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  1. #1
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    When do you hang it up?

    I ride a mountain race here every year for the last 9 years in the road category. It is 13 miles with 3000 feet vertical gain, a real bear of a climb and this year I logged my personal best, 1 hour and 4 minutes. I'm 52 and for the first time this year really wondered if I'm getting too long in the tooth for this sort of thing and have since thought about hanging up racing and just ride for the fun of it. Anyone else ever have these doubts? This race requires basically a maximum heart beat for over one hour, in my case over 170 and lately I'm concerned with doing these efforts at my age, think I'm fretting over nothing or is it time for the rocking chair?

  2. #2
    What's the speed of dark?
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    Quote Originally Posted by roscoe50
    ...This race requires basically a maximum heart beat for over one hour, in my case over 170 and lately I'm concerned with doing these efforts at my age, think I'm fretting over nothing or is it time for the rocking chair?
    Holy Smoley.. you're way out of my league for me to be giving you any advice. I thought I was doing OK at my level of performance. Although I can, and often do, hit over 170 BPMs I'm nowhere close to maintaining that for over an hour. All I can say is do what your body tells you to do. If you think maybe you should back off, then maybe you should back off. I've been riding 180 - 240 miles a week lately and I've been asking myself why I should keep it up. I'm getting too old for this stuff so why should I keep pushing myself so hard? It would be so much easier to sit back and watch the younger guys push themselfs. In the end I tell myself its because I can. When I get to the point where I physically can't then I'll back off. Hats off to you buddy for doing what most 30 year olds can't

  3. #3
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    OK, Lance Jr. - retire if you want to, but if I were you, I'd keep going for it. Sounds like you're getting better, not older!

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I used to race,and this was for one reason only. I enjoyed it. Never had a chance of winning, but my theory was, For some one to win they have to have other competitors to beat. If you have just done your best time for the event, you are obviously improving, so why Quit.

    Incidentally I only gave up when I had the Bypass, and that was when I decided was the time to quit. What do I do now, because I still need a challenge? I train for and do century rides, both metric and 100 milers, and 3 of these each year are offroad. Difference is, I only compete with myself, but still try to do better than the other riders.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I think you just wanted to brag about how great of an athlete you are. Posing a question about long you want to be great was just a method - to say it in the forum.

    Go ahead and continue being great. I'm sure you'll "know" when it's time to quit.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    I think you just wanted to brag about how great of an athlete you are..
    Maybe you're right, Richard, but it also sounds to me like he's got some accomplishments to brag about! I couldn't do what he does .

    All athletes must wrestle with the question he poses, though - when is it time to quit? Lance A. decided that he'd quit the TDF while he was ahead. Probably a good choice. But for less-than-world-class athletes (which the original poster is), there's no good reason to stop IMHO.

    If his question was legit - I've expressed my honest response. If the question was trolling - I've given the poster his props! Either way, I'm pleased that he posted. I hope I'm in that good a condition at that age!

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    What is that old 2nd amendment addage??? It can probably be adapted to a bike: "They can have my bike when the pry it out of my cold dead hands." Bob

  8. #8
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    If you enjoy it, do it. If you don't stop. Don't worry about your body. It will let you know when to stop.

    We 50+rs need to have chances to brag a bit. Nothing wrong with that.

    I enjoyed hearing of your accomplishments.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by roscoe50
    ... I'm concerned with doing these efforts at my age, think I'm fretting over nothing or is it time for the rocking chair?
    Your concern must be based on something - personal feelings, physiological signals, hesitations, anxiety during high stress situations, lack of motivation to keep on pushing, lower benefit/risk ratio, less personal gain etc. Whatever it may be only you are in a position to answer that question. I am also faced with a similar dilema every race season and I'm already planning how to improve my performance this coming season. I enjoy riding and occassionally testing myself against other riders in my category. I hope to confront this dilema only once a year at the end of the season.

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    For starters, you're way out of my league, so you don't have to pay any attention to this at all. FWIW, though, I hung pretty well until I was about 56 or 57 (I turned 60 this year). Then I had a series of family crises and distractions (dad died, college-age kids needed some help and we started getting our house ready for sale) that kept me from even semi-serious training for almost a year. When I was finally able to get back into it, I started slow, of course, and I found that I enjoyed it so much that I just kept going slow.
    I'm still pretty fit, at least compared to the lardos I see around me, but I don't sprint much anymore, I go for 20-mile rides with my wife on Saturdays instead of hammering solo for two hours, stuff like that. I'm going to pick it up a bit next spring because I'd like to do a few more centuries while I still can, but I'm riding for enjoyment and a certain level of fitness now, and I like it pretty well. Still p!sses me off to get passed, though....

