Fifty Plus (50+) - Need to put the fun back into riding
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07-30-05, 03:38 AM
Hi everyone, I'm just back from a ride and I wanted to share some thoughts with you. After a lifetime of surfing I started riding about 5 years ago, just two and from work, this led to me becoming involved in mountain biking I then introduced a friend of mine to the sport and we have been riding together since then. We both ride mountain bikes and do very little road riding. When we first started it was great we would be rolling around with laughter with how hopeless we were. Some of our best times was sitting beside a singletrack enjoying a great view. Once we were asked by a woman who pulled up beside us in her car if we were ok because we looked so wrecked. Slowley our skills improved and we got clipless pedals and better bikes and then we introduced a new team member to our small group, so now we were three. The new guy is about 15 years younger and had a bike that totally outclassed ours and now he leaves us for dead. That's fine, no problem, in fact where proud of him, but something has happened to the pure enjoyment we used to get from riding. Over the years different aspects of our riding skills has become apparent. One of us climbs great, another downhills great and another is a fantastic all rounder, so we are becoming somehow seperated and our rides seem to be competitive and driven by the need to get somewhere. In short we do not stop anywhere to smell the roses. Somehow we need to do something with or on our rides to bring back the enjoyment. I am 55 this year and want to continue riding (especially since I've just ordered a new bike) but it seems to be losing it edge. What can I (we) do?
07-30-05, 07:08 AM
I think you answered your own question: "our rides seem to be competitive and driven by the need to get somewhere.........we do not stop to smell the roses." It's probably happened to most of us (it has to me) that we forget that fun is why we started riding, but after our skill advance, we seem to want to do nothing except acquire more skills, get faster, jump higher, and somewhere along the line, we forget about the having fun part and just going out to enjoy the day, the ride, commaraderie(sp?).
Not every ride is a race, and you'll end up where you're going no matter how fast you get there. Lighten up, enjoy the ride.
Sometimes it's hard to turn off the competitive drive. If your group can, that's great. If they can't, perhaps try setting intermediate goals, so you can regroup at those points, and smell the roses there if not all along the ride. Sort of make it a stage workout; you can still 'race' to the bluff, but there's a stop at the bluff to regroup, laugh and enjoy the camaraderie. Sometimes everyone stays together from there; sometimes there's another mini-competition to the next checkpoint...but overall everyone stays together and interacts. It worked most of the time when I used to run with friends of differing abilities--maybe it'd work as well with cycling.
07-30-05, 08:21 AM
Take a small camera along..... I makes you slow down plus you get to make some memories! Works for me and my teenage sons who can smoke my old butt on anything.
Just my 2 cents.
07-30-05, 09:24 AM
I ride in a group, a couple of whom are competitive, and to be quite honest, when they do not turn up for a ride, I do not miss them. Forget the competitive riders and you still have different capabilities and fitness levels with riders within a group. We have one rule in our group and that is you ride at your level, your pace and your abilities. Going uphill off road we lose the competitive riders into the distance. The slower riders just say "see you at the top" and everyone goes at their level. If we have a rider that is suffering someone will drop back to him, but at the top of the hill we all regroup. This is where the competitive fit riders let us know how slow we are and that is why I would rather be without them. I am not out for a race- Ok I'm out for a good workout, and the good feeling that comes from sweating buckets and conquering that track and hill AGAIN. But I can no longer compete on the speed stakes.
Only thing is, there is always somewhere that the competitive ones let themselves down, and if they get that annoying, we will throw in the "Extra" hill, or the 10 mile extra loop, or that particularly nasty downhill that they do not like. If they get really annoying, we just tell them that we are Taking the Tandem next week, and we are doing a 65 miler so bring the packed lunch. For some reason, we have a trouble free ride that week. Usually without them.
I do ride the Tandem out on the hills and this thing is fast- None of our group can stay with it, and riding the Tandem with the solos does not give the Tandem riders a good ride. For that reason, we go out on our own in the evenings and do our fast competitive riding over 25 miles on our own. If we do go out with the solos, The competitive edge disappears completely from the whole group and we all settle down into a decent paced ride.
we have similar problems in our group, unfortunately the riders looking for a good time have dropped out of the club in favor of the go-getters. it's not an easy issue to resolve especially with only 3 people in the group.
1. look for ride partners who are in synch with your objectives
2. get an mp3 and solo it
07-30-05, 01:45 PM
Ride solo - it is great!
Take a camera, find new routes, discover new trails on your own, get a road bike for variety.
One day I try to find all the new flowers I can find and take pictures of them. Another, I set a mileage goal for myself (which is what I did this morning, and I met my goal). Another, I try to find some unknowing roadies and race them (well, they don't know it, so it makes it even more fun).
Variety is the spice of life. You can get more variety riding SOLO!
And, while not solo, lead rides for others (I lead rides for our seniors group at the church - it is a real blast to see their improvrment). It is sort of solo in that you are always the fastest - at least I am, and can go ahead and then return to shepherd the group.
I'm with Denver here. Riding with others is an occasional treat, but my real rides are solo. To tell the truth, when somebody asks to ride with me, sometimes I suggest we take a walk instead. There's less variation in walking styles than riding styles.
In our small town of 6500 in rural Oklahoma, there is a core group of about 35 road riders. Of that group, I am one of about 6 or 7 who likes to compete. This smaller group trains independently during the week. BUT, once a week we travel 30 miles to a dinner destination in the early evening after work. We all swap stories and gossip about bikes, etc. while we "wine and dine." We have an open trailer that holds twenty bikes, the others bikes are put in pickups or whatever else is available. Spouses (of both genders) who don't ride often, can start half-way and go at a slower pace and still arrive at the same time as everyone else. Most weeks we have about 20 of the regulars and a half-dozen non-riders (useful for sagmobiles) at the dinners. We go to various towns around the area.
On Sunday evenings, we have an ice cream ride of about 10-15 miles where newbies are very welcome. The fast guys get our mountain bikes out, The really fast guys let air out of their tires. Its fun and social.
The other days of the week, I try to go as fast as I can, as far as I can, for as long as I can.
Maybe some of these ideas can be modified for your group.
07-30-05, 03:10 PM
My favorite riding partners are women. They understand how to enjoy a ride without making it into a race. And they smell better. Usually.
07-30-05, 08:40 PM
Thanks for the great answers. I feel better about our rides already. The camera is a great idea, we started off taking lots of pics but got out of the habit. I will let you know how things go.
Since re-discovering the bike in the early 80's, I have floated in and out of too many groups to mention. The curent group I am involved in is a bonafide riding club with jerseys and all the rest of the kit. But this group is different. We have maybe 30 members. Within that group are 4 to 5 sup groups who ride together based on their interests. We have the competitors. The guys who cannot stand having anyone else's wheel in front of them. We have straight roadies. We have straight mtn bikers. But the subgroup that keeps it all cohesive are the rest of us. We float from group to group as the spirit moves us. I might go road one Sunday and then hit a Mtn Bike race the next Sunday. We do night rides. We do urban assault rides. The bottom line is we all love riding and allow each rider to enjoy it as they want to.
So do not sweat the loss of that first feeling you got when you discovered the joy of riding in the dirt. Just keep riding and the fun will find you.
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