Asthmatics

A fellow asthmatic, Ullrich, climbs l'Alpe d'Huez
A fellow asthmatic, Ullrich, climbs l’Alpe d’Huez

Having asthma is kind of like winning the lottery, except it happens to more people and instead of money you win a chronic difficulty in breathing. I wouldn’t say I’m proud to be an asthmatic, but it’s not information I’m ashamed to share. In doing so, I often discover others who are similarly afflicted, and upon doing so we instantly go from being perfect strangers to perfect strangers who know something insignificant about each other.

My asthma attacks are experienced in a variety of forms, ranging in severity from a shortness of breath to “holy shit, I’m dying”. You can liken an attack to breathing through a straw with your nose plugged; depending on how bad the attack is, the straw keeps getting smaller, going from the wide one you get with a Big Gulp all the way down to those little ones you get with a coffee at a crappy diner. Cycling with asthma is like breathing through those straws while doing wind-sprints up a flight of stairs.

This straw-breathing effect is caused by the contraction of the airways leading to the lungs. The traditional treatment is to use an inhaler to suck in medication which dilates the passages and restores them to a size that allows for comfortable – if still sub-normal – breathing. There are newer, more effective treatments but many of them scare me because they cite side-effects like spontaneous death.

After 38 years, I’ve come to understand a bit about what causes my attacks. There is the cold-induced sort – which can be quite severe – but in my case will usually resolve itself throughout the first hour of riding to where it becomes a nuisance rather than an impediment. I also have acute attacks, which for about 32 years I believed were caused by an allergy to sawdust. These don’t resolve themselves and the condition gets worse until I intervene with an inhaler or a visit to the Emergency Room.

It wasn’t until I moved to Seattle and started having more frequent severe attacks that my doctor here pointed out that it was “crazy” to suggest I’m allergic to sawdust and inquired as to what kind of quack I had been visiting in Minneapolis who would tell me such a thing. He pointed out, quite logically, that I was simply allergic to something that was aerosolized in sawdust. As it turns out, this same element is present in whatever pine trees give off from October to May. Thanks to the Pacific-Northwest’s monopoly on pine trees, I now carry a rescue inhaler with me whenever I go training during these months.

The thing about being a Cyclist with asthma is that Cycling, as an endurance sport, is quite dependent on the rider’s ability to breathe well. In fact, I’ve found that the single most important factor to how well I’m riding on any particular day, regardless of how fat or out of shape I am, is how well I’m able to manage my breathing. The exciting bit is that training with asthma is a lot like resistance training; you get used to a reduced ability to draw oxygen into your lungs, thereby restricting the supply that gets to your muscles. Its like reverse blood-doping. You get used to it and your body adjusts to the reduced supply of gun fuel. Then, on days when the air is clear and warm, you ride like you’re on EPO. I call this the “EPO-Effect”.

I read some time ago that 80% of Pro Cyclists are diagnosed asthmatics who hold a prescription for an inhaler. This makes for a remarkable attraction of gifted endurance athletes to the most breathing-dependent sport on the planet. Surely this is because the EPO-Effect makes asthmatics strong like bull, not for the dilating effect the medication has on the air passageways.

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100 Replies to “Asthmatics”

  1. I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset — like the one pictured.

  2. I’m an asthmatic too, its a condition which seems more manageable with age, and thankfully I get drugs free on prescription (as I live in Scotland) so its fully controlled. Your description of breathing through a straw is exact. One of the old wax coated ones that slowly collapses on itself…
    Did you know David Beckham is asthmatic? Me neither – he hid it away, which I think is a real shame as a lot of asthmatic kids get bullied at school and it would have made them feel better about the condition.

  3. Interestingly when I was a competitive rower a coach was always asking us to get checked for asthma or exercised induced asthma so we could get inhalers.  I think he just wanted us all to be able take a few puffs to supposedly open our lungs up before each race.  The reading I did showed that for non-asthmatics the performance enhancing effects were minimal to none…  but as you said having had an inhaler in the past if you are congested on a given day it certainly helps, those days when you can see the yellow dust blowing off the pines were always tough when I lived on the west coast ..  I think you are on to something – I might try riding with a taped up snorkel next season to simulate the “EPO-effect” you describe .. I’ll let you know how it goes

  4. @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    If you find any in the 53-55 range and it’s not to your liking pass it along!

