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Not a bonk, but it's a ...(15 posts)

Not a bonk, but it's a ...JL
May 11, 2001 9:49 AM
I read a thread last week about what someone thought was a bonk. I understand from the responses it was exhaustion and/or overheating.
I've been struggling, on/off, with what I originally thought was a similar bonk. Here's what usually occurs:

I start my ride pretty easy, just spinning to get the legs going.
Usually, I'm on or near the top of a hill about 10 miles in, also typically standing at this point.
And heart rate kicks up (no HRM, so I don't know what my HR is), breathing becomes quicker, I feel a little light headed and need to stop. I usually drink some water and rest my head on the handlebars while standing and it subsides.

It happened again on this mornings ride around the same distance (10), but after it subsided I was able to go another 20 miles and felt fine even on similar sized hills.

Long story, short... Is this just being tired early on? Not enough water (drank 16oz. before and finished 2 large bottles by the end)? Could it be Exercise Induced Asthma (never had asthma that I know of)?
Or could it just be me thinking about it and psychologically "bringing it on" due to anxiety?

Sorry to ramble, but I'd like to figure this out. Thanks for any thoughts, help in advance.

re: Not a bonk, but it's a ...peloton
May 11, 2001 9:57 AM
Okay, so you were on your ride and suddenly your heartrate spiked up and you felt lightheaded. I gather that dehydration or heat isn't to blame from what you write. Instead of trying to gather information here, please see a physician. It's probably not a big deal, but it's better to be safe than sorry. No one here is going to be able to tell you things that your doctor can. Even if a doctor were here, they can't see you in person. Don't be a hero, get yourself checked out.
re: Not a bonk, but it's a ...JL
May 11, 2001 11:17 AM
Thanks Peloton. I'm having a physical, beginning of June, but I thought I'd see if others had experienced the same prior. I'm not sure it's hydration/fatigue or not. I don't think it's heat, but it didn't seem to happen March/early April when I needed tights/long sleeves (in PA cold weather). Maybe, I'll look into the fibralation (sp?) theory of a later poster.

See a doctor, and here's whyCory
May 11, 2001 10:18 AM
I had a very similar thing about 10 years ago--I was running 70 miles a week, single-digit body fat, in almost the best shape of my life, and I started having those same symptoms. I dicked around with it for a few months, trying hydration and rest and everything I could think of. Finally mentioned it to a friend who's a physician, and it turned out I was going in and out of atrial fibrillation. It's a fairly low-risk kind of irregular heartbeat, pretty easily treated, but there are potentially serious consequences if you ignore it.
There are plenty of other possible causes for this; I'm just telling you what happened to me. But it's definitely not something you should ignore.
I had the same thing...Lucid
May 11, 2001 10:56 AM
I had the same thing happen to me but only while I was doing about 8 grams a day of cocaine and meth. If you are hitting the stuff, quit now or at least a few hours before your rides. You will feel the difference right away.
What did they do for your treatment?runstevierun
May 11, 2001 10:57 AM
Just curious. What kind of treatments are suggested for atrial fibrillation? How did you lick it (manage it)? Is using a HRM useful in controlling/monitoring the condition?
A-fib treatment (and another reason not to wait)Cory
May 11, 2001 4:55 PM
Atrial fib usually can be "converted" to what they call normal sinus rhythm. In my case they tried drugs first, then electric shock (no worries--you're sedated, and I don't remember anything about it). Some people go into normal rhythm and never go back, some go in and out and have to be watched. A few (lucky me) stay in fib, and THE CHANCES OF SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION DECREASE THE LONGER YOU WAIT.
This is probably NOT what's wrong with you, so don't get tense yet. But I've been in fib for, jeez, 12 years now. My cardiac output is permanently down about 15 percent (that's one reason I stopped running and started cycling--I had no faster times to compare to, as I did in running). There's a chance of a blood clot blowing out of the heart and into the brain or somewhere else, which is reduced with blood thinners. They cause some problems, too, mostly BAD bruising if I fall, but they don't affect my life day to day. As my cardiologist said, "if you have to have something wrong with your heart, this is a pretty good choice." I can still do everything I like, and once you get used to the idea, it's not a big deal.
AND IT'S PROBABLY NOT WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU. All I'm saying is get checked.
See a doctor, and here's whyJL
May 11, 2001 11:23 AM
Can't say my bodyfat is single digit, but I am in the best shape I've had since high school. I hope it's not what you're describing, and I am getting a physical in early June. I haven't ruled out rest from having a newborn at home, but it happened a few times last year as well. Morning/Afternoon doesn't seem to matter either.

