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Remember your first bonk?(21 posts)

Remember your first bonk?GileyD
Dec 17, 2002 9:11 AM
I guess pretty much every cyclist has bonked / hit the wall, call it what you will, at some point in their lives.

My first time was back in '91 when I first got into cycling with a cheap 18spd Peugeot MTB weighing about 30lbs.

I had a day off work and decided to ride over to Bradford on Avon, a round trip of 50 miles, all cycle path or canal towpath. Given that I had never ridden more than about 10 miles this was possibly rather optomistic. I figured I needed sustenence so wore a HUGE rucksak (to match the HUGE white trainers on my feet!!) with a bag of crisps and a can of Coke rattling around in the bottom.

Got to B on A feeling ok. Munched my crisps and drank my coke and set off on the return journey.

About 15 miles from home someone clicked the switch: Game Over. I had no idea what had happened, only that turning the pedals was suddenly one of the hardest things I had ever had to do. That final 15 (flat) miles must have taken close on 2 hours! When I got home I couldn't even walk up the stairs to get changed, I just laid on the sofa for the rest of the day moaning quietly to myself.

I have bonked since on 200k rides and the like (though not for years), but never quite as severely as that first time.

You live and learn.......
Jossie Evans, Class 6c, back of the bike sheds:-) nmEager Beagle
Dec 17, 2002 9:16 AM
LOLKristin
Dec 17, 2002 9:22 AM
Did you fantasize about food during your bonk? I hear that's a common side affect. And what was your max speed acheived after the bonk began? ;-)
Faster up than down. Bit of interval training. nmEager Beagle
Dec 17, 2002 9:25 AM
That would have probably been the summer of '73 ...Humma Hah
Dec 17, 2002 9:27 AM
... when I got it in my silly head to try a ride from Blacksburg VA to Richmond VA, about 200 miles. My previous 1-day record had been about 35 miles, and I was riding the very same Schwinn cruiser that is my primary ride today. Stripped down for the ride, it weighed about 40 lbs.

I ran outta gas at 130 miles, with no strength left in my legs but my head was still clear. I stopped at a country store to call for my ride, and swilled down a couple of sugary soft drinks to try to get some fuel back in me fast. I'd just finished the second, a Yoo-hoo, when the grand-mal bonk hit: I tunnel-visioned and almost passed out. My theory is that I'd been running on fumes for some miles, my legs begging for sugar but my gut shut down (and ice-cold). When sugar became available, my gut took half my blood supply to absorb it, and my legs took the other half of the blood to resupply sugar, leaving nothing for my head.
many timesDougSloan
Dec 17, 2002 9:29 AM
My first was actually not cycling, but running a marathon at age 15. Around 20 miles, I hurt bad, really bad. I was clueless about nutrition and hydration, but I had trained 15 miles per day for a year. I started out at 6 minutes per mile, even though I was planning on 7. I didn't drink enough, as it was a cool Indiana morning in June. That cool morning turned into a 90 degree 100% humidity day by halfway through. I limped in barely alive at 3 1/2 hours, puked 20 yards before the finish line, and went into heat stroke. They packed me in ice, and I was ok. I slept for 18 hours afterward.

My first bike bonk was in college, when, on a whim, I rode from Fresno to Bass Lake and back, which was about 112 miles. When climbing a giant hill in my 42x21 granny, I nearly died. I finally made it up, but I don't know how. I didn't eat along the way, except some Gatorade around half way. Funny thing is, I did not even know I was bonking. I thought I simply couldn't climb the hills.

I've probably bonked 50 times since then. You'd think I'd learn, huh? The worst was around 410 miles in the 508 last year. I bonked so badly that I nearly blacked out on the bike. I couldn't see the road or keep the bike in straight line. It was a combination of bonk, dehydration, and sleep deprivation, though. Before the black out, I was bonking so badly that I was climbing a hill at 4-5 mph, but this year I climbed the same hill in the relay at 17 mph.

Doug
I've never bonkedtarwheel
Dec 17, 2002 9:40 AM
Guess I don't push myself hard enough or long enough. I've done plenty of long rides and runs (back when I was still a runner), but I've never experienced the symptoms associated with bonk -- which is surprising because I wasn't as careful about drinking enough fluids when I was younger. It could also be that I just eat too much, which explains my gut.
Here's how!VertAddict
Dec 17, 2002 8:22 PM
Enter marathon. Tell self that must be conservative, run first couple of miles super slow. Hook up with another stupid rookie and start speeding up steadily over the next 6 miles. At mile 8 or so you are flying and feeling great, running less than 5 minutes over your personal record 10km pace. Maintain that pace for next 10 miles or so, passing everyone in sight. Start feeling like the legs are turning to lead at around mile 20. Drop other stupid rookie like he ran into a brick wall at mile 21. Run into brick wall yourself at mile 22.

