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  1. #1
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    Coughing problem on long rides

    I am new at long distance riding and have been slowly building up my mileage in preparation for Calvin's Challenge in a couple of weeks. On long rides where I spend a lot of time with my heart rate above threshold, I've been having a problem with an itching sensation developing in the back of my throat towards the ends of the rides. When this happens, I have to breathe shallow breaths to keep from coughing, and my speed drops considerably.

    This problem really affected me last Sunday. I did a 250K with a friend, and we left with a bunch of riders that were going to break off at mile 45 and head back home. So - they set their pace with 90-miles in mind (about 19mph average, over hilly terrain). My friend and I succumbed to peer pressure and stayed with them, but we both suffered towards the end of our (much longer) ride. I developed the coughing problem at about mile 135, and had to really take it easy the last 20-miles. We ended up with a respectable time though... Miles: 156.22 Time: 8:46 Avg. Speed: 17.75

    Is there anything I can do to prevent this? It was like my throat dried out from all the heavy breathing.
    Last edited by matthew_deaner; 04-25-07 at 08:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You might want to drop by your doctor and have him/her order some tests for Exercise Induced Asthma.

    I've been diagnosed with it, with similar symptoms to yours, and I've been prescribed a couple of inhalers which make cycling so much better!


    Or, if it really doesn't feel like a lung thing, you might try sucking lozenges while you ride.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    You might want to drop by your doctor and have him/her order some tests for Exercise Induced Asthma.

    I've been diagnosed with it, with similar symptoms to yours, and I've been prescribed a couple of inhalers which make cycling so much better!


    Or, if it really doesn't feel like a lung thing, you might try sucking lozenges while you ride.
    That's scary. It never entered my mind that I had some sort of asthma. It does feel like "a lung thing". After long bouts of serious effort, my throat sort of tightens up, my lungs hurt, and a deep breath can bring uncontrollable coughing. I'll try the lozenges. If they don't work, I guess a trip to the doctor is in order.

    Thanks for the advice!

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Mine started slowly ... I've had some mild symptoms ever since I was a kid, such as going into a coughing fit if I laughed hard, and occasionally the feeling of congestion when I exercised outside, but it wasn't bad. Gradually it got worse. Then in 2004 it got to the point where the coughing was the least of my worries! It got to the point where I literally couldn't breathe on many of my long, hard rides ... I'd hyperventilate and then it would feel like my lungs closed down. I now struggle to breathe in just about any stressful situation ... and my inhaler comes to my rescue!

  5. #5
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    I have about the same problem, it started when I was in Toronto, and the doctor said it was exercise induced asthma, but didn't run any tests. I used the inhaler sometimes when it was getting really bad (didn't happen oo often though). Then last year, back in France, I went to see a specialist of allergies, she did run some tests and it turned out that I don't have asthma, but my lungs capacity is only 75% that of normal capacity! So now I have an excuse to be out of breath very rapidly! She told me there is nothing to do, I can't increase my lungs capacity, it's just the way I am, I'm not made for endurance sports and I shouldn't cycle more than 2 hours at a time! Of course I didn't say anything about PBP... But she seemed quite ignorant about "cycling": when I told her I like going for 200+ rides, she thought I was cycling 200 km in Paris !! But now I can't use the inhaler anymore... I'll see how the next brevets go, and I might just go see a sports doctor who understands cyclists!

  6. #6
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    everyone else is gone anyway. claire.. the doc IS insensative to your cycling aspect if not to you. Some of us are not as "equipt" for endurance as others for sure.You go on 200+ rides, that's way more than average, even for the forum, assuming folkes do ride as indicated ,which is questionable of course.I know much about asthma,more than I'm apt to say here,much good imfo. has been shared here by fellow members anyway. As far as not increasing EFFECTIVE lunge capacity..WRONG.. swimming will help you.Cycling is great over-all,you ride a very impressive distance,slow or fast,doesn't matter.You have developed techniques if you will,which enable you to Cycle well,despite your shortcomings,you've compensated in other ways,automatically. Swimming will "force " you to breath in a manner unfamiliar to you.The Y is OK I guess ,I hate it.I use pools at communities
    or wherever I could in the past,invited or "semi-invited".Do it twice a week is enough to start.You'll find it may play havvock with your muscles but this too shall pass.I live in a developement with a pool for that reason.

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