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, which came back fine. It was determined my Iron was slightly low, so I started taking that right away.
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 have been supplementing with various things including Magnesium, pre and post workout drinks, and daily doses of electrolytes. Things seemed to have improved, although I do continue to get the occasional bout of dizziness when riding hard.