Author Topic: Bonking on tour  (Read 5388 times)

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Offline johnsondasw

Bonking on tour
« on: November 01, 2009, 07:01:56 pm »
Anyone had the experience of bonking big-time on tour?  Boy, I've had a few.  One time, on a 91 mile solo day in 80+degree heat, some headwind and 4000 feet of gain, plus heavy panniers and insufficient water and no services for most of the way, I hit the wall with 25 miles to go.  I called ahead and reserved a motel and did a lot of walking on hills.  I was a little worried for awhile but, of course, made it.  I've learned a lot about how to sustain myself since then.  I bring extra water, electrolyte powder, good, sufficient food, and work to pace myself.  Using a trailer instead of panniers seems to help for me, as I think I get a lot less drag that way.  I know there are some different opinions on this, and it's an individual thing with different riders having different preferences.

What are some of your experiences and what do you all do to avoid bonking? 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline tonythomson

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2009, 05:27:49 am »
Hiya, I had a really bad experience earlier this year on the Southern T - had planned to do the Arizona/New Mexico section in two fairly easy days but getting to my planned stop early and feeling good decided to push on and do it in one! Big mistake, and really got into trouble as I climbed up towards to top of the pass, ended up cycling 100 yards - resting  walking and not in a good shape.  Used up far too much of my water - fortunately in the camp site was one other guy in a camper who made me a wonderful cup of Earl Grey Tea, soon revived.  The moral for me really is to know my limitations, plan and keep to it.  Loved the rest of the trip and now always ride cautiously with respect to my ability.

ps bonking has a completely different meaning over here in UK - don't ask ;) but your post certainly caught my eye.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2009, 12:03:32 pm »
I posted a somewhat similar question earlier in the season, and one of the suggestions that I got turned out to be a good one.  Get yourself a copy of The Cyclist's Food Guide    by Nancy Clark and Jenny Hegemann.  I do a lot of weekend tours (price I pay for having a regular job), and my pattern has always been ride strong on day 1 and die on day 2.  On longer tours, day 3 is not any better than day 2. The book will give you good ideas on what to eat.  My long tour this past August had 6 days of riding, and I did much better than I have ever done. 

Still struggling with the fact that some much is geared around back packing cuisine (there has to be more to life than macaroni), and base camp cuisine (no room for a dutch oven in my panniers).  So I don't quite know what I would eat  on a tour that went longer than a week.  But I know what my body needs to perform now.

Danno

Offline tonythomson

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2009, 12:50:33 pm »
The right food is definitely the answer.  However, out in the sticks it's so very hard to get anything other than junk food.  Try as you might there is a limit to what can be bought and carried. I eat healthy all year round in the hope that it stands me in good stead when there is little in the store except candy & Bud - has anyone done anything on what the best junk food is from the filling station? 

I always try to keep a stash of nuts, dried fruit and those packs of dry noodle (really light weight)  - these can be eaten dry or mixed with hot water.  They certainly have saved the day on several occasions either trekking or cycling.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline alfonso

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2009, 05:28:23 pm »
It's not that I've never thought of it. It's just that the opportunity has never come up.

I have to say that I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this subject line.

Quote
bonking has a completely different meaning over here in UK - don't ask

That was very restrained of you, tonythomson. Unfortunately, unlike you, I can't spare the sensibilities of the innocents who post here. I have to direct them to: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bonk - look at 'slang dictionary' meaning 3 (clearly the compilers of this dictionary are as pure-minded as touring cyclists!)

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2009, 07:14:12 pm »
I bonked cycling from Lancashire and the lake district to London, England in 1984. I had to stop, dismount, and lie down in a field of grass behind a hedge. I did not like the feeling. I heated water and mixed it with some sort of instant cereal and ate. I was ok within 30 minutes. You have to eat right and keep the energy coming at a steady pace. It can take two hours after eating before the digestive system can deliver energy from that food to your muscles. Energy from freshly extracted juices is assimilated much faster than from bulk food. With a two hour+- hiatus between eating and energy it is a good idea to keep snacking and save meals for the morning and the night. In some places there seem to be endless lines of convenience stores. C-store is often synonymous with junk food, highly refined carbohydrates, empty calories, devitalized foods, and bananas for 89 cents each.
Some have nice delis and tables and chairs. Traveling cross country by bike in the raw, meaning following an arbitrary route as opposed to a mapped route, is a sure path to diarrhea, dysentery or worse if you eat in a lot of restaurants. Sooner or later you will come across some enchilada palace whose food handler was out guzzling beer and smoking cigars during the lessons on personal hygiene and public sanitation, and after that it's Immodium, aspirin, gimme a shot of them there anitbiotics. Van Horn, Texas is one town on the ST where cyclists have met with Geronimo's revenge. I ought to know. I got it every time I stayed a few days and entrusted my health to VH's restaurants. I have read journals of others who had the same problem in the same place.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2009, 09:37:45 pm »
Bonking can be caused by many different and tricky things. The important thing is to know what your limits are and to recognize when you begin to approach them. Then you must have the maturity of judgment to stop and fix the situation instead of trying to soldier on or cowboy up.
That just takes practice and then a little preparation. But you don't have to put yourself in danger or great discomfort to figure this stuff out.

