Monday, August 27, 2007

Not Cycling Good for the Lungs?

Ah, the "Great New York State Fair" is on!

It has rickety rides, game hawkers hoarse from cigarette smoke, and loads and loads of the same cheap junk to buy every year. At the beginning of August every year, someone asks, "You going to the fair this year?" and I reply with "No. It's the same junk every year."

And then somehow I always end up there.

This year my dad announced he would be driving up to go to the fair during senior citizen day (a.k.a. motorized scooter day). Senior citizens get in free, and if you go on this day, you have to have eyes in the back of your head to avoid getting your heels clipped by excited grannies on scooters. I decided to pop in for the morning to keep him company and put in some "guy" time.

We made a circuit of the "Center of Progress" building as soon as it opened. Every stupid TV infomercial is represented. Mops, slicers, glass cleaner, shower heads, cheap jewelry - you name it - is on sale. People cram into this place shoulder to shoulder.

A local radio station is running a mullet count. They're sitting at the fair and keeping a running tally of how many mullets walk past. A lot, I'm sure. The number of huge women in leather halter tops and pink spandex shorts is disturbingly high as well.

Anyway, I think of the state fair as my annual free asthma exam. There's always a booth in the "Feats of Strength" building - probably not the real name - where they do spirometer lung function tests. I actually discovered I had asthma many years ago at that very booth.

I started on a new medication about a month ago, so I was interested to see how well I could do now, but since I haven't been riding much, I thought maybe my results wouldn't be that strong.

I blew great numbers!

My total volume was 6.08 liters, 116% average. My peak flow was 10.25 L/s, 104% average. Even my lower lung numbers which usually stink were up at 67% average. My previous high had been only in the 40% range.

So either the new medication is working, or else by not riding, I'm not breathing in as many allergen triggers. Or maybe some of both. In any case, my lungs are looking pretty average - and that's a good thing. The bad part is this lessens my list of excuses for being slow.


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