Computers, bikes and things I’d like to remember.


November 6th, 2007 Posted in Bikes

It has been a long, long time since I have experienced a proper bonk during a ride. I did it this morning and I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience.

Ten of us decided to use the public holiday morning to sleep in a bit and enjoy a slightly later start for a Cotter - Uriarra loop. In years gone by I have ridden the loop quite regularly but it has been quite a few months since I’ve done it and they are months during which I have gained weight and not spent as much time riding as I should have. The loop is a little less than 40km from start to finish and with the out and back from my place it makes a neat 50km. Apart from good country roads and little traffic, the loop is best known for its climbs of Mt McDonald and the ‘Three Sisters’ - the ascent from the Molonglo river at Uriarra Crossing.

I joined the group for a windy and chilly start and from my point of view the pace was on from the beginning. Luckily the ride commences mostly down hill so I was able to stay with the group. Once down to the Murrumbidgee river, I moved to the back of the bunch for the climb of Mt McDonald where predictably enough I was slowly dropped off. No trouble, it’s what I expected and I settled in to my own rhythm to complete the climb.

We regrouped at the top and rode together out to Uriarra homestead and along Uriarra road to the Molonglo river crossing. I again settled myself at the back for the three climbs and worked my way up them. The effort made me feel every extra gram of weight I’m carrying and was a real test of legs and lungs. Having been around there so many times before, I mentally switched off at the top of the climb, knowing that the toughest bits were over and settled in for the gentle undulations that finish the loop.

That’s when I received a big surprise. I went from comfortably cruising along with the bunch to completely shattered and with no energy in the space of about thirty seconds. The dreaded ‘bonk’ or blood sugar crash had struck. In keeping with my usual practice, I had not eaten before heading out and I’d brought no food with me. After all, I’d never needed it before.

What a horrible feeling. Compounding the physical malady, my freshly serviced bike chose that moment to start having chain skipping problems. I could barely turn the cranks. Gary Rolfe rode alongside me and pushed me along to the bunch each time the road tilted up, and Ron sat himself in front of me as a windbreak - thanks guys.

I knew that if I could get to the end of the loop, home would be a pretty easy five or so kilometres from there, but even that proved an almost insurmountable challenge. My stomach was clenching, my head buzzing and body shaking. I stopped with one kilometre remaining to home and seriously considered phoning for a rescue but I managed to get back on and oh so slowly grind out those final metres.

I don’t think I have ever before rolled so slowly into the driveway. I lacked the energy to garage the bike, stumbled inside and grabbed a banana before collapsing sideways on the couch. The kids were just starting their breakfast so Jo handed me a bowl of the kids’ crunchy dinosaur cereal which I munched dry with my fingers. Then I wolfed down a big bowl of Vita Brits and fruit salad followed by toast with peanut butter and toast with jam.

Slowly the world started to become a better place.

Note to self: Food is useful stuff when you plan any non-trivial ride.

  1. 3 Responses to “Bonk-a-rama”

  2. By Shermozle on Nov 6, 2007

    Always, but always, carry a Powerbar or similar. They don’t take up much space, and they’ll save yer arse in situations like this.

  3. By jjjim on Nov 6, 2007

    Sounds mighty familiar! And look, the new blog is generating all sorts of traffic!

  4. By Mal on Nov 7, 2007

    Arh I still I remember the day I had Nutragrain for breakie and tried riding to Murrumbateman with you many years ago. That was my worst bonk ever so I understand how you felt!

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