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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 09-14-09, 06:01 PM   #1
starla
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Am I doomed to sit out the winter months?

I want to commute year round. I *really* do. It doesn't get that cold here compared to a lot of places. But the wind kills my throat. I mean makes it raw, throbbing, and painful. The colder it gets, the worse it gets. I want to HTFU. But it hurts to the point that riding is nearly impossible, and certainly I don't derive any pleasure from it. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-14-09, 06:54 PM   #2
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1) Lozenges. Pop a lozenge into your mouth just before you go out.

2) Ride slower. Ride so you can breathe comfortably through your nose a good portion of the time.

3) Neck gaiter. Wear a neck gaiter around your neck, and bring it up over your mouth when riding into the wind.

4) Spend more time outside and get used to the temperature and the wind.
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Old 09-14-09, 06:55 PM   #3
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Are you dressing appropriately to keep warm? Keep your throat covered. If possible, try not to breath through you mouth. I'm not sure how cold it gets there (I'm west of Glacier National Park and when I see Texas winter-time temps they look down right tropical to me) but you could give some thoughts to wearing a balaclava on really cold days. Most importantly, if you really don't feel like riding in the winter, don't beat yourself up. Winter riding is not for everyone.
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Old 09-14-09, 07:02 PM   #4
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http://www.psolar.com/id5.html
There's other brands around, they all collect heat and humidity in the mouth piece to pre-heat/humidify incoming air.

I hear they're a little tough to breath through, so a second regular balaclava might be a good idea for warmer days, unless you buy one that has a removable pre-warmer doohicky.
But like Machka said, people ride/run/hike in well bellow sub zero temps, it's something you build a tolerance for by riding into the winter, normally.

Wait, you're in texas? Do they have winters down there?

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Old 09-14-09, 07:31 PM   #5
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Wait, you're in texas? Do they have winters down there?
Haha It may get down to the teens for a week or so here.

It's not the cold that's really the problem. After doing some research and talking to some other people, I think I'm going to pay the doctor a visit about exercise induced asthma. It's low 70s today and even riding tonight against a 11 mph wind, my throat was really starting to hurt. It was a short ride, and I rode hard, but even now when I swallow my throat hurts and I've got lots of mucus. I'm not to the point of coughing yet tonight but last year I coughed frequently as the temps dropped. I never considered it might be a medical condition. Just thought I hadn't acclimated enough.
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Old 09-14-09, 07:42 PM   #6
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OK, low 70s isn't cold ... it's not even cool. It's actually quite warm ... warmer than room temperature. And an 11 mph wind is not that windy either.

Have you tried using something like a lozenge or an antihistamine before going out?
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Old 09-14-09, 07:52 PM   #7
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OK, low 70s isn't cold ... it's not even cool. It's actually quite warm ... warmer than room temperature. And an 11 mph wind is not that windy either.

Have you tried using something like a lozenge or an antihistamine before going out?
I agree completely. It's just the coldest it's been this season. I was extremely frustrated that my throat was already starting to hurt because it's only going to get cooler and I don't want to quit riding. I'll give your suggestions a try...thanks!
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Old 09-14-09, 08:00 PM   #8
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I agree completely. It's just the coldest it's been this season. I was extremely frustrated that my throat was already starting to hurt because it's only going to get cooler and I don't want to quit riding. I'll give your suggestions a try...thanks!
But do go and have it checked if you really think it is EIA. I have gone through the lung tests and have been diagnosed with EIA, so I have an inhaler.
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Old 09-14-09, 08:24 PM   #9
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EN&T Doc time.

I get excruciating pain in my esophagus and upper chest sometimes if I ride hard in cool weather after lots of down time, lasts for several days after the ride. Hurts to breath in deep, swallow, eating food is pretty rough.

