Burning Lungs During Cold CX race

Any tips to help stop lungs from burning during a hard CX race in the cold?

2 out of the last three races i had this feeling and the temps were only in the 45-50F range. It might get worse when it gets colder later in the season.

This is my first season racing CX but i’ve skied and snowboarded for many years before.

I think a sort of baklava/scarf might help. But with the the very hard efforts of a CX race the breathing might get harder if wearing one.

Are there any baklava/scarfs that have good breathability? Is there a way to train the lungs to handle these sort of efforts in the cold?

I’m not a doctor, but this sounds like it could be something along the lines of exercise induced asthma (which is usually much worse in colder weather). I’ve coached a couple of guys over the years who had issues with racing in the cold weather because of the way it affected their lungs. You might want to try visiting your doctor and see what they think. Also, keep in mind, if you’re prescribed a bronchodilater, most (if not all) are banned by USADA and WADA. So make sure you get a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) before racing. Otherwise, if you’re taking a prescribed medication that’s banned, you can still be subject to consequences from taking a banned PED.

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What’s your warm-up like?

I found in the past hard VO2 max-type efforts with very cold air used to give me EIA and a mild cough for a few days.

Wearing a buff over my mouth warmed the air enough to reduce this without restricting inflow.

Warm up is similar to the Davis workout but on the road. Don’t have trainer/rollers for the CX bike.

@Sopiarz3 We actually talked about why this happens and how to prevent it on Episode 174 here: https://soundcloud.com/trainerroad/road-tactics-ice-baths-body-fat-scales-more-ask-a-cycling-coach-174#t=1:01:10

In this episode, Jonathan recommends marina wool buffs to put over your face but some people find this restricting like you have said.

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I’ve had this problem for the past 5-6 years. Been tested for asthma (reg & EI) and came back negative (I actually got better as the test progressed!), so doc thinks it’s just seasonal allergies; I’m almost 100% certain it’s not. Puffers etc do nothing.

It’s cold+humidity (West coast winters) which sets me off, I don’t even have to be riding hard, and it’ll last all winter and spring. I wear a buff while commuting and that seems to help somewhat.

So, yeah, warning bells! Address the situation immediately and don’t take it lightly. Go see your doc if necessary.

Probably nothing wrong with your lungs. Wear a scarf.
If not better, then spend the money on a physician evaluation.