My first ever BONK!
As an avid mountain biker, I experienced my first ever “bonk” or “hitting a wall”. While part way through a race, I experienced a gradual onset of dizziness. I had never experienced this before, I assumed it would go away if I pulled back a little. At the time of this onset, my heart rate was hovering at 101% of my age predicted max, and was for a period of time before this occurred.
Unfortunately, the dizziness became worse, to a point I could not even stay in the center of the trail. Just meters before the last big climb, I sadly had to stop and get off my bike as I was all over the place. As much as I wanted to just keep going, it would not have been safe to even consider attempting the final descent. I staggered pushing my bike up to the first aid volunteer who was stationed at the top of the climb. I lied down for over 20 minutes, had some gels, with no improvement in the dizziness. It did eventually go away completely about 45-60 minutes later.
At the time, I thought maybe it was because it was “that time of the month”, maybe I didn’t drink enough water the day before, maybe I should not have had coffee before (but that was NOT new)…. I really did not know, so I went to see my doctor. She assessed me from a neurological perspective and was not able to determine the cause. She said the only way to know more would be if I had been assessed at the time while I was dizzy…. not a week later when I finally got in to see her. With some reports of random wheezing, I tested borderline asthmatic, but not worth prescribing anything at this time. She did send me for a lung capacity test, still waiting…. that will be interesting.
After that unfortunate event, I finally admitted to myself that maybe I needed more than I was providing my body through my “real” food. I consider my diet very good, and I have the same “pre-race” meal I have for years. But maybe…. just maybe….. all the “real” food I was eating was just not enough to give my body what it needed for extended hard riding (4-5 days per week on average). I was determined to find something to assist my body and its needs for this.
I consulted with a fitness friend who also has some education in nutrition, we talked about branched chain amino acids, nitric oxide production, lactic acid…… stuff I recalled studying in University 20 years ago! She then introduced me to a female friend/athlete (who was near my age), and also an avid mountain biker and racer, Amy Vasquez. I told Amy I was in search of something to support my cardiovascular system and muscles to be able to sustain multiple high intensity rides per week. I asked her to share with me what she does and after she gave me some information, I started my research. I found a few things to try and the outcome has been allowing me to ride faster with a lower heart rate.
Learn about my Sports Nutrition Plan.