10 seconds. Everything went white - like something had exploded. My legs buckled and I had to set the bike down. I swear it felt like it was 300 lbs. (18 lb. CAAD9). I just finally gave up and sat down. My wife woke me as I'd fallen asleep right there on the side of Interstate 83, my head slumped forward into my chest, legs crossed over my bike.

My conclusions:

If you think you might have bonked, but aren't sure - it wasn't a bonk.
Nutrition is much more important on a week-by-week training regimen than I suspected.
Nobody stopped, and nobody at the business I landed on the law of came out to check on me. Have a backup plan.
The heat (which I'm actually a transplanted So Cal. native and have spent the last 15 years living in the hottest parts of Texas ever) is tricky. I've never had an issue due to heat, ever. This one sneaked up on me in a big way.

I guess my point is, be careful out there. I've always considered myself someone who played it rather smart, rode safe and always assumed that if someone bonked, they did something wrong, not just minor. Now I know.
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Old 04-09-11, 01:14 PM
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Get used to it. It'll happen again...

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Old 04-09-11, 01:34 PM
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To be honest, this is part of the reason I haven't even attempted 100 miles yet. I've done a little over 70 a couple times now, no problems, and when I first stopped I would think, wow, 30 more miles would be no problem, bu then a few minutes later I'd be exhausted.
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Old 04-09-11, 02:00 PM
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aw man-- don't feel bad. i did something similar the other day-- i actually rode to work at 4:30 am (not bad-- 25 miles of rollers), ate a normal lunch, and then rode about 30 miles of gravel roads back after an 8 hour shift.

i THOUGHT i had enough calories.. but i just started disintegrating at mile 20 on the ride back. i killed my water, thinking.. aw crap.. it's only gonna be 25-30 miles, right? no food on the bike. nothing. time i hit home, i pounded a huge chocolate milk, a muffin, and whatever ELSE i could find. sat down and passed the hell out.

totally silly-- it wasn't even some horrible grueling ride-- i just wasn't prepared like a nimnul! don't sweat it... just pack more food next time, i guess.
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Old 04-09-11, 02:06 PM
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Yep. Really what I was trying to do was find a nutritional source that wasn't heavy due to the heat, but that wasn't bad for me either. It would be easy to say, ride 100 miles on this route and stop at hours 2.5 and 5 for double-cheese burgers at What-A-Burger since there are something like 10-15 of them along the frontage road.

I'm going to attempt to bring along 3-4 pbjs this next Friday's century. I had some really good bars that were compressed pbjs, so I'm going to get with my nine-year-old and see if him and I can come up with a fun way to make "highly-compressed" PBJs. Think what a PBJ looks like after a 3-year-old mashes it into a ball
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Old 04-09-11, 02:08 PM
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Once you've done it, hopefully you'll remember what it felt like early on and act more quickly and strongly to head it off. Powerade wasn't going to do it, BTW. You were further gone than that. Most of us have sat in ditches while the world went bonkers. It's an unforgettable experience.

Post mortems are very important. What could you have done better? When did you make the first wrong decision? What will you do differently next time to improve the outcome? What will key you to do it differently?
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Old 04-09-11, 06:59 PM
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I'm thinking I've seen "bonk" used in different senses maybe. You're talking about nutrition, but the description of the conditions sounds like more of a heat issue.

One thing I've been doing on randonneuring rides is carrying pre-measured baggies of Perpetuum powder and generally keeping one water bottle with that, one water bottle with either water or Gatorade. This is in addition to snarfing down food and drink at the controls, which are normally around 30 miles apart.

On one hot ride last summer, I was overheating and stopped at some shade trees and just laid out on the grass. I had two different people stop and ask me if I was okay. And this was a rural FM road. Maybe you just didn't look pitiful enough sitting there!

Generally, when I'm riding a lot, stuff like hamburgers don't even sound good, so I go more for snack foods and all. Some of the convenience stores have premade barbecue sandwiches, and those sure were good. Otherwise, the regular sandwiches work, too. At the end of a ride, a Subway foot-long sandwich sure is good.
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Old 04-09-11, 07:39 PM
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I know how you feel; Ive bonked once due to lack of water and once from not eating enough. Both on long solo rides when I was living in San Antonio. I certainly learned my lesson and never want to experience that complete sapping of all strength again!. On the water side, I carry as much water as practical on the bike and am 100% sure I know where available water/power drink (sounds like you really were wanting for electrolytes) sources are located. On the food side I always have an extra GU packet and Power Bar in my jersey pocket, beyond whatever food I am planning to eat during the ride.

