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I had a bonk today

richardburchrichardburch Posts: 54
Did a club run today. 42miles, avg speed 16mph.(2h 40mins) It was a really windy day.

I was fine for the first 30miles until we stopped for Tea. On the way back I was dropped on the last 5miles. Just could'nt push through the wind. The rest of my afternoon has been spent on the sofa as i'm drained beyond belief.


I consumed a big bowl of porridge oats and pasta for breakfast....

A sports drink during the ride....

....and a jam sandwich and malt loaf at the tea stop.

Was this enough hydration/food consumption? Could anyone give some suggestions as to where I may have gone wrong?
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  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    I reckon the stage is set for a bonk in the few days before it arrives, were you eating/sleeping/resting etc etc OK then?

    No doubt someone more knowledgeable than me will be along to say that's rubbish but that's how it always seems to me anyway. Of course that's not to say that what you do when you're on the bonked ride doesn't matter, but it doesn't sound like you did too much wrong to me.

    Edit: On re-reading your post it doesn't really sound like the bonk (lightheaded, faint, wobbly)- just tiredness, although some of the same stuff might apply.

    Riding back from my GF's today I felt absolutely spanked when I got home, but although it was a real struggle it wasn't the bonk.
  • Hi MrChuck

    Yeah the last few days have been pretty hectic. Not had good sleep either to be honest all week so maybe thats what it was. Kids eh!!!

    Also I have changed my diet so am eating less so maybe I didnt have enough in me.

    My HR was okay. lthough most of the ride back I was at 85-6% of my max HR

    I didnt feel light headed just run out of steam. So maybe you are right.....or the fact I need to get some better base miles in

    Thanks for your reply
  • Will.CWill.C Posts: 245
    I felt similar today, had a nice powernap once I got in, was proper windy out and did a solo 50 miles in the surrey hills, 45 of those miles i was fighting the wind constantly, wasn't a bonk, but deffo used a lot more energy than I accounted for.

    I did bonk just before christmas though, 100 miler, last 90 the last of us went our seperate ways, completely light headed, couldn't think straight, could hardly talk to muster up enough words to say bye to the lads cos it used too much energy trying to think of words, just sat at a bus stop for 10 mins inhaling 2 snickers and a powerade.

    I think on particularly windy/cold/rainy days you have to eat alot more. Your bodies just working overtime trying to keep you warm or you're putting in 30-40% more effort trying to cut through the wind
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    I doubt you did bonk, more likely you just got fatigued. If you had food at the cafe stop then it is highly unlikely you completely ran out of glycogen.

    With the amount of food you ate before going out, you should have been well able to do 42 miles without the cafe stop, unless you were doing the ride at a very high tempo.
  • stevewjstevewj Posts: 227
    Could be dehydration - I had exactly the same symptoms on a very windy ride a few years back - drank 750 ml plus a coffee on a 60 miler, nearly fell off the bike a mile or so from home at traffic lights and again when I stopped on my drive. Grim. I hadn't accounted for the dehydrating effect of the wind.
  • fearbyfearby Posts: 245
    MTFU :)
  • MTFU +1.
    Up hup hup hup.....fricking hate that!
  • badly_dubbedbadly_dubbed Posts: 1,350
    plus 1 for hydration.

    i had this on a 30miler a few weeks back my quads just stopped functioning, the slightest incline would shoot my HR thru the roof....i KNEW i could do it and i KNEW i was quicker than the 2 guys i was riding with.....yet they dropped me like a sack of censored .

    i hadnt drank the day before or much in the morning and prob only 250ml during the ride.

    today on a 50+ was completely the opposite....i hyrdrated myself lastnight and was cutting the wind no bother :)
  • holmeboyholmeboy Posts: 674
    Bonked on way home from work tonight. Working a lot of hours just now, since September. Yesterday ran into work, never had piece with me and no canteen facilities, cycled MTB home into strong wind. Home tonight hilly long route, bonked big time half way round. Not so much wanting to get off and walk but get off and lie down. Bike was wobbling up hills and did'nt feel in good control going down hill in the dark. Was doing 30 mph at one stage not sure were the road was going. Eat and drank and never done much since getting in.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    holmeboy wrote:
    Bonked on way home from work tonight. Working a lot of hours just now, since September. Yesterday ran into work, never had piece with me and no canteen facilities, cycled MTB home into strong wind. Home tonight hilly long route, bonked big time half way round. Not so much wanting to get off and walk but get off and lie down. Bike was wobbling up hills and did'nt feel in good control going down hill in the dark. Was doing 30 mph at one stage not sure were the road was going. Eat and drank and never done much since getting in.

