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  1. #1
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    I'm 58. Been riding off and on since the only energy drink was YooHoo. In the past few years, I've found myself noticing what I think is age: lower gears on hills, longer recovery from hard rides, instinctively going slower on descents, generally less power to push the bigger gears I did maybe 4 or 5 years ago, getting out of the saddle for lesser reasons, and so on. I also find myself not jumping every time a faster rider goes by....with few rueful feelings beyond a twinge of mild but not painful envy.

    Reassuringly, my riding distances, my stamina, seems less affected. I just go slower. I don't mind that. Have to recognize age & mortality, etc. while at the same time not being intimidated by it. Happily, I still of course respond and improve with structured training after a layoff....though I notice I retain fitness not quite as well when I can't ride for a few weeks. I take as much, if not more, pleasure in riding...I appreciate the process as much as the achievement nowadays-- especially when I see my recliner-bound peers.

    Question: are others here experiencing the same over-all curve? Your experience?


    P.S. I enjoy the company of you guys (and girls) and check in to "Fifty Plus" at least once a day. Sometimes I get mildly smart-ass, but depend on Fox, Gee, Step, Far, Velo and others to keep a mature, steady hand on the keyboard.

    I'm leaving in a few minutes to ride with a guy who has cystic fibrosis and all its accompanying complications. He wants to ride a metric in November. One nice thing about cycling is that I meet so many people "out there" and here that are just downright admirable.

  2. #2
    Senior Member GeorgeBaby's Avatar
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    I'm 55, and see the same thing.

    Used to be, my overall cruising speed was 17-19, now it's 13-15, and hills are definitely steeper than they used to be. My century times have gotten only slightly worse, though (and I can still do them).

  3. #3
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    I'm with you guys. In the end, though, it really doesn't matter much to me personally. So, in the context of my age, I make a mental image of myself, both physically and psychologically, with and without riding and riding has the great advantage.

    I'm not the young buck anymore and don't expect my speed or recovery time to be at the same level. I do like to see steady improvement though from whereI was when I starting cycling anew.

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Seeing the same, and Can't say its a cure, but it does help me. I slacken off riding and training about now as there are not too many rides planned, This will mean that the gym will not get as many visits from me midweek, but the Sunday rides will still be just as much a workout. Then about the end of November I will have to start getting fit for next years rides, and Back to the gym for the workouts instead of just going through the motions. That will be hard, and I will find that the sunday rides will be slower, I can't be bothered to chase the 30year olds up the slopes, and the recovery time will be longer.

    Once I get back to fitness though, The training drug takes over and a 2 hour Gym session is just about long enough, the 30 mile offroad rides could be a little longer, but is enough for my riding partners, and the 30 year olds are not as fast as they used to be.

    I am losing speed, fitness, stamina etc through age and the only problem is its takes longer at the gym to keep and retain the fitness I think I should have. Perhaps I should not slacken off for the next couple of months, but my body is crying out for a rest already, so Slacking time is just about here.

    Age by the way is 58

  5. #5
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannyGear
    P.S. I enjoy the company of you guys (and girls) and check in to "Fifty Plus" at least once a day. Sometimes I get mildly smart-ass, but depend on Fox, Gee, Step, Far, Velo and others to keep a mature, steady hand on the keyboard.
    Depending on me to keep a mature steady hand on the keyboard may bring your judgment into question (although I must thank you for the laff this morning!), but here's all I can add to this discussion.

    I'm getting BACK into shape. I finally realized that although round is a shape, it's not the one I want to be in. So I can't measure how much I'm adjusting to being older, or how much I'm slowing down. The great advantage we reformed couch potatoes have is that everything looks like improvement!

    And for me, some of that improvement has been so subtle that, when discovered, brings great joy. For instance, I'll go hammering up a short hill (has to be short!), and suddenly realize that a month ago, I couldn't do that. Or i'll see a fork in the road (so to speak) and deliberately take the more difficult path. Two months ago, I would never have done that.

    For me, the interesting intellectual challenge is trying to evaluate how well I'm doing when I've nothing to compare it to. I don't remember how I felt when I was fit back in high school. I don't remember how I felt when I was skin and bones (I barely remember there was such a time!). And, what I have to remember is that not EVERY ride needs to be a "training" ride (I think that's where some of my boredom cited on another thread came from).

