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My Triple Bypass Bonk(26 posts)

My Triple Bypass Bonkjtolleson
Jul 14, 2002 10:47 AM
It was NOT my day. For those who know the route, you can guess how crappy I must have felt to hang it up and get in a car just a couple of miles below Vail Pass... with 94 miles and all but about 800 feet of the day's climbing behind me.

I felt great going over Squaw. Pedaled easy and cruised into Idaho Springs. Even the normally-torturous climb to Loveland ski area felt pretty manageable, so we took a very short lunch break (I had zippo appetite, which should have told me something) and decided to climb the pass.

Several weird things. I kept hydrated but really never needed to pee. I wasn't really worried that I was dehydrated because I knew I had hydrated all week AND while riding. I also had a bloated gaggy feeling where making myself eat was a chore. So, below Loveland Pass I was pretty much thinking I might puke but never did.

Once we cruised down the pass, I felt like the worst was behind me. Those who know the route can understand that is true. The short climb over Swan Mountain hit me like a brick wall. At Summit County High School I felt like I should eat but everything looked terrible.

The normally easy grade up to Copper had me climbing in a 39X27... and feeling like crap. I stopped TWICE just to drape over the bars. After going through Copper Mountain it became apparent that I was going to puke, faint, or both, and my body temperature was spiked up (forehead hot to the touch). I hung it up.

Still can't explain it. Not physically ready? I'm not sure that's it but who knows? Just one of those days? Maybe. And then once I got in the car, I needed bathroom breaks literally every 30-45 minutes. Like my system had shut down on the bike and wasn't processing the food or fluids, and then once I stopped riding finally let everything through. (A little GI distress today I might add).

Anyway, if any amateur sports docs have a theory, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, I'd like to hear about the successes (or not!) of others on TBP this year.
re: Just one observationcyclejim
Jul 14, 2002 10:58 AM
That part where you said that you kept hydrated but never really needed to pee. Last weekend I did 47 miles (hey for me thats a big deal still) and while it was hot I drank a lot of water before, during and after my ride. I bonked horribly at the end of that ride (approx 3 hrs with a short stop to scarf a clif bar) and even though I had been drinking pretty much constantly for 3 hours after my ride I didn't have to pee AT ALL until about 5 hrs after I got off the bike. I guess I was dehydrated but didn't know it.
Somewhat similar experience.Len J
Jul 14, 2002 11:39 AM
Did a century last year, and remember the exact same feeling & effect you described. For me the problem was the sports drink that they were serving at the rest stops, Cytomax. It made me nausous, stifled my appetite & seemed to shut down the plumbing until I stopped riding & then the damn broke. Could it have been the spotrts drink for you?

Sucks to do 95% of a ride & then have to sag. It seems like I learn something new on every long hard ride.

Glad you're OK

Jul 14, 2002 11:55 AM
that's a VERY interesting theory. I had used Accelerade before, but never in the quantities I consumed on TBP... I've always hated the stuff (taste seems like a combination of Metamucil and liquid baby aspirin and it gets skunky really fast, though not as nasty as Endurox)... but I drank a fair bit of it yesterday (by force).

I know what you mean about the dam breaking... good description.

This is the first time I've ever set foot in a sag vehicle in 9 years of pretty dedicated road riding, so I'm pretty okay with it... not feeling awash in failure. But I was puzzled by my symptoms.
Don't know why.....Len J
Jul 14, 2002 2:15 PM
but I haven't had the symptoms before or since, and it is the only time I have ever had cytomax. I chalked it up to "My body just didn't like it" (Obviously a very technical explanation). Until it happens again, I will be satisfied with my explanation.

We are all different so YMMV.

Jul 15, 2002 9:41 AM
I've used Accelerade for two years now. I always freeze a bottle (or two, depending on ride length) the night before long rides and refridgerate the other (or a small hydrosack). Yes, the taste is bad when warm. Palatable when cold though. Same with Endurox. XL-1 is my favorite for warm drinking conditions. Also, I've been trying Hammergel this year (both straight and in solution with water). It seems to do the job and doesn't taste terrible when warm. Stick with the Vanilla flavor though. On supported rides like TBP try to bring gels and use water. I'm not sure I would use a sports drink that I have never tried before and risk GI rejection.

