When my legs dont listen to my brain...what then?

Bigtallfatbloke Posts: 232
edited June 2007 in Road beginners
There seems to be a point with me around 30km where my legs just fail to work anymore. I find myself struggling even on the flat!!!
Ok so I am pulling some panniers around to help me build up for a trip this summer (not to mention the belly) but what should I do...pullover and rest (current favourite) or push through the pain barrier in the hope that it will go away?

The problem with taking a 5 minute rest I find is that I get cold and when i kick off again the legs are just as bad.

30km isnt much and I'll need to be doing iro 50km a day with a heavier load on my trip so i need to over come this. I did 35km yesterday and the same today, but today was much harder. It was also a little colder.

I also get incredibly hungry around 30km on each ride even though I eat porridge before I ride and drink water like a fish. Should I be eating as I ride? My logic tells me not to as I am doing this to shift some of the many years of abuse I have given my body...I want to burn fat.

I'm probably going at this wrong?

..or am I just a wimp?[:D]
Gravity sucks


  • dakidcp
    dakidcp Posts: 744
    Might be pushing too hard. If you ride at too great a level of exertion, you'll be using barely any fat and almost all carbohydrates. Once you've run out of them, all you have left to metabolise at the required rate is protein (i.e. your muscles), so it's possible you're simply working too hard. If you're touring, you can pretty much just pootle along, and you won't need as much in the way of food. I'd suggest trying taking along some small flapjacks or Granola bars to chomp on every 10-20 miles and see if that makes it any easier.

    <hr noshade size="1">"Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live."
    <i>Mark Twain</i>
    <hr noshade size="1">"Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live."
    <i>Mark Twain</i>
  • pieinthesky
    pieinthesky Posts: 417
    Sounds like you are doing too much too soon.

    Ditch the panniers for now, riding without them will be less strenuous and most importantly, more enjoyable. You will be able to ride further and faster. When you can easily achive your required distances add weight in stages.

    Your legs failing to work sounds like "the bonk". You should eat little and often, starting as soon as you set off. This will keep your energy levels up.

    Provided that you eat appropriately (high carb/low fat and not Mars Bars)this will probably help you loose weight as you will be able to ride further and faster and will burn more fat than grinding along with the bonk.

    I am no nutritionist but believe that your body burns fat more efficiently if it also has a supply of carbs (food). So starving yourself is counter productive and not much fun either.

    So, eat more, enjoy yourself more, ride further, ride faster. You cant loose.

    Best of luck
  • Hugh A
    Hugh A Posts: 1,189
    I agree - take it easy to start with and it will soon come good as you get more used to the riding. Why not try a carbo sports drink instead of water, and when you stop make it just for 30 seconds to a minute. this will give your legs some relief without them getting cold again.

    I'm sure I had one of those here somewhere
    I\'m sure I had one of those here somewhere
  • freddered
    freddered Posts: 391
    Very unusual to bonk after 30km. Blood sugars (Carbs) normally last 2-3 hours before you bonk that severely and start feeling famished. Most fit cyclists wouldn't need to consider food for a 30km ride as long as they'd eaten breakfast.

    Are you really pushing hard for 30km or taking it steady?

    It could be pure fitness, ie. 30km is the limit of your muscles at this point and you just need to slowly increase your mileage. If you push gears unsuitably high your legs muscles may just have had enough even though your blood sugar level is still OK, try lower gears and keeping your heart rate/breathing lower.

    If it really is a nutrition issue then, as stated:

    1) Snack every so often. Some form of cake bar/flapjack every 30 minutes in your case. Have one just before you start as they take 30 minutes or so to kick in.

    2) Drink more. You may be dehydrated. This can hit harder than anything. In Summer you should be drinking a big water bottle every hour, you won't notice how much you sweat but it's lots.

    Most of all, don't worry about putting on weight by snacking whilst riding. You'll be burning IRO 500 calories an hour MORE than usual, even more if you are pushing it. I did Lands End to John O Groats and lost over 9 pounds in 9 days. I never stopped eating.