    As for the topic at hand. My sister is asthmatic but can run farther and longer than most people I know. This article gives a little insight as to why. A couple of weeks back I rode with a sinus infection and a head cold and I can’t remember gasping for air more than at that time. If that is any similarity to riding with bad asthma then you are more compliant with Rule #5 than  I am.

  5. Wow!!  80%??  While I don’t claim to be asthmatic, I’ve had a handful of attacks as a result of season allergies, which when severe, trigger a tight chest, shortness of breath.  I’ve never experienced this in the saddle, and could imagine the panic I might feel.

    Instead, with those season allergies, I deal with a fluid build up in my ears/throat, that heavy breathing can cause my ear drums to feel as though they might just explode.  All the sniffing I do to attempt to balance the pressure, my riding mates might assume I just did a line of coke off the top of my handle bars.

  6. While I’m not an asthmatic, for some reason I’m prone to pneumonia. The last time I got it (the 1st PDX Cogal), I followed up with my PCP. He gave me a breathing treatment and holy Merckx’s ball sack: I felt like I’d tripled my already impressive lung capacity (not bragging, it’s genetics), and felt like I’d drank 8 pots of coffee (or one a line of blow).

    I used a inhaler for the remainder of the infection and it helped immensely. I’d hate to have asthma.

  7. @scaler911

    While I’m not an asthmatic, for some reason I’m prone to pneumonia. The last time I got it (the 1st PDX Cogal), I followed up with my PCP. He gave me a breathing treatment and holy Merckx’s ball sack: I felt like I’d tripled my already impressive lung capacity (not bragging, it’s genetics), and felt like I’d drank 8 pots of coffee (or one a line of blow).

    I used a inhaler for the remainder of the infection and it helped immensely. I’d hate to have asthma.

    I dumped a motorcycle in the rain several years ago, and consequently had to give up my spleen.  I have to get a pneumonia vaccine every few years.  That shit scares me!

  8. Fantastic picture of Der Kaiser (in spite of the spectator in the red running shorts).  The stare up the road, the bike, the kit.  I remember watching that Tour and thinking how understated his kit seemed.  It looks even better now.

    Also, I’m not an asthmatic, but I play one on TV.  I can totally relate.

  9. Another one here. On Symbicort twice a day, Ventolin if I get even a hint of getting wheezy. The real fucker is if you get a chest infection on the top. Last one I had left me barely able to stand up without getting dangerously out of breath. England, so I have to pay for my prescriptions. But they’re not hideously expensive, what with this not being the US.

  10. @scaler911

    He gave me a breathing treatment and holy Merckx’s ball sack: I felt like I’d tripled my already impressive lung capacity (not bragging, it’s genetics), and felt like I’d drank 8 pots of coffee (or one a line of blow).

    I had the same experience once a number of years ago when I was into running (except for the lung capacity–my lungs belong inside an even smaller animal). It was pretty fun, especially after spending a couple of weeks on my ass.

  11. And another. I love the variety of the articles here. I was diagnosed with asthma in 2006 at age 42. For a couple of years I refused to believe or accept it and my new found breathing difficulty was simply because I wasn’t fit enough. Only after 2 trips to A&E within a year because I had to force a breath in did I stick to my daily preventer inhaler regime. I remember my boss dropping dead because of an asthma attack in the 80’s and should have had a bit more early respect for the condition. Thankfully I haven’t had too many episodes since 2008. Mind you I did have another chest infection through October but double doses of steroid and some generic antibiotics got on top of it before I was completely floored again. I prefer to ride without the reliever to open the airways first, maybe subconsciously for that Ventolin EPO effect when I do use it? This isn’t cheating, I just see it as getting my lungs as close to what they would be if I wasn’t asthmatic. When I raced the track it was very necessary.