My two cents. Good for you to make the effort in tough conditions.
one word: electrolytescyclopathic
Jul 14, 2002 12:05 PM
when you start running low on electrolytes stomach shuts off and you get no water/food in. This causes dehydration and other symptoms as you described. Normally your body has enough to last for 4-6hr, sometimes 8 depend on temperature, humidity etc.

I usually get in this mode ~130-150mi (80-100 if it is very hilly). Unfortunately either Gatoraid or Cytomax isn't effective, tried. Endurolytes work the best. Bring a few with you in film container, take a couple every 2 hours good luck.
one word: electrolytescritmass
Jul 14, 2002 1:02 PM
If you were drinking as much accelerate as you say it wouldn't be a shortage of electrolytes. You didn't say what the weather was like. A loss of energy, hot skin, faintness, nausea, and--or inability to eat are all signs of heat fatigue. In any case, getting off the bike and resting was the best thing you could have done.
Tough dayPaulCL
Jul 14, 2002 12:13 PM
We've all had them. I can't add any more than the other posters, but I have a few questions about the ride.

I'm curious becuase I did the Carpenter/Phinney Bikecamp last year - based in Frisco. So I did Copper/Vail/Loveland Pass and Swan. Each one took their toll individually. I'm impressed that anyone would do all three in a day.

What is the actual route of the TBP? How many miles? What kind of average speed did you keep before leaving??

And as you said, there is no shame in the sag wagon. You were smart. Unlike many, you listened to your body. Any further and you might have had more serious problems. I commend you for your common sense and intelligence. Paul
Tough dayjtolleson
Jul 14, 2002 12:40 PM
The route... begins in Bergen Park (SW of Denver) and goes over Squaw/Juniper Pass, then intersects Mt Evans Road. That's pass # 1... maybe 2,800 ft of climbing. Mt. Evans Road down into the valley at Idaho Springs.

From Idaho Springs, a straight west grind follows I-70 all the way to the Loveland ski area (near the Eisenhower Tunnel) and then up and over Loveland Pass. Descend into the Keystone area, then up and over Swan Mtn.

Descend into Frisco-Breckenridge, then catch the bike path that goes through Copper Mtn and up and over Vail Pass, down into Vail and Avon.

The mileage this year was supposed to be 120 (about 3 miles more than past years due to a finish line change). My computer showed 94 when I hit the wall.
see (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 15, 2002 8:32 AM
Jul 14, 2002 3:05 PM
Could be several things; I've been there, but there isn't just one cause for what you describe.

1. Was it plain old fatigue? Were you riding harder, further than you are used to?

2. You can dehydrate, even though you are drinking what you think is plenty. It happened to me in the 508 and many long rides since. If there are too many sugar molecules in your drink, the fluid will not enter your blood fast enough. Instead, it travels on down the GI tract, and eventually you get bloated, gasey, and maybe even the runs. Undigested sugar gives you lots of gas. When it's hot and dry, it's important to use a less concentrated sports drink, or alternate with plain water. Also, the proper amount of salt in the fluid can aid absorption.

3. Salt. With insufficient salts, your muscles shut down and it gives you a bummed out feeling, sort of like a bonk. If it goes too far, you usually cramp, too.

4. Could partially be a bonk, too. Have you been training for long, hilly rides? If not, your body may not be as efficient at burning fat and converting carbos. You may have just out-ridden your body's ability to re-supply calories.

5. Going harder, further, higher, hotter, than you are used to will take its toll in a combination of the above. Keep in mind that it's dryer at higher elevations, too, meaning you need more water. My guess is that it was a combination of factors.

Check out articles at the UMCA website:

Jul 14, 2002 4:09 PM
Your second item sounds the most recognizable. The Accelerade was 1/2 strength, but it was definitely more sports drink than I am used to (because the lines for plain water were often too long).