  11. #11
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Quit now. Give the kids a chance.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by roscoe50
    I'm 52 and for the first time this year really wondered if I'm getting too long in the tooth for this sort of thing and have since thought about hanging up racing and just ride for the fun of it. Anyone else ever have these doubts?
    Never....I'll be running and biking as long as I can take a breath. The thought has never crossed my mind.

    I've got two years on you at 54 and can give you some good advice. Even though you may feel like you are in your 20's, your body is not. You will need to lessen the level of your intensity as you get older. Listen to your body and you'll be able to work out longer and more regularly, hence you'll feel better.
    I just got a HRM and found that I've been doing 5K's at 175-185BPM. I generally now slow down my pace and it allows me to run for longer duration and have less risk of injury to my body. I think that cross training is also important which I why I started biking again. I am also fortunate enough to have an inground pool out back to vary my workouts.
    Peter

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by roscoe50
    This race requires basically a maximum heart beat for over one hour, in my case over 170 and lately I'm concerned with doing these efforts at my age, think I'm fretting over nothing or is it time for the rocking chair?
    roscoe:
    Many of us struggle with this concept but reality is that there is no single answer.
    The challenge you picked may eventually be too much for you or anybody your age.
    If that is so, pick another obtainable challenge.
    I am 63. I would not try to win a championship in rowing. That is what I did age 22.
    Or a Rock climbing contest, age 25. Or chess championship, age 30.
    I found other challenges which put me in the upper 5% of my age group for that challenge.
    Not bad, is it?

  14. #14
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    http://www.elkovelo.com/pages/lamoil...ce-results.php
    Here's some results from another hill climb with a very similar gain in elevation, 2800 ft in 13.1 miles. I'm number 126. I want to thank everyone for their responses, I feel better than ever about riding and want to continue as long as I can, I just wonder as my age advances if I should quit competing. I think if one still feels up to it then go for it, I just don't want to wind up making a fool of myself. Anyone that can come to northern Nevada will certainly find plenty of mountains to climb and some really nice scenery as well. Thanks again,
    Mike Lister

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    Mike; Some years ago (76) I met 3 gentlemen,near the continental divide in Colorado, who were riding (slowly) across the country.

    As I remember it: They were camping part of the time & staying in hotels/motels part of the time & mainly eating in restaurants. 2 of them were 79 years old, one was 80. One of the 79 year olds was riding a trike. The other 79 year old & 80 year old were on 2 wheelers. These 2 enjoyed razzing the trike rider about his ride.

    IMHO, these 3 gentlemen had a whole lot going for them. Heck, they were having as much fun as I was, maybe more! I only hope that I am able to accomplish what they did & have as much fun doing it.

    Enjoy the sport & kick some younger butt along the way if you can.

    Bob

  16. #16
    Junior Member JohnSmulders's Avatar
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    Mike,
    I'am 61 (almost) and I'am still cycling. In summer on my racing bike with an average of 200 km a week, in winter time on my MTB with an average of 120 km a week. The only thing I do is using a hartbeat monitor to check if I'am not doing to much. If my hartbeat reaches 160 I slow down. An average hartbeat of 130 is nice.

  17. #17
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Roscoe:

    If you want to definitively answer your question about continuing to compete at your incredibly advanced age of 52, come ride with us in St. Pete Florida. Just be prepared to have your cycling butt severely kicked by any number of riders over 65, three of whom are current world champions! We also have a 91 year old two-time Olympian who still competes (won the nationals in Utah this summer not surprisingly). Two of the best sprinters in our club both turned 60 this year. Yup Roscoe, you really better consider packing it in at your advanced age.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

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    Mike,

    There's a silver-haired, sunkissed gentleman who I see riding from time to time. Yes, I can drop him, but even at 35 it still takes a lot of work and I average 23 mph over 20 miles. All I can think of when I see him is "When I get to his age, I hope can ride like that guy." He's got my respect! Plus, I saw him at Barnes & Noble once and I got a good look at his legs. They're like tree trunks!

  19. #19
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbonus
    Mike,

    There's a silver-haired, sunkissed gentleman who I see riding from time to time. Yes, I can drop him, but even at 35 it still takes a lot of work and I average 23 mph over 20 miles. All I can think of when I see him is "When I get to his age, I hope can ride like that guy." He's got my respect! Plus, I saw him at Barnes & Noble once and I got a good look at his legs. They're like tree trunks!
    On our Saturday club ride, we divide a rather large turnout into different speed groups. You would be amazed at the number of over age 60 riders who pull out when they call the 26 mph group, and then the 24 mph group. BTW, my legs look like a mounting platform for feathers!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  20. #20
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I nearly got talked into doing a race in 3 weeks time. Just the local club, and it is a cyclocross event that also has a race for mountain bikes. This is the thing that gets me. There are 5 races for cyclocross, all the different classes and grades etc. plus a juniors race and a race for the girls. Highlight is the youngsters race. 20 kids on ordinary bikes, mountain, choppers, BMX's road--All blasting round a 200 yard course for 5 laps, getting covered in mud, but they love it.
    Still back to cyclocross- 5 races for all grades etc. sometimes only 10 in a race, but good racing none the less. Then there is the Mountain bike racing. 50 riders ranging from 16 right up to, well I would be the oldest at 58. All in one class. Last time I did this race was in 98, and was my last race, but the Mountain bikers want to get a better entry in our local race.
    I have declined-- Point number one is that I no longer race, point number 2 is that I hate getting lapped by 20 year olds, and then struggle to pass them 2 laps later, when they have blown, thirdly it is on the day I plan to do my night ride, and 4thly-- They won't accept Tandems in the race.