    Like you Frank something in the air irritates in spring (Rapesed blossom?) and cold air approaching zero degrees C can set things off. There’s always a space in the caddy sack beside CO2, tube and tool for the spare Ventolin. Just in case.

    When it all starts to go dark, maybe it’s The Man With The Hammer approaching or maybe it’s just time for a couple of puffs?

  12. @scaler911 wait… I’m confused… your PCP (primary care physician I assume) squeezed some of the sacred sweat from Merckx’s chamois and it cured your pneumonia?

  13. @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    Many photos when you find it please. Merckxdamn that is a fine looking ride and kit. The kind that shouldn’t be sullied by a matching helmet – only a cap at the most.

  14. @DeKerr

    @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    Many photos when you find it please. Merckxdamn that is a fine looking ride and kit. The kind that shouldn’t be sullied by a matching helmet – only a cap at the most.

    Agreed.

  15. @DCR

    @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    If you find any in the 53-55 range and it’s not to your liking pass it along!

    As for the topic at hand. My sister is asthmatic but can run farther and longer than most people I know. This article gives a little insight as to why. A couple of weeks back I rode with a sinus infection and a head cold and I can’t remember gasping for air more than at that time. If that is any similarity to riding with bad asthma then you are more compliant with Rule #5 than I am.

    Promessa. Will unturn the frame to admire it — protect the full integrity of the frameset — and then find a demanding new owner to ride it.

  16. @unversio

    @DCR

    @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    If you find any in the 53-55 range and it’s not to your liking pass it along!

    As for the topic at hand. My sister is asthmatic but can run farther and longer than most people I know. This article gives a little insight as to why. A couple of weeks back I rode with a sinus infection and a head cold and I can’t remember gasping for air more than at that time. If that is any similarity to riding with bad asthma then you are more compliant with Rule #5 than I am.

    Promessa. Will unturn the frame to admire it “” protect the full integrity of the frameset “” and then find a demanding new owner to ride it.

    I have a campa record groupo waiting for a classic frame to grace. Ebay/craigslist hunting has been in full swing for the last week.

  17. Man, this site just continues to surprise… It is interesting to note what triggers each persons episodes. I was fine until a day at school when I ended up on a nebuliser about 25 years ago.. I take one Ventolin before a group ride, and carry with. No need for a commute though.

    My triggers are hard effort, dust, and cold, like many of you. I found surfing aggravates it, hence needing to dose beforehand, but the action of having to hold breath constantly really helped back on land. When I swum as a kid it also helped a lot, again, needed a preventive shot, but out of the water the breathing was good.

    I surmised that holding breath improved lung capacity, so lungs not as stressed out of the water. With regards cycling, documented elsewhere just coming back from chest infection (a cold invariably ends up with gunky chest for me, 3 this winter!) & sinus infection, and I was riding like a bucket of shit. Believe the lungs are the weak point in my professional cycling CV, ha.

    For this reason I spin to win on climbs, find that standing forces to much effort to the lungs…

    @VeloSix Do what works, but sniffing will probably maintain/make your infections worse, especially the sinuses, snot-rocket that shit… Sinus infections are fucked…. To equalise, try the swallowing or yawning technique divers use…

    @scaler911 I don’t envy you. A relation was in hospital with pneumonia, looked like death, months on and still some days can’t do anything as too weak… Pneumonia is fucked…

    I guess with the restriction of airways, it must be like constantly training at altitude…

  18. @DCR I did connect with a reputable seller in the Netherlands via Ebay. These frames are race ready with normal wear and paint chips. Purchased an Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra from this seller. You can get me thru Frank if interested in the seller. Also purchased a Gazelle Champion Mondial 1992/1993 TVM Bison Kit squad (Bart Voskamp) thru Ebay. These frames followed my crash in 2010.

