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  1. #1
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Asthma Attack- Finished Last :(

    Ok, looking for advice from those who have been there or at least a shoulder to cry on. I had my first ever race today (crit) and after the first lap had a major asthma attack which immediately put me off the back and all by my lonesome for the rest of the race as I didn't have enough wind to catch anyone- even the 6 or 7 others that eventually fell off the pack. I did manage to finish (after getting lapped) as I did not want to drop out and look like a quitter and I could muster just enough air to get me over the line, albeit slowly.

    The problem, it was 48-49 degrees. I hit the Albuterol 1/2 hour before the start and did a good warm up (see avatar), heart rate was 80% as I arrived on the line. Was embarrassing, I finished 27 out of 27 in my Cat 4 race. I've tightened up in the cold before, but this was bad- it was 12 hours ago and I'm still tight. People on the sidelines could hear me wheezing. Do I need to bag all race attempts under 65 degrees? I'm much better in warmer temps. Thanks for any helpful suggestions in advance.
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  2. #2
    Senior Member slim_77's Avatar
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    man, sorry to hear that. I can't offer any meaningful advice, but if you believe the cooler temps triggered it...yeah, keep working on base through early spring and then ramp it up and hit the races in late April/May. I hope the midwest warms up soon!

    I thought I read a while back that Danno has asthma. If so, he will offer something productive for you (as always!).

    good luck!
    gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  3. #3
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim_77
    man, sorry to hear that. I can't offer any meaningful advice, but if you believe the cooler temps triggered it...yeah, keep working on base through early spring and then ramp it up and hit the races in late April/May. I hope the midwest warms up soon!
    I thought I read a while back that Danno has asthma. If so, he will offer something productive for you (as always!).

    good luck!
    Me too and thanks!

    I forgot to mention that the wind was NNW at 10-20mph- so wind chill made it colder.
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I also have exercise induced asthma, though I have mine under control. You need to see a pulmonary specialist and get prescriptions for drugs to control it. Never have an asthma attack. They are really bad for you.

    There have been a couple of good threads about this on here recently, but the search function seems to be broken right now.

    I use Flovent 220 mcg once a day, and salmeterol the morning of a major ride. This may not be appropriate for you, it's just a sample of one person's medication. I carry a rescue sprayer (albuterol) with me on the bike, but the idea is that you should never have to use it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jashue's Avatar
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    How long have you had this issue? I'm 39 having been diagnosed with allergy induced asthma a year and a half ago (go figure-- I've been an endurance athlete for 20 years without incident). Initially, I was put on just albuterol to contain the condition when necessary, then later both Advair and Singulair. These drugs kept me from having severe attacks, living what to anyone but a hardcore cyclist (or runner, or swimmer) a perfectly normal life. Later still, I began to treat my allergies with sublingual drops of concentrated allergens once a day.

    Now this is the kicker: over the winter, I decided to experiment by weaning myself off the meds one by one. First the Advair... a few weeks later the Singulair... and finally the drops. I haven't had an attack in months. Keep in mind: I haven't put my cardio-pulminary system through the ringer either, and for all I know my clubs first time trial in a couple weeks could tell a different tale. I guess we'll see. I can only hope at this point.

    Have you been tested for allergies? My theory here is that the treatment kick started my body into producing the antibodies necessary to deal with the allergens.
    Last edited by Jashue; 04-16-07 at 06:21 AM.

  6. #6
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashue
    How long have you had this issue? I'm 39 having been diagnosed with allergy induced asthma a year and a half ago (go figure-- I've been an endurance athlete for 20 years without incident). Initially, I was put on just albuterol to contain the condition when necessary, then later both Advair and Singulair. These drugs kept me from having severe attacks, living what to anyone but a hardcore cyclist (or runner, or swimmer) a perfectly normal life. Later still, I began to treat my allergies with sublingual drops of concentrated allergens once a day.