Mind is clear, breathing normal, but legs won't move faster than a pace you could normally sleepwalk at. Get passed by all those wiley veterans you blew by earlier. Curse your fate. Curse the queen at mile 26 for those extra @#$%! 200 yards. Collapse at finish line, have race marshalls ask you if you're OK. Swear you'll never do it again. Now you've officially bonked! Welcome to the club!
re: Remember your first bonk?flying
Dec 17, 2002 9:46 AM
About a 10 years ago I descended 4000' through the hot lava fields. I thought as usual I would refill my bottles at the lower visitor center. Well when I was almost there I chugged my water as usual to hydrate for the climb & make room to refill.
Well the visitor center had been burned down the night before when lava ran over it ;-(
Teach me to not assume anything when it comes to water. I hide a bottle on the way down now.
I lost 8 lbs on the way home climbing that mountain. I was only 140 lbs. at the time so I needed those lbs. ;-)
Hey someone said did you think of food? Well I thought of trading my nice Masi for a candy bar I saw a tourist eating ;-)One mile from home is a rec center that had a soda machine.......good night that tasted good I also remember right before the end of the climb even though it was a scorching hot day I felt as cold as if I were climbing the alps. I lived & I learned ;-)
oh yeahmohair_chair
Dec 17, 2002 10:01 AM
It was a simple ride from San Jose up to the top of the Santa Cruz mountains and back. It was maybe a 50 mile ride, with maybe 3000-4000 feet of climbing. Temperatures were supposed to be in the 90s. I did it with someone I didn't know all that well who was basically a friend of a friend.

I was extremely undisciplined at that time, so I flew up the climb up as fast as I could, and suffered for it. Then the heat started to kick in. Oops. Getting back home was horrible, because it was all on city streets with not enough shade. The heat reflecting off the street was unbearable. I dropped way behind my friend and wasn't really sure of the exact route back. Luckily I have a good memory and made all the correct turns.

My friend was waiting for me at certain points, and seemed to recognize my plight, not that it made her happy. She didn't say anything negative, she just asked if I was OK. Compounding my physical pain was the incredible guilt I had for ruining her ride.

Anyway, today it's 5-6 years later, and in spite of that day, her and I have become great friends and constant riding companions, logging more than 30,000 miles along the way. I've learned a great deal about riding discipline since then, but she's still seen me bonk at least once a year. She never does. I don't understand it!
July 1977DINOSAUR
Dec 17, 2002 10:11 AM
I ran my first full marathon and hit the wall around the 20 mile mark. It was very hot and the marathon was not well organized and there were not enough aid startions supplying water. This was around the Jim Fixx era of the running boom. At one point I could not walk and sat down and rested against a tree. A lady came by on the opposite side of a chain link fence riding a bicycle and offered me some water, which got me back on my feet again. I managed to finish alternating running and walking the last 6 miles. I think my time was a ungodly 4:20. However I think this was more of a heat exhaustion problem then bonking.

The full bonk is when you totally collapse and can't go any further due to a drop in blood sugar. When you bonk you will know it. I've learned to always stash some type of food source in my jersey pocket (an energy bar) and always drink a lot of h2o..oh, it's not a good idea to drink a vast amount of beer the night before any endurance event, especially when the temps are hot...
re: Remember your first bonk?Trux
Dec 17, 2002 10:41 AM
Almost bonked last August during the final mile and one-half up Mount Evans. I had forgotten how steep the road gets and how thin the air is at 13,800 feet ASL.
Yeah...man she was hot!...eschelon
Dec 17, 2002 11:27 AM
She had legs that could rival a stripper on 8 mile road...oh, wait a minute...did you say Boink?
I can't remember...there were so many...biknben
Dec 17, 2002 11:28 AM
Thankfully, not as many as Doug. I remember some on the road and others on the MTB.

Most notably was my one and only double century "attempt". It was ugly.

Most recently was a 112 mile ride this year. I set the pace too high and suffered miserably from about 85 miles on.

