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  1. #1
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    Did I just Bonk?

    I was at the end of a 2 hour ride today, cruising through a rock garden I've ridden a thousand times before. Next thing I know I see the blue sky above, laid out flat on my back. Lots of cut and bruises, a few bruised ribs, cracked my helmet, goose eggs on my head and I have to go back in 3 days to have my hip looked at. Hopefully it's just badly bruised and will loosen up in the next few days.

    My question is did I bonk? I remember nothing, sort of zoned then there was a 5 second blank. I was riding then bam, staring at the sky. Usually when I bite it, it's all a slow mo replay of my stupidity in my head but I recall nothing about the crash. Went to Urgent Care and my BP was 117/75 and my heart rate was a little high but that was to be expected, nerves and pain.

    Pre-ride I ate nothing so I probably got what I deserved but I never eat before a ride, never have, always drink 3L of water on each ride, Clif bars and bananas for the ride. I do bike everyday weather permitting. I ride the trial systems in southern Utah and early in the mornings.

  2. #2
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    Bonking to me means you totally just hit a wall...ran out of energy. Not just getting a little tired but really all your power is zapped. But not to the point that you find yourself laying on the ground, unsure how you got there. It comes from being depleted of glycogen.

    After you got up and collected yourself, how did you feel? If you bonk, it's extremely hard to recover from even if you eat/drink calories. It's something you need to prevent, not recover from.

  3. #3
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    good stuff as usual Nubster
    I'm not going to play doctor on the internet, more just curious, were you breathing ok?, any sudden strikes/blows?
    "Tortured by mental illness" ~monogod

  4. #4
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    You bonked, all right. Your body may be used to running on empty(great for burning body fat), but when you exceeded your time limit on empty and started running on fumes....you went into syncope(fainted).

    Bonk Training is a delicate art. To do it masterfully, without physical collapse requires conditioning and careful metering of your power reserves and heart rate.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  5. #5
    meh... whatever
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    you went a bit beyond bonking. are you diabetic or pre-diabetic?
    "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

  6. #6
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    Re: Did I just Bonk?

    Quote Originally Posted by RudyKaos View Post
    My question is did I bonk?... I always drink 3L of water on each ride, Clif bars and bananas for the ride....
    Not an iDoctor, and far from an authority, yet IME if you ate & drank on a 2 hour ride, this sounds more like you fainted.

    Blood sugar level, or heat stroke seem more suspect than bonking. When I've bonked, I was unable to rehydrate, or regain power, but never lost consciousness. Heal quick, and please let us know what the doc discovers.



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  7. #7
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    I was checking your symptoms on WebMD. Looks like it might be cancer. Either that or Sleep deprivation, hyperthyroidism, rock garden allergy, or any combination of a million other things.

    Genuinely interested in hearing if it might have anything to do with blood sugar and what you and your doctor eventually think it is. Get well soon.

  8. #8
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    Did I just Bonk?

    Sounds like what I consider a bonk. I don't feel tired, but I just get stupid and miss technical moves I should make, or similar. IME, there's no digging out of it on the trail; you have to stay ahead of it. Any ride with ~2 hours of climbing is where I need to pay attention, unless it's hot. Then the window is shorter.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  9. #9
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    Thanks guys
    @monogod and peteer01, my blood sugar was and is perfect.
    @themeat, that's hard to say, as I started the garden things got fuzzy, I zoned.
    @Flyin_W, that's what I'm thinking, partial dehydration, mild heat stroke, Utah Desert.
    @Zachariah, I think you hit the nail on the head with my glycogen levels in combo with a mild heat stroke. I use to lift pretty intensely and I remember that feeling. I actually have seen some guys shutdown in the gym. I think the combo of Paleo and riding everyday may have finally taken it's toll on me.
    @evasive, that's what I thought a bonk was, total shutdown.

    While I heal up, it will be the perfect time to adjust my diet and get my fluid levels back up. What really sucks is my G-Forms were sitting in the truck, sigh.

