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Cycling through treacle, is this le bonk?

MissybikerMissybiker Posts: 73
I've only been cycling for a year but am totally addicted, I commute 15 miles to work 2-4 times a week and get a couple of weekend rides in with local leisure clubs/breeze. Although I would class myself as a leisure rider I have improved my fitness no end and have done a number of 40-45 mile rides which include hills (which I dread). Anyway, I signed up for a Milton Trail ride, 40 miles around the Chilterns which included a fair number of hills. The pace was gentle/moderate so I signed up and really wanted to do this ride as I knew I could easily make it 50 (with the ride to the meeting point) which would be a major milestone for me. I don't 'train' as such, just ride. As much as I hate hills I have no choice because I live at the top of a horrid hill.

Yesterday dawned fair and bright and the weather said it would be humid and hot. I prepped everything (food and drink) and really felt excited about the day. I had a good protein breakfast and drank a fair bit (I never drink enough!, so this was a big deal for me). I rode to the meeting point full of beans and pleased to see everyone. 5 miles later at the first real hill (damn long) I suddenly found my legs were getting slower and slower. Everyone waited for me at the top. Initially I thought there was something wrong with my bike as it was as if I was cycling through treacle. Needless to say there was nothing with the bike. At 20 miles I knew I was in real trouble. I ate my home made flapjacks and fig rolls but I felt physically sick and my legs were wobbly. Interesting thing is when you are part of a group you really don't want to let anyone down (even though I was probably causing them more trouble by continuing to ride). At one stage I even found tears starting to well up because I knew I was going to have to stop and I felt ashamed! Anyone who knows me knows I don't cry! No one saw me thankfully. At 30 miles we stopped for lunch and whilst everyone was incredibly supportive I said I am going to have to call a taxi to take me to Amersham station. I got back to watford and my husband rescued me as I couldn't have got on the bike. As soon as I had showered I fell asleep for about 3 hours. Parts of me ached that I didn't even know I had. Even today, 28 hours later, I feel as if I have a hangover. (Haven't !) but mentally and physically weary.

This is a completely new experience for me. I am always full of beans and can't recall ever not being able to finish something I had started. I am also never ever ill so feeling unwell is frightening. I haven't been on the bike today as I Know I couldnt even ride around the garden! What did I do wrong? Is this a temporary feeling?


  • sungodsungod Posts: 13,344
    sounds like from the start you were riding at a pace you couldn't sustain, maybe with a warm up you'd have fared better, but it's harsh when you go over your limit

    'bonk' is depleting your body's reserves, given the distance you should be nowhere near that point unless you'd been starving yourself beforehand

    but you mention "protein breakfast", hmmmm, this should really be a slow release carbs breakfast

    main protein+carbs is for after the ride when you need to help muscles recover

    if you were really light on carbs and went too hard from the start then maybe you did get into trouble with energy levels later on
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    It may just be lack of experience of long hill climbs and going too hard up the hill. After a prolonged over exertion it can take a while to recover which is made tougher by over training or not eating properly.

    Also it can be self inflicted like when i drank alot of red wine the night before a 50 mile hilly ride. The first 25 i pushed hard into a strong wind and then my body tooks its revenge in a similar way to your experience.
  • Hi guys,

    Thanks for the comments. Breakfast was brown toast with peanut butter and a large bowl of fruit and fibre (added a few strawberries), But perhaps you are right and I needed more carbs. I certainly didn't feel hungry and my ride to the meeting point was at a reasonable pace. (Definitely not fast). I thought I could handle the ride but conditions certainly got the better of me. Horrid feeling for sure. I will make sure that I never have red wine before a ride! Very sensible advice.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,507
    Sounds to me like you weren't well, how much you ate is irrelevant if it kicked in at 5 miles. One thing with endurance sport is minor illnesses that you wouldn't notice during "normal" life can really affect your ability to sustain physical effort. No shame in packing on a ride, we were out earlier this year with a guy riding for a minor French pro team who had to call his mum after 50 miles or so, normally he could have destroyed any of us without breaking sweat but he'd had a virus and hadn't got over it. It really can happen to the best.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Your breakfast sounds fine, so it wasn't lack of food. Did you feel from the start that you were pushing harder than you would have if you'd been doing the ride on your own? Easy to do in a group ride, especially if you're a bit under the weather.

    Do you feel like you've recovered yet, or are you still suffering? Maybe you are fighting something off?
  • Yes thanks keef66. Feeling considerably better. I am going to have a ride tomorrow, I certainly couldn't have faced a ride yesterday and although I no longer feel hungover, I couldn't commute today because I needed to visit a client.

    Thanks for everyone's comments. Going to Mark this down to experience, it was certainly hot and humid, and perhaps I did try a bit too much (as part of a group)
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