    My two biggest lessons so far are: it's not too late to get in shape and enjoy physical activity, and I don't (and shouldn't, and can't) compare myself to the young bucks who go rolling by me like I was track standing.

    I'm rambling. Time to get out and "do" Mission Bay, taking the Fiesta Island long-cut (as opposed to short-cut?) as was recommended by Litespeed.

    Keeping a steady hand! **snort!**
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
    2012 Masi Evoluzione
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    Proud member of the original Club Tombay

  6. #6
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Every day is a new adventure!

    I compare myself only with myself, and during this recovery process from the ablation, I can see marked improvement in being able to sustain a higher heart rate without going into fibrillation.

    What I KNOW -

    No one in the 10 houses either side of me can begin to keep up with me on a bicycle. We have a couple of runners, and I suppose they could quickly get in shape for bicycling, but right now I am the MAN. (And my wife is the GAL)

    And that includes a guy about 25, and all ages in-between mine (almost 66) and 25.

    As to how fast I used to go - I didn't start this nonsense until I was about 58, and I haven't noticed a significant decline since then. What I have had is a bunch of physical problems not related to bicycling that have thrown me off (trigeminal neuralgia, atrial fibrillation, shingles, supposed sleep apnea) my stride a bit, and I feel like someone at times is deliberately pushing me off my bike.

    But, I try to just get back up, dust myself off and give it another shot.

    I also enjoy the weight lifting. When I was in the hospital ER 3 weeks ago in Marin GH right after the ablation, the MD was trying to use a portable sonograph to view my heart. He told me "You are too buff, Mr. Fox, and the sound waves won't go through all your muscle." He finally succeeded in viewing everything he wanted, and it was OK. Don't know whether I was happy or not. My weight lifting was interfering with my heart diagnosis!

    And beside, it IS about fun, after all.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-17-05 at 04:57 PM.

  7. #7
    On the road again
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    Two changes I've seen in my cycling capability, one I have definitely gotten slower and take less risks and two I'm okay with that. My average speed from when I was in my 30's and use to race is way down but that is okay. I'll hammer when I feel like it, and enjoy the sights when the mood hits. Some things I've found that have changed a lot are climbs and the recovery just over the hill and the time to get back to pace speed. Most of the hill issue is the fact I'm carrying about 25 more lbs than when I was 30. Now the upside is that I don't have to worry about burnout and evaluating and comparing every ride. In addition, I use to be very extremely aggressive working my way through intersections and after a very bad accident caused by me misjudging where all the cars were ( I was 46 at the time, go figure) I'm now a laid back dude in traffic. To date I haven't seen any fall off in endurance, I can still go out the day after a 60-80 mile ride and put in a strong 30-40. The other change I've seen is the need to manage calories and hydration much better on long hot rides. I also agree with you that retention of my fitness level seems less than it use to be. One other change is that on a long ride it seems to take longer to get a real nice rhythm going in terms of lege and lungs working well. I do don't feel the need to say with anyone that passes me or drop someone I catch, when I catch someone now I'll usually slow down and chat with them for a while before getting back up to speed.

  8. #8
    Drive the Bicycle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannyGear
    I also find myself not jumping every time a faster rider goes by....
    --- That may also be a function of your maturity.

    Once I passed age 45, I finally realized I had nothing to prove. Keep on riding, brother.
    "The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man's metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well." Ivan Illich ('Energy and Equity')1974

  9. #9
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    32 years old vs 51 years old:

    Speed is UP. I ride at a faster average speed compared to my "youth" and I ride the same bike! I think this may be due to almost all solo riding now and more social/group riding then.

    Power is DOWN Max sprint speed is down quite a bit. Now I struggle to hit 29 mph for 1/2 mile on flats with no wind. Before I could do much better. Takes longer to recovery from the effort now, too.

    Stamina is about the same. Slightly better times for 80+ mile rides now, but I don't think I could survive a 150+ mile ride today.

    Recovery time is WAY UP. The thought of back to back century rides now scary and I used to do them routinely.

    One difference is that now I am actually trying to ride faster and I'm training for it. Back then I was more interested in just riding long distances without regard to speed.