  10. #10
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by RudyKaos View Post
    @Zachariah, I think you hit the nail on the head with my glycogen levels in combo with a mild heat stroke. I use to lift pretty intensely and I remember that feeling. I actually have seen some guys shutdown in the gym. I think the combo of Paleo and riding everyday may have finally taken it's toll on me.
    Cycle away from a Ketogenic state, every now and then. Carb and protein cycle and zig zag calories works.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  11. #11
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    Strange you didn't feel it coming on, it's normally a feeling of lack of concentration, feel weak, un-coordinated etc,. Hope you heal up quickly. We had a guy go down like that on the road one morning, said he'd hit a bit of road where it had a bit of slippage, but that wasn't it, he just blacked out and went down hard.

    Interesting, I've only ever "bonked" once before when I was new to MTBing, but I felt it coming on, just lay myself and bike down on some grass and had to just chill there for like 10 minutes before I could move. Luckily there was a small shop nearby and I got some POPs cereal and boosted my sugar levels back up and was fine for the rest of the ride.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Did I just Bonk?

    This sounds more like a trauma blackout to me. Its happened to me twice and ive seen ot happen in others. Basically after a tramatic accident the brain blacks out the moments before and during the incident leaving you confused and not sure what happened. Its a defense mechanism.

    I think the lack of nutrition was starting to affect motor skills and prob caused the the crash but it doesnt sound like you were close to bonking and especially not to the point of fainting.

    As others have said, pre and post bonk is blurry, painfull and your body craves food like no other. It doesnt just happen and you dont feel ok after. Can take days to recover from a bonk.

    http://www.localhealth.com/article/blackouts

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  13. #13
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    Re: Did I just Bonk?

    "Blackouts can also be due a recent traumatic event, in which case you may forget everything that happened right before or right after the event (anterograde amnesia). Unexplained blackouts, or blackouts that appear to be due to injury or trauma, should be evaluated by a medical professional."

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  14. #14
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    Not playing doc but agreed ^, that's what it sounds like to me. Have seen some very fit people get knocked out pretty easy. It's the blow you don't see coming that can do it much easier, especially when fatigued or not yet warmed up
    "Tortured by mental illness" ~monogod

  15. #15
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    @Zachariah, exactly what I'm going to do with my down time. Change it up.
    @LyNx, I've had the night to try to recall the events leading up to my crash/bonk. I guess I did feel it coming on. I started saying stupid things, couldn't get my words right and lost my focus about 10 minutes before we resumed biking. Those last 10 minutes were like I was on cruise control. I just get stubborn and try to power through those moments but this time it didn't work out so well.
    @Steineken, could be, I don't think I want to remember the rag doll - pinball effect, lol.

    Now that I've had the night to think about it, I think this was all due to type of diet, hydration levels and fatigue levels. I have pushing myself pretty hard, in the last 30 days I've ridden 28 of them and the temps are going up here, it was 99f by the time I was on my way back, got a late start. I still don't remember the crash but whatever happened I'm a sore puppy today, ribs and hip are the worst.

    Thanks guys for all your help and kind words.

  16. #16
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    Sounds like the best plan. Improving your diet, hydration, and changing it up is a good thing, and if it was a blow you didn't see coming there's not much you can do to prevent another.
    Welcome to the site, and let us know what the doc says
    "Tortured by mental illness" ~monogod

  17. #17
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    Pretty sure diet (Paleo) has nothing to do with it. I'm Paleo and routinely ride 40-70 miles without bonking or passing out. I even ride 30+ miles fasted without bonking. 2 hours isn't really that much time on the bike so unless you were way under feed (glycogen stores) before you even started riding, I don't think it was a bonk. Plus, if you never eat before riding and this is the first time this has happened, I don't see why you'd all the sudden bonk when you've done this many times before without issues.

    If you are strict Paleo, maybe switch over to a Paleo for athletes type eating and add in some rice and sweet potato to the diet or more fruits, especially for the meal closest to when you do ride. Whatever you need to do to ensure your glycogen stores are full pre-ride.