As for fatigue, it was certainly there. My longest day this season was 102, and my maximum day of climbing this year had been 6,000 vertical. So did it exceed my training? Sure. But by definition I'm assuming it was the longest day (and most vertical) for 90% of the riders there... other than the randonneurs and the like.

Ah well.

Ugha mugga. Next year. Most definitely.
My Take (kinda long)Birddog
Jul 14, 2002 5:21 PM
I was there, and I had results quite different than yours. Here is my take. First, the Accelerade was supposed to be mixed 50/50, but I was told that it varied from 25% to 75% and in some cases up to 100%. If you are not used to this stuff, it can be awful. I've been using it for about 2 weeks, and prior to this ride I had to mix it 50% with Gatorade or Powerade, to get it down. My initial thought was that this crap tasted like phlegm when mixed as directed. Accelerade does contain electolytes as well as additional carbohydrates, so you should have had enough electrolytes. I was worried that I wasn't eating enough on the ride, but I didn't have that much of an appetite during or after the ride. I attributed this to the amount of carbo in the drink. I started off with 2 bottles of 50% Accel/Gatorade, which were mostly empty at the top of Squaw. I replaced with one of their 50% mixtures and 1 water. I continued with this procedure throughout the ride (1 water 1 50%). I only ate about 6 or 8 of those tiny PB&J squares, 1/4th of a bagel, 1 cherry, 5 slices of orange, 1 slice of watermelon, 1 Cliff Bar, and 2 GUs. The watermelon bothered me a little and I felt pretty stupid about eating it because most melons give me belching gas. I was disappointed that they didn't offer any other type of Sports drink, and very cold water was almost nonexistent. The water shortage at Loveland was a real mess.
My results were the opposite of yours. I have never felt better after any century or longer ride in my cycling life (11 yrs). My ride time was 8:03 for about a 15 mph average, and everybody passed me on the decents because I'm such a weenie. I stopped to Pee only once during the ride, and this concerned me, but apparently I sweated out the excess (I'm a profuse sweater). I did Pee right after the finish though. Three Ibuprofen and an Endurox after the ride, and I'm feeling fine today, despite 12 hours in the back seat of a car coming home. I also had three brewskis and a pint of Ben and Jerry's after the ride (gotta replace the poison too). I've noticed in my short experience with Accelerade, that I'm not as hungry post ride as I used to be. I will continue using it, but I will mix it with a sports drink and have a 2nd bottle of water on most rides.
The heat and constant exposure to the sun may have also been a factor in your case. I was amazed at how hot I got, especially after last year's experience. I think you were probably a victim of multiple problems, and in any case you definitely made the right decision. I did the same thing a few years back 90 miles into the Enchanted Circle Century, and it was THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE!

Hope your next rides a good one,
My Take (kinda long)jtolleson
Jul 14, 2002 6:59 PM
Loved reading your story... just goes to show ya! Sounds like some of my teammates who rode, who thought it was their best Triple ever, and certainly we were lucky in terms of afternoon t-storms!

As Ahnolt sez... Ah'll be BAHK.
Was hot - I crampedmoneyman
Jul 15, 2002 6:19 AM
8 1/2 hours in the saddle and at least 2/3 of it was spent fighting cramps. Started about 3/4 of the way up squaw pass. I was a bit concerned at cramping that early, but rode through it. They continued all day, off and on. I kept riding through them, just spinning easily until they went away. A couple of times the pain was intense enough to make me think aobut quitting. In fact, at every rest stop, I considered calling in my ride to have them pick me up. Nevertheless, I kept turning the cranks over and over. Last year, my first time, I kept pressing on in ignorance. This year I pressed on knowing when the suffering would ease up.

I drank ten 24 ounce bottles of fluid - 5 water, 5 accelerade. I had no appetite, but I did consume two flasks of hammer gel. A piece of watermelon at Summit Cty HS almost did me in, but a few burps and other gas releases and I was OK.

I didn't realize that there was a water shortage at Loveland Basin. I thought the lines were just long, and I patiently waited. Lines were long all day, even for dinner in Avon at showers at the rec center.

