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Is this what they call "bonking"

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Is this what they call "bonking"

Old 08-23-07, 08:59 PM
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MrCjolsen
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Is this what they call "bonking"

When I got home last night after my 14 mile commute, I seemed to have zero energy. A bit lightheaded. Sleepy at 7:30.

OK, here's the backstory. First day back teaching six year olds. Didn't have time for breakfast when I got to work. Had a small lunch (cheese sandwich, roll, milk,) along with a few snacks here and there over the course of the day.

At about 4:30 I headed home. It was very hot - around 100F and a little bit of a headwind (I was on my fixed gear). Ride went OK but I seemed to drag a little. I usually want to ride more when I get to my house but I didn't.

For dinner I had a little salad and a mushroom and cheese quesadilla. After dinner, it seemed to take forever to get the dishes done. I was planning to go swim, but I ended up sleeping instead.

I know "bonking" usually happens during a ride, but can it happen after a ride?

Today it was just as hot, if not hotter. Winds about the same. Still on fixed gear. I actually ate something when I got to work, and my lunch included a banana. When I stopped for water at the gas station that lets me fill my bottles from their soft drink fountain, I put a little bit of SoBe energy drink in as well (I paid for it, don't worry). Dinner was some chicken chow mein and a few crab fried wontons.

I enjoyed my ride a lot more and I still have energy to go swim tonight. I don't feel sleepy.

So what made the difference?
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Old 08-23-07, 09:18 PM
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No, probably heat related.

In my bonking experience, it starts with a hunger so strong you could eat one of your tires. Then you get hungrier. Then you really notice how you have no energy at all. And you're hungry. Then you get really hungry and then hungry.

I need some more Oreos. brb.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:19 PM
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I bonked in costco once. Was walking around and got lightheaded, then could hardly walk. Had to sit down and eat one of the bagels I had picked up.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:24 PM
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for me it feels like my ass is about to come up through my throat. then i feel really fatigued and insanely hungry and thirsty.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:38 PM
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I prefer boinking over bonking.
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Old 08-23-07, 10:32 PM
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Heat exhaustion -- loss of electrolytes. Banana provides lost potassium, power drink adds sodium. I experienced that on a tour this summer and recovered in about 30 minutes after eating a banana and drinking Gatorade.
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Old 08-23-07, 11:22 PM
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The times I've bonked I've noticed adverse effects of hypoglycemia which impaired my mental facilities so much that walking becomes dangerous let alone riding a bike. Once it was while on the road and thankfully I had some food with me, but the other time I limped home and staggered inside to find some candy. This only happened years ago when I was a n00b and didn't understand that I needed to eat. I guess I just don't have a very strong sense of hunger.
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Old 08-23-07, 11:34 PM
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You'll definitely know when you've bonked -- it's pretty much hypoglycemia (your body runs out of its glycogen stores). You become extremely weak, dizzy, you shake like crazy, your body feels chilly, and you start feeling despair like no other. And it's impossible to sustain your usual pace -- I remember hobbling around 10mph the last time I bonked, about 20 miles away from home.

When I reached home, the ground looked as though it was moving underneath me, and I went straight to the candy. At that moment, the candy was worth its weight in gold!
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Old 08-23-07, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by remixity View Post
You'll definitely know when you've bonked -- it's pretty much hypoglycemia (your body runs out of its glycogen stores). You become extremely weak, dizzy, you shake like crazy, your body feels chilly, and you start feeling despair like no other. And it's impossible to sustain your usual pace -- I remember hobbling around 10mph the last time I bonked, about 20 miles away from home.