  19. Frank,
    Ask your doctor if you would benefit from bronchial thermoplasty. It’s a bronchoscopic procedure specifically designed for asthmatics. It’s somewhat invasive since it usually requires short term endotracheal intubation and sedatives during the procedure, but you can usually do it in one day as an outpatient.We do them here and have had good luck improving functionality and reducing rescue inhaler use for the asthmatics we have treated. A bronchoscope with a special catheter is used to apply heat to the airways. This reduces their reactivity to whatever your trigger is. By the way, professional athletes that abuse the sympathomimetic bronchodilators (albuterol), do it for the stimulant side effects. These drugs, as you probably know well, are stimulants due to the fight or flight response that they trigger. Thus the reason why so many endurance athletes get TUEs for these bronchodilators. It’s not that they are all asthmatics.

  20. @Beers @scaler911 Pneumonia came on after being too inactive after breaking left clavicle in a crit. Trying to be too careful with healing straight in a recliner was my downfall. The Airlife breathing (holding up to 2500 ml) exercise brought me back. I felt like it was my time to die when an episode came on at 2:00am — no way to breath. This was March 2012.

  21. @JohnB I cant get over the timing of this piece ! Were we not heading up hill towards a brutal hail storm just yesterday discussing this very subject ?? Uncanny.

  22. On further analysis of the lead photo, I have to comment on some other characters besides Richard Simmons’ balding half-brother in the red shorts.

    In the lower-right, I never imagined a cast member of “Jersey Shore” would be interested in the Tour, let alone make the journey to watch in-person.

    Toward the back-left, the man wearing what seems to be a scoutmaster’s hat: although disturbing, he’s clearly staring at Jan’s arse.

    But most intriguing is the girl in front of the RV.  I can’t tell if her detached expression is due to a general disinterest in cycling (unlikely considering the context, unless she’s a VMW), or if she is simply resigned to the fact she has to wear loaves of bread for shoes.

  23. @Dave

    These drugs, as you probably know well, are stimulants due to the fight or flight response that they trigger. Thus the reason why so many endurance athletes get TUEs for these bronchodilators. It’s not that they are all asthmatics.

    I knew these asthmatics were dopers with their fun little inhalers. Us non-asthmatics were jealous of such a slick little delivery device. 

    Frank, I’d trade your heart and lungs and asthma for what my parents gave me, FFS. It doesn’t slow you down that I’ve seen. 

  24. @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    You won’t find it, sorry.

    Team Bianchi rode an unbelievable Bianchi EV4 alu-alloy frame that weighed next to nothing; it was even anodized instead of painted to save weight; it was as light as the carbone frames we ride today.

    The VMH has one; it has since become her rain bike (and she commandeered my golden tickets for winter riding not least for the matching sidewalls). This thing is a 16lb featherweight; her R3SL is only a little bit lighter.

    I rode an EV2 which was heavier but stiffer; Ullrich is a little shorter than me and a bit lighter, but way mo stronga. They built him what became the EV3, which was a stiff-and-weight compromise of the two frames. The one he rode that year at the Tour was an EV3 prototype that was anodized to look like an EV4, but if you look carefully at the bikes he rode, they had a rounded down tube near the head tube, not the elongated shape that the VMH’s frame above has.

    Here’s a shot we took on the Col de Mente:

    The shot is not as clear as maybe it should be, but you can see the tubes are rounder. There is more evidence on the webs, but if you want the official bike, it is an XLEV4 from 2003. If you want what he really rode, it was an anodized EV3.

    I loved that generation of Bianchis. They had lost their place in the market and rediscovered it in that time. They are lost again now, I feel, but I’m sure they will come back. I think they are struggling with how to preserve an Italian brand while outsourcing to stay competitive, like everyone else.

  25. @DCR

    @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    If you find any in the 53-55 range and it’s not to your liking pass it along!

    The VMH’s is a 53. It is not for sale. (At least I don’t think so!) Bianchi’s have short top tubes if you’re a monkey like I am.

    As for the topic at hand. My sister is asthmatic but can run farther and longer than most people I know. This article gives a little insight as to why. A couple of weeks back I rode with a sinus infection and a head cold and I can’t remember gasping for air more than at that time. If that is any similarity to riding with bad asthma then you are more compliant with Rule #5 than I am.

