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skatey-mark's picture

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. I've been fortunate so far this season in that I've had very few problems when skating, either training during the week or at the few events I've gone to. This past Saturday, though, I did run into a little trouble.


Dave & I were skating our normal 48-mile route in Apex. We've done it dozens of times. No  problems with the route at all.  Roads were fine -- even better than last time because some construction was finally finished.  Weather wasn't as stifling hot as it has been either.  We made pretty good time to the rest stop, averaging about 16.3 mph.  (This is a little fast for us...  I think it's usually around 16, or a little under.)  Got some cold water and a Snickers bar, and 10 minutes later we were heading back.


We probably had about 12-13 miles to go when I noticed the first sign of trouble.  We had just passed a cyclist on the road, during which I had picked up the pace ever-so-slightly.  But I noticed my heart rate wasn't going down afterward...  It was staying right around 90%.  I'm a little concerned, but hoping that we're close enough that I can make it back before I get in trouble.  I'm feeling a little warm, so I take off the palm sliders and peel down the top part of my skinsuit, hoping that being a little cooler might help. Ate a Gu also...  With about 7 miles to go, I'm fading fast and after another mile, I have to give up skating at our normal pace and put myself in "get home gear", basically just skating at a pace that I know, no matter how tired I am, I can eventually make it back.  Even then, my heart rate wouldn't get below 85% unless I was coasting down a hill!


The last 5 miles has 3 pretty decent climbs on it.  So on the 3rd one, I decided it was a good opportunity to see if I could still hit my maximum heart rate, which I hadn't been able to do in a couple seasons.  (Saw 99% last year, but I think no more than 97% this year.)  I sprinted up te hill, feeling like I was going to hurl -- sure enough, I did hit my maximum and not one beat higher...  197 bpm.  Of course, I was useless for several minutes after that, coasting with my hands on my knees while Dave patiently waited for me to catch my breath.


I limped in the rest of the way with Dave and we went down the road afterward for some ice cream...  :)  Our overall average for the day (including the stop) was 14.4 mph, which is what we normally do.  So, even with the last 6 miles being slow, we still came in at around our normal time.


So, looking back, I don't think this was a "bonk" in the traditional sense.  I think that I was actually dehydrated.  I only drank maybe 2 liters of water (at the most) over the almost 3.5 hours we were out there.  I probably needed at least one more liter.  The sensation I felt was very similar to my A2A 2002 experience, which I also believe was caused by dehydration.  Basically, heart rate was somewhat manageable on flats as long as I didn't push too hard, 80-85%, but would spike instantly to 90% or more going up a hill, even if I wasn't trying to go hard.


So I obviously need to be more diligent about drinking now.  I had been getting a little undisciplined in that regard, so this is a good reminder to keep drinking even though I may not feel thirsty.  It will be especially important this weekend at BikeFest...


- SM - 


eebee's picture

Training Snippet

I found your bonk! account very interesting. I guess one thing that interested me was "What fast(er) people have for a heart-rate on a long distance skate". I'm sure this is one of those can of worms subjects, and everybody is different, and nobody really knows just exactly what their hr max is anyway. I always get upset at my hr going almost immediately through the roof (about 95%) on any kind of uphill, but as you said, the main thing is that it goes back down again pretty quickly. If it doesn't, the numbers on the monitor are a good indication that something is wrong, before you even feel crappy.


A mini bonk like that could be caused by so many different things. It's great that you were able to identify the culprit.


skatey-mark's picture

heart rate data from my bonk/dehydration skate

Here is the heart rate graph from the skate I mentioned..


The first lap is to the rest stop (gas station). Everything there is looking normal. Good recoveries down into the low 70s (%)... Then a 10-minute stop for lap two.


Now, looking at lap3, we can see where things started to go wrong around 2:30. I'm no longer getting good recoveries. The heart rate just keeps climbing... And note that this is while going downhill! (Of course, I think this might be on some gatorback - I'd have the check the mileage to see what road we were on...) When I hit the lap button (where the "3" is on the x-axis) - that's when I realized I was screwed and would not be able to make it back without slowing down. (I had already slowed down a little, but now it was time to really slow down.)


The "good" recoveries you see after that are a little misleading, because it's probably where I was just coasting, hands-on-knees. This chart would be more useful if it had speed data to go with it. Guess it's time to ditch the Polar and get a Garmin 305... ;)


Anyway, there it is -- visual confirmation of the bonk/dehydration I experienced on Saturday...


- SM -



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