The common denominator in all of them seems to be heat and humidity.
1985 Jackson, WY stage race....Brooks
Dec 17, 2002 11:59 AM
My first long road race of 80 miles or so. Fortunately I didn't have to start in Jackson and go over Teton Pass, we started on the other side and went over Pine-something Pass and followed the Snake River back up into Jackson. I had been on a 10-day backpack trip and got back the day before the race. Good preparation, huh? Anyway, I had two water bottles and some food in the jersey, thinking there would be a neutral support feed zone along the way. WRONG! A feed zone but no support. Uh-oh, this boy's in trouble. The last 10-15 miles probably took more than an hour as first the quads, then the hammies, and finally the calves all started to cramp and there is no energy left in the tank. I had long since been dropped by the pack so was out by myself. I could see the finish area from a few miles back and could see someone else rapidly closing on me from a mile back or so. How to spin and keep the pedals turning when the legs aren't working? Will I make it? Will the other guy catch me first? Somehow I manage to get to the finish and hold off the other rider by a hundred yards or so and promptly collapsed in the grass. A few bananas, Coke, oranges,and whatever else was at the finish (sure, now they have food!) and I was feeling fine. I even raced the criterium the next day with no ill effects. I have never felt that way again and I always know when and where food and water will be on training or race rides.

Brooks
only done it once - summer of '93laffeaux
Dec 17, 2002 12:56 PM
Sometime during the summer of '93 a buddy of mine and I decided to bike from DC to Harper's Ferry, WV, on the C&O Canal tow path. The ride is about as flat as you can get for 60 miles each way (plus an extra 5 miles on either end to my house). We planned on camping along the Potomac River and coming back the next day. We rode mountian bikes, and I had a tent and sleeping bag strapped to my bike.

The ride was great. On the return trip my buddy stopped at Great Falls, MD, where he'd parked his car. I continued on towards my house on Capital Hill. With a little over 10 miles to go I bonked. The tow path is perfectly flat, but I didn't have the energy to pedal anymore. I have no idea how long it took to make it home, but I stopped and rested many times along the way.

Since then I've never hit a wall like that. I've always been able to turn the cranks, but that day I couldn't.
Yes but it was on a mtn. bike.eyebob
Dec 17, 2002 1:43 PM
30 mile out and back with 2 water bottles and no food. Took me about 6 1/2 hours round trip. Got lost, 2 flats.I remember staggering into a convenience store on my way back in (about 1/2 mile from my home) and spending all of the $1.50 that I had on Circus Peanuts for a sugar intake.

BT
first marathon, March 1978dotkaye
Dec 17, 2002 2:51 PM
I remember it well.. one moment I was going through 20 miles feeling good at 2h 10min, next I was slumped over a wall gazing down at the cold green Atlantic and wondering what happened. Chugged a litre of Coke at the next aid station and staggered on in. Never yet bonked on the bike, a combination of cowardice and better nutrition I guess..
Ah, my first Solvang Century...SnowBlind
Dec 17, 2002 3:03 PM
Six months of riding and I decided to do the Solvang Century.
I figured I'd be ok, I had been doing metrics every weekend for a month.
Well, climbing the pass in Vandenburg in a 30+ headwind wore me out, plus rest stop #2 being out of food and water, I limped into Santa Maria Airport rest stop (right at 66 miles...) so exahusted I could not clip out or get my foot out of the pedal. A did a few slow laps, hoping I would get my energy back, but to no avail.
Finally I came to a rest against the sag wagon, and a kind soul un-did my straps and laces so I could get my foot out.
After dismounting, I wandered around a bit and ate some food (and barfed it up). That did it, and I ended up riding back in the SAG wagon at the insistance of the SAG leader.
What year?Humma Hah
Dec 17, 2002 6:05 PM
I rode it in March 2001, and remember some very tiring headwinds on the flats approaching Vandenberg. It felt like riding uphill even tho' we were slightly downhill.

I didn't bonk at Santa Maria, but was starting to have knee problems, probably brought on by mashing that same climb on the cruiser.
re: Remember your first bonk?scary slow
Dec 18, 2002 10:16 AM
my last one was about a year ago. I was 5 miles from home and just couldn't turn the pedals. I pulled into a convenient store, luck I was in town, and purchasing as much sweets as I could with the $3 in my seat bag. I can honestly say that I woofed down 2 snickers bars, a yoohoo and a bag of peannuts in under 2 minutes. That satisfied me for half the trip home. The rest of the ride was pure misery at about 9 mph. That is not my only bonk, only my most memorable.