    I’m just gonna go ahead and suggest, based 100% on your avatar being a pair of shoes, that not just for the Asthma am I more compliant than you are. Just sayin’.

  26. @Trull

    Did you know David Beckham is asthmatic? Me neither – he hid it away, which I think is a real shame as a lot of asthmatic kids get bullied at school and it would have made them feel better about the condition.

    This proves the unproven fact that all footballers are ballers.

    That would have been great if he’s made that public, but I wonder if it might have opened a can of worms? Nothing specific about Beckham – his wife is adorable and that obviously means he has a good character – but we all know a load of the Puerto clients are footballers. Just saying there’s a similar issue with abuse there as with Cycling.

  27. @VeloSix

    Wow!! 80%?? While I don’t claim to be asthmatic, I’ve had a handful of attacks as a result of season allergies, which when severe, trigger a tight chest, shortness of breath. I’ve never experienced this in the saddle, and could imagine the panic I might feel.

    If you haven’t experienced this in the saddle – even without being asthmatic, you’re not trying hard enough!

    Instead, with those season allergies, I deal with a fluid build up in my ears/throat, that heavy breathing can cause my ear drums to feel as though they might just explode. All the sniffing I do to attempt to balance the pressure, my riding mates might assume I just did a line of coke off the top of my handle bars.

    This paints a glorious picture. I can almost see the Pellos drawing to accompany it.

  28. I have allergy enduced asthma and I was/am a on off smoker. I used to smoke a pack of lucky strike non filtered a day, this was maybe 7 years ago. boy did I fuck myself.

  29. @frank Thanx greatly for insight on the Bianchi. I will try to continue to dream of it. Our company is budgeting to go attend the Giro d’Italia 97Ëš — I’ll be watchful for hard to find items.

  30. @Optimiste

    Fantastic picture of Der Kaiser (in particular because of the spectator in the red running shorts). The stare up the road, the bike, the kit. I remember watching that Tour and thinking how understated his kit seemed. It looks even better now.

    Fixed your post. And I wish I remembered who took these shots. I found a lot of them several years back and they are all solid gold. I feel like crediting them to Pedale.Forchetta because I’m sure he’ll wind up as being the source.

    We were on the mountain the same year, but the shots weren’t as great.

    Here he is on l’Alpe

    And here’s his TT bike just before the ITT in Gaillac, which he won. And yeah, I got to sit on it because I gave the security guard a sandwich. (They swapped the front wheel before the start from Mavic – the sponsor – to LightWeight.)

    And here he is crushing the ITT. Almost all the other shots we have of people (including Pharmstrong) were on the cowhorns. Ulli was the only dude on the extensions still at this, a reasonably steep part of the climb.

  31. @PeakInTwoYears

    @scaler911

    He gave me a breathing treatment and holy Merckx’s ball sack: I felt like I’d tripled my already impressive lung capacity (not bragging, it’s genetics), and felt like I’d drank 8 pots of coffee (or one a line of blow).

    I had the same experience once a number of years ago when I was into running (except for the lung capacity-my lungs belong inside an even smaller animal). It was pretty fun, especially after spending a couple of weeks on my ass.

    The VMH had a pretty serious chest infection (not puh-numb-onia) but got a more powerful prescription than I do.

    Her inhaler rocks. I use it when I’m really on the ropes, but it also scares me. It makes me all jittery.

    Also, I borrowed a friend’s inhaler in 12th grade to bed down an attack. I didn’t realize hers can cause hallucinations and I spent the next 12 weeks in a wheelchair after falling out of bed.

  32. @JohnB

    And another. I love the variety of the articles here. I was diagnosed with asthma in 2006 at age 42. For a couple of years I refused to believe or accept it and my new found breathing difficulty was simply because I wasn’t fit enough.

    I have found that through training I can control it very well. Like controlling illness, though, I find that when I’m medium-fit, I’m most resistant to getting sick and to asthma attacks. When I get close to peaking, I start to be very prone to both conditions. Funny how your body starts to walk the knife’s edge.

