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  1. #1
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    did my sleep schedule cause my bonk?

    this sunday i did a hilly road ride as a planned piece of my training for an upcoming endurance race. the ride was only about 40 miles, but pretty much 100% hills. i do this training loop pretty regularly and have relatively consistent times on the loop, but this sunday i bonked HARD at about the 30 mile mark. i've never found myself completely gassed like this before this last climb. needless to say the finish was pretty miserable, and i ended up with a much slower time than usual. i had such spaghetti legs that i couldn't even work hard enough to get my self winded or get my heart rate up. i was absolutely out of energy and was essentially just cruising along.

    i had been away racing (racecar, not bicycle) on friday and saturday, and got home very late at night on saturday. as a result, i ended up sleeping from about 4am to noon on sunday and riding around 4pm. i still got a full 8 hours of sleep and felt fully rested before the ride. my diet remained the same as always (albeit shifted about 3 hours later that day, as i usually would sleep from about 1am to 9am).

    my diet, as always, consisted of protein (chicken with some pasta) the night before, oat meal and OJ when i woke up, and a small baked potato about 90 mins before the ride. this was all in the same quantity and same timing in relation to the ride as always. is it possible that simply shifting my whole schedule back that day caused me to bonk like that?

  2. #2
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    I would think racing (racecar, too) would be an extremely hard work out. Have you worked out this hard immediately after racing? I would think after races (practice laps, qualifiers, heats, etc.), you would be absolutely exhausted. I know that after motorcycle track days -- not even racing -- I was always tired and sore for a few days. Easy workouts felt great in the following days, but not hard hill workouts.

    I'd guess that you didn't have much reserve left to go out and do a relatively hard workout the day after a race weekend.

  3. #3
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    it's hard to say... racing doesn't feel like much of a workout, but my fire suit smells almost as bad as my hockey gear, so i must be working harder than i think. i do generally ride the day after driving, though in this case i picked my most strenuous loop (in terms of hills per distance), and i was perhaps further motivated to work hard on the bike, since i'd really like to be getting longer miles as training, but i haven't really had the time lately. i just hope this isn't a sign that my training has been lacking.

  4. #4
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    Re: did my sleep schedule cause my bonk?

    I'd bonk on that amount of food with that kind of ride.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by s4gobabygo View Post
    this sunday i did a hilly road ride as a planned piece of my training for an upcoming endurance race. the ride was only about 40 miles, but pretty much 100% hills. i do this training loop pretty regularly and have relatively consistent times on the loop, but this sunday i bonked HARD at about the 30 mile mark. i've never found myself completely gassed like this before this last climb. needless to say the finish was pretty miserable, and i ended up with a much slower time than usual. i had such spaghetti legs that i couldn't even work hard enough to get my self winded or get my heart rate up. i was absolutely out of energy and was essentially just cruising along.

    i had been away racing (racecar, not bicycle) on friday and saturday, and got home very late at night on saturday. as a result, i ended up sleeping from about 4am to noon on sunday and riding around 4pm. i still got a full 8 hours of sleep and felt fully rested before the ride. my diet remained the same as always (albeit shifted about 3 hours later that day, as i usually would sleep from about 1am to 9am).

    my diet, as always, consisted of protein (chicken with some pasta) the night before, oat meal and OJ when i woke up, and a small baked potato about 90 mins before the ride. this was all in the same quantity and same timing in relation to the ride as always. is it possible that simply shifting my whole schedule back that day caused me to bonk like that?
    What did you eat on the ride and how long where you riding for?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thickfog View Post
    I'd bonk on that amount of food with that kind of ride.
    Maybe. All depends on portion size and how anaerobic the ride was. 40 miles on the road is 2 - 3 hours. So with a little mid-ride Gu/Fig Newton/granola/PBJ for a mostly aerobic ride, that could be enough food for most roadies I knew back when I rode the road religiously. The OP writes as if his food was the same as other days.

    it's hard to say... racing doesn't feel like much of a workout, but my fire suit smells almost as bad as my hockey gear, so i must be working harder than i think.
    Just take a look at the winner's interview of any motorcycle or car race - the driver/rider is drenched in sweat. Part of that is just environment, but racing is hard physical activity. A quick Google search says that F1 drivers burn as many calories per hour in a race as any hard bicycle ride.

    i do generally ride the day after driving, though in this case i picked my most strenuous loop (in terms of hills per distance), and i was perhaps further motivated to work hard on the bike, since i'd really like to be getting longer miles as training, but i haven't really had the time lately. i just hope this isn't a sign that my training has been lacking.
    Riding after a race weekend is great, but I would think a recovery ride or maybe a fun mountain bike ride to stretch the muscles would be best. One bad ride, especially after a hard weekend and a screwy sleep schedule does NOT indicate lacking training. Look back at your training diary and see if you have been riding enough. How did the first 30 miles of the ride look? Were you at your target pace until you bonked? Then I agree with the other folks - that could be a food issue. Did you carry any Gu or sugary drink at all with you that you could have eaten to get a little sugar in your system? 10 miles from home might be the perfect time to drink 12 oz of Coca-Cola. Sounds like that might be way outside your diet, but, hey, if it helps you get home....

  7. #7
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    thanks for the responses. the portions i eat are pretty substantial (fast metabolism). i ate 2 normal size chicken breasts the night before with a "side" size portion of pasta with marinara. at breakfast, i ate a rather large bowl of oat meal (according to the container, 2.5 servings) with a banana chopped up. the baked potato i eat pre-ride is an average size potato, probably half the size of what you'd get in a restaurant if you ordered a baked potato. i also drink a lot of plain water in the few hours leading up to the ride. probably about 30-40 ounces.

    on the ride i drank about 24 oz of diluted gatorade (maybe 16oz gatorade, 8 oz water) and i had a single energy gel at around the 20 mile mark, on the base of the 3rd of 4 climbs. this is all pretty much in line with what i always eat before/during a 40-ish mile ride. the meal i eat the night before varies from steak to fish to chicken, but the morning oat meal and pre-ride baked potato are exactly the same as always (i'm creature of habit).

    the duration of the ride is usually around 2:15 or so, though on this particular day it was almost 2:30. i was on a pretty standard pace up until i hit the wall at the foot of the final climb, so i'd estimate that the last ~6 mile climb probably took me 10 minutes longer than usual. i was really suffering at that point.

    regarding the weekend of racing, it is certainly exhausting, but i think it's more mentally exhausting than physically. it does elevate my heart rate for extended periods of time, and even cause me to find myself breathing heavily when i get out of the car sometimes. it also puts me on my feet standing, walking around, occasionally lifting things for maybe 9 hours of the day when i'm not in the car. it's rare to find time to sit down on a race day. it's the kind of exhaustion that causes me to sleep very well at night, but not necessarily feel as though any particular muscles are tired. after a full night of sleep i normally feel well enough recovered to do a training ride.

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