  18. #18
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by RudyKaos View Post
    I've had the night to try to recall the events leading up to my crash/bonk. I guess I did feel it coming on. I started saying stupid things, couldn't get my words right and lost my focus about 10 minutes before we resumed biking. Those last 10 minutes were like I was on cruise control.
    those are typical symptoms of both neuroglycopenia and heat stroke, although "real" heat stroke involves the body temp exceeding 105.1 and is seldom resolved simply by loosing consciousness for a few minutes.

    you mentioned it was a little hotter than usual but not whether you were sweating or not prior to the episode.

    you also mentioned your blood sugar was and is good, do you monitor it regularly? what was your last a1c? when did you have it done? i'd request another when you go back in for a follow-up.

    overall, everything you describe sounds like a hypoglycemic/dehydration event; though i'd be interested in seeing any labs drawn immediately after the episode as an electrolyte imbalance could be factoring in as well.

    although we always drew labs in the E.R. with urgent care clinics it's not necessarily protocol as they have no way to run the samples stat.
    "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

  19. #19
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    I just remembered, the guy I was riding with was from out of town. He had a GoPro and was behind me and I still have his number. I'm going to call him and see if he has me in the footage going down. I'm really curious if I went down like a sack of potatoes or if I crashed and am blocking out the accident. That's if I'm even in the video.

    @monogod, I can't say for sure if I was sweating, I don't remember ringing out my Halo, so maybe not. They checked my blood sugar at the doctor yesterday right after the crash.

  20. #20
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by RudyKaos View Post
    They checked my blood sugar at the doctor yesterday right after the crash.
    fwiw, a1c is not the same as a simple glucose test. it measures the glycated hemoglobin to find the average plasma glucose concentration spanning a more prolonged period of time (i.e. months).

    provided you consumed nothing after the crash a simple glucose test would be somewhat reflective of sugar levels at the time of the episode, but would not give an indication of long term glucose levels - something that could reflect the way the body uses glucose and glycogen stores.
    "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

  21. #21
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    Well, I just got a clip of the crash, it's not pretty. There is no doubt I blacked out, bonked, passed out, whatever you want to call it. Time to talk to my doctor about my diet and routines but I'll probably have to figure it out on my own. Screw the weight loss, I'm too active and need more calories. Looking back I saw one day where, including my BMR, I burned about 4,000 calories and only took in 1,800. I know, I'm an idiot and it caught up with me in the 90+ heat.

    I'll take a few weeks off, get my food intake back inline, get more sleep and only bike 3 or 4 times a week and most importantly, listen to my body and pay attention to the signals. Thanks again guys for all the input and kind words.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RudyKaos View Post
    Well, I just got a clip of the crash, it's not pretty. There is no doubt I blacked out, bonked, passed out, whatever you want to call it. Time to talk to my doctor about my diet and routines but I'll probably have to figure it out on my own. Screw the weight loss, I'm too active and need more calories. Looking back I saw one day where, including my BMR, I burned about 4,000 calories and only took in 1,800. I know, I'm an idiot and it caught up with me in the 90+ heat.

    I'll take a few weeks off, get my food intake back inline, get more sleep and only bike 3 or 4 times a week and most importantly, listen to my body and pay attention to the signals. Thanks again guys for all the input and kind words.
    Rudy, I am in the same boat right now. I am running a Caloric deficit, and riding pretty hard. I have lost a LOT of weight, and am a little obsessed with it. My new bike is such a beast on the climbs and downhill for that matter (and road) that I find myself increasing my miles and elevation gain in a big way. I count everything I eat. I too have been getting lightheaded and dizzy, and ride (and hike) in extreme heat 3-5 times a week. Your story was a bit of a wake up call for me and I will be sure to make some adjustments. Today the wife and I hiked 6 miles and gained 1,500 feet, and usually I ride immediately after this (gaining another 1-2k) and she drives the car home. Then I ride another 15 to 20 miles home after the mountain, getting like three workouts in a row. I need to knock it off a bit and tone it down. Like you, today I was not feeling it, and passed on the after hike bike ride today.