    But no matter my fitness, there are triggers that will set me off, pine jizz being the primary one. There is not degree of fitness that will keep that at bay; it is a response to some crap my body hates. Period.

    Only after 2 trips to A&E within a year because I had to force a breath in did I stick to my daily preventer inhaler regime. I remember my boss dropping dead because of an asthma attack in the 80″²s and should have had a bit more early respect for the condition. Thankfully I haven’t had too many episodes since 2008. Mind you I did have another chest infection through October but double doses of steroid and some generic antibiotics got on top of it before I was completely floored again. I prefer to ride without the reliever to open the airways first, maybe subconsciously for that Ventolin EPO effect when I do use it? This isn’t cheating, I just see it as getting my lungs as close to what they would be if I wasn’t asthmatic. When I raced the track it was very necessary.

    Amazing story; my sister has it more badly than I do and my brother doesn’t have it in the slightest. Strange. By my sister and I have both learned to deal with it, and have both become very happy athletes in the process. I’m not up to date on her medication, but I’ve taken steroids as well to strengthen my lungs after the bad attacks (they weaken and can create a building cycle of attack, weakening, attack, weakening, etc until you basically lose lung function).

    The roids really help – my lungs have never felt better – but the side effects scare me.

    The drugs scare me all around; I am very open to accepting riders who have doped because I feel I can not judge them for choices they made under circumstances I am not equipped to understand. That said, my own choices center around avoiding drugs whenever possible, and whenever I can, I ride with asthma and don’t use the inhaler.

    But when push comes to shove, I use it. And the line between push and shove are blurry – hence my hesitance to judge those who wind up doping.

    Alcohol’s not a drug, right? If it is, disregard the above.

    Like you Frank something in the air irritates in spring (Rapesed blossom?) and cold air approaching zero degrees C can set things off. There’s always a space in the caddy sack beside CO2, tube and tool for the spare Ventolin. Just in case.

    Smart man. Its not much extra weight, and it sure feels good knowing you won’t suffocate.

    When it all starts to go dark, maybe it’s The Man With The Hammer approaching or maybe it’s just time for a couple of puffs?

    Hilarious. I was already responding to your post before I read this, but this is hysterical. In all honesty, this is central to why I avoid the inhaler when I can. I ride for fun. I want to know the pain inflicted is imposed by my will and not by an external influence. It is very shady, the line I draw, but if I feel him drawing close, I will wait for the next milestone on the route to make a decision about using the inhaler. For instance, I won’t use it just before or during a climb, only after or in the valley between.

    Unless I’m actually freaking out, in which case I will puff on the fucker like I’m a meth head and point myself for the most direct route home. A hot, steamy shower always helps too.

  33. Did not read the article/comments.  I have read that  a lot of cyclists are diagnosed asthmatics, as that gets them a TUE.

  34. @DeKerr

    @scaler911 wait… I’m confused… your PCP (primary care physician I assume) squeezed some of the sacred sweat from Merckx’s chamois and it cured your pneumonia?

    +1 badge to you. Also an collective “ish”.

  35. @unversio

    @DeKerr

    @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    Many photos when you find it please. Merckxdamn that is a fine looking ride and kit. The kind that shouldn’t be sullied by a matching helmet – only a cap at the most.

    Agreed.

    I will have to dig into the kit bins; I have all of it – I was on a full Bianchi kick inspired by my (our) hero Ullrich and had the Team Kit.

    I wore it in my bedroom only, of course, never on the road. That would be sacrilege.

  36. @DCR

    @unversio

    @DCR

    @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    If you find any in the 53-55 range and it’s not to your liking pass it along!

    As for the topic at hand. My sister is asthmatic but can run farther and longer than most people I know. This article gives a little insight as to why. A couple of weeks back I rode with a sinus infection and a head cold and I can’t remember gasping for air more than at that time. If that is any similarity to riding with bad asthma then you are more compliant with Rule #5 than I am.

    Promessa. Will unturn the frame to admire it “” protect the full integrity of the frameset “” and then find a demanding new owner to ride it.

