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Hitting a wall

FuManChuFuManChu Posts: 12
edited October 2014 in Road beginners
I started riding again 2 weeks ago today with a 10 mile ride. I've been out every other day since then increasing it to 12, a couple of 15's, a couple of 20's and then a 30mile ride on Friday just gone.
I had a really busy weekend with the kids so was unable to get out over the weekend other than a quick squirt around town last night.
With a day off work today and a full two days rest I had every intention of doing 40 miles this morning.

I've just been out and turned home after 5 miles. Legs are like bricks and I just couldn't get into a rhythm. I'ts windy as hell out there but even so I'm pretty gutted here.


  • Usually hitting a wall is diet related where you have ran out of glycogen energy stores if youve been working hard for a very long time and haven't taken onboard enough carbohydrate.

    It's only happened to me once when I cycled for over 2 hours near max effort without eating. My legs just gave up and unable to turn the pedals anymore despite my conscious thought.

    Or maybe your over training for your current level of fitness and the leg muscles are still fatigued from earlier in the week? Note... Most gains are made in the rest after working out hard. If you constantly worked out your muscles would never have the chance to repair back stronger.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,328
    Yes, as said, 'Hitting the wall', 'Bonking', 'crashing' or whatever you choose to call it, won't affect you until at least two or three hours into a ride (depending on how hard you go) - it's basically your body running out of fuel, and it feels like nothing else. A complete lack of energy, a cold claminess and a general sense of doom!
    Don't underestimate the power of a strong headwind to completely set you back - it can be like pedalling through treacle at times and is thoroughly dis-spiriting.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    cycling in heavy wind is really hard work and it can feel awful. But as has been said - hitting the wall is the challenge you face when your body has to switch from the readily available energy to converting energy, this requires more effort and unless you back off or have done a lot of zero cal training you'll find it very hard.

    If you don't back off eventually you'll just run out of energy and stop. I've been close myself on very long rides. Its normally 8hrs plus if I've over done it in the first 3-4, that I get it. It can cause your whole body to cramp. a bit of rapid energy can help, but better to drink, eat and replace the essential salts and minerals as you go.

    I think what you describe is just a really bad day to ride.
  • Ahh ok, wrong terminology. Maybe I'm under estimating the wind, coming back home was a lot more enjoyable (with the wind and not into it)

    Still really disappointed with myself

  • pdstsppdstsp Posts: 1,264
    FuManChu wrote:
    Ahh ok, wrong terminology. Maybe I'm under estimating the wind, coming back home was a lot more enjoyable (with the wind and not into it)

    Still really disappointed with myself


    Don't be down on yourself - we all have bad days. If I feel like that I'll often just have an easier ride rather than try and push on - at least that way you're getting some time in the saddle which is better than sitting at home! However on a very windy day this can be difficult to achieve. I've often had the heavy leg feeling when touring if I'm doing big mileages - and as you get fitter it becomes easier to ride through it - or so I've found.
  • mpattsmpatts Posts: 1,002
    If it helps, I'm a (low level!) racer, and i can chug away at 20mph all day long. Yesterday I managed 13!
    Insert bike here:
  • Ha ha I'd be made up with 12mph average. Having said that I am carrying a full bucket of water around with me.

    Thinking about it now I should have just ridden for an hour in the direction of the wind. I'm there then, I have to get back!
  • WILL 1 AMWILL 1 AM Posts: 132
    Hit the once, never had it before, but boy I knew about it. The hunger was immense and couldn't pedal. Had to stop and the only thing around was sausage and chips followed by a can of coke?
    Now I take flapjacks, Haribo, and have a banana and drink a bit before heading out
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    The last few days have been pretty demotivating with strong winds and heavy rain. I think you will find that most people feel pretty much the same at the moment. I know i do!
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    When it's windy, I ride the first half into the wind thinking why the hell is this so damn slow and the second half back with a tailwind thinking why the hell is this so fast.

    Last sunday was typical of this:

    Flattish into the wind, back with it managed to pull my average up to 15 mph, one gel after the climb out of Corbridge. Just look at the difference in the speed graph heading east vs west and compare it to my heart rate trace (much more less variance).

    Check the wind speed and direction when planning your rides, stay sheltered in woody areas, valleys etc on the way out into the wind and expose yourself to it on the way back.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    Actually coke mixed 50/50 with water is not that bad a sports drink.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    Maye you were trying to ride at too high a power level.
    Consider the first 3 months of cycling as basic conditioning. Ride at an easy pace, in an easy gear.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I have had it so windy I was decelerating down a hill. Just listen to your body and choose the right gears.
  • Some of the wind this week were awful and we all have days of lower energy. I did a 22mile ride the other day (my first for a few months) first 11 miles were fine, the last 11 were brutal at stages, was on a very low gear on the flat. I was cycling into some wind but not a huge amount so not sure if I'd have run out of energy at that stage (around 14 miles) although I was probably underestimating it and only had 2 poached eggs, a slice of toast and banana before heading out that morning.

    But like someone else said it was like riding in treacle!
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