What kind of treatments are there, and how did it affect your riding schedule, level of activity. I don't seem to get this with any other exercise or physical activity.

Thanks for the input.
A little adviceDrPete
May 11, 2001 12:52 PM
OK, this is from a med student, so use this info with caution. There are a couple of things that can cause the racing heart rate and the lightheadedness. First thing you want to do is make sure you're 100% hydrated and making clear urine before you ride. The reason for this is that as the epinephrine kicks in (adrenaline), the blood vessels in all the muscles that send you hammering up the hill dilate, and more of your blood gets routed to the muscles. Your blood pressure sensor is in your carotid arteries (in the neck), so as you bear down and if you're a little dehydrated, your body will think it's dropping the blood pressure, and the reflex is to kick up the heart rate to compensate. So, if you don't have enough fluid on board, it'll be easier for you to get woozy when you hit the gas, so to speak. That's one theory. So make sure you drink a bunch the night before and the morning of the ride, and remember that needing to urinate is the sign that the body has enough fluid. Also, try a CamelBak to keep you drinking. It's convenient, and the newer models like the Rocket hold 72 oz. It takes a good 2-3 hours to empty my CamelBak. Drink, drink, drink.

SEE A DOCTOR. Here's why. There are a bunch of factors that go into the racing heart, light-headed feeling, or exercise intolerance as it's called by some. Yes, it might be EIA (exercise-induced asthma), but there are some important things your doc needs to know. How old are you? has this happened before? Do you have any allergies? If you haven't had allergies before, have you moved to a big allergy region? (I had no problems till I moved to DC, then I had some breathing trouble on rides.) When you start to "bonk," do you feel like you're having trouble getting a full breath, or do you just breathe fast?

Other than asthma, there are some other issues that might be causing it. Exercise intolerance is common with thyroid problems, but again, there's a bunch of questions your doc needs to ask.

The biggest reason to SEE A DOCTOR (did I mention you need to see a doctor?) is that there might be some underlying cardiovascular thing going on. That's probably the worst of them, but seeing a good doc will help rule that out.

But to kind of put you at ease, lack of conditioning is the #1 cause of dyspnea on exertion, or shortness of breath while exercising. Also, the anxiety you mentioned might be a factor. These are just a couple ideas, and I hope it helps. I AM NOT A PHYSICIAN. SEE YOUR DOCTOR.
A little adviceDrPete
May 11, 2001 12:54 PM
One more thing--- going along with the whole blood pressure thing, keep breathing while you climb. Make a conscious effort to breathe. Some people bear down and don't even realize they're not really breathing too well. There, I'm done. :) See your doctor.
A little adviceJL
May 11, 2001 1:21 PM
Thanks for the advice. I've been trying to breathe "better", though I may "forget" when I stand up(??). I can't say for sure if I was hydrated well either, though I drink a lot of water daily.

I'm seeing the doctor next week now, and the triage nurse didn't seem too concerned.

Good luck with your medical studies.
Thanks for the inputJL
May 11, 2001 1:14 PM
Thanks all.

I'm seeing the doctor Tuesday now instead of waiting for my physical in early June. Called him this afternoon. Triage nurse thought it may be just exersion, but she decided to have me in. In the meantime, I'll try and drink more before the morning rides, may not be having enough DrPete, and see how things go on my next one Sunday morning. It's not happening every ride, just some.

Smart move.look271
May 11, 2001 9:36 PM
Your heart is nothing to mess around with.You PROBABLY don't have a serious problem but why chance it? Good luck! BTW-where at in PA? I'm near Harrisburg.
Smart move.JL
May 12, 2001 9:29 AM
Thanks Look,

I'm out in Malvern, PA. Not far from Philly. Any good rides out your way. I lived in Harrisburg 10 years ago, but I wasn't riding then.
Smart move.look271
May 13, 2001 1:02 PM
There's a good ride coming in June,on the 16th, I believe. It's out of Marietta, just along the Susquehanna. It's sponsored by the Lancaster bike club and called Dreamride. Lots of climbing in 100 miles. If you and your buds are interested, e-mail me and I can give you their web site. Later in the year (September-early), the Harrisburg bike club puts on a metric and century that are pretty well run and the roads are lightly travelled and the countryside is beautiful. Fairly cheap to do, too. Take care and best of luck on your Dr's appt-hope it's nothing serious.