    Now that sounds like proper bonking, did you not eat anything whilst at work :shock:
  • holmeboyholmeboy Posts: 674
    SBezza wrote:
    holmeboy wrote:
    Bonked on way home from work tonight. Working a lot of hours just now, since September. Yesterday ran into work, never had piece with me and no canteen facilities, cycled MTB home into strong wind. Home tonight hilly long route, bonked big time half way round. Not so much wanting to get off and walk but get off and lie down. Bike was wobbling up hills and did'nt feel in good control going down hill in the dark. Was doing 30 mph at one stage not sure were the road was going. Eat and drank and never done much since getting in.

    Now that sounds like proper bonking, did you not eat anything whilst at work :shock:


    Coupla pot noodle's, rubbish. :oops:
  • Thanks for all your replies.

    Like #badly_dubbed my heart rate was sky high too for most of the way back in the wind.

    I was dropped by people I would normally pass easily.

    It took me most of the weekend to feel hydrated so I guess that it must have been that.
  • A 2hr 40m "steady" ride is enough to run out of food and water especially if you've not done it for long and you're pushing a bit.

    I drank 3 bottles during a 60 ml on the weekend and it wasn't enough. Imo one bottle is not enough for a 42 ml ride.

    For that length of time maybe you need to eat during the ride as well.
    I now eat before I feel the need to. Otherwise it's usually been too late for me.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    ireland57 wrote:
    Imo one bottle is not enough for a 42 ml ride.

    For that length of time maybe you need to eat during the ride as well.
    I now eat before I feel the need to. Otherwise it's usually been too late for me.

    I don't even use a 750ml bottle of water for this mileage, so what you say is incorrect, it might be for yourself, but not everyone. I might go through more when it is hot, but when cold it is not a problem. Then again I make sure I drink plenty of fluids during the day all of the time.

    I wouldn't eat on such a short ride either, again it depends on the person.

    If you eat a breakfast with porridge and pasta, and stop at a cafe stop, and eat then as well, it is NOT food related, the OP had more than enough food for that sort of length of time and distance.

    What holmeboy describes is more the bonking, feeling dizzy and wanting to actually lie down, not just feeling tired, that is generally fatigue, 2 completely different things.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Just to compare, on Saturday I did 5 hours (91 miles), and had a bowl of shreddies for breakfast, I had 2 bottles of fluid, one water and one juice. I ate some of a Trek bar before the cafe stop.

    At the cafe stop I ate a piece of cake and a snickers bar, I also had a bottle of coke, and got home without any issues.

    I probably ate less than the OP, only used 2 bottles of fluid, and was out for longer. Yes I was tired at the end of the ride, but was I even close to bonking - NO. A steady ride, should mean you are not pushing it :wink:
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,867
    I did just under 40 miles on Saturday and had one sip of the 750ml water bottle I took with me. A few rides back I did about 48 miles and had drunk the entire bottle within 40 miles and bonked badly 8 miles from home. It isn't just person to person it varies but also ride to ride, a lot depends on how your body is before you start but other factors may also come into it (on the ride I drank the whole bottle the snow was just melting and I think there was a lot of salt spray which may not have helped).

    To the OP, it doesn't sound like you bonked but I know the feeling you are talking about well as I get like that a lot when I ride in a strong wind, as others have said it is probably general fatigue as the wind means you can't take it easy at any point.
  • I did eat more than what I would do usually. The reason I ate more this time was that I wanted a good ride and did'nt want to feel fatigued towards the end. I thought by having more carbs on-board would make a better, faster ride for me. It probably helped and TBH if i hadnt it would have probably been worse.

    I think im looking for an answer to what happened but I think that it was just one of those days!!!
  • andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,750
    The food eaten at the cafe stop may have had some (negative) effect - could the sugar in the jam sandwich have resulted in a blood sugar spike and after the initial 'up' there was the sudden 'down' ?
    Also, I dislike stopping mid-ride for any length of time and on the rare occasion I do so I can take a while to get going again and get rid of my legs feeling stiff. Could be that post-stop the homeward-bound burn-up started and the OP couldn't cope with that coupled with the stiff legs/food digestion ?
  • SBezza wrote:
    Just to compare, on Saturday I did 5 hours (91 miles), and had a bowl of shreddies for breakfast, I had 2 bottles of fluid, one water and one juice. I ate some of a Trek bar before the cafe stop.

    At the cafe stop I ate a piece of cake and a snickers bar, I also had a bottle of coke, and got home without any issues.

    I probably ate less than the OP, only used 2 bottles of fluid, and was out for longer. Yes I was tired at the end of the ride, but was I even close to bonking - NO. A steady ride, should mean you are not pushing it :wink:

    What I said is not incorrect.

    I did forget one thing....it's the middle of summer here (90+F and 85%+ humidity); you guys are in winter.

    Your post suggests you've been riding for some time and are well used to it.

