Bonked in Vonda


Yesterday morning, I set out for a nice 80km ride to a little town called Vonda.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and even the wind wasn’t as breezy as it has been lately.  I always enjoy the last 10kms into Vonda because it’s an old country road with great views.  I’ve never ridden the country roads of France, but for some reason I seem to think that they would look like this.  I don’t bring along a camera or video when riding, but I was able to find this Youtube video of the road I’m talking about….here is the road to Vonda.

But as I reached Vonda, the turnaround point yesterday…..I had felt like I lost all my juice.  I think in my whole riding life, I have only felt this way a couple times before and there was always an explanation for it.  But this time, I couldn’t immediately think of what could have caused this…In my head I started going through what it may be and why this was happening.  I was continuing on with my ride, but quite shocked that I was experiencing what riders call a “Bonk”. For any of you who aren’t familiar with the term, here is how Wikipedia describes Bonking.

As I continued along the 40kms back home, I could see my average speed slowly dropping and I started to envision a scene from the Tour de France where something like this has happened and we watch the rider as they loose valuable time to their competitors.  The other thing that started going through my mind was “I guess I know what I’ll be blogging about tomorrow“.

So as I suffered my way back home, I started writing today’s post in my head….again, one of those times I could use a voice recorder.  I thought about all the possible things that could have made me feel this way and here is what I came up with.

  • Nutrition: Since typically a bonk occurs from a lack of glycogen in the liver and muscles, I first started replaying my food intake in my mind.  I’m quite regimented in my diet so it would be easy for me to spot something wonky.  I have been about as consistent as ever with my diet over the past few weeks…but there was the little ice cream binge I had a couple nights ago.  However, ice cream binges are not all that un-typical for me so I really didn’t feel this was it.  Otherwise, I hadn’t done anything different yesterday before the ride or over the past few days.  Since I didn’t feel it was from nutrition, I started thinking about other things that could have made me drain like this.
  • Sleep: I don’t get a lot of sleep, but this is nothing out of the ordinary.  I did, however, have one of the best sleeps in a long time the night prior to this ride, so I totally ruled this one out.
  • Heat: Excessive heat can totally dehydrate the body and cause it to feel drained.  It was a beautiful day yesterday, but I went riding quite early and it definitely wasn’t overly hot. Check that one off the list.
  • Water: Just like above, not taking in enough water could cause dehydration.  I drank plenty of water prior to my ride and brought along two bottles during my ride, so again, I didn’t feel this was it.
  • Depression/Anxiety: Having a million things on my mind seems to be an ongoing occurrence these past few weeks, so feeling a bit anxious has been common territory for me.  However, as soon as I get out on the bike all of this fades away and I’m about as calm and cool as I’ll ever be.  Subconsciously, this could be affecting my body, but I didn’t feel like this on any other rides recently so I didn’t feel this was it either.
  • Tired: I started to think how over the past couple weeks I have felt stronger on the bike than ever before.  Because of this, I have been pushing my body more than usual and further trying to improve myself.  Maybe it was all this extra pushing that just finally made my body need a break.

Over those 40kms I was able to still scrape together a decent ride, but man, I don’t want to feel that way again for a long time.   As I went over all these possible factors, I never did seem to pinpoint what could have caused it.  I guess it’s just one of those things and it happens to even the best of them.

From what I remember, many times when a pro rider has had a stage where they bonk….they come back stronger than ever the next day.  That’s what’s going through my mind right now as I anticipate the ride I’ll be going on very shortly.

Have you ever bonked?  What do you think was the cause?

Enjoy Your Ride

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10 Responses to “ Bonked in Vonda ”

  1. Loraura on July 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I once bonked while test riding a bike. Yup, you read that right. I was almost ready to pull the trigger on a bike, but had suffered from persistent hand numbness in the past due to fit, so I requested a long ride (an hour). The shop gladly granted me that request. I zoomed over after work to take my test ride. It was last July. It was over 100 degrees. The bike felt great and I pushed it, until, *zap* I got slower and slower until I was hardly moving. I felt like absolute crud. No power at all. I’d only taken one bottle of water, and it was almost empty, and hot.

