July 25, 2007

remember your first bonk?

Do you remember your first bonk?

My first bonk took place in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, back in 2003. It was around June 1st, so it was hot in Moab. Pete and I were technically still "just friends", but had decided to take a two-week trip out west together. I was not in good shape. I was still recovering from leg surgery and was about 10 lbs under my normal weight (due to some serious muscle atrophy and a few months of taking painkillers). We were camping in the "Devil's Garden" campground which is about 18 miles in from the park's entrance. We decided one day to ride from the campground to the park entrance and back. We had eaten a big breakfast in the morning to prep for our ride, but decided to wait to ride because of the heat. But as I recall, we ended up riding later in the morning/early afternoon when it was still hot anyway. I don't recall why we didn't wait until the evening hours to do this ride, but in hindsight, that would have been much smarter. So we were biking in Arches when most people were viewing the Arches from their air-conditioned RVs (for good reason). The roads through Arches are quite hilly, and it didn't take me long to realize that there was no way I'd be able to ride to the park entrance and back. So early in our ride, we turned around. Unfortunately, the bonk came before I could make it back to the campground. I recall pulling over on the side of the road and forcing down a GU, but it was too late. I had bonked too hard to recover without a full meal and a nap. We decided that Pete was going to have to ride back to the campground to get the car and then come and pick me up. Pete helped push me up a hill so that I could make it to one of the parking lots (accurately named the "Fiery Furnance" parking area) near one of the trailheads so that I wasn't just hanging out in the sun on the side of the heavily-traveled roads. But there is no shade in Moab. As I sat, cross-eyed and crabby, in the parking lot trying to get shade from parked cars, numerous people stepped from their air-conditioned vehicles and commented "wow, I can't believe you're biking in this heat...that's impressive!" I could barely muster a smile and I remember feeling like a total poser. I felt so small. So weak. So bonked.

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