If you haven't tried using Gu, similar packets or pre-packaged nutritiion bars you should really consider them. They are easy to carry and can provide a quick hit of calories when you most need it.
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Old 04-10-11, 07:43 AM
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I think it was definitely a combination of heat and hydration. The amount of salt absorbed into my jersey and bibs was significant.

The burger comment was academic. I don't eat meat other than fish maybe twice a month. The problem is that there isn't a single vegetarian restaurant along this trip, or really in the entire valley itself. We have burgers and regional Mexican food only.

So that limits me to quiznos (one sandwich); subway (one sandwich) or grabbing a salad. My problem generally with salads are they are empty calories for me. I don't eat dairy foods and limit my egg intake to around 1-2 a week.

Bars work, I've used them before with great success. I was looking for a whole food type option that allowed me to use something in its natural state to fuel me.

I'm going to do the ride again this coming Friday, but I'm going to shoot for earlier in the day. I've never had any problems when I make these into early morning ventures. I'm really just feeling out what works for myself outside of my comfort zone of riding at 4 a.m.
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Old 04-10-11, 10:35 AM
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the OP does not describe bonk, sounds like heat exhaustion. I've found that very cold drinks helps with that problem. I expect to have problems in my upcoming 400k, we've had an incredibly cold spring and I'm sure it's going to be hot for the 400k.
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Old 04-10-11, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH
I'm thinking I've seen "bonk" used in different senses maybe. You're talking about nutrition, but the description of the conditions sounds like more of a heat issue.

One thing I've been doing on randonneuring rides is carrying pre-measured baggies of Perpetuum powder and generally keeping one water bottle with that, one water bottle with either water or Gatorade...
Hi, StephenH,

After watching a friend's success with Perpetuem (or was it Sustained Energy) on last year's August SIR 1000Km, I've been using it for my last few brevets and it's been working well for me. However, the weather has been cool so far. I'm wondering what your method has been on the really hot brevets. Perpetuem seems to go "sour" in the heat, and I've wondered whether in the summer, after a few hours of riding I can just dump the bottle, rinse with clean water, then mix up another batch of Perpetuem. Or does the sourness from the prior bottle persist and then make the next one go sour that much faster? Certainly, if you had a box of hamburger that had gone bad, you wouldn't just dump it and then put fresh hamburger in the box, you'd wash thoroughly with soap and hot water.

Nick
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Old 04-10-11, 12:41 PM
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There is one vegetarian restaurant in weslaco. I forgot the name but its along business 83.
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Old 04-10-11, 12:54 PM
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I remember bonking at about mile 95 one time. It was similar to this experience, I stopped just to wipe my sunglasses clean but I felt shaky, breathing too fast, pouring sweat, all of it. Couldn't get back on the bike so I just lay down by the side of the road for a second. Woke up 30 minutes later when a truck blast almost rolled me over. It was a slow ride home.
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Old 04-10-11, 12:59 PM
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"I'm wondering what your method has been on the really hot brevets. Perpetuem seems to go "sour" in the heat, and I've wondered whether in the summer, after a few hours of riding I can just dump the bottle, rinse with clean water, then mix up another batch of Perpetuem."

