First ‘Bonk’ of the year?

1 03 2010

Last Wednesday’s planned ride to London went ahead, almost as planned.

Down the A3400 to Stratford-upon-Avon passing snow still lying  on the ground. Down the A422 towards Banbury where I hit Sunrising Hill at 16%. Bit of a battle with one gear and a saddle bag with a day at the office worth of clothes and shoes strapped to the bike. Onwards towards Banbury and the gentle head wind and slowly rising temperature were making the hills a real grind, but I was making good speed. Through Banbury and down the A4260 and the roads continued to undulate and the head went picked up, and the ride started to drag, but I’d not yet even made it half way, that came after 3.5 hours and 60 miles, marked by a sandwich at a Tesco petrol station on the outskirts of Bicester.

Then it was time to start the A41. One road, for 45 miles is not my idea of fun, on came the music and the battle commenced…on to Aylesbury. After a wrong turn I was back on the A41 which had now turned in to two lane mini-motorway heading to North London through the Chilterns. Now, I’m no duel carriage way loving triathlete, so this road was as much a mental battle as a physical challenge. Crossing slip roads at right angles, cars passing at 80mph, and long wide open hills that you can be seen from bottom to top that drag out for over a mile ahead of you 😦 But I limped on, a second wrong turn via Watford central, then back on the A41 for the final 3 miles uphill drag that nearly finished me!

As I approached the A5, at about the 110 mile mark it started to happen, I could feel the The bonk approaching! How this happens is very personal. For some, it just happens, no warning, BANG, they find themselves on the side of the road totally spent. I’m lucky, I can fell it stating to build before it hits, I go a bit dizzy, my legs start to lose power, and my will to ride dwindles. Once these feeling start I have about 2-3 miles until it’s game over, if I catch it before that point then I have some hope of carrying on. So yes I nearly bonked and would of if that Petrol station had not appeared round the corner at just the right time. In I went, coffee latte, chocolate pastry thing, another sandwich, 20 minute sit down and face wash. Recovery complete!

Despite the near bonk, I’d made good time, it was 4.30pm, I was on the A5 and only a straight 10 mile downhill run in to central London lay ahead of me. Of I went, OK, within 3 miles I’d punctured, great, but no real problem. After 122 miles I rolled across Lambeth Bridge and went in search of my hotel room, a shower and food.

I’d not planned on bonking, but every time I do, I’m glad to come out the other side as it makes subsequent rides easier, reminds me to eat more and to not under estimate how far 120 miles actually is.

Next 200km is planned for the 6th with no A41 in sight!




One response

8 11 2010
An autumnal slog across to the Cotswolds « Everyday Stories of Rachel & James

[…] gave me 10 very valuable minutes off the bike and time to get some food and drink down my neck, the bonk […]

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