If I don't mouth breath, and ride more frequently in the cold, the less it happens, so I never went to a doc. This was around 30-35F though, 70F is really warm.
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Old 09-14-09, 08:27 PM   #10
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Starla,

Could be allergies, nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis or a combination of those, too. I had severe asthma from infancy through part of grade school and was bed-ridden a lot. Fortunately, I outgrew it, but I remember how it felt not being able to get a good breath of air. I think you'd have breathing issues as well as a sore throat with asthma. Are you wheezing and short of breath, too?
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Old 09-14-09, 08:37 PM   #11
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The thing that finally sent me to the Dr with my EIA was not being able to breathe. I'd go out on a ride, push it a bit, start coughing, start wheezing and hyperventilating, and would then feel like I was drowning ... I couldn't get air in. The first few times it happened, stopping by the side of the road and focussing on exhaling helped ... but then it started happening more frequently. It was really scary.

Prior to it getting to that point, however, I'd come in after a cool-cold ride and cough and cough and cough and cough for hours. Apparently that's the early stages of EIA. I don't ever remember there being a sore throat though.
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Old 09-15-09, 03:12 AM   #12
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starla, you do drink regularly when you ride, right? I'm assuming you would, but thought I'd ask because drinking regularly wets my throat and helps prevent it from getting sore.
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Old 09-15-09, 03:19 AM   #13
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Balaklava is your friend...
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Old 09-15-09, 03:43 AM   #14
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Balaklava is your friend...
At 70F? I'm cold when I ride, and I don't bring out the balaclava until the temp drops below freezing.
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Old 09-15-09, 09:09 AM   #15
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starla, you do drink regularly when you ride, right? I'm assuming you would, but thought I'd ask because drinking regularly wets my throat and helps prevent it from getting sore.
Admittedly, this is something I'm bad about, but have been working on. I'm trying to drink water both before and during rides.
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Old 09-15-09, 05:05 PM   #16
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Could be a reaction to polluted air also. How is the air in Temple Texas. Are there any large industries emitting stuff. If the air is bad you might consider driving a ways out of town to ride and see if you have the same problems. I really think that it is likely to be an allergy or asthma type of problem.

Could also be a detoxification process if you haven't done any exercise before. And this could be setting off asthma or an allergy. I started riding a bike when I was in bad condition and often had what you describe. It went away after I started to get in better condition but it took some time.

Part of it can just be from breathing hard in and out. When you start breathing hard the air goes in and out a lot faster and can irritate sensitive air passages which are not used to it. If you have asthma this can set it off. You can also try keeping your neck a little warmer than most people have to and see if it helps. Try wearing a polyester ski turtleneck under your jersey and keep your whole upper body a little warmer and see if that helps.

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Old 09-15-09, 07:45 PM   #17
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Admittedly, this is something I'm bad about, but have been working on. I'm trying to drink water both before and during rides.
They recommend drinking one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours while you are riding. When your mouth/throat starts to feel dry, take a drink.
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Old 10-07-09, 02:16 PM   #18
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I regularly ride at hundreds of degrees colder in the winter (I might exaggerate a tiny bit once in awhile, but hey, it's a literary gift) and have never had a problem with a sore throat, so it probably is worth talking to a doctor. I'd guess that something else is involved.

And I did want to ask about the quote in your sig. Is that an actual John Lennon quote, not something a humorist worked over? I really do like it if it is.

best wishes, lloyd
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Old 10-15-09, 01:16 PM   #19
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I was also thinking about air pollution. There is a lot of talk these days about exercise induced asthma, which is rather blaming the victim for a normal response to air pollution. In the summer, you get a sore throat from ozone plus fine particulate. In cooler weather, ozone is down but particulate is even higher. Your area should have a website with Pollution forecasts. Try a pollution mask, like from Respro http://www.respro.com/ , which contains carbon adsorbent. I did a few tests (I'm an atmospheric chemist) on various devices. Bandana over the mouth helps a little, fleece quite a bit more. Paper face masks, like for painting, are no better than a bandana. A NIOSH N95 type is better, but in cold weather clogs with condensation. I would not count your temps as cold, so this might be good enough. The Respro is made for cyclists in polluted areas, but also costs the most. So I would try the N95 for a first trial. They are plentiful these days due to swine flu fears.
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Old 10-15-09, 04:30 PM   #20
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There is a lot of talk these days about exercise induced asthma, which is rather blaming the victim for a normal response to air pollution.
Except I've been diagnosed with EIA after living and cycling in areas with minimal air polution. It really has nothing to do with polution ... and more to do with humidity and temperature.
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