I drink it faster than that, so it hasn't been an issue. Only time I've had Perpetuum go bad like that was with half-empty bottles that I didn't empty out when I got home.
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Old 04-10-11, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
the OP does not describe bonk, sounds like heat exhaustion. I've found that very cold drinks helps with that problem. I expect to have problems in my upcoming 400k, we've had an incredibly cold spring and I'm sure it's going to be hot for the 400k.
Very true, and I'm not ruling out the potential for this to have been a heat-related stress issue. If that was the case though, is there some option that I could have used to protect myself? Perhaps dumping a bottle of water on myself? I even thought immediately after the fact when I was trying to figure out what went wrong that I should carry around one of those chemical ice packs and when I feel the heat building up like that, activating it and putting it on my back of my neck, head and chest for a few minutes to force my core temperature down.
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Old 04-10-11, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Santaria
Very true, and I'm not ruling out the potential for this to have been a heat-related stress issue. If that was the case though, is there some option that I could have used to protect myself? Perhaps dumping a bottle of water on myself? I even thought immediately after the fact when I was trying to figure out what went wrong that I should carry around one of those chemical ice packs and when I feel the heat building up like that, activating it and putting it on my back of my neck, head and chest for a few minutes to force my core temperature down.
Well, one thing you said in your original post was "I was seriously sweating, so I knew I was far from dehydration. " I don't know that the fact that you are sweating means that you are not dehyrdrated. I would think that since sweating is your body's only way to cool itself down, that it will use the last dregs of water reserves in an attempt to get your brain temperature down, no matter how much that compromises you. The usual test for dehydration is observing the color and frequency/volume of pee. If your pee is not clear and/or if you're not peeing occasionally, then chances are you are somewhat dehydrated.

Drinking only 2 liters of water and one bottle (what size?) of Powerade in those weather conditions seems like way too little. On really hot days, I can easily drink two 24-ounce water bottles in 20 miles (and pour a third over my head). That's about 7 liters in 100 miles.

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Old 04-10-11, 02:37 PM
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if it's heat related, you can cool yourself either externally or internally. Internally is most effective for me. I buy the large size fountain drinks with a lot of ice and that has an significant effect for a fairly long time. Then use any remaining ice in my water bottles. People use ice socks and other external cooling devices as well. A hydration pack with a lot of ice is a good way to keep yourself cool. So there are many ways to combat the problem. I don't really like wearing a wet hat, but it works for some.
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Old 04-10-11, 02:48 PM
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Hat is probably out of the question. I'm not racing, but I like to keep moving at a brisk clip - that means 25 MPH with a hat, and that would get pretty uncomfortable under my helmet.

I'll have to try to hyrdration pack solution. I don't drink soda in any format (or sugar-specific fountain drinks like lemonade, etc) but I do wonder if water with ice like that would work.

As far as the pee test. Zero bathroom breaks during a 6 hour window (for this specific ride). But, to be honest, I don't go to the bathroom very often even when I'm drinking a gallon of water. As long as I'm hot, I notice that I don't seem to have to bother much. When I am at work though, sitting at my desk drinking away, then I'm in there every other hour easily.
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Old 04-10-11, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by thebulls
Hi, StephenH,

After watching a friend's success with Perpetuem (or was it Sustained Energy) on last year's August SIR 1000Km, I've been using it for my last few brevets and it's been working well for me. However, the weather has been cool so far. I'm wondering what your method has been on the really hot brevets. Perpetuem seems to go "sour" in the heat, and I've wondered whether in the summer, after a few hours of riding I can just dump the bottle, rinse with clean water, then mix up another batch of Perpetuem. Or does the sourness from the prior bottle persist and then make the next one go sour that much faster? Certainly, if you had a box of hamburger that had gone bad, you wouldn't just dump it and then put fresh hamburger in the box, you'd wash thoroughly with soap and hot water.

Nick
I don't mind the flavor and texture of Perpetuem when it is cold / cool. When it warms up, it gets a bit revolting to me and I can't choke it down.

Hopefully you don't react the same way and then discover this halfway through a 12 hr race (or brevet) like I did.
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Old 04-10-11, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Steamer
I don't mind the flavor and texture of Perpetuem when it is cold / cool. When it warms up, it gets a bit revolting to me and I can't choke it down.

Hopefully you don't react the same way and then discover this halfway through a 12 hr race (or brevet) like I did.
The first time I ever used Perpetuem was on a hot day in 2005, on my first 400Km, and I was using the "super concentrated put it in a 5-ounce flask" method. Complete FAIL, and I vowed to never touch the stuff again. But after seeing my friend's success I decided to give it another try. But it was cool in Washington in August, and every time I've tried it since has been cool. We'll see how it goes on a hot day.

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Old 04-10-11, 05:23 PM
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Try Spiz, it doesn't seem to taste as bad as Perpetuem or SE when it gets hot. It works better for me as well. As with all food, your results may vary.
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Old 04-10-11, 06:32 PM
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Water. I consumed 4 liters on my century ride today, in mid-90s heat. It's the one thing I often seem to come up short on, thinking "oh I can make it another ten miles". I now carry a liter on the bike and another in my jersey, and try to re-stock before I run out. I came up short again today, but by less than 5 miles. Then I sat there and drank a whole liter with what passed for lunch.
I find I can go 50 miles, with practically none, and then drink 3-4 liters during the second half. I'm sure that's not the best way to do it.
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Old 04-10-11, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Homeyba
Try Spiz, it doesn't seem to taste as bad as Perpetuem or SE when it gets hot. It works better for me as well. As with all food, your results may vary.
I guess what I'd be worried about is that I've had bad effects from eating stuff that has high dosages of vitamin C. With Spiz's calories/serving of 517, I'd probably want to aim for a serving every 1-1/2 hours, so on yesterday's 18-1/2 hour 300Km that would mean a total of a dozen servings. With a per-serving dose of vitamin C of 835% of RDA, that means I'd be eating 10,300% of RDA. I'm pretty sure based on past experience that that would lead to lower GI "issues". Other than that issue, the Spiz seems like good stuff.

What I ate yesterday was a mixture of 6 parts maltodextrin (Maltrin QD M-500) to 1 part soy protein (Solae Supro XT219D). The mixture has a sort of nutty, vanilla-ish flavor that goes down very easily. The resulting nutrient profile is essentially the same as Hammer's Sustained Energy. Cost is $1.91 per pound. I also use the maltodextrin to make gel, following Arnie Baker's suggestion, see https://www.arniebakercycling.com/sli...todextrins.htm The gel costs 8 cents per 33 gram serving and has 84 calories per serving. Beats the heck out of buying commercial gels for about ten times as much. Just takes a few minutes with a blender. I bought all this from Skidmore-sales.com, but they only seem to serve east of the Mississippi.

Supposedly soy protein is better during hard exercise than whey (according to Hammer), but I wonder if the whey protein is a more "complete" protein than soy. Spiz seems to make a convincing argument for hydrolyzed whey protein.

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Old 04-10-11, 08:46 PM
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Seeds,

A. I love Belize. Seriously, my wife and I are working to move their in 20 years when we retire.

B. More to the point, I find myself doing the same thing. I don't watch my distance/time and before I know it, I'm 1:30:00 in and haven't taken one swig. By the time I start, I'm usually crossing into the 2:15-2:30 mark before I finish my first bottle, and then I realize I'm probably behind on my water consumption. Then the rest of the ride is more of a race to get water into my system to play catchup.
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Old 04-10-11, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by thebulls
I guess what I'd be worried about is that I've had bad effects from eating stuff that has high dosages of vitamin C. With Spiz's calories/serving of 517, I'd probably want to aim for a serving every 1-1/2 hours, so on yesterday's 18-1/2 hour 300Km that would mean a total of a dozen servings. With a per-serving dose of vitamin C of 835% of RDA, that means I'd be eating 10,300% of RDA. I'm pretty sure based on past experience that that would lead to lower GI "issues". Other than that issue, the Spiz seems like good stuff.

What I ate yesterday was a mixture of 6 parts maltodextrin (Maltrin QD M-500) to 1 part soy protein (Solae Supro XT219D). The mixture has a sort of nutty, vanilla-ish flavor that goes down very easily. The resulting nutrient profile is essentially the same as Hammer's Sustained Energy. Cost is $1.91 per pound. I also use the maltodextrin to make gel, following Arnie Baker's suggestion, see https://www.arniebakercycling.com/sli...todextrins.htm The gel costs 8 cents per 33 gram serving and has 84 calories per serving. Beats the heck out of buying commercial gels for about ten times as much. Just takes a few minutes with a blender. I bought all this from Skidmore-sales.com, but they only seem to serve east of the Mississippi.

Supposedly soy protein is better during hard exercise than whey (according to Hammer), but I wonder if the whey protein is a more "complete" protein than soy. Spiz seems to make a convincing argument for hydrolyzed whey protein.

Nick
Based on this, and other posts above, I'm assuming I'm going to have to do a lot more reading at arniebakercycling.com and start looking at trying to get in significantly more calories. My current problem I guess is that I'm trying to lose this last 25 pounds. I'm probably not doing myself any favors by using high caloric foods on sub 50 milers, right? Currently, on rides of up to 50 miles, I'm not even bothering with food at all. Just water and powerade.
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