  10. #10
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannyGear
    ... In the past few years, I've found myself noticing what I think is age: lower gears on hills, longer recovery from hard rides, instinctively going slower on descents, generally less power to push the bigger gears I did maybe 4 or 5 years ago, getting out of the saddle for lesser reasons, and so on...
    Reassuringly, my riding distances, my stamina, seems less affected. I just go slower. I don't mind that. Have to recognize age & mortality, etc. while at the same time not being intimidated by it...
    Question: are others here experiencing the same over-all curve? Your experience?
    I stopped riding - like completely off - at end of my 47th year. Was still competing at that point, so those capabilities were clearly in my mind when I decided to get back on the bike mid summer last year at 55. At 1st I was accepting that being both overweight, much lower cardio/aerobic capacity, and non-existant riding muscles would mean very hard progress. Now, even after a 5 month layoff due to a serious mishap, I'm still way off the mark of where I was 9 years ago.
    Everything in cycling is a measure of power and aerobic capacity - speed, stamina, climbing and general strength.
    I'm learning to live with what I now have, but the thing that still discourages me, while doing group 'performance' rides is the huge difference in the recovery rate. After a hard effort, the recovery is significantly much slower than before. Its hard to be okay with yourself when you're goin off the back on short, hard climbs that you used to lead the group over. I'm learning to get a little smarter, which includes being an expert wheel suckin leech.
    Is it all bad? nope, it just is.

  11. #11
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    "Give me the grace to change what I can, and accept what I can't." As so often echoes around here.....slower, slow, slowest is still better than not at all---and one heck of a lot better than petrifying in a recliner in front of the tube.

    Besides, often when a twerp rockets by me I remember to think, "I wasn't always older, and you won't always be younger...hope you're enjoying this as much when you're my age."

  12. #12
    Senior Member glassman's Avatar
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    At 54, June of this year, I started riding my Lemond, I have been improving so I can not see a decline but when I do, I will just be grateful for what cycling has done for me so far. Losing weight and improving my heart may help me live longer and all the new friends I have met over the last few months are a real bonus.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Welcome to the club. I'm 57 and have noticed a diminishment in almost all areas of performance. Frankly, I find getting old a real pain in the ass, but there is nothing I can do but keep going and enjoy life as much as I can. Good luck.
    Trek 2300
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  14. #14
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackb
    Frankly, I find getting old a real pain in the ass, but ...
    it beats the alternative.

  15. #15
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Wait....I just thought of something at which I still excel with all the vigor of youth...EATING.

    On second thought, I recall coming in from running my daily 5 miles years ago and sometimes eating an entire loaf of french bread with a couple of lattes. I'm not quite up to that but still going strong in the kitchen....if not so much in the bedroom.

    P.S. "My Daily 5 Miles" and overuse injuries are what sent me over to cycling....ain't it grand!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    I think there are lots of studies that show performance degradation can be minimized with a very structured training program and more time for recovery. However, the 50+ crowd generally isn't interested in pursuing a structured training program, I'm certainly not. I can enjoy a slower ride, but if you want to maintain performance there are many programs you can go read about. Interval training seems to be important.

  17. #17
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildwood
    I think there are lots of studies that show performance degradation can be minimized with a very structured training program and more time for recovery. However, the 50+ crowd generally isn't interested in pursuing a structured training program, I'm certainly not. I can enjoy a slower ride, but if you want to maintain performance there are many programs you can go read about. Interval training seems to be important.
    Yes, I am 130 years old and still do a century in 6 hours. No performance degradation here.

  18. #18
    Bent_Rider
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    Maybe it's cause I got a new lightweight recumbent, but my avg. speeds have increased over the past 5 years. I'm now 51. My overall times on centurys are better as well.

    In 2001 my avg speed on the Death Ride was 10.3. Last year was 10.9 and this year 11.0mph. I got my Aero in 2003. Gotta love Ti and carbon.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildwood
    I think there are lots of studies that show performance degradation can be minimized with a very structured training program and more time for recovery. However, the 50+ crowd generally isn't interested in pursuing a structured training program, I'm certainly not. I can enjoy a slower ride, but if you want to maintain performance there are many programs you can go read about. Interval training seems to be important.
    I agree completely. I haven't slowed. I find that I need to do more milage though to get at a peak level. I used to get to that level of fitness and conditioning witha few hundres miles in the Spring. Now I need to do more than double the overall distance in terms of base milage. I also can't do as many consectutive hard days either.

    I

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