The Bonk is a strange creature. It prefers warm climates, and cold. It creeps up on the confident, unsuspecting victim and pounces without warning. That’s part of the trouble. In order to break the Bonk, one must first find the Bonk. Does it come after a certain distance? How do you know when to expect it? Well, the plain truth is that you don’t. The Bonk outsmarts you. Otherwise you wouldn’t bonk. One second, you feel great, the next you want to trade places with the run-over skunk you just passed on the side of the road. But the challenge is finding that point and pushing it back.
I’ve bonked a few times. For those reading this from the Commonwealth, I must clarify that we’re not talking about the bonk that involves social interaction; we’re talking about the Bonk (capitalized to show respect), the one were you’re riding a bike normally and then you hit an invisible wall of Jello, holding you back. During one bonk, I worried I wouldn’t be able to survive the last mile to make it home so I took a side road, pulled up to a friend’s house, knocked on the door and asked for some cool-aid or some kind of nourishment to finish the trip. She didn’t have anything handy, so she mixed some sugar in a glass of water—yes, just like the badguy in Men In Black—and I drank it and rode home. Pathetic. And that’s the result of a good Bonk: pathetic-ness.
Tracking and trapping the evasive Bonk isn’t an easy task. We’re talking about an animal that’s known for its ability to strike at any moment. But I’ve narrowed it down a little. I know the mileage needs to be more than 45, and it comes only after riding a high-strung pace for most of the ride. However, I’ve done more mileage than that over a similar period of time without dealing with it. The difficulty in locating and eliminating the Bonk stems from the inability of Bonk victims to function enough to actually record any information. It isn’t until an hour or more later that the Bonk victim realizes what has happened.
It may sound kinda twisted, but I’d really like to hit the wall again. I almost feel like I’m just not putting in the distance if I’m not occasionally falling to pieces. And I don’t mean just coming home tired. We’re talking all out beat-to-the-ground slammed-senseless endurance bonking here. We’re talking about the needle pointing well past the ‘E’, and your legs showing the results to all those people you passed who are now passing you.
So that’s the plan—put in enough distance to actually flirt with the Bonk a little and maybe start to develop that aerobic base all you Friel folk are always talking about. To tell you the truth, it’s probably just a matter of eating right beforehand. Most Bonks only hit six hours after the most recent meal. So maybe I’ll eat the Clif Bar a little early, or pack some serious nourishment for the trip, just in case a Bonk leaps out of the crowds and punches me in the kidney on my way to winning the Tour de France … We’ll see.