I think I bonked

By November 15, 2015 2 Comments

To non-cyclists the title of this blog might get a giggle or two, but to the cyclists out there we know just how serious “the bonk” is. You are at the tail end of a long ride and the legs start to go a bit like jelly. The arms feel a little weak, often followed by a light head, kind of like being a bit drunk. Yes, it’s the bonk. To runners this is known as hitting the wall.

Having picked up my mileage a lot recently in preparation for next season and also trying to teach my body to burn fat (see the blog “Learning how to ride slowly”) I have stayed away from sugary treats and yes you guessed it, bonked several times at some point close to home. Should I stop and buy a coke? Fill my face with chocolate? No I’ll motor on. Then practically falling through the front door and needing to sit down to do a pee (I can confirm I am a man) I realise this would have been a good idea.

So what exactly is the bonk, is it a bad thing and how can we avid cyclists avoid it?

Bonking happens when you use up your body’s glycogen stores and you are left with a low blood glucose level. This normally results in feeling weak, dizzy, tired, very hungry and even a little confused.

It is definitely not a good thing. It can become quite serious so it is advisable to do as I say and not as I do – put some carbs in quick! Carry an emergency gel, some sweets or anything else full of sugar. This should do the trick.

As for avoiding it in the first place, but still teaching your body to burn fat, I will let you know when I work it out!


  • Roman says:

    Great read, increased fat burn is a challenge but differently possible. I cycled 300km and only consumed 88 grams of carbohydrates while fully adapted. Most people would consum 90 grams every hour. The benefit of fat adaption is to preserve your glucose stores in you liver so that at the end of a race you can go full gas!

  • Henry says:

    Great read mate! As a long distance runner I know all about hitting the wall. I now always carry Torq gels with me so my advice is ‘Carb up’ and ‘Gel up’ and you’ll avoid the bonk! Keep on cycling!

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