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Old 12-14-05, 12:42 PM   #1
GrannyGear
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There was a time when I rode down hills faster than I do now. These days, I tap the brakes, sit up to catch wind, etc. sooner than I used to. I find myself gripping the bars a little tighter when the Cateye starts nudging towards 40 on straights--oftentimes much sooner depending on the road. I used to think "Wheeee!", now its more like "Holy S***.

Is there a deep, instinctual impulse to be more conservative as we grow a little more brittle, our reflexes slow, youthful indestructibility evaporates........or am I the only speed weenie here?

Asking not so much how you descend, but how you feel when the road's a blur....do you have thoughts sudden flats, of a possible sandy patch ahead, careless idiot drivers around the next bend, etc.??
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Old 12-14-05, 01:00 PM   #2
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It depends on the road, and how well I know it. One hill on my regular ride would probably get me over 50 mph, but, there's a stop sign at the bottom, and I take a left at it. Soooo on that one I start to tap the brakes at about 35. I'd rather go fast in my Vette anyway.
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Old 12-14-05, 01:45 PM   #3
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Well, I like to think it's the intelligence that comes with age...
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Old 12-14-05, 02:55 PM   #4
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I doubt I have ever broken 35mph/55kph. I am much more interested in keeping up a decent pace on ascents or into the wind than on maximizing my downhill speed. I feel somewhat insecure and unsafe at high speeds.
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Old 12-14-05, 03:25 PM   #5
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Even though I live in a flat part of the world, my area is blessed with short 50+ mph drops. Many (not all) are safe to just let 'er rip. I'm still a kid at heart and still get a rush hitting 50.
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Old 12-14-05, 04:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrannyGear
There was a time when I rode down hills faster than I do now. These days, I tap the brakes, sit up to catch wind, etc. sooner than I used to. I find myself gripping the bars a little tighter when the Cateye starts nudging towards 40 on straights--oftentimes much sooner depending on the road. I used to think "Wheeee!", now its more like "Holy S***.

Is there a deep, instinctual impulse to be more conservative as we grow a little more brittle, our reflexes slow, youthful indestructibility evaporates........or am I the only speed weenie here?

Asking not so much how you descend, but how you feel when the road's a blur....do you have thoughts sudden flats, of a possible sandy patch ahead, careless idiot drivers around the next bend, etc.??
Having a son paralyzed from a sporting accident and another from a fall, I tend to be quite conservative in almost anything I do while bicycling, including downhills.

I imagine that 38 mph is about as fast as I go, and, strangely, I feel safer on my mtn bike at this speed than on my roadie.

Yes, I think about ice, gravel, rocks, flats, blowouts amd funerals and hospitals. Perhaps staying many months with both sons at a rehab hospital and seeing all the devastation from sports injuries may have colored my perspective a bit, also.

I never had the advantage some do of going real fast as a young man, as I didn't cycle that way then. More like trying to be a mtn biker.
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Old 12-14-05, 04:52 PM   #7
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It is not the hills that are our problem, it is the lack of length of them. If you want to know our highest speed it is 52.8 mph on the road, and 53.8 offroad. Yes the Tandem is faster off road than on road !!! Thing about speed is not the speed itself, but the sudden deceleration when you hit something. Last Autumn we had a front tyre blowout at 35mph on the Tandem and within yards we were bouncing down the track. My pilot lost his nerve after that and took it steady down all the hills, but part of that going steady was also the slippery nature of the trail this winter. That was until tonight. My Copilot on the Tandem has got his nerve back and this was evident by the speed everywhere, and the number of front wheel slides we had going downhill. Then the Final bit of Down hill road with 100yards between hairpins. I knew it was going to happen, but speed went up and we hit 30mph through one hairpin that has a suggested speed of 15mph for cars. Thank goodness he has his confidence back because we also lost the back end in a slide on that corner, but he did not panic and steered himself out of that slide and straight into another. Still did the last haipin at speed but as the road was clear we did use a bit more road than usual.

Speed is not a problem, but I can understand those that err on the cautious side. You normally find that the fast downhillers are the ones that are very slow or steady up hill, mainly because they know their weaknesses and make up ground on their strong points
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Old 12-14-05, 05:11 PM   #8
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You normally find that the fast downhillers are the ones that are very slow or steady up hill, mainly because they know their weaknesses and make up ground on their strong points[/QUOTE]

Ahhh.....that now explains why I'm zipping past all the folks going down the hills but they buzz right by me going back up the next climb. On second thought, it might just be the extra tire I carry around my waist!!

Gravity does work!
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Old 12-14-05, 06:23 PM   #9
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"Do Geezers Brake Sooner?"

Not this one
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Old 12-14-05, 06:38 PM   #10
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When I was young I flew down hills and gave no thought to it. Now that I am less young, I fly down hills and think about consequences and how painful they can be. Then I pedal faster.
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Old 12-14-05, 10:13 PM   #11
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I can't do the speed downhills any longer. In fact, I'm not real crazy about speed on the flats any more, either. I think that's why I want to now focus on hill climbing competitions -- it will allow me to still be competitive without the speed involved.

Come to think of it, this could be why hill climbing has gained so much in popularity -- the greying of one of cyclings biggest generations.
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Old 12-15-05, 12:53 AM   #12
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problem with falling at our age is that the repair period is a lot longer.
on a recent club ride a 18 yr old flew over his bike onto a rocky mountain side going down the scorpion's descent. he completely fractured his shoulder and femur bones. 6 months after the accident he is still recouperating. if that was me i would probably need 6 years to recoup.
besides i already know what it is like to fall so what's me hurry.
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Old 12-15-05, 09:58 AM   #13
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berts said it well. I'll keep up speed on straight aways, but drop on curves. You have less control and less safety wear with a bike vs motorcycle. Unless you like long periods of recovery, geezers have learned that continual enjoyment of riding is better than walking on crutches., )
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Old 12-15-05, 10:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrannyGear
Asking not so much how you descend, but how you feel when the road's a blur....1. do you have thoughts sudden flats, 2. of a possible sandy patch ahead, 3.careless idiot drivers around the next bend, 4. etc.??
To answer the questions:
1. ocassionally
2. only on curves
3. that's a given
4. wheel coming undone, frame cracking, animal crossing road, misjudging curve, water on curve, rock throwers. that about sums it up.
When I started riding again my confidence was so low I took turns very slowly - now I am more confident of my bike and myself so I manage a good but conservative clip going downhill.
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Old 12-15-05, 10:34 AM   #15
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I was always a downhill sissy, but now that I'm an OLD downhill sissy, I'm a bigger sissy than I used to be. I've sort of assumed there are a few reasons:
1. I'm smