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  1. #1
    Senior Member callmeclemens's Avatar
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    A question for the "older" Clydes/Athenas

    Hey,
    Sorry if this is going to be a little long winded but I need some guidence.
    Since lurking then posting here on BF, alot of the posters on here have taught me that despite ailments, size, or motivation, age is just a number.
    Yesterday despite gusts up to 60mph here is New Jersey my uncle was up from the south for a visit an we were riding no matter what. Now my Uncle has not only been a father figure to me at times in my life, but a role model as well. Much like many of you here, with a bike and a little bit of hope and motivation he was able to turn his life around and has been extrodinarily succesful and happy ever since. Yesterdays ride started slow, legs churning, battling against the wind, but after alot of work, we started to have fun racing back and forth, we wound up riding a good 50 miles, and as per tradition the ride ended at the bar half a mile from my house. It was there I had the most upsetting conversation with him in my life.

    No he's not sick, dying, or suffering from any severly painful ailment. In two months he's turning 51 and he feels that he's had ten good years or riding seriously, competeing in iron man competitions and triathalons,and bike races and he was primarily hanging up the bike. "It's a young mans sport" and its just to hard to find the motivation anymore.
    Now I know theres plenty of people around here around that age my question is is:

    Whats you're motivation and more over any ideas of what I could say to him to keep him hanging in there? I understand at the end of the day a bikes a bike and life will go on, though I know cycling is something that he really enjoys, and I'd hate to see him lose that.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Loves to suffer freighttraininguphill's Avatar
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    I'm not in my 50s yet, but you might want to tell him about Ned Overend (55) and Tinker Juarez (will be 50 next month). These are two MTB champions who were around in the early '90s when I was really into mountain biking, and they are still kicking arse today

  3. #3
    Neil_B
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    Hmm. First of all, I'd not take too seriously your uncle's comment. Ten years is a long time and older men are as prone to change their mind, and spout off nonsense in a bar, as younger ones.

    Secondly, I'd not try to change his mind at this point. Just keep him involved in your cycling activities in some way. If his love is still there in ten years, he'll keep at it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Perhaps he's just burned out on the training and competition aspect. I'd just keep riding with him and enjoying that. He'll either be glad to be done with competition or miss it and go back, only time will tell.

    I'm 51 and my motivation is weight control, exercise and enjoyment.

  5. #5
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    48 here and 51 aint really old. I think your uncle is more than likely just tired of the competitive side of riding or anything really. I've been consistent for 15 years now but I also got tired of going out on every ride to hammer a friend or accept a challenge. Maybe he needs to put aside the competitive spirit every now and then and start enjoying the time on the bike.

    Really, It's been competitive in every sport I've participated. Over the years it gets old being challenged every day, every time out. Sometimes you just have to sit back, chill and laugh at the others. I bet your uncle is at that point.

  6. #6
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    I'm 53 and have been cycling, as an adult, for 6 months. One of my cycling mentors, fast guy, is 63. I was just planning my next stage of training, for my first race, when I noticed this thread.

    Google cycling Masters 50 +
    This link is the 75 - 79 age group for the 2010 National Championships.
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/usa...trials/results

    Does your Uncle ride with any clubs or groups? If not, he may benefit from it. I ride with a club that does pace line rides and regularly get my butt kicked by folks older than me.

    When I saw the title to this thread my first instinct was This is not for me I'm too young
    Habit, if not changed, soon becomes necessity.

  7. #7
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    When I saw the title to this thread my first instinct was This is not for me I'm too young


    Yeah, I'm on the edge! The older cyclist I've met are 76-86. And the 76 (maybe 80 now) is Ironman Cliff. He was tearing all the young dudes a new one!

  8. #8
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    48 here and 51 aint really old. I think your uncle is more than likely just tired of the competitive side of riding or anything really. I've been consistent for 15 years now but I also got tired of going out on every ride to hammer a friend or accept a challenge. Maybe he needs to put aside the competitive spirit every now and then and start enjoying the time on the bike.

    Really, It's been competitive in every sport I've participated. Over the years it gets old being challenged every day, every time out. Sometimes you just have to sit back, chill and laugh at the others. I bet your uncle is at that point.
    This is what occurred to me, too. It may be that he's just tired of competition. There's a whole lot more to cycling than that, and if those other aspects of the sport bore him, the challenge of simply pushing yourself each time out can be a worthwhile pursuit, too. But I know lots of folks in their 50s, 60s and beyond who love cycling for all kinds of reasons, whether they compete or not, and continue to enjoy it immensely.
    Craig in Indy

  9. #9
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    There's something about the age of 50. The choices you've made in life have led you in a certain direction. For some, you've accomplished the goals you put before you. After the satisfaction of success wears off you ask yourself "What's next?" You realize the time and dedication it takes to excel. So if you decide to go in another direction and take on that new challenge, something's got to giveway. This may be what your uncle is doing. Then again, sometimes it's fun to twist the tail of the younger generation.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    When I saw the title to this thread my first instinct was This is not for me I'm too young
    Me either, but I just turned 48, hear AARP breathing down my neck. But if your uncle is maybe feeling the stress of training or racing, let him be. If he truly loves it, he'll be back in the thick of it...

