- Story Ideas
- Send Corrections
Since the age of seven, Topton resident Kate Veronneu has been dealing with the effects from Asthma - a chronic inflammatory disorder that affect approximately 25 million Americans. Not only has Veronneu not let it beat her, she hasn’t let it slow her down.
Despite her disorder, Kate is one of the top female cyclists in the nation. She has had five top 10 finishes in National Race Calendar events and just last month she finished seventh in the Chris Thater Memorial Race, which is one of the top 20 cycling races in the nation.
“I was pleased with my finished,” said Veronneau. “It came down to a sprint at the end and I really pushed hard to finish where I did.”
The dedication to the sport needed to reach the level Veronneu is at today is impressive. To get there while dealing with asthma, it’s amazing.
“I’ve learned how to manage my asthma over the years,” said Kate. I’ve worked with my doctor to manage it and I use ProAir (an inhaler) when I need it.”
Kate played high school basketball and went on to play basketball at Brown University. She was able to control her asthma, but since basketball is an indoor sport, the asthma did give her problems at times. Also a knee injury ended her college basketball career.
After college, she wanted to keep active, not letting her asthma defeat her. She attented a cycling event in the area and immediately knew what she wanted to do. Ten years later she’s among the nation’s elite in the sport.
“Knowing I have asthma, I believe has made me work harder to overcome it,” said Veronneau. “It’s like when an athlete is sick, he has his best game because he has to focus and work harder to overcome his sickness. I think I’ve worked harder at the sport than I would have if I didn’t have asthma. I’ve pushed myself harder to overcome it.”
She trains two to four hours a day, a heavy load for any healthy rider. She will admit that there are days when she eases off on her training if her asthma is acting up. But for the most part, it hasn’t limited her in anything.
Recently she led a group of cyclists on a 400-mile bike trip, climbing 50,000 feet up the mountains of Italy. It’s a grueling trip, made even worse for someone with asthma by the height of the mountains.
“I was concerned about it when I started out,” said Veronneau. “But I figured that as long as I had my inhaler, I’d be all right. As it turned out, it didn’t give me much trouble. I expected more trouble, but I had no more issues than usual.”
She expects to continue to compete at the professional level for just another couple of years, but she will be on a bike for many more.
“I love the sport,” said Kate. “The diversity of people I meet of every race is great and the sport has taken me to so many beautiful places. On top of that, it satisfies my competitive spirit.”