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Cyclocross

Katie Compton’s asthma lands her in hospital

Five-time U.S. cyclocross champion Katie Compton was hospitalized for an asthma attack on Sunday after racing Alabama’s Bump n’ Grind cross-country race, the third round of USA Cycling’s Pro Cross-country Tour (ProXCT). Compton, who was riding at the front of the race alongside Luna riders Catherine Pendrel and Georgia Gould, was forced to abandon on the third of four laps after suffering breathing problems. Paramedics hooked Compton to an oxygen flow and took her to a nearby hospital.

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By Fred Dreier

Five-time U.S. cyclocross champion Katie Compton was hospitalized for an asthma attack on Sunday after racing Alabama’s Bump n’ Grind cross-country race, the third round of USA Cycling’s Pro Cross-country Tour (ProXCT).

Compton, who was riding at the front of the race alongside Luna riders Catherine Pendrel and Georgia Gould, was forced to abandon on the third of four laps after suffering breathing problems. Paramedics hooked Compton to an oxygen flow and took her to a nearby hospital.

“It was definitely scary, I’ve never had anything like that happen to me,” Compton told VeloNews. “I should have dropped out sooner but I’m stubborn and I hate quitting. I told myself if I hung on I could get fifth or sixth, but I got to the point where if I didn’t get out of the woods I was going to be in serious trouble.”

Compton was an early aggressor in the race, and made the front group alongside Pendrel, Gould and another Luna teammate, Katerina Nash. Pendrel eventually out sprinted Gould for the victory.

Compton said she’s suffered from mild asthma for the majority of her career as a cyclist, but that she rarely was affected by the breathing disorder in cyclocross races. She said she suffered a mild asthma attack after finishing third at the 2008 UCI world cyclocross championships in the Netherlands. The attack in Alabama was the worst attack she’s ever suffered.

Compton has a prescription for Albuterol, written by a friend who is a Colorado-based ER doctor. However Compton never filled out a Therapeutic Exemption Form (TUE) with the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) because she has only used the inhaler during training, never during competition.  

That’s all going to change, Compton said. She said she has an appointment with a Colorado Springs-based pulmonolgist this week, and plans to ask for an Albuterol prescription.

“I’m going to have to fill out an emergency TUE form, and it will take about three weeks to process,” Compton said. “I plan on racing more and I can’t do it without an inhaler. The last thing I want to do is compromise my health.”

Compton’s presence at the Alabama cross-country marks a step toward more involvement in mountain bike racing for the world-class cyclocross racer. Compton regularly suited up for mountain bike races in the late 1990s, and is the reigning short-track national champion. Compton said she plans to race the June 13 ProXCT race in Colorado Springs, the July 16-18 USA Cycling national mountain bike championships and the July 26 and August 2 rounds of the UCI World Cup in Quebec.

“I want to use this year to get my feet wet and see where I fit in,” Compton said. “I want to keep getting faster and be more of an all-arounder. Cyclocross season is so short, I get done in January and I’m still ready to race.”

The news comes after Compton and longtime sponsor Spike Shooter parted ways. Compton raced the Bump N’ Grind race wearing the jersey of the Sho Air-Specialized team, and hopes that she can work out a future sponsorship deal for mountain bike racing and cyclocross.