Be prepared, or suffer the consequences…BONK!!!

Well yesterday I went out for a long ride in the last of the good weather. Not unusual for me any more on my Fixed Gear bike. I planned to do 80miles. The route was up to Monmouth and back via a big hill climb I wanted to try. It’s the one that comes out of Monmouth back to Chepstow along the B4233 towards Trelleck. Turns out it was a category 3 climb! It was tough but ultimately very rewarding. On the way back though  I took a wrong turn, got lost and it ended up being  a 97.8 miler! 17 miles more that I wanted to do and those last miles were the worst miles I have done for a long while. I carried enough food and water for my 80mile trip and strategized my eating and drinking so that I could go fairly quick over this distance. I obviously didn’t plan for my own stupidity though! The lack of food and hydration caused me to bonk bad. I don’t mean hitting the mental blockade called the WALL. I sometimes hit the WALL, but always push through it and come out the other side peachy and sort of better off. This was BONKING, complete bodily exhaustion and physical shut down. A lack of the right nutrients for the body. The only thing you can do when you hit this is get home quickly and safely. Sugary foods at this point only help for a short time as they spike your energy levels and run out quickly. Damage limitation!
I remember the doubt. Thinking that this will be the lowest point of my cycling life. I just remember thinking if I can get to Newport flats I’ll be ok. Its quiet and I can plod along. After negotiating the A48 in lunch time traffic while trying to stay mentally focused and trying to remember where I had just come from or where I was going due to the mental state I was in proved difficult. Eventually I made it. By this time there was no physical pain as such, only mental agony. Concentrating was hard and thinking hurt! I don’t remember much of the ride on the flats, I just remember looking down and thinking how are my legs still moving? I stopped at a Pub to fill my water bottle up. As I got off the bike I stumbled and nearly fell into the door way. Jelly legs giving you the comical off balance dance. I remained composed and they kindly filled them up…with ice. I took 5mins out but this proved worse as my muscle’s cramped.
I jumped back on the bike and continued my slow and agonising journey back home. As I entered Cardiff I felt relived, but every mile still felt like 10. I plodded at a snail pace till I reached my house. As soon as I got in I ran a bath of cold water and sat in it…hopefully that would relieve some of the physical pain, but my mental anguish was still present. FOOD…I still ate sensibly even though all I could think of was chocolate and crap. Protein and carbs with a glass of strong squash. I made it home by the skin of my teeth to be honest. Any longer and it would have been boarder line dangerous. Next time I’m taking my credit card and more food than i need. Be prepared for the worst! Its easy to think that will never happen to you as i always have. But it sometimes does!

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