|Posted by kevinhosea on July 13, 2009 at 11:11 PM|
So as I said in my last blog, I have not had much of a chance to workout or race lately due to moving. A couple weeks ago, I was told about a biking criterium (crit for short) that was today. This was the first year they were including a handcycle division and they needed decent numbers so next year the division can become official with prize money and everything. I agreed to do it because even though I was out of shape, it was only going to be 30 minutes long which is not bad at all. For those of you who do not know what a crit is, it is a type of bicycle race that is done on a loop course. The loop is usually 1.5 miles or less and this particular course was .6 miles. The races are done either with a set time limit or a set number of miles.
Today I left work early to make sure I had plenty of time to get there with Chicago traffic. I did run into a minor problem getting there when the ramp I needed to get to I-57 South was closed because a semi trailer had rolled over right at the top of the ramp. I had to take I-57 N for 1 exit, get off and right back on to go south. I was still there plenty early with lots of time to get my bike together, find the rest of the handcyclers and warm up a little. This was a pretty cool race because it was actually part of a international competition series with 7 consecutive days of races in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas with bikers from across the world. They were running behind a bit with the categories that had gone before us so they ended up having to cut our race down to make sure there was plenty of sunlight for the pro men that were racing after us.
Our race ended up to be only 5 laps of the course which should have been really easy. I started out the race great and was EASILY in the lead for the first 3 laps. Then the fun started....during the 4th lap my asthma started to bug me and it went downhill fast. By the end of that lap, my "big breaths" were about 1/2 of what they should have been and I had been caught by 2 guys since I had to slow down so much. I was able to stick with them for all of lap for and the start of lap 5. I was able to get in their draft which helped a little because I didnt have to work quite as hard. About halfway through the 5th and final lap, they both decided it was time to sprint to the finish. I did my best to stick with them but my lungs at this were basically screaming "SCREW YOU" to me. They felt like they were on fire and I could barely get much of a breath at all. I ended up finishing 3rd by about 60m which I guess is pretty good considering. When I finished, I basically was getting about an 1/8th of a breath. The people that were there helping the handcycles asked me what was wrong and I told them I couldn't breath well at all. One of the took off for my car (which was about a 1/2 mile away) to get my inhaler while the other had one of the race staff call for the paramedics. The paramedics obviously got their quicker than the person that had gone to my car so they were able to give me an inhaler (same kind that I had in my car) and they also gave me oxygen.
I took 2 puffs on the inhaler and the sat with the oxygen mask on for like 10 minutes and it still did not help all that much. Was still only back to about 60% of what I should have been. As I am writing this, roughly 5.5 hrs after the race finished, I am still weezing when I take a deep breath or cough. I am still not really sure exactly what caused this asthma attack because it is BY FAR the worst Ive ever experienced. I have not had to use my inhaler in over a year. When I do need it, it is usually very hot and humid or very cold. Today was neither with it being around mid 70s with low humidity at race time. It also was not caused by allergies because I have not had allergy problems since I moved up to the Chicago area. I also do not think it was caused by me being out of shape because even though I was, I was not even tired and I hadn't broken a sweat when I finished. Needless to say, it was a very frustrating race but it was still a fun experience doing a race like that and I look forward to doing it next year.
There may or may not be pictures posted in the next couple days from the race. It will depend on if I get any emailed to me.