    Now this is the kicker: over the winter, I decided to experiment by weaning myself off the meds one by one. First the Advair... a few weeks later the Singulair... and finally the drops. I haven't had an attack in months. Keep in mind: I haven't put my cardio-pulminary system through the ringer either, and for all I know my clubs first time trial in a couple weeks could tell a different tale. I guess we'll see. I can only hope at this point.

    Have you been tested for allergies? My theory here is that the treatment kick started my body into producing the antibodies necessary to deal with the allergens.
    I had adult onset asthma diagnosed as allergy and exercise induced. I have had allergies forever but now have to take meds daily to treat them or if not I would have attacks. The exercise induced part is normally controlled by a pre-event inhalation, yesterday is as bad as I've ever had. It was my first ever race though so the nervousness probably amped up the reaction to the cold.

    I also take Advair daily and carry an Albuterol around with me everywhere, but of course since I was in a race I didn't have my bag attached which contained it. It didn't help much when I took it anyway after the race. I'm even still a bit wheezy this morning. I recently enrolled myself in an asthma study and it turns out I have large lung capacity and moderate asthma. In the study they think that rhinovirus stays in the lungs after you are exposed to it and causes irritations such as asthma. Was interesting.
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  7. #7
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    I have the same issue (and have for all my life). If its under 60 degrees I cant race. Glimmer of hope is I was a pretty competitive inline speed skater at a high level and a former CAT 2 roadie.

    Its starting to warm up so just hang in there. Folks like us shine when it gets really hot and others cant breathe.

  8. #8
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    High levels of intensity are always tough at colder temperatures. I don't have a history of having any particular difficulty with colder temperatures, but I did the 4s race, which was probably warmer than yours, starting after noon. But after the race, I was still coughing quite a bit. Luckily though, it didn't affect me much during the race.

    I saw a guy warming up wearing some kind of face mask. Perhaps you could wear something like that to warm up the air if there was one that didn't impede airflow.
    Bring the pain.

  9. #9
    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    Botto had some good advice about this... getting dropped in your first race is nothing to be ashamed of. It's more like a rite of passage. Expect more of this.

    A good cyclist is one who perserveres in the face of adversity and stands up again and again after getting knocked down. Focus on personal improvements not interpersonal improvements. Going from 40th place to 36th place is not necessarily an improvement -- you can't control others -- but increasing your average watts or time over a particular course is.

    Best of luck! Keep at it! You will improve!
    Last edited by ratebeer; 04-16-07 at 04:18 PM.
    Joe

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  10. #10
    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    My wife works for the American Lung Association and her main job is asthma education. Give her a call about your problem she may be able to help you, all help is free. Her name is Sharon, office number 661-847-4700. She's usually in the office around noon PDT. Also, she is the director of "The Lung Ride", see link below. It's a major fund raiser to make all of this help free.
    Make mine a double!

  11. #11
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    I have exercised induced asthma and I was at the same race on Sunday. I thought all the women 4's looked tough, including you. I too had an asthma attack in the mens 5. My second race. I knew it was going to happen so I just used this race for experience and went at my own pace dropping out of the pack after the first lap. I just spoke with a pulmonologist informally this afternoon and I have a few tips that I'm going to try next week.

    1. Take your meds as prescribed.
    2. Cover your mouth with something to warm and humidify the air. (I'm not sure what yet though) He suggested a face (ski) mask, or scarf... The problem is that the mask also inhibits the flow of air. I'm going to try something light this week in training to see if it helps.
    3. There's a theory which basically suggests the following. During warm-up, do 2-3 maximal efforts until you begin to have mild symptoms, allowing a complete return to normal breathing between efforts. This is supposed to induce a refractory period that prevents asthma attacks from occurring, or greatly reduces severity, for 2-3 hours. It's really not known why this works but is thought to have a link with epinephrine and other catecholamine release. It thought I'd give it a try.

