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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past Saturday I and some friends rode a significant portion of an upcoming century. Our portion was about 75 miles long ~6hrs total. The last 5 miles were...unpleasant to say the least. I started cramping in my quads and glutes at 65 miles but pushed through it. I had just finished a 3 mile pull that I had timed so I would not be pulling through a series of rollers, I suck at hills. Right at the base of the hill I finished my pull feeling good, but as my team passed by I just couldn't go any more. I shifted into an easy gear and went through the hills, wondering what happened. I was not like I ran out of gas, more like my transmission got stuck in neutral. I didn't stop, I just couldn't put any power into going any further.

Thoughts....

Stats,
1025 miles year to date.
65 miles longest previous ride, a month ago
several rides over 45 miles this year

this ride
avg pace in a rotating line of 3, 15.9 mph (We're slow)
1700' of elevation gain

Nutrition
225 oz of water 3/4 cup of sugar and 1T of salt mixed into water with Crystal Light mix
3 energy bars
1.5 PB&J sandwichs,

Made it home and laid on the floor with my feet up on the wall for 20 min and ate a bit of pizza and took a bit of a nap. Felt great afterwords no pain no aches.

Thoughts??
 

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Bonk or hitting the wall is just that, the end of your previous output level followed by weakness and no strength, will or ability to continue.

Dehydration and low electrolytes act the same, cramps drop in power weakness but if your able to get those back into you you can come around. On a hot day or long ride I take "S" Caps which is a pill that is a electrolyte replacer, if I feel a cramp come on I take one and drink lots of water. Normaly I do one every 90 min or more if super hot, as long as I taste salt in my sweat I am good.

Glucose is a big one, if your not eating X calories per hour you run out of the material to activate your fat for energy. For me a 160lb I aim for 200 calories per hour.

The last thing it could be is you have exceeded your distance and effort over your last longest ride. Everyone varies but if you did a flat 50 mile easy then did a hilly or windy 50 miles the effort would be different and thus harder, increasing the distance and effort will also be a big difference.

I think you ran out of gas, 6 hours on a bike is a long long time, you ate good but not enough electrolytes and calories. I also love PB&J but need a more concentrated sugar source as well, I use Cliff shot blocks the gummy kind two blocks an hour which is minimal but works along with my other food.
Also if your a bigger guy you need more of everything, at my 160 at a faster pace I burn 1,000 calories per hour so imagine what you would feel like at 6 hours if you only ate light..
 

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I think so. Each time this happens to me it's a very sudden event where simply turning over the pedals is an effort. Mentally I am counting the tenths of miles to go and usually thinking about every kind of cuisine known to man. How quickly you bonk depends on a few more variables but once you deplete glycogen stores and start burning fat it's hard to recover.
 

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A classic bonk is like woody said, you are just willing yourself home each peddle stroke feels like you are putting out 400 watts. Usually your HR will spike (at least mine does).

I disagree that a bonk is weak and stupid. I've ridden with some of the best pros around and they all have bonk stories. My 2 favorites (not to me but to friends) are eating feed corns straight off the ear picked from a corn field in order to have enough energy to get home. The other is ordering pizza from a pay phone (yes I've been riding a long time) 40 minutes from home so that the pizza arrives just as you are rolling in the door.

It happens to everyone. Still happens to me. Sometimes it's inexpiable, sometimes you can see warning signs hours or even days in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My mind was good....it was like the connection between my brain and legs disappeared. I shifted into a spinning gear and the pedals kept turning but with no power.

After talking to a few people, I think my issue was a lack of electrolytes and the right kind of fuel.

I'm going to do the century in 1 1/2 weeks so I'll know more after that.
 

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A classic bonk is like woody said, you are just willing yourself home each peddle stroke feels like you are putting out 400 watts. Usually your HR will spike (at least mine does).

I disagree that a bonk is weak and stupid. I've ridden with some of the best pros around and they all have bonk stories. My 2 favorites (not to me but to friends) are eating feed corns straight off the ear picked from a corn field in order to have enough energy to get home. The other is ordering pizza from a pay phone (yes I've been riding a long time) 40 minutes from home so that the pizza arrives just as you are rolling in the door.

It happens to everyone. Still happens to me. Sometimes it's inexpiable, sometimes you can see warning signs hours or even days in advance.
I suppose if you consider that smart but your example seems to support stupid.
 