    I'm 52 years old, and find that as it heats up, I change my hydration strategy. I hydrate well every day, and do not wait until the ride to start. Once on the bike, I drink water only for the first 45 mins to hr., then start sipping Accelerade (I have tried many) as this one works well for me. I do the Gel thing too, and try to get at least 1-200 calories an hr in after the first hr or two to keep the power going. Hope you get this fixed as it could have been a lot worse. Remember, if you are really thirsty, it's already too late in high heat. It's hard to recover as some others here have mentioned.

  23. #23
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    Hello trmn8er, I'm 53 years old and I weigh less now than in high school. Doctors had me up to 273lbs last year from blood pressure meds. Changed doctors and now I'm off my meds and weigh 210lbs. Is that good enough for me, of course not, I'm 6'4" tall and I don't need to lose anymore weight, body fat is at 16%. Yet here I am riding 14 to 30 miles everyday in this heat. Sometimes I need a horse to kick me in the head to snap me out of it.

    I'm glad this can be of benefit to you. The good for me in this is I will always wear my pads now and will not ride past 80 degrees (10:00am). I will make sure I drink a gallon of water a day along with electrolytes and make sure I stay on a 40/30/30 diet and always, always eat above my BMR number. Most importantly, when I have that feeling that maybe I should stay home, I will.

  24. #24
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    Nice Rudy. I am 6'2.5" and was 263 3 years ago. Then I started Mtn Biking, and weight loss. I used to Race Road as a kid, and my older Brother talked me into getting a Mtb. One of the best life changing decisions I have made. My personality tends to be intense in that when I set my sight on something (especially something that can save my life) I go after it. Last year I got down to 225. and body fat was around 22%. From there it became extremely difficult to lose weight, since I did not have too much to lose. 225 was my original goal weight. 3 months ago, I decided I wanted more weight loss, and convinced myself this would allow me to be faster on the big climbs.

    I once again turned to counting calories. Tightened up the food pretty clean, and was seeing limited improvement. Then I started adding other workouts. My wife and I hike at least twice per week. And we do treadmill at home. And I ride my Mtb on the road around the house a couple days per week on a short but fast 7 mile loop. I drink basically zero beer anymore. Finally I dropped to 218, then 216, 215, struggled to hit 210. Hit that, now I am between 207 and 208 (208 today). My size 36 waist pants are loose, and I'm going to get 34's. I used to be lucky to squeeze into a 38! I am going for a new goal weight of 195. Having said that, I do not want to pass out on the trail! I ride alone often, sometimes in fairly remote areas. Now that I'm in really good shape, I am not shooting for massive calorie deficits, but smaller ones, and SLOWLY take off maybe another 10 to 12 pounds.

  25. #25
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by RudyKaos
    I will make sure I drink a gallon of water a day along with electrolytes and make sure I stay on a 40/30/30 diet and always, always eat above my BMR number. Most importantly, when I have that feeling that maybe I should stay home, I will.
    yep... hydration, hydration, hydration combined with electrolytes. one of the sources i use, especially when it's really hot out, is 100% pure coconut water.

    beet juice is also excellent for energy and endurance. recently i've begun using beetelite neo shots and have experienced a noticeable difference and benefit.

    something else to keep in mind is that the body fuels itself on carbs and repairs itself with protein - and that not all carbs are created equal. in other words, carbs fuel us during activity while protein helps us recover/repair post-workout.

    for example, there is a huge difference in 400g of whole-grain/plant carbs and 400g of carbs from potato chips. likewise with protein.

    also, was your BMR figured with or without cycling/exercise/etc.? the reason i ask is that "basal" means the bare/foundational amount, and the BMR is generally considered to be (and figured as) the amount of calories used just for the body to function (respiration/digestion/etc.). in other words, pretty much lying about in bed all day.

    when adopting a diet full of whole grains and fresh fruits/veggies and going easy on meat/dairy and eliminating processed/fried foods it typically becomes much less necessary to closely monitor ratios of carbs/protein/fats unless there is a specific health/illness reason for doing so.

    it also allows you to eat a LOT without having to count calories of this or grams of that. i'm primarily vegan and enjoy excellent strength and endurance both on and off the bike and consume copious amounts of food.

    good to hear you're ok and on the mend, i'm sure it wasn't pretty to see yourself rag-dolling around.

    best wishes!
    "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

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