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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Central Taiwan Cycling Health WARNING: Seasonal Burning

Smoke from Changhua fields

Last night, as I was charging through Caotun halfway through my Wednesday night training ride, I felt my chest tighten and it became harder to draw a solid breath of air. 

At first I thought I had overcooked in my effort and I paused at 7-11 for a water in the A/C. 

I knew I was out of shape, but everything seemed to be going well. Until that point I expected my legs to cramp up before my lungs. 

I started to recognize the feeling of an allergy induced asthma attack and I was traveling without my inhaler or antihistamine. Doh!

As I blew my nose into a complimentary 7-11 napkin, I became keenly aware of the smell (and taste) of  smoke. 

That is when it dawned on me that I had charged full speed into burning season. This is the time of year when farmers burn off the rice husks in their fields and prepare for the next crop of rice. The practice pollutes the air with thick smoke and creates a potentially dangerous situation for those of us with asthma or other respiratory problems. 

If you have allergies, asthma, or any other respiratory problem that could lead to a medical emergency, be sure to keep that in mind when choosing your routes for the next couple of weeks. Also be sure to carry everything you need if you have an emergency. 

I finished my ride at about half-speed, and not after spraying the roadway with two dozen snot rockets. My throat was a bit sore and I had a pounding headache. Feeling much better now. 

Ride safe!

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