CX Race report - Asthma did me in

At 54 years old I did my first race ever today, DCCX cyclocross in men’s cat5/beginner.

I went out way too hard and had an asthma attack at the end of the first lap. I carried on through most of lap 2 and then bailed out.

My asthma almost never flares up in the summer. Usually it takes exercising on a cold day for it kick in. But man, oh, man I was coughing and hacking for half an hour after I pulled off the course. I’ve still got a lingering cough here a few hours later. Ugh.

If any asthmatic racers have any tips or tricks, please let me know what you got!

Here’s what I think I learned today:

  1. I need to be on my daily low-dose Advair before race season starts.
  2. I need to warm up on the trainer a lot more than I did today
  3. I need a couple of puffs of Albuterol before the race
  4. I need to keep losing weight. I am still 30lbs+ over my normal BMI for my height
  5. I should NOT go balls to the wall hard on the start

Anyway, the race was still fun, the people were great, I felt comfortable with my skills due the clinic I did last weekend, and the chocolate chip cookies and local roasted coffee were all great.

Asthma sucks. That is all.


CX wreaks havoc on my asthma. Even if I don’t have an attack on course the next several days are full of coughing and hacking up junk. I wish I had a solution, and I’ve spoken with my asthma/allergy dr multiple times, but I’ve found nothing to work all that well.

My best advice it to consistently take all meds the week leading up to the race. I even take the albuterol at regular 4 hour increments for days prior. As you mention definitely take two puffs of albuterol 20min before the race. Then I would take two more puffs as soon as possible after the race.

Unfortunately this fall I’ve decided to not race CX. The way I feel days after is just not worth it. My rides the following week are full of coughing and I can’t do anything above endurance. Having asthma really sucks.

Man, it’s good to hear I’m not the only one. I have diligently following the TR plans, and I can do sweet spot, threshold, vo2, etc on the trainer and it doesn’t bother me. But race pace just killed me and I’m still coughing 2 days later.

I’m going back on my regular advair/albuteral schedule this week. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes. It might be my first and last season of CX.

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I had an asthma attack during my first MTB XC race this year. It is just brutal. I am now on symbicort and montelukast and I have not had any issues (granted, I have not done a MTB race since). I am doing my first CX race of the season tonight, hoping for a better outcome than quitting early and coughing so much people think I have COVID.


@voldemort How’d the race go? Hopefully it all went well!

I had some issues, but I was able to finish. I coughed up something that could be the monster in a horror movie afterwards though. I do think the new meds are helping. Especially the montelukast. I have noticed a huge difference since I have been on it.

I was taking only albuterol before I switched and it was hit or miss as to whether it would help or not.

I wish I had a solution for you, but unfortunately asthma is the thing that governs me in intense races. I’m on a regular controller (Qvar), although it definitely is not one of the stronger ones. I have found I struggle a bit with CX, because where I live (Indiana), has races during cold weather, and it really kills me. If the weather is going to be anything below 45 or 50 degrees F, then I just need to skip the race. Otherwise I will struggle for the next week or two. In my experience, using Albuterol in the days before never really helped, as it’s fast acting only, and doesn’t deal with the chronic issues.

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I hear you @cjschmalz1 - I can’t ride outside below 45 degrees. Well, I could do a recovery ride but anything above that and I risk an asthma attack.

I just started my daily Advair 150/50 routine, so we’ll see if that helps. I need to go back to the asthma doc and talk about a plan for higher intensity races/rides. I might be relegated to Grand Fondos and Centuries that keep me out of the race pace/anaerobic zone.

We shall see…