I did my third 50K bike ride this past weekend. I headed to Lockport and back, a distance of 52.7K from my house.
I went on Sunday and it was a great day to be riding. I was feeling awesome when I headed out the door and cycled easily the 25K to Lockport. I did it in 1hr and 17min. I was working at my peak efficiency, which for me, is at a heart rate of 130 to 135 beats per minute.
I took a number of pictures along the way.
Once in Lockport I sat by the river and ate an apple and drank water. I chatted with another cyclist that had also ridden from Winnipeg and then started to head back.
I found I was going slightly slower, my heart rate was in the range of 125 to 130 and I couldn’t seem to get it higher, then at about 35K into the ride, I just couldn’t ride anymore. This has never happened to me before. My upper thighs were killing me and I just didn’t have the energy to bike anymore. I actually got off my bike and walked, then rode a bit, walked some more, rode, walked, etc. all the way home. It was painful getting home and it took me two hours. I almost called my kids to come and pick me up, but didn’t.
My diet coach is also an elite cycling coach so we discussed what happened quite fully and how to prevent this from happening in the future.
There were two possible reasons for this to happen; 1) I didn’t eat enough food or 2) I may have not been recovered enough from previous exercise. After discussing what I had eaten prior to my bike ride and what exercise I had done in the preceding days, the conclusion was I was literally starving.
There is a term for what happened to me and it is called “bonking”. Bonking is a term cyclists use for abnormally low levels of blood glucose. You bonk when you have exhausted your glycogen stores, haven’t ingested enough carbs to produce more blood glucose, and are still riding the bike.
So I essentially did not ingest enough calories to last the whole ride. My coach recommended for a morning ride that I eat more calories at breakfast than what I normally do. I should eat about 600 calories (I had eaten 400) and start the ride within 1 hour of eating. He also recommended that every hour on the ride, I drink a bottle of grape juice mixed with water (40:60 ratio) and finally, I should take a banana or maybe some trail mix with me, just in case.
This bike ride was a real learning lesson for me.
Stats for this ride: 52.7K, average heart rate of 119, and I burned 1160 calories.
Stats for this ride; 52.7K, average heart rate of 119, and I burned 1160 calories.