    My husband ended up having to sprint back to the shop, get our car, and come retrieve me from the test ride!

    I bought the bike the next day.

    • Darryl on July 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

      Awesome….thanks so much for sharing this story, Loraura. My wife and I totally cracked up as I read it out loud to her.

      I really appreciate you leaving this behind for us all to read.


  2. CycleLou on July 17, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    I was doing sets of two-minute all out intervals – three sets of three with a two minute rest between intervals, five minutes between sets. It was August, so it was and humid here in NC. I didn’t take any food since the total workout was only going to take a little more than an hour. I did take two bottles of Gatorade. All went well until the last interval of the last set when I ran out of energy as if I had been unplugged. It took me almost an hour to make the 12-mile trip to my car. The weirdest thing was that I still had one bottle of Gatorade. I kept staring at it and thinking I’d feel better if I drank it but I didn’t. I suppose I didn’t have enough blood sugar left to make rational decisions.

    • Darryl on July 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      Yeah, that’s funny you never went for the bottle. Luckily this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often. Thanks for dropping by and leaving your story.

  3. fbhidy on July 16, 2010 at 8:24 am

    My guess (since you didn’t really spell out your nutrition pre-ride and during ride) is that your calorie and electrolyte intake were insufficient for the effort and weather conditions. What did you eat and drink in the hours before and also during the ride? That would be the best place to look for an answer.

    • Darryl on July 16, 2010 at 8:38 am

      Thanks for your comment. It might sound boring, but I eat pretty much exactly the same thing each and every day. The only difference was what I ate two nights prior to the ride (ice cream binge and dinner out with my Family). That likely could have been what did it.

      My pre-ride nutrition and hydration should have been right on track.

  4. Torsten on July 16, 2010 at 7:37 am

    I’ve only bonked a handful of times. It’s usually either because I skipped breakfast or not drink enough water *BEFORE* my ride. I usually do a pretty good job of keeping myself hydrated during the ride, but if I’m dehydrated going into the ride, I’m fighting a deficit for the entire ride. Lack of food has actually caused me to almost pass out at the top of some late, steep climbs. Not a good feeling to be sure.

    As Mari-Jo says, if you go out too quickly, you pay for it dearly in the end. It’s best to slowly elevate your heart rate initially.

  5. Janice in GA on July 16, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Just the other day I was riding to the mall (about 18 miles 1 way) via a hilly route. About 3 miles from my destination, I just had to stop. I felt like I couldn’t turn the pedals another single time. It was in the high 80’s (F) here, so it wasn’t as hot as it’s been sometimes.

    I just found a shady spot beside the road and sat for about 15 minutes and drank most of a bottle of Gatorade. After that, I felt a little more human and got up and got to the shops I wanted to visit. Being inside the A/C helped a lot.

    I think in my case it was a combination of over-heating a little and being slightly under-nourished. I wasn’t hungry, but I also hadn’t been drinking quite enough liquids. And the ride was very hilly, and hills always take a lot out of me.

    I made it home just fine though. I did get something to eat while I was stopped. But it was alarming to feel like I just couldn’t go another step. And it would have been embarrassing to call and ask someone to come rescue me.

  6. Tim on July 16, 2010 at 6:51 am

    The only times I’ve truly “bonked” was due to nutrition. Either pre-ride meal was insufficient or I didn’t get enough fuel on the ride. The “bonks” have never been really serious and I’ve been able to ride through them. Although it was at a much reduce pace and not much fun.

    Never had a dehydration issue during a ride. It always seems to hit post-ride. Which means if I want to ride longer distances, I’ll have to change up my drinking habits.

  7. mari-jo Lamarche on July 16, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I remember bonking in Asheville, NC. I was having a great ride, enjoying sprint signs just a little too much…
    We stopped for a coffee and a cookie in Marshall and on our way back, I was totally out of gaz,running on an empty tank, paying for those much too early sprints.
    I kept asking Pat:”How many more miles?” And he kept answering “only 5 miles Mari-jo”.
    Couldn’t wait to get home!


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