I will second the bicycling/sports food book by Nancy Clark; solid and down-to-earth advice as well as tons of suggestions for simple and nutritious stuff you can make.

david boise ID



 
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2009, 10:31:17 pm »
I seem to be sensitive to heat, especially, as every time I've bonked--uh, using the running out of energy" definition--it has been in hot weather.  This seems to be more of a problem as I've aged.  I've also learned more about how to avoid it, though, through proper liquids and the right fooods at the right times.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline MrBent

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2009, 10:23:43 am »
I haven't seriously bonked, but I've come close.  I get a bit lightheaded, feel weak.  It's always cured by eating something.  On my cross country tour in 07 I was headed west out of Barstow.  I'd spent too much time at the library.  It was getting late, and I hadn't had much for lunch.  I was pushing hard, trying to find a good stealth camp, and I could feel the bonk creeping in.  The sun was setting, and it was making me really anxious about finding a camp.  The odds of finding a good camp plummet when you can't see where the heck you are going.  I forced myself to stop, choke down a Cliff bar, a wait a few minutes before carrying on.  It made all the difference.  I found a camp and had the energy to get everything set up and a proper meal on the stove.  A great night it was, too, as I was visited by a fox in the night, stepping right up to my tarp.  Amazing.

Cheers,

Mr. Bent

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2009, 11:00:34 am »
"has anyone done anything on what the best junk food is from the filling station?"

I have a friend who has done the Lake Placid Itron Man.  If you are forced to eat junk food, he recommended Combos.  They have salt, fat and some carbs.

I always carry at least a half pound of pasta with me in case of an emergency or a bonk.  Something as simple as pasta with olive oil and salt (two other staples I always carry) can go a long way to reviving you.  And don't forget plenty of water.  Managing your intake is important.  Think aboout how far you have gone and how much you have eaten and drank during that time.  If common sense suggests that it's low (Hmmmm.  I have gone 60 rolling miles on 40 oz. of water and 1 Cliff Bar), consume more and maybe even rest during and shortly after you do.  What's the old saying?  Drink before you are thirsty.  Eat before you are hungry.  if you travel with someone, remind each other to eat. If you are alone, set regular intervals for intake based on the difficulty of the day's ride.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2009, 10:10:53 pm »
"has anyone done anything on what the best junk food is from the filling station?"


I rarely find myself in the position of having to rely on junk food, but when I do, a Payday bar is good--lots of salt, for one thing.  I've also used Snickers with success.  If you've still got a long way to go, however, you better have something else available. 

Cytomax seems to help me, too.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2009, 11:12:06 pm »
[

ps bonking has a completely different meaning over here in UK - don't ask ;) but your post certainly caught my eye.
[/quote]

Im glad I'm not the only one whose mind went straight to the gutter.
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2009, 07:36:29 am »
A couple of mentions about drinking got buried here. Hydration deserves more attention. We all watch for it in hot weather, but even when you are not sweating much, you lose a lot of water just breathing hard. That can make you bonk.

Rule of thumb: if you are not urinating every two or three hours, you are not getting enough fluid. Yes, this can be hard to do on tour. Remind yourself and each other to drink. Do not pass up a chance to stop and fill your stomach and your bottles before they get empty.

Fred

Offline MrBent

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2009, 09:00:18 am »
On a related note here is to keep in mind that we are not racing.  It seems easy sometimes to get into a push, push, push mindset.  Big miles, gotta get to X at such and such a time.  As tourists, we can STOP!   Hey, we can't stop repeatedly.  Stopping is encouraged, admired and respected.  No prizes are awarded for shaving time off your route.  I kept that mantra in my head all the way across the USA.  Sometimes the most important thing I could do was stop, listen, and absorb the world around me.   And eat a little, too, while I was at it.

Mr. Bent

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bonking on tour
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2009, 03:24:18 pm »
"Do not pass up a chance to stop and fill your stomach and your bottles before they get empty."

Absolutely.  Just because you are not near empty doesn't mean you should fill up.  You may find yourself having to spend time in the blazing sun making a lengthy repair wishing you had filled what were then half-empty bottles back at that park you past 15 miles back.