What does bonking feel like?

Stroke symptoms vary from rider to rider. In most cases, a rider will experience a significant loss of performance that may include an inability to continue. Little by little you will start to feel more and more tired and you will start to lose motivation. As you continue to pedal, you'll start to get a little lethargic, as your brain doesn't get enough glucose to continue working normally.

As the blow continues, you'll be so tired that you'll have trouble holding on the bike. Bonking commonly occurs on longer, more sustained rides, particularly when a high level of effort is required, such as climbing. Those who have experienced it would describe sex as simply “hitting a wall. One moment, you're pedaling hard and fully alert, the next you're overcome by a cloud of fatigue.

The important point to remember in these situations is that anyone can experience a shock while driving, but if you really feel unwell, and especially if any of the above symptoms are also present, you should immediately stop riding and seek medical attention. Shocks can also affect the brain, as it also burns glucose, and you may feel anxious, irritable, confused, and emotional. We all know that the best treatment strategy is to avoid sex in the first place, by eating, hydrating and resting properly. Although having sex during a race is catastrophic, you also want to make sure it doesn't happen during training.

The best way to avoid a stroke is to eat little and often during the bike ride and, above all, make sure you eat before you feel hungry. Proponents claim that this forces the body to hit itself early in exercise, causing the body to adapt to fat burning. They found that sports drinks reduced the glycogen used to maintain a certain rhythm throughout the exercise, not just at the end, when the blow threatened to weaken. One of the least desirable inevitabilities of life as a cyclist, “hitting rows between broken chains and multiple punctures in the pantheon of” is not as bad as that day when I count.

But what should you do if you feel very sick during a trip, perhaps experience symptoms that are more extreme than usual, or even totally different from anything you have experienced before because of the same level of effort? The word “really” is the operative phrase here, but it's important to try to define for yourself what feels typical or normal versus what feels abnormal during a trip, since you're ultimately the best judge at discriminating between the two. We spoke to nutrition scientist, athlete and pioneer of Osmo Nutrition, Dr. Stacy Sims, to find out exactly what happens when you hit, how to avoid it, and what to do if you bonk when you ride a bike. The jury remains out, but if you're particularly prone to bonk, it might be worth trying the proteins.

Blows can be deadly for cyclists because muscles aren't the only things in the body that burn glucose for fuel, but the brain also burns glucose. A cyclist's best protection against shock is to make sure that glycogen is completely refilled before starting and that it is replenished along the route. The mental and emotional consequences of a stroke can be more dangerous to the rider than the physical consequences. If you make a hit on a ride or see another rider who has one, you have to realize that there is no quick fix.

This ability to effectively recognize what is different from your normal situation or feeling could prove to be a lifesaver.

Dolores Blicker
Dolores Blicker

Devoted foodaholic. Bacon scholar. Hipster-friendly coffee junkie. Friendly social media expert. Total web enthusiast. Professional zombie maven.