Thursday, January 6, 2011

Going to the Bonk

What a bonk looks like!
We've all been there before. On a hard ride and then all of a sudden something happens. The lights go out, gas tank runs empty, Elvis leaves the building. On a ride like Mt. Mitchell bonking can become a very real possibility for everybody. For myself the past two years I have completely bonked at exactly the same spot (just before the right turn onto the road into the park). Last year was so bad that at a couple points I had no clue where I was and almost swerved off the road in a delirium.

The main thing you can do to prevent the bonk is to stay on top of the fuels. There are plenty of rest area along the course at Mitchell (10 to be exact). These are great places to refuel and keep calories coming into your body. For those of us trying to cross the line in less than 5 hours, we tend to skip all the rest stops. This means I carry about 2000 calories worth of food in my jersey pockets, the problem is during the event I'll burn close to 5000 calories! Somewhere in there, something has to give. Hopefully this next year I'll be able to prepare a little better, conserve some energy during the ride, and make it to the top without completely falling apart.

Now, as many of you know, bonking is a pretty awful feeling. Not being able to put any power to the pedals, feeling like you are outside your body looking in at someone else pedaling, it's something that most people hope to avoid. But you should all try to make it there at least once before Mt. Mitchell. For those who think I am crazy there's a purpose to this. There are many telltale signs that a bonk may be approaching. If you learn your body, you learn how far you can push. . .and how far you can't! If you have never bonked in training, you may not know during Mt. Mitchell that a bonk is on the verge of happening within the next half hour. The last 25 miles are pretty much all uphill, that is a long time to go when you are completely cracked.

If you bonk (or come very close to it) a couple times in training you'll start to learn when you'll need to stop and refuel. Sure you may only start to feel tired at the rest stop in Marion, but if you don't refuel there you may be completely gone by the time you reach the parkway.

Now, one of my favorite things to do is make people go hard. Whether they are riding with me, or when I was coaching them I loved to see the human element to suffering and pushing to a new level. Most of us can do way more than we ever thought possible, this May you'll have your opportunity to challenge that!


No comments:

Post a Comment