Last year I thought the ride was "too hard." This year I thought "I'll never do this again" (especially as I got lightheaded going up Loveland Pass). At the end, I started making plans for next year. It really is a sick passion, isn't it? What other form of recreation would you participate in which causes that much suffering and pain, and you willingly pay people a lot of money to be allowed to do it?

Sorry you weren't able to finish it. There is absolutely no shame in saying "I've had enough today, thank you." Sounds like you made a smart decision.

The high altitude is impressive, maybe elevation sick? nmrwbadley
Jul 15, 2002 7:17 AM
It was hard and HOT!Pack Meat
Jul 15, 2002 8:06 AM
You're a stud for making it as far as you did and an even bigger stud for making the right decision and bailing before something bad happened.

I tried that accelrade stuff at Georgetown and hated it. I went water for the rest of the ride. I was popping Enervit GTs the whole day, I think that helped with the electrolytes. I was definitely effected by the heat. I crawled over Loveland, it's usually a pretty easy climb for me. I started feeling better at the HS, I chowed about 8 pieces of watermelon and felt great the rest of the ride. I ate about 5 more peices of w-melon at Vail pass. Then it was 53x12 all the way to Avon. My computer died about 5 hours into the ride but I'm pretty sure I finished in about 7:10. I've never had so much fun going down hills, I hit 53mph going down Loveland. If you have the means I highly recommend the Fondriest Carb Level.
Did I mentionPack Meat
Jul 15, 2002 8:15 AM
that I saw two people throwing chunks. I've never seen that before. I think a lot of people suffered in the heat. You know it's hot when you don't zip up your jersey when you're going down the mtn.
SorryPack Meat
Jul 15, 2002 8:23 AM
didn't know you're a girly. Please replace the word stud with the female equivalent.
were you drinking the Accelerade?ColnagoFE
Jul 15, 2002 8:30 AM
I never got sick from it, but I really didn't like the taste or the effect of it. I switched to water. The watermelon at Copper rocked! I think I ate 5 pieces. Sorry to hear about your ride. I thought the weather was just about perfect. Tailwinds all the way and no rain. You might have had heat-related problems. About all I can think of.
Crashes on the Triple?ColnagoFE
Jul 15, 2002 8:41 AM
Anyone hear how that lady did that crashed at the bottom of Old Vail pass? Hope she was ok--relatively speaking. It didn't look good when I passed her. Also someone said there was a bad crash down Loveland pass. Anyone know anything?
re: My Triple Bypass BonkMootsie
Jul 15, 2002 9:50 AM
I 've done the Triple the last 4 years. The one thing I have learned is that you need to drink more than you think and eat less than you should...especially at the base of Loveland. The altitude will kill you if your stomach is full and kill you if you are dehydrated. Its better to stop and pee on the side of the road than bonk. Don't let this years experience stop you from doing it next year.
re: My Triple BypassPTG
Jul 15, 2002 10:13 AM
My first triple bypass went great. 7:25. Just got the road bike 3 months ago and only logged 400 miles on it b4 doing the Triple nipple. Hot as could be on the climbs but made the descents very worthwhile. What a great ride, looking forward to next year!
bike time or total time?ColnagoFE
Jul 15, 2002 10:33 AM
If total time you were cooking. I think I had a little over 7 for bike time but around 9 hours total time with stops included. Rode with a few people and had to wait at a few stations. Since this isn't a race I don't really try to ride it straight through without stopping. I enjoy chatting at the rest stops a bit, but not for too long or my legs go to hell. After lunch at Loveland it took a coupla miles to get the legs going again!
bike time or total time?PTG
Jul 15, 2002 10:46 AM
Bike time was 7:25, total time was 8:50. My group I (tried) to ride with was 7:00. I guess I was lucky to have them waiting for me at every aid station. But a couple of them were doing it for the 4th time. Loveland was a big grind for me. What a great ride though. Cannot wait for the next go around. Anyone have info on the lady who was down on vail pass?