When I reached home, the ground looked as though it was moving underneath me, and I went straight to the candy. At that moment, the candy was worth its weight in gold!
Holy crap! I bonked 7 miles from home and needed a triple on the flats. It took more than a hour to get home I think.
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Old 08-24-07, 03:20 AM
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When you bonk you'll know it. A bonk is as bad as you can feel on a bike with no strength left in your legs and a weak feeling that goes deep into your bones. I bonked on my mountain bike once and found myself having to get off and push every few feet on even the slightest climbs. Even pushing was more than I could do at times so I would have to stop and rest, walk a few yards, then stop and rest some more. By the time I got back to the truck it was all I could do to keep myselft upright on the bike. I hope I never have that feeling again.
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Old 08-24-07, 04:37 AM
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Each pedal stroke becomes a mental battle after bonking. Your mind focusses solely on how crap you feel and how difficult it is to keep turning those pedals over. It makes you wish you didn't have to carry on. It keeps your legs in a state of half-cramp, sapped of all power. It becomes a painful struggle to hold yourself in position and next to impossible to get out of the saddle. Once you are mentally defeated after bonking, it becomes a living hell.


Bonked twice, on mtb. Came close once on road.
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Old 08-24-07, 04:40 AM
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I've done it a few times. No breakfast, big ride, not enough to drink and no food.

Didnt really uderstand it at first. Now I eat regularly (every 20 miles or so) when on the bike becuase I don't want to feel like that again. I was so weak that my hands slipped off the bars and it was a miracle I stayed on the bike. Funny thing is I felt really giggly, couldnt stop laughing. Then I got home, rammed food down my throat, threw up then fell asleep. Felt even worse when I woke up.
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Old 08-24-07, 07:22 AM
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Some signs you have bonked:

1. You couldn't top 12mph if a steam roller was on your wheel.
2. It seems a little surreal, almost humerous.
3. You are craving sweet foods, eg cookies by the sleeve.
4. You have a really stupid expression on your face.

Would have done a whole top 10 list but have to get back to work
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Old 08-24-07, 07:55 AM
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How do you feel today? Maybe you're coming down with something. Doesn't sound like a true bonk to me.
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Old 08-24-07, 08:02 AM
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Awesome bonking descriptions, all very accurate. My favorite is definitely:

it starts with a hunger so strong you could eat one of your tires
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Old 08-24-07, 08:34 AM
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it does sound heat related.

fwiw, i have to be careful; i often suffer from hypoglycemia when i do anything strenuous.

for me, here's the progression;

1. i start to sweat profusely (more so than usual)
2. i get shakey
3. i get hungry (and crave sweets big time)
4. i get light headed
5. i start to feel really fatigued. i struggle to maintain 11 mph.
6. my hands/feet start to tingle
7. and this is if it gets really extreme, you start to tingle around the mouth and develop tunnel vision.

if the last two happen, call 911. you can go into a coma from extreme hypoglycemia.

to avoid it...i carb load about 30 minutes before a ride. i try to load with a combination of carbs. some in foods that burn fast, some in foods that burn slowly. (e.g. i'll eat a banana, whole grain and some junk food).

also, no matter how much i plan ahead of time, 45 miles is my "wall." i bring high protein/high carb energy bars with me and eat them at about 40 miles.


what really sucks is, once hypoglycemia sets in, you can eat and raise your bg level. however, you still feel like crap (and experience the above symptoms) for quite a while. i end up binge eating sweets when it happens because i'm still craving food.
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Old 08-24-07, 09:58 AM
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Last year, I think this happened to me on one of my first rides by myself. After 50 miles I sundenly started weaving all of the road and felt like crap and was overcome with a hunger for sweets. Stopped at a doughnut shop and ate over half a dozed jelly filled doughnuts on the the curb in the parking lot and kept going in for just two more. To make it worse a female friend happen to be visiting the doughhut shop saw me on the curb asked if I was ok, didn't realize how crazy I must have looked until I rode home and saw there jelly filling all over my face. Those where the best doughnuts I ever ate.
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Old 08-24-07, 10:03 AM
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fyi, taken from wiki, cause its always right ....