    I have a campa record groupo waiting for a classic frame to grace. Ebay/craigslist hunting has been in full swing for the last week.

    How big are you? I have a frame suitable for the right purpose.

  37. Interesting hearing others stories. So long as I keep my daily “preventor” puffing up, I never have an attack. Let that slip and I’m wheezing at the though of dust/cold/exertion. I cannot remember when I had an attack including in races.

    So far I have only raced with the club but will be doing some open races next year and someone suggested I check my Astma medicinces are ok with ASADA which I did. Both mine, Ventolin (what you call an emergency inhaler and is a brochial steroid) and Qvar (the daily dosed preventer) came back with ok for Oral use but with conditions. I rang ASADA and they told me the condition is maximum 16 pufs a day! 16!! As a kid I used one of those “spacers” that is a camber you puff the inhaler into and then breath it in at your leisure. Once I puffed that ventolin as much as I dared (could have been 16) and then breathed it in… I passed out (sorta) fell over and had the shakes for an hour or so. Good times, but wont be trying that in a race anytime soon.

  38. @Beers

    @VeloSix Do what works, but sniffing will probably maintain/make your infections worse, especially the sinuses, snot-rocket that shit… Sinus infections are fucked…. To equalise, try the swallowing or yawning technique divers use…

    There was an additional section of my highschool called The Annex where all the classes no one liked were held. Like Math. And Physics. You had to commit to those classes and really fucking care. I loved them. So you could get out and be awesome. You had to care, so you could get through and be more badass at the other end.

    Same goes for the phlegm. That’s a special ward of Awesome that you should be proud to be a part of, but make every effort to fucking jettison.

    @scaler911 I don’t envy you. A relation was in hospital with pneumonia, looked like death, months on and still some days can’t do anything as too weak… Pneumonia is fucked…

    I guess with the restriction of airways, it must be like constantly training at altitude…

    Nail, head, you’re welcome.

  39. @JohnB

    I have a vivid memory of my father dropping me off at the shops one night about 25years ago. I noticed he was wheezing and offered him my inhaler. He told me he’d had the attack for two days now but he was fine and it wasn’t getting any worse. I thought that strange but went my way. That night, I slept soundly in my bed as my mother finally convinced my father come with her to the hospital for treatment. With about 3min left to get to the hospital mum tells me she saw him sort of leap/jump a little out of the seat. His heart had stopped. They revived him in at the Hospital and he was on pure Oxygen for days. He was “clinically dead” for several minutes. The following night I got to go and see him in the ECU. I remember touching his wrist and the skin why dry and felt like popping candy does in your mouth. Mum explained due to the amount of O2 he was on, it leaches out of his blood, though the skin but get’s trapped under the dead outter layer. Touching him pops the bubbles. The medicines they put him on to “cure” the effects from his brush with death have given him some serious other problems. Today, he is mear shadow of himself with medial issues up the wazoo such as Adisons Disease, and Osteperosis. His body does heal very well with a cut taking months to heal. I really has screwed his entire life from that night on, his quality of live is greatly reduced today and I am convinced he will die many years before his time.

    I’ve never been caviliear about an attack since. Despite that, I’m ashamed to say, but I have, at times messed with my preventer even once thinking I was cured and going off it for months. I wasn’t, apprently the effects of the preventer can take weeks to wear off. I’m glad for this artical to relive that night and remind me not to screw with astma.

  40. @frank

    @DCR

    @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    If you find any in the 53-55 range and it’s not to your liking pass it along!

    The VMH‘s is a 53. It is not for sale. (At least I don’t think so!) Bianchi’s have short top tubes if you’re a monkey like I am.

    As for the topic at hand. My sister is asthmatic but can run farther and longer than most people I know. This article gives a little insight as to why. A couple of weeks back I rode with a sinus infection and a head cold and I can’t remember gasping for air more than at that time. If that is any similarity to riding with bad asthma then you are more compliant with Rule #5 than I am.