    Just face it. If the interest in racing was still there, nothing would stop me from competing, but now I can find too many excuses not to race. Perhaps I'll go along and do the other important unsung job of be a marshall. I'll probably enjoy that more.

  21. #21
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    I nearly got talked into doing a race in 3 weeks time. Just the local club, and it is a cyclocross event that also has a race for mountain bikes. This is the thing that gets me. There are 5 races for cyclocross, all the different classes and grades etc. plus a juniors race and a race for the girls. Highlight is the youngsters race. 20 kids on ordinary bikes, mountain, choppers, BMX's road--All blasting round a 200 yard course for 5 laps, getting covered in mud, but they love it.
    Still back to cyclocross- 5 races for all grades etc. sometimes only 10 in a race, but good racing none the less. Then there is the Mountain bike racing. 50 riders ranging from 16 right up to, well I would be the oldest at 58. All in one class. Last time I did this race was in 98, and was my last race, but the Mountain bikers want to get a better entry in our local race.
    I have declined-- Point number one is that I no longer race, point number 2 is that I hate getting lapped by 20 year olds, and then struggle to pass them 2 laps later, when they have blown, thirdly it is on the day I plan to do my night ride, and 4thly-- They won't accept Tandems in the race.

    Just face it. If the interest in racing was still there, nothing would stop me from competing, but now I can find too many excuses not to race. Perhaps I'll go along and do the other important unsung job of be a marshall. I'll probably enjoy that more.
    That is the beauty of the Senior Games system throughout the U.S. You are always competing in 5 year age groups. Florida, for example, has 19 different venues offering Senior Game competiton each serving as qualifications for entry into the Florida State Championships which are held in December. Then, the top two qualifiers in each 5 year age group qualifies to compete in the Nationals. This is in direct contrast to the outmoded USCF, an organization that thinks that one's competitive cycling life ends at age 55.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  22. #22
    Bent_Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by roscoe50
    I ride a mountain race here every year for the last 9 years in the road category. It is 13 miles with 3000 feet vertical gain, a real bear of a climb and this year I logged my personal best, 1 hour and 4 minutes. I'm 52 and for the first time this year really wondered if I'm getting too long in the tooth for this sort of thing and have since thought about hanging up racing and just ride for the fun of it. Anyone else ever have these doubts? This race requires basically a maximum heart beat for over one hour, in my case over 170 and lately I'm concerned with doing these efforts at my age, think I'm fretting over nothing or is it time for the rocking chair?
    I don't ride competitively only for pleasure. I can maintain over 150 bpm for over an hour, but not over 170. I'm 51. At that pace I'm still able to overtake other riders on the road. And I'm quite satisfied with that.

    Maybe ease up on the racing and smell the flowers and enjoy the scenery.

  23. #23
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Talk to Gordy Shields sometime. At 86, he still leads San Diego Cyclovets rides.

    By the way, pioneer fitness guru Jack LaLanne recently turned 91.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    Roscoe:

    If you want to definitively answer your question about continuing to compete at your incredibly advanced age of 52, come ride with us in St. Pete Florida. Just be prepared to have your cycling butt severely kicked by any number of riders over 65, three of whom are current world champions! We also have a 91 year old two-time Olympian who still competes (won the nationals in Utah this summer not surprisingly). Two of the best sprinters in our club both turned 60 this year. Yup Roscoe, you really better consider packing it in at your advanced age.
    skydive:
    You are a bit sarcastic here, BUT this is the best news I have seen on this forum. There is hope and role models for the over 60 crowd. (like me)

  25. #25
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    http://www.americasroof.com/fl.html
    Skydive Are you serious? This is what you guys in Florida call hills? Here in Nevada we start at 6000 and go over 9000ft on any given ride, better tell those 65 guys that are going to kick my butt they'd better do some elevation training first LOL! Would really love to get passed on a climb here by someone that age, it would definately open my eyeballs up! I used to live in Albuq N.M. years ago, rode category and the elevation was always over 5K then went down to Tucson to ride a century every year and couldn't believe the gas in the tank feeling after riding in the mountains, makes a huge difference.
    Maybe Florida one of these days, but come on No Hills? I can't believe it. Do you guys ride into hurricanes to simulate climbing?

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