Fat Biker: Attack of the Asthma

For more than half a century I took breathing for granted.  Sure I would get out of breath on a mountain climb or a sprint, but then… hit 55 years old and dun, dun, dunnnn: exercise-induced asthma.

Started off slow.  Allergies, I thought, just fucking allergies.

Then one Saturday after helping the Boy and his friend knock back a 32-pack of Miller Lite the night before, we went riding from Sedona down Highway 89A toward Cottonwood. (Fucked-up Arizona has two highway 89’s — hence the “A”).

Both douchebag millennials got flat tires.  I was the only one with inner-tubes or air — and the ability to change a bike tire.  Why do I call them douchebags? This kind of shit. It was getting close to 100-degrees in the sun.  If I wasn’t there, what was their plan?

Dying of dehydration.  Great plan douchebags.

I was already out of breath from fighting the tire back onto the rim.  Had to climb back up 1000 feet.  I’m used to watching all the other bikers just “walk away” from me up hill. I find my own pace and spin my way up.

Not that day.  They disappeared over the horizon like stealth fighter jets. I’m coughing and choking. My chest hurts.

“Is that a pain going down my left arm?”

“Does my jaw hurt or is that just the chin strap pulling at my 3-day beard hairs?”

Shit when was that hill every going to end…  15 minutes after the “kids” get to the top, I slow roll there.  They look at me to see if I’m OK.  I waved and drove off.  All the way home — a 2 hour drive — out of breath.

By the time I got to Phoenix,

I thought I was dying

(Yes I may have stolen this lyric from Glenn Campbell — so what?).

Saw the cardiologist — heart OK.  Saw the breathing/sleep guy — fine.  Told them this story.  No one believed me, but breathing guy wrote out a script for an inhaler to make me go away.  Apparently they have no test for “exercise-induced”.

For two years I used the inhaler whenever I felt weak — it’s hard to tell when you are out of breathe — when you are already out of breathe…  Same inhaler you see the pros on the Tour de France pull out of their pockets and the announcers don’t say shit (Theraputic Use Exemption anyone?)

froome-inhaler22
Team Sky was/is all aboard the Asthma Train.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m a doper mother fuckers.

Whooping Flagstaff

I went to Flagstaff this summer to ride with my skinny-fuck friend, Mark.  He retired and just rides and rides every day.

“If it’s windy, I take the mountain bike,” he said. “The trees block the wind. If it’s not, I go out on the road.”

Saturday we spin down 89A from Flagstaff toward Sedona.  Had a tailwind to push us back up the hill.  Did 35 miles and 2000 feet.

Sunday we head out to Walnut Canyon. Tailwind — felt like we floated all the way to the canyon.

Stopped to eat two handfuls of dried apricots that Mark gave me.  Usually I eat any chocolate shit or energy drink — all I need is glucose and water to keep going.   But Mark was helping me with “better” habits.

Felt like shit on return trip. 20 minutes later I had to get off the bike. Couldn’t talk. Just whooped, and wheezed.

“We could call Kim,” Mark said.  “If she’s home, she might come get you.”

I said nothing; I was seriously thinking of calling 911. But you have to talk — either into the phone or to tell Mark what to say.

After 10 minutes I could talk — after 20, I could peddle.  Mark towed me home (very, very slowly).

Got on the Google:  “Foods that trigger Asthma.”


“Additives, such as sodium bisulfite… sodium sulfite, are commonly used in food processing or preparation and can be found in:

  • Wine and beer
  • Dried fruits or vegetables”

Ahhh Ha.  It’s that healthy dried apricot shit.  Never had trouble breathing from a fucking donut.

Tour de Bosa

Hell, they have an event where people ride from one Bosa donut store to the other (free donuts at each store).  Nobody had trouble finishing that ride.

But a spin to the farmer’s market means you better bring an oxygen tank.

Don’t even point out the wine and beer.  I’ve repeated that experiment over and over again, and they have little effect on my lungs.  Or any that I will admit to.  Sometimes, denial is a key to survival.

Going back for another breathing test next month — that’s the only way to get a refill on the inhaler.  Next step is steriods (yeah let’s see what that shit will do to the anger level on this bullshit site).

But I’m thinking if I stick to the French wine (no sulfites) and stay away from that killer dried fruit — I’m going to be just fine.  It will be like I’m only 50 all over again.

3 thoughts on “Fat Biker: Attack of the Asthma

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