    I’m just gonna go ahead and suggest, based 100% on your avatar being a pair of shoes, that not just for the Asthma am I more compliant than you are. Just sayin’.

    Those would be an old set of white leather cycling shoes with a suntour cycling cap. I sure hope you aren’t assuming I am a runner by any means. I do admit to attempting running in the past and it has only affirmed my detest of the sport.

    @frank

    @DCR

    @unversio

    @DCR

    @unversio

    I’ve just started my search for an elusive Black Bianchi frameset “” like the one pictured.

    If you find any in the 53-55 range and it’s not to your liking pass it along!

    As for the topic at hand. My sister is asthmatic but can run farther and longer than most people I know. This article gives a little insight as to why. A couple of weeks back I rode with a sinus infection and a head cold and I can’t remember gasping for air more than at that time. If that is any similarity to riding with bad asthma then you are more compliant with Rule #5 than I am.

    Promessa. Will unturn the frame to admire it “” protect the full integrity of the frameset “” and then find a demanding new owner to ride it.

    I have a campa record groupo waiting for a classic frame to grace. Ebay/craigslist hunting has been in full swing for the last week.

    How big are you? I have a frame suitable for the right purpose.

    I am 5’9″ with roughly a 32/33″ inseam. I feel comfortable on most frames in the 53-55 range.

  41. @VeloSix

    Dude! Pneumonia and losing a spleen are 2 very different things. I’ll take the former for sure. I was in a crash for the “final sprint” once and went down hard. I got knocked out, lost 2 teeth and a lot of skin. I was the lucky one. The guy right behind me punctured a lung and lost a spleen. 23 years later, people still talk about that crash.

    @DeKerr

    I’m pretty sure Merckx’s ball sack sweat would have cost less when I got the bill for that treatment.

    @Beers

    Ya. I’ve had it 4 times now, and like Frank mentioned above, it’s almost always been when I’ve been in fantastic shape. There’s a ‘weight limit’ I’ve discovered that if I cross, I’m super fast for a few days, then *bam* I’m in bed with a fever and gnarly cough.

    @frank

    Wow. I wonder what was in that inhaler. 24 years in medicine, and I’ve never heard of someone passing out from hitting one too much. Mrs. Scaler’s grand folk were hardcore smokers. The type that would light a new fag (see what I did there?) with the one they were finishing. About twice per cig, they’d hit the ventolin for a couple puffs. Never seen anything like it.

    @unversio

    I’m currently haggling for a ’99 Bianchi Veloce on Craigs List (of assholes trying to make too much money off stuff). I’ll keep an eye out for what you’re after.

  42. @Beers

    It is like training at altitude. But at the altitude where you do more harm than good. Like the proverbial “Death Zone” in mountaineering. I tried to go skiing in Jackson when I had it. No good. No good at all.

  43. @frank

    @Optimiste

    Fantastic picture of Der Kaiser (in particular because of the spectator in the red running shorts). The stare up the road, the bike, the kit. I remember watching that Tour and thinking how understated his kit seemed. It looks even better now.

    Fixed your post….

    Absolutely right.  Thank you.  It took a second look and a follow-up analysis of the photo to see my mistake.

    And thanks for your personal accounts of that Tour.  You on his ITT bike: how cool is that?

  44. @DCR

    Just skimming the thread, no clue why you posted that but those are hands down the best looking shoes available.

  45. I don’t have asthma, but about 10 years ago I was shot in the neck with .410 shotgun.  It was a contact wound and it destroyed much of my upper airway and left me with an airway about 50% occluded by scar tissue.  I am back to riding and occasionally racing, but once my oxygen demand reaches a certain point, my performance plateaus and I’ve been unable to do more then minimally expand that barrier.  I’m speculating that my body will eventually adapt and I will experience improvement, but how much and for how long, at this point I don’t know.

  46. @DerHoggz

    @DCR

    Just skimming the thread, no clue why you posted that but those are hands down the best looking shoes available.

    It was in response to @frank about my avatar. I do love those shoes. For anyone interested they are the Rapha/giro Grand tour shoes. Being rapha you can imagine the cost though!

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