    What's it like for riders that are beginning or fairly new to the sport? Most experienced riders I ride with do what you do. Drink and eat censored all.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    ireland57 wrote:
    Your post suggests you've been riding for some time and are well used to it.

    What's it like for riders that are beginning or fairly new to the sport? Most experienced riders I ride with do what you do. Drink and eat censored all.

    I don't think the body suddenly works more magically with more experience. Sure you might get better glycogen sparing, but as I mentioned the OP had eaten plenty so he would have had plenty of glycogen for the duration of his ride.

    It is glycogen depletion that causes the bonk, nothing else. The OP could have been dehydrated and suffered because of this admittedly, but it wasn't a food issue that is for sure. It was probably just one of those bad days we all have.

    PS I have only been riding 3 years, so not that experienced in terms of years in the saddle.
  • SBezza wrote:
    ireland57 wrote:
    Your post suggests you've been riding for some time and are well used to it.

    What's it like for riders that are beginning or fairly new to the sport? Most experienced riders I ride with do what you do. Drink and eat censored all.

    I don't think the body suddenly works more magically with more experience. Sure you might get better glycogen sparing, but as I mentioned the OP had eaten plenty so he would have had plenty of glycogen for the duration of his ride.

    It is glycogen depletion that causes the bonk, nothing else. The OP could have been dehydrated and suffered because of this admittedly, but it wasn't a food issue that is for sure. It was probably just one of those bad days we all have.

    PS I have only been riding 3 years, so not that experienced in terms of years in the saddle.


    Yes - but your are being very modest since you are already a cut above most riders :wink:
  • sampras38sampras38 Posts: 1,917
    stevewj wrote:
    Could be dehydration - I had exactly the same symptoms on a very windy ride a few years back - drank 750 ml plus a coffee on a 60 miler, nearly fell off the bike a mile or so from home at traffic lights and again when I stopped on my drive. Grim. I hadn't accounted for the dehydrating effect of the wind.

    Do you think 750ml is enough fluid for 60 miles?

    It certainly wouldn't be for me, especially if I'm really shifting.
  • sampras38sampras38 Posts: 1,917
    SBezza wrote:
    ireland57 wrote:
    Your post suggests you've been riding for some time and are well used to it.

    What's it like for riders that are beginning or fairly new to the sport? Most experienced riders I ride with do what you do. Drink and eat censored all.

    I don't think the body suddenly works more magically with more experience. Sure you might get better glycogen sparing, but as I mentioned the OP had eaten plenty so he would have had plenty of glycogen for the duration of his ride.

    It is glycogen depletion that causes the bonk, nothing else. The OP could have been dehydrated and suffered because of this admittedly, but it wasn't a food issue that is for sure. It was probably just one of those bad days we all have.

    PS I have only been riding 3 years, so not that experienced in terms of years in the saddle.

    SBezza's right though. A proper bonk is caused by glycogen depletion and fatigue or dehydration are completely different things. A lot of people confuse the symptoms.
  • How do you tell the difference?

    I don't know if I've properly bonked or not but an experience I had mtn biking last year got me asking questions to experienced mtn bikers.
    Long story but short version is I got off my bike during a brisk 2 hr ride and sat down (first time ever) and ate a little, had a gel or two, and recovered enough to ride out. I was absolutely knackered.

    I laid down for 3hrs at home and couldn't even lift my head off the floor.
    The previous day I did a hard, hilly 4 hr. I also did a very hard 2 hr race 6 days prior and had a stomach bug for 2 weeks before and during the whole thing.

    Is that a bonk or not?
  • sampras38sampras38 Posts: 1,917
    ireland57 wrote:
    How do you tell the difference?

    I don't know if I've properly bonked or not but an experience I had mtn biking last year got me asking questions to experienced mtn bikers.
    Long story but short version is I got off my bike during a brisk 2 hr ride and sat down (first time ever) and ate a little, had a gel or two, and recovered enough to ride out. I was absolutely knackered.

    I laid down for 3hrs at home and couldn't even lift my head off the floor.
    The previous day I did a hard, hilly 4 hr. I also did a very hard 2 hr race 6 days prior and had a stomach bug for 2 weeks before and during the whole thing.

    Is that a bonk or not?

    It's only ever happened to me a couple of times so difficult to say. But the OP was referring to a 42 mile ride and with all the food he took on there is no way he bonked. You have around 2000 calories worth of glycogen split between your muscles and liver on a full tank and he had plenty of board to do 42 miles. The feeling he had was probably either just one of those days or more down to his fitness levels than bonking.

