Fifty Plus (50+) - Big boys asked if I wanted to "jump on"...
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I was embarassed yesterday, but thought I'd post it anyway. On yesterday's ride, I passed a group of about six young guys out training on a team ride. They were on the side of the road doing something to one of the bikes. As I passed, I thought I'd see if I could stay ahead of them for the next few miles (I had a spot picked out as a goal). Just why I thought this was a good idea is beyond me. I mean I've told myself numerous times to drop the competitive stuff when riding. Yesterday it was to no avail. I drop the chain down two cogs and really started to push. I was flying along at around 24 mph, but as I looked in my helmet mirror, I could see them starting to gain. I dropped down another cog, but was starting to pay for it. It didn't matter much, because they were still gaining on me. OK, so now I go up a cog so that I'm not out of breath when they fly by, and I can at least talk. It takes another four or five minutes, but they catch me. Instead of flying by, however, the lead guy shouts out, "On your wheel!" I flick my left hand up as a wave of acknowledgement. So, suddendly, I'm leading the pace line. (Now the next part is the embarassment and shame on me part). I drop down a gear and push hard for about 100strokes. Now I'm feeling spent and drift off to the left to drop out of the line. They keep the pace, but as the last guy comes by he says, "Come on man. Jump on." So with all the effort I have left I jump on his wheel, but I'm having a hard time holding it. He calls out ahead to his team mates, "Drop it down a bit." And they do. They let me ride through the line and I get to pull one more time. As I drop back, I say thanks, but I'm done. They never say a word, but two of them wave as they continue flying down the road, and I'm left with the all too painful realization of just how much difference there is between a highly fit 20 something and a moderately fit 50+er.
Reflecting on this at home I realize this ride was a thrill and a half for me. Perhaps I'm being delusional, but I'm thinking I was at least riding well enough that they allowed me to ride with them as long as I could hold it. But, darn... I simply couldn't hold it very long. But while I was there... aaahhh, now that was cool.
12-18-06, 08:39 AM
Don't be so hard on yourself. Congratulations for doing what you did - to me that is pretty amazing!
12-18-06, 08:41 AM
I see nothing but positives in this.
12-18-06, 09:47 AM
A rear view of a still to attain fitness 20 year old is about the same as an accomplished Muscular rider. The only bit you see is the legs. In catching you they probably put in more effort than they wanted so had to sit behind you to compose themselves. The last guy was probably there because he needed a rest so hence his call to take the pace out a bit. Then again- you had probably done 30 or so miles on your own whilst they have only done 5 or so in an easy pace line.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
My experience with such is that 20-30 somethings have an enormous advantage in recovery time. You may be as strong as they are but after bursts of maximal effort it takes 50++ riders 2-4min to recover where they recover in 30 sec or occasionally less.
12-18-06, 10:03 AM
Recovery time-exactly, I can ride with most younger riders but I can't keep up the pace as long as they can. A hard fact to learn. Reality can be cruel. Just remember most guys your age are still at home watching football and mowing the lawn while your out riding, its pretty cool that your in the shape your in.
12-18-06, 10:34 AM
Don't forget that, before you met up, they were riding in a pace line while you were pushing solo...they haven't expended as much energy as you!
12-18-06, 10:42 AM
We Fifty +ers are much nicer than those in some other forums. Someone posted a similar "encounter" over in the racing forum and the flames have not yet stopped. I liked the story and am glad that you found the experience a thrill and that the yungins were polite.
Oops should I have said "fora"?
12-18-06, 10:54 AM
I am glad you had a good time riding with the boys. May the juices always flow.
12-18-06, 11:01 AM
...Perhaps I'm being delusional, but...
I hope you're not speaking ill of being delusional.
12-18-06, 11:02 AM
Nothing to feel bad about. I was talking to someone about a recent race with the youngsters (that I won) and said perhaps they felt bad - the person (a youngster) said probably not, they probably was thrilled to think that when they are your age, they could be dropping youngsters.
Even being in the race is pretty cool for people our age. They should hope to be still riding when this old.
12-18-06, 12:46 PM
its all good. some younger riders cannot do what you did, so congratulate yourself and a big pat on the back for trying and hanging as long as you did.
12-18-06, 12:48 PM
Not to mention the skills competition...I'll bet you're alot less squirrly going down the backside of a mountain. There's just some handling skills that get better with age..... not bravado... just knowin'.
12-18-06, 01:19 PM
How could you feel bad about a great experience like that? I would be thrilled.
Yesterday, I was in the middle of a 50 miler and 2 slightly younger guys caught me from behind; they weren't 20 somethings, but they looked the part. There was about a 10-12 mph headwind and I was just kind of cruising alone at about 15.5mph. I jumped in behind them and they were going just a little faster, maybe 17.5 to 18. Then they switched places and the pace dropped a little. Then they switched again and the guy that had been pulling dropped behind me.
After about 10 minutes, I asked the lead guy if he wanted me to pull a while, which I haven't really done much in my short over 55 riding career. He did, and I rode at a rock solid 18.5 for maybe 15 minutes or so. I was going into a park to backtrack and they were continuing on. I thanked them, and one of them said something like "good pull, man, thanks". It made my day!
12-18-06, 01:21 PM
How fast was the pace when you joined the line? Just think if you hadn't try to keep ahead of them you may have had enough gas to keep pace with them for the rest of their ride. Looking forward to the day that I have your same experience.
The only one stressed out about it is you. They were young, so were we at one time, but life goes on. They sounded like a bunch of great guys. Enjoy the moment, you did your best. 24 mph is nothing to be embarrassed about.
12-18-06, 01:46 PM
Just like what we tell the kids..... as long as you tried..
Sounds like a good bunch, actually.
12-18-06, 02:34 PM
I agree with the others - there was no shame in maintaining that pace, even if for only a short time. You must have impressed the youngsters or they wouldn't have invited you into the paceline.
12-18-06, 03:18 PM
Sounds like you did great to me as well. There is no way you are going to stay ahead of a pace line, pro's usually can't even do that. The fact that you were pushing as hard as you could and still had enough to jump on the pace line wheel is great. Many times on fast group rides after I have been pulling I get dropped off the back, its easy to stay in the middle and hang on but when your flat out grabbing that tail is about as hard as it gets.
12-18-06, 06:34 PM
Nice story. I'm not only impressed with you, but with the other guys. Very friendly cyclists. Cool.
Hey, I'm all over this story. It's what I find fun now that I'm 56. The thing to do is just smile and enjoy it when they finally drop you.
Like others said, several guys working in a pace line can leave a single in the dust unless the single is a really, really strong rider. You used everything up before they got on your wheel as you spent a lot more energy staying ahead of them than what they were burning catching up to you. Had you started out with them you could have stayed with them a lot longer. However, once you're up front pulling and you use "too much" its really easy to get dropped. I've learned that lesson time and time and time again. You always have to hold a little in reserve while pulling as the next guy in a pace line is usually ready to go a little harder. If its too slow for them then someone will go on around and start pulling.......
12-19-06, 05:18 PM
Thats a good story! They sound like a good bunch.
I have the exact same story .... except the group is upper 50's to mid 60's , so I don't even have the excuse that they have age on me! lol Course most of them measure their riding careers in decades and two of them wear State age group champion jerseys.
Oh well, there is always someone who's faster. :D
Ditto on the kudos to the young guys. At a time when the testosterosi's bad manners get all the press, these guys deserve the headlines here. I suspect they were a lot higher in class than Cat 3...
Nice story and nothing to be ashamed of. At 66, I've had similar experiences and feel good that I can stay with people 25 yr younger and often beat them in a sprint. There are times when I have off days and am dropped, but what the hell, I've had a good time and a good workout.
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