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Hitting the wall / bonking - tips to prevent?

surfingsimonsurfingsimon Posts: 10
In-spite of a distinct lack of genetic talent I've turned myself into an ok sportive rider, particularly over middle distances (60-80 miles). But... I just can't do 100 mile events without bonking / hitting the wall. I get to the 90ish mile mark and within the space of 15mins go from top speed to a crawl. Argh! Over and over again, event after event.

I drink lots, take plenty gels and energy drinks (I usually eat around or over the 60g of carbs per hour recommendation), I try and carb load the day before etc etc. Nothing seems to prevent it.

Mad keen for any suggestions? Its really frustrating to fall apart in the final 10 miles!

Posts

  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,025
    in all honesty it is not the 'bonk' but probably your lack of endurance depth combined with a high liklihood of going off too fast from the start.
    So, doing the 100 miles at 'tourist' pace has nothing to do with genetics but everything to do with common sense.
    Do a 100 mile route without any silly sportive pressure and see how you get on.
  • In-spite of a distinct lack of genetic talent I've turned myself into an ok sportive rider,

    Thats the funniest thing I've read for ages :lol:

    As JGSI says, learn to pace yourself better.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 4,092
    I've always liked the phrase

    "mmmmm you're no thorough bred but we can make you a fast donkey"

    :D
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • Thanks Chaps. To put the "ok sportive rider" in context I've now had multiple top 20 finishes in fields of over 1000, provided the event was under 100 miles of course.

    So that's what frustrates me, it just doesn't seem to make sense that I can go from top 2% to broke in the space of a few miles... If going round a tourist pace is the only answer then I'll stick to the shorter events I think!
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,025
    Well at least you know now that the ultimately stupidity of the marketing hype of nutrition companies who takes us for mugs for over priced doses of sugar and water do not make any difference ;-)
    Other considerations :
    how much do you ride in the close season? (very solid base fitness)
    on sportives with metres and metres of ascent are you trying to hold it with guys who are 10/15kg lighter after you reach that telling distance mark?
    just get a race licence and try some actual races? then placements have a relevance.
  • dilatorydilatory Posts: 565
    Do you regularly ride distances around/above 80 miles or only when you've entered an event? If 80 miles is still your upper limit and you're setting off to do your 100 miles at your 60 mile pace then you're just dying on your censored . It's not a bonk, you're just not capable of sustaining it.

    The top 20 finish mentality doesn't help, it's a sportive, not a race, no-one is racing. If you're feeling competitive enter some races and get that out of your system, then enjoy your sportives. You'll probably find that 100 miles becomes a lot easier when you stop thinking your position matters and you just treat the event for what it is: some fun with expensive water stops!
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    JGSI wrote:
    Do a 100 mile route without any silly sportive pressure and see how you get on.

    I think the point is get your body used riding this distance in training without blowing up and then work from there.

    You have two sources of fuel glycogen in your muscles/ liver and fat. You have a very limited amount of glycogen (~2000kcal) but a (relatively) huge reserve of fat. Even if you weight 60 kg with 5 % body fat it's about 27000 kcal. The problem is your body always wants to burn glycogen in preference to fat and when the glycogen runs low you blow completely. The two options are (i) keep shovelling in gels which are OK for topping up but come a poor second to training. (ii) Train you body to burn fat this may mean some longer slower sessions and it can take quite a long time but it can mean your body will use more fat as an energy source, even at higher output.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    I had this a few years back when I first started doing big distance MTB events. I could get to 75-80 miles no problem, but would drop to a crawl for the last 20. I'm currently training for a 200 mile MTB event and I would say 3 things:

    1 pace - cut the ride in to 3rds. fast moderate and slow. getting ahead in the first 3rd allows you to back off in the last. Most people drop off substantially after 5hrs and again after 10.

    2. bonk training - training on empty really worked for me.

    3. if you have any excess body weight. attack this first. a kg could give you what you need easy
  • LookyhereLookyhere Posts: 987
    In-spite of a distinct lack of genetic talent I've turned myself into an ok sportive rider, particularly over middle distances (60-80 miles). But... I just can't do 100 mile events without bonking / hitting the wall. I get to the 90ish mile mark and within the space of 15mins go from top speed to a crawl. Argh! Over and over again, event after event.

    I drink lots, take plenty gels and energy drinks (I usually eat around or over the 60g of carbs per hour recommendation), I try and carb load the day before etc etc. Nothing seems to prevent it.

    Mad keen for any suggestions? Its really frustrating to fall apart in the final 10 miles!

    if you can ride hard for 90miles, then there is no reason why you cant for the final 10, its all in your mind, you think you ll blow, your even waiting for it and hey presto! so you do.
    if it were me, i d look to go a bit easier around the 70 to 80 mile mark and then ramp it back up for the final 20.
    and if you dont want to go rr racing, you dont have too, racing isnt the be all and end all cycling.
  • Hi. Thanks to those of you posting positive replies. To the "its not a race" point - if you want to cycle 100miles you can jump on a bike and do it any day, one of the big attractions for me is a sportive lets you push yourself and see how you place relative to others without all the tetchy atmosphere and crash danger of a 'proper' race.

    Anyways, avoided the dreaded bonk this time, mainly I think through taking it easier in the middle section and varying my eating, had less gels and more dried fruit. I also avoided caffeine completely and didn't miss it.

    Thanks for the suggestions, seems to have worked this time!
  • dilatorydilatory Posts: 565
    one of the big attractions for me is a sportive lets you push yourself and see how you place relative to others without all the tetchy atmosphere and crash danger of a 'proper' race.

    I'd argue the opposite, you've got a bunch of people with typically little group riding experience, no race experience, usually less than stellar fitness and bike handling thinking it's a race; wobbling all over the road, unaware of everything but their own average speed. Give me a race any day. I see far more tragic accidents in sportives than I do in any race! ;-)
  • thegreatdividethegreatdivide Posts: 5,118
    one of the big attractions for me is a sportive lets you push yourself and see how you place relative to others without all the tetchy atmosphere and crash danger of a 'proper' race.

    I'd argue the opposite, you've got a bunch of people with typically little group riding experience, no race experience, usually less than stellar fitness and bike handling thinking it's a race; wobbling all over the road, unaware of everything but their own average speed. Give me a race any day. I see far more tragic accidents in sportives than I do in any race! ;-)

    This. Especially on closed road events.

    And you'll know when you've had a proper bonk.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,856
    Got to disagree, you get far more crashes in races relative to the the numbers competing than in any sportive.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • KheSanhKheSanh Posts: 62
    Plan the ride to finish strong so first half ride within yourself and don't go into the red on hills.

    Sorry if teaching you to suck eggs. Do plenty of zone 2 long rides as training as you can't take in enough carbs as you cycle long distances you need to get your body use to it. So at least one long Z2 ride a week and maybe a shorter z2/z3 ride and push on the hills but stay out of the red. Get to the top of the hills and then kick on, if you need to slow and rest you're going too hard on the hills.
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    I'd say do the first 80 miles in heart rate or power zone 2, then ramp it up in the last 20 miles.

    Once you've got the distance comfortably under your belt, incrementally increase your target pace.

    Provided you are paying proper attention to hydration and fuelling (which it sounds like you are), blowing up in the last ten miles is simply a symptom of going too hard over the distance for your current level of fitness.

    Fasted training may also help, but be aware it weakens your immune system, so you are more likely to go down with colds & bugs etc. So back it up with off-bike nutrition which focusses on immune system function and get extra rest.
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