    Most of my training rides tend to be a little after I've eaten, whether it be breakfast or lunch and even up to 60 odd miles I'll rarely eat anything more than one piece of food, whether it be a banana, flapjack or whatever. Most of the time it's there as a backup or i'll eat it towards the end when I probably won't even get the benefit from it. Only on really hilly and difficult rides will I eat something around 1/2 way and that's around the 50 or 60 type rides. Say around Box hill for example.

    Sometimes I'll go out on the more social rides in a group and they'll have a coffee stop somewhere and it amazes me just how much some riders eat on rides. then they moan they can't lose any weight..;-)

    Thy quote from their Garmin's or whatever about how many calories they're burning. Do me a favour. 1200 calories per hour...I don't think so.
  • mattshropsmattshrops Posts: 1,134
    One thing ive been wondering about. Just how long does it take for food to be converted(?) to glycogen stores? so on a shortish run 2-3 hours will you actually get any benefit or are you still using / converting your pre run meal. given that it takes approx 24 hrs for food to pass from in one end out the other as it were. before you say it ok i can see that gels might be quick but what about "real" food. are we really just fuelling our recovery.that in itself is obviously a good thing. apologies if my terminology etc is not up to phd standard, im only a cycling plumber. :mrgreen:
    Death or Glory- Just another Story
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,867
    ireland57 wrote:
    How do you tell the difference?

    I don't know if I've properly bonked or not but an experience I had mtn biking last year got me asking questions to experienced mtn bikers.
    Long story but short version is I got off my bike during a brisk 2 hr ride and sat down (first time ever) and ate a little, had a gel or two, and recovered enough to ride out. I was absolutely knackered.

    I laid down for 3hrs at home and couldn't even lift my head off the floor.
    The previous day I did a hard, hilly 4 hr. I also did a very hard 2 hr race 6 days prior and had a stomach bug for 2 weeks before and during the whole thing.

    Is that a bonk or not?

    If you bonk properly you'll just know! You have an almost overwhelming desire to just get off your bike and lie down in a hedge, even freewheeling downhill feels like a struggle and your mind starts going all over the place. You normally feel fine within minutes once you've got food inside you, the transformation is amazing.
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    mattshrops wrote:
    One thing ive been wondering about. Just how long does it take for food to be converted(?) to glycogen stores? so on a shortish run 2-3 hours will you actually get any benefit or are you still using / converting your pre run meal. given that it takes approx 24 hrs for food to pass from in one end out the other as it were. before you say it ok i can see that gels might be quick but what about "real" food. are we really just fuelling our recovery.that in itself is obviously a good thing. apologies if my terminology etc is not up to phd standard, im only a cycling plumber. :mrgreen:

    The time it takes depends on what else is in the system and how much strain the system is already under. If its full of fatty/protein rich food it will take longer to digest (and more energy) If you just eat gels/jelly beans etc it will be much quicker. If you're exercising hard your guts might not have enough blood supply to complete the process quickly. It wrong too late won't help you much for several hours perhaps even if you've stuffed in a whole days ration of calories!. Eating 'right' (for you) and at the right time is the key!
    And although the whole process may take 24 hours the last part is mostly just neutralising digestive juices and absorbing water so I guess the nutrition part takes place from 30 mins to at most 5 or 6 hours....an average being around 2 hours ?
  • mattshropsmattshrops Posts: 1,134
    so ut_och_cykla, essentially on a short (2hr) ride the food we eat on the bike is more for recovery? Therefore more important to that ride is what was eaten in advance. obviously i always try to eat well, but what i was thinking rather than eating half a banana every half hour ON the bike maybe i should be doing it before i get on the bike?
    Then for longer rides the food on the bike will start to be used as the ride gets longer?
    Death or Glory- Just another Story
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    mattshrops wrote:
    so ut_och_cykla, essentially on a short (2hr) ride the food we eat on the bike is more for recovery? Therefore more important to that ride is what was eaten in advance. obviously i always try to eat well, but what i was thinking rather than eating half a banana every half hour ON the bike maybe i should be doing it before i get on the bike?
    Then for longer rides the food on the bike will start to be used as the ride gets longer?

    Weeellll ... long answer ...or short - I think it would depend on what you eat. Clearly glycogen stores for an early morning ride are at least in part dependent what you ate for dinner the night before.

    As I'm not a nutritionist (but have studied nutrition) a' typical' breakfast of porridge, milk, tea/coffee, toast, jam, butter would give both quick sugars and slower release stuff - but obviously it needs to be digested first - which takes time - so bolting a good breakfast and leaping on your bike for a mad 1 hour commute is not likely to be helped much by your breakfast
    ...and then there are bananas and bananas - greenish ones are quite slowly digested. Dark flecked ones are easier. I'm sorry - its not an exact science - everyone and each situation is different. Which is why part of your training should be working out what works well for you food & recovery wise. So try your banana idea... :)
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