Bonk has long been a colloquial term, slightly jocular in its connotation, meaning sexual intercourse, but has recently become more commonly used as a jargon term by endurance athletes, primarily cyclists and long-distance runners, to describe a condition when the athlete suddenly loses energy and fatigue sets in, usually caused when glycogen stores in the liver and muscles are depleted, resulting in a major performance drop.

Bonking

later.
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Old 08-24-07, 10:04 AM
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Would you guys mind explaining how you let yourself get that bad? What types of rides are you doing that you don't stop to eat something or put some fluids back in your body?
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Old 08-24-07, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by remixity View Post
You'll definitely know when you've bonked -- it's pretty much hypoglycemia (your body runs out of its glycogen stores). You become extremely weak, dizzy, you shake like crazy, your body feels chilly, and you start feeling despair like no other. And it's impossible to sustain your usual pace -- I remember hobbling around 10mph the last time I bonked, about 20 miles away from home.

When I reached home, the ground looked as though it was moving underneath me, and I went straight to the candy. At that moment, the candy was worth its weight in gold!
Very good descriptions, your experiences of bonking mirror what I've been through when bonking to a T.
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Old 08-24-07, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by permanentjaun View Post
Would you guys mind explaining how you let yourself get that bad? What types of rides are you doing that you don't stop to eat something or put some fluids back in your body?
knowing how it feels (and how dangerous it can be) i seriously doubt anyone "let's" themselves get that bad.

i suffer from a medical condition, so that just complicates matters for me. also, the condition comes on quickly. there is very little warning. really, to avoid it, you need to do one or more of the following;

constantly check your bg level during your ride

constantly take in carbs while you ride

don't ride!





while i have brought a bg meter with me in the past, you really can't get an accurate reading when you're sweating anyway. and constantly eating during a ride, well, kudos to you if you can do it. i sure can't. and the last one isn't an option for me.
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Old 08-24-07, 10:12 AM
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What kinda rides...

Originally Posted by permanentjaun View Post
Would you guys mind explaining how you let yourself get that bad? What types of rides are you doing that you don't stop to eat something or put some fluids back in your body?
You've never showed up to a ride with only one bottle instead of two? Or forgot to grab a Clif Bar or something at the start? The most common times to bonk for me are days after long rides. After a long day in the saddle, not eating enough that night and the day after and then going on another long ride is a really sure fire way to bonk. I've considered stopping and asking for some bread from a random house it's been so bad before lol.
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Old 08-24-07, 10:17 AM
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Another good indication that a bonk is imminent is that you'll stop sweating and start going salty.

All this talk of bonking has made me hungry, time for a jalapeno-cheddar hot dog!
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Old 08-24-07, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by permanentjaun View Post
Would you guys mind explaining how you let yourself get that bad? What types of rides are you doing that you don't stop to eat something or put some fluids back in your body?
The last time I bonked was during 24 Hours of Moab. I finished one of my laps, and while waiting for my turn again, I made myself a huge stack of pancakes, ate a couple apples and some bananas. Then I slept for 2 hours, got up and had some more pancakes. An hour later, the temp had dropped to 30 degrees (3am in Oct in the desert). 40 minutes into my lap, I bonked hard. It came out of nowhere, but I think the previous 2 laps at full race speed had just depleted me too much.

I pulled over in the darkness and ate two cliff bars and three Gus while I watched the headlights bump past me. Five minutes later, I was up and running at about 90%.

That was an extreme case, like Lance's famous Tour Bonk, in 2003 (?). I haven't bonked in 10 years though.
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Old 08-24-07, 10:29 AM
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I've always associated bonking with rides (or runs) longer than 3 hours.

When it happens I get real shaky and cold sweats. It can come on pretty suddenly and, when it does, I'm unable to maintain anything close to my previous pace. Afterward I tend to scarf down anything and everything edible that I can find.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I don't do well with cereal or a pancake breakfast, for example. Pairing that up with too much coffee is a sure-fire formula for me bonking. I do much better with eggs and bacon and maybe potatoes prior to riding.
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