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This past Saturday I and some friends rode a significant portion of an upcoming century. Our portion was about 75 miles long ~6hrs total. The last 5 miles were...unpleasant to say the least. I started cramping in my quads and glutes at 65 miles but pushed through it. I had just finished a 3 mile pull that I had timed so I would not be pulling through a series of rollers, I suck at hills. Right at the base of the hill I finished my pull feeling good, but as my team passed by I just couldn't go any more. I shifted into an easy gear and went through the hills, wondering what happened. I was not like I ran out of gas, more like my transmission got stuck in neutral. I didn't stop, I just couldn't put any power into going any further.
I agree, this is not a bonk. Not even close.

A sure signs of a BONK:

1) It is 80F outside but you are cold and shivering
2) You are so hungry that you start to consider eating grass or anything that might contain even trace amounts of sugar (the story about corn seems legit)
3) You are dizzy and lethargic
4) You can barely ride 10 mi/h on the level road but you can't hold a straight line
5) When you finally reach home or store you stuff your face with heaps of sugary junk-food
6) it might take several days to fully recover

When I just started riding I used to bonk on a regular basis. And it used to happen very suddenly with no signs of warning.

For the past couple of years I haven't really bonked. I guess it is because my glycogen stores are larger and I have learned about proper nutrition before and during the ride. Also now I can tell at least 20 minutes in advance that it is coming so I have time to prevent it.
 

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You did not bonk. Your muscles did fatigue. It can be confusing between bonking and fatiguing.

Bonking is when your glycogen stores are empty.

- you can barely pedal
- your legs feel very weak
- and your head is dizzy (low blood sugar will affect the functionality of the brain) and you can barely keep upright on the bike
- you actually lose your apetite to eat. If you're thinking of eating a horse, then your brain is still very vivid in its imagination, which means glucose is stilll plenty and it's not a bonk

These signs below are not bonking:

- Getting cramps. When you bonk, your muscles barely work (no glycogen) and if anything muscles can't cramp if they don't do much work. So if you're cramping, then that mean glycogen is still available for the muscle to work.

- Dehydration is not bonking; dehydration means you will stop sweating and at the same time feel chilly when the weather is hot. Dehydration will have your lips dried and crusty. Although dehydration can lead to your head feeling tingly and a bit dizzy, but the dizziness is not as intense as that of bonking. In bonking, your brain can go into dizziness, tunnel vision, and maybe even black out (at which point you'll fall off the bike without realzing what just happened; it's like getting knocked out by a boxer's uppercut; it can be that sudden).

I think the onset of dehydration and fatigue is slower and can be seen coming. For example, you slowly stop to sweat while feeling hot in the head, it's dehydration. Fatigue is when you gradually lose power, which is again can bee seen coming.

The onset of bonking is much quicker and sudden, and unless you know keep track of caloric intake, you will not be able to see the onset coming, or at least the onset will be hard to be seen. You can be putting out good power thru willing your mind for 10 minutes, then suddenly 1-2 minutes after that you're completely done! Glygocen empty! Like falling off the cliff!! You will not be able to see such onset coming. Bonking is hard to see or "feel" coming. When most guys say they can "feel" they're about to bonk, they probably are meaning to say they are feeling fatigue and hungry, or maybe they're cramping up a bit, or maybe even dehydrated a bit... but it's unlikely that it's an onset of bonking that they're feeling. Crossing the threshold for bonking is much more suddenly.
 

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Good information right there ^^^

As for it being weak and stupid is well stupid to think that and probably comes from a person that does not ride enough to experience it. Those that run, or ride long enough will have it happen no matter how well they plan.

At a trail running race last year I bonked hard at 5k to go, I had my water calculated and was on track, me food was calculated and on track, my electrolytes were calculated and on track and I had run the distance and the exact trail many times. What got me was the heat, the temperature started where it said it would but climbed drastically and the humidity kicked in. Because we were in the trees it felt the same yet the effort was much higher and I needed more of everything but did not notice until it was too late.
I could only walk, as soon as I got to a slow jog my heart rate would be at max and it was a mental battle to keep going but I got it done.

Best plans and preparation can only go so far, luck can kick your ass sometimes too.
 

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Good information right there ^^^

As for it being weak and stupid is well stupid to think that and probably comes from a person that does not ride enough to experience it. Those that run, or ride long enough will have it happen no matter how well they plan.
.
It's a fact that depleted blood sugar effects the brain.

And it sounds like you thought I was saying stupid was the cause of the bonk when it was pretty clear I was talking about the result/symptom. Maybe you were bonked when you read this thread if you didn't realize that?
 

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agree with perpetuum mobile, it doesn't sound like a proper bonk. nausea, confusion, heart rate spikes, a desire to be almost anyplace else but on the bike (i actually took my shoes AND socks off, sat in a wet, dirty grass next to the road and waited a half hour for the sag wagon--my will was gone and i just wanted help), in other words--a cycling version of hell are bonking to me.
 
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