  11. #11
    Senior Member callmeclemens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    . Maybe he needs to put aside the competitive spirit every now and then and start enjoying the time on the bike.

    Really, It's been competitive in every sport I've participated. Over the years it gets old being challenged every day, every time out. Sometimes you just have to sit back, chill and laugh at the others. I bet your uncle is at that point.
    Hey thanks thats a great bit of advice. The more I think about it you may be right, from my understanding he mostly rides with younger very competative people. I'll just to my best to keep things fun and simple when he and I ride, and leave him to whatever it is he wants to do.

    thanks guys!

  12. #12
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callmeclemens View Post
    Hey thanks thats a great bit of advice. The more I think about it you may be right, from my understanding he mostly rides with younger very competative people. I'll just to my best to keep things fun and simple when he and I ride, and leave him to whatever it is he wants to do.

    thanks guys!
    You know what makes it fun for me, is "riding together". Too many times I have people suggest we do a ride. Fine sounds like fun but we hit the road and they draft for 30 40 miles and "won't" take the lead. Then when they do, they kick up the pace 5 miles an hour and try to drop you. After 2 minutes they fade then hop back on your whee after you spent the entire time trying to catch back up.

    Or the guy that sucks your wheel for 20 miles then sprints around and boasts about dropping you.

    This actually happened to me. Invited on a ride, a pretest ride while considering a double century and partner. He drafts for 59.75 miles and won't take the front cause he can't hold the pace. In the last 1/4 mile, he sprints around, drops me while looking back then at the end says,"I felt so good I just had to go with it!".

    This type of stuff takes away from the enjoyment of riding. Now if I could find a partner that actually takes turns? Heck if I'm going to have someone on my wheel the entire time, I'd rather it be my wife. Who BTW, will take the front if I need it.

    I f I had a partner that helped me out instead of trying to impress me by dropping me after I pull for 40 miles, we'd both do a good a fun pace.

    Hopefully you don't do these things to your uncle! They're a real downer. You'd have better luck keeping him on the bike and enhancing his enjoyment if you work with him instead of against him! (not saying you do, just don't)

  13. #13
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    It sounds like all he needs is a break. Whether that is from competition, or training, or whatever he just needs some time away.

    Every athlete experiences it at some point in their life. Either a loss of interest or a loss of motivation. Perhaps your uncle will get involved in another sport. Perhaps he doesn't like the constant grind of preparing for races. Perhaps he has lingering injuries that keep him from preforming at his best.

    Nothing you can do but support him either way.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member callmeclemens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I f I had a partner that helped me out instead of trying to impress me by dropping me after I pull for 40 miles, we'd both do a good a fun pace.

    Hopefully you don't do these things to your uncle! They're a real downer. You'd have better luck keeping him on the bike and enhancing his enjoyment if you work with him instead of against him! (not saying you do, just don't)
    Ha no I don't even riding competativley I'm not much for being the star, a major part of my enjoyment to competative cycling is the team strategy. We rode in up to 60mph gust yesterday and we took turns facing the wind while the other road close behind, then once we turned around and road with the wind, thats when we picked it up and got competative with each other.

  15. #15
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    One of the local guys says "You don't stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing". That's not entirely true, but there's some truth in it.

    In the last year or two, I've taken up randonneuring. Yesterday, I rode my second 300k ride. On the one hand, it's fun, on the other hand, I can see that this is something I might enjoy for 5 or 10 years, but it's not something I'm going to be doing when I'm 80, either. And figuring out how to gracefully back out of it could be a trick as well.

    It sounds to me like maybe your uncle feels like he's accomplished all he's going to accomplish in terms of competition, and it's just a gradual downhill slide from where he's at. That could be mentally tough to deal with.

    I would say, he needs to reorient his thinking more towards fun stuff rather than competition. Whether he's interested in doing that is a different matter.

    You might check into randonneuring with him, the chief advantage being that it is not competitive (although, a competitively minded person may still turn it into a competition.)
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  16. #16
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Hopefully you don't do these things to your uncle! They're a real downer.
    Half-wheeling is a practice best avoided, too. It can be pretty annoying. That's when you're riding two abreast and the other guy continually pulls just a little ahead of you.
    Craig in Indy

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    It sounds like all he needs is a break. Whether that is from competition, or training, or whatever he just needs some time away.

    Every athlete experiences it at some point in their life. Either a loss of interest or a loss of motivation. Perhaps your uncle will get involved in another sport. Perhaps he doesn't like the constant grind of preparing for races. Perhaps he has lingering injuries that keep him from preforming at his best.