  12. #12
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    i have the same problem. take advair every day and albuterol at least a half hour before riding. tho, if i start too fast in the cool/cold air, i tighten up and my lungs & throat feel as though they are on fire. i don't use anything over my mouth, but i guess i should and that may help.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack
    albuterol at least a half hour before riding.
    Do you use a spacer with your albuterol? Do you take two puffs at one time?
    Make mine a double!

  14. #14
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    i use a spacer for the albuterol. one puff 1/2 hr before, then another 25min before.
    wolfpackcycles
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    I just tried riding with a simple handkerchief over my mouth bandit style. Temp was 43 degrees with a 17mph wind. Similar to the race on sunday. I also used albuterol 10 minutes before I started. I found the results surprising. I was able to maintain a 24mph average for 45 minutes with only very minimal asthma problems. That's 4mph faster and twice as long as my race last Sunday. The handkerchief did impede my breathing a little but it was much less than my asthma. Also of note: that's the fastest I've ever been over that time period. My heart rate was significantly higher than I've ever seen it as well. I usually top out at 188bpm but today I maintained 220 for 5 minutes while climbing. I'm not sure what to make of that. I thought my HR monitor was malfunctioning but I was getting similar results manually. I felt like I could go faster but decided not to push too hard. Interesting....

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jashue's Avatar
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    You maintained an average of 24 mph for 45 minutes? Damn. That's pretty impressive.

  17. #17
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noahjwhite
    I just tried riding with a simple handkerchief over my mouth bandit style. Temp was 43 degrees with a 17mph wind. Similar to the race on sunday. I also used albuterol 10 minutes before I started. I found the results surprising. I was able to maintain a 24mph average for 45 minutes with only very minimal asthma problems. That's 4mph faster and twice as long as my race last Sunday. The handkerchief did impede my breathing a little but it was much less than my asthma. Also of note: that's the fastest I've ever been over that time period. My heart rate was significantly higher than I've ever seen it as well. I usually top out at 188bpm but today I maintained 220 for 5 minutes while climbing. I'm not sure what to make of that. I thought my HR monitor was malfunctioning but I was getting similar results manually. I felt like I could go faster but decided not to push too hard. Interesting....
    If it wasn't malfunctioning, I suspect you're already dead. If your 24mph average included 5 minutes of climbing, I suspect your speedometer may need a little calibration too.
    Bring the pain.

  18. #18
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noahjwhite
    I maintained 220 for 5 minutes while climbing. I'm not sure what to make of that. I thought my HR monitor was malfunctioning but I was getting similar results manually. I felt like I could go faster but decided not to push too hard. Interesting....
    If it's a Polar, it could have been malfunctioning. 220 is what they usually go to if the transmitter stops working or there's interference.

    Albuterol can raise your HR.

  19. #19
    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack
    i use a spacer for the albuterol. one puff 1/2 hr before, then another 25min before.
    Well, at least you're taking the albuterol correctly. Who taught you to take this way? Have you tested your meter dose inhaler to see if there is really medicine in it, do you know how to test it?
    Make mine a double!

  20. #20
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanteB
    Well, at least you're taking the albuterol correctly. Who taught you to take this way? Have you tested your meter dose inhaler to see if there is really medicine in it, do you know how to test it?
    no one taught me, just from what i read, i figured i wasn't getting the correct amount by just holding it in my mouth or even a coupla cm away.

    nope, haven't tested the inhaler, how's this done? i figure there's still some in it as i haven't used it every day. mostly use it before my saturday group rides or when the air is chilly...hasn't become an everyday thing, yet, and hope it doesn't.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Jashue's Avatar
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    Can a paper towel roll suffice as a spacer? My doctor never even suggested a spacer when I was first prescribed albuterol. But it didn't take me long to figure out that a lot of the medicine was lost as it condensed on my tongue and the back of my mouth. For some reason-- and this I can't figure out-- my asthma symptoms have largely subsided in recent months, but with the season upon us and the stress of really hard riding I might get reaquinted with them real quick.

    Anyway... it occurred to me that a roll tube would work just as well for a person that uses albuterol as infrequently as I have.

    What think?

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