    Nothing you can do but support him either way.
    Well said.

    What we all forget is that passions don't have to be life-long. A month ago I played my first game of chess since 2004. I took little pleasure in it. Hard to believe I used to play in tournaments every weekend....

  18. #18
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Find another hobby to do with him.
    Over the last 16 years I have started a new hobby 4 times and gone into it 100% to the exclusion of all else.
    wine making - over 100 litres per year.
    radio controlled gliders - building and flying, but I sucked at flying so good thing I liked building, and rebuilding.
    Long distance walking - 3 walks totalling 2780 kms in 108 days.
    Cycling - Sunday rides for fun, and touring.

    Each of these hobbies can be done alone, but are greatly enhanced when shared with a friend or club.
    Quality time with your uncle is what you want. What you do during that time is of little consequence.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  19. #19
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    Refer your uncle to the bike forums for older people. I am 56 (I think) and I am not thinking about retiring my bikes.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callmeclemens View Post
    Hey thanks thats a great bit of advice. The more I think about it you may be right, from my understanding he mostly rides with younger very competative people. I'll just to my best to keep things fun and simple when he and I ride, and leave him to whatever it is he wants to do.

    thanks guys!
    If he has a computer with internet, refer him to the 50+ forum, lots of old guys over there that will tell him plenty about riding as an older rider, some of the guys over there are your uncles age, at least one is over 75. My plan is to retire over there from here when I turn 50 in June, I need to lose 25lbs first

  21. #21
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    I'll be 63 this summer and I ride every Saturday with a local bike club that is mostly composed of racers. I can't keep up with them on the hills, but I can hold my own on the flats and of course downhill gravity is my dearest friend. The group I ride with averages between 18 to 20 mph on the 45 mile ride. During the week I ride 3 days, each day between 25 and 45 miles. On alternate days I do strength training, mainly upper body work. What's my motivation? Simple. To be able to do at least what I did yesterday. If I do a tiny bit better, I'm thrilled. But not deteriorating is a victory in itself.

    I started biking 7 years ago, when I was 56. At the beginning (and also 40 lbs. heavier than I am now), I could barely do 25 miles. Now that's just a warmup.

    I think the hardest thing I had to learn at my age was to stop competing with everyone else all the time. Yes, on my weekend group ride I let my competitive spirit guide me, but the rest of the time I just try to enjoy myself. I might have a hard workout, but I'm comparing my performance to myself, not someone else. That's especially important in southern CA, where there are world class bicyclists all over the place.

    It could be that he also needs a bit of time to adjust. Before 50, you're constantly improving, or at least you can psyche yourself into thinking you are. But you reach a certain age where you realize you're not going to improve that much, if at all. Time is no longer on your side. Sure, you can get stronger, but you'll never be where you were 15 years ago or even 10 years ago. You have to get into a different mindset.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    I'm 53 and the motivation is that so many others never get to see 53.

    I don't see it any different than any other sport. Golf, hockey, bowling, tennis, darts even slow-pitch etc.
    You move from the organized competitive structure to recreational leagues to pick-up games et-al along the time horizon.
    It comes with age, time constraints, changing priorities and interests.

    I suspect most continue to ride, play golf, basketball, hockey etc. for the enjoyment, the side effects of health, fitness and camaraderie are a bonus.

    As others have already noted, your uncle probably needs some time to adjust and find some different riding challenges.

    Regardless, as long as he is healthy and happy he can't be too far off the rails if he continues to ride or not.

  23. #23
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    Odd..... I'm 51, been riding seriously for 10 years, too. (No competitive events, though...)

    I went through that stage about 5 years ago; using my commutes as a training tool, got more wrapped up in ET's than the experience. Took all the joy away, and I was ready to go back to driving.

    Seven weeks with my arm in a cast changed that for me.

    Only once since then have I concerned myself with 'results', and that was only to shut up the pesky voice in the back of my head that allowed an old co-worker's bragging to become a nettle. (The co-worker boasted of his ET for a 32-mile out-n-back on the local MUP, 1:55:00. In '09, I decided to beat it, just to do it and get that episode over with. *1:49:30* He was on a hardtail, I was on full-suss, about 6lb heavier than his bike.)

  24. #24
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    OK, so lots of possibilities here.

    He may be interested in less-competitive cycling. Randonneuring might be a good switch. It's challenging, but you don't compete against others so much as you compete against yourself.

    He may be ready for a change in his life. It might be his 'half time' in life, and he's re-evaluating what he's done the first half, and is checking his game plan for the second half.

    He might just be burnt out from cycling. Or trying to get you to buy his current road bike so he can justify buying a new one in three months when he changes his mind again.
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  25. #25
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    I'm 53 and my egocentric self centered narcissism is all the motivation I need.
    http://img1.jurko.net/avatar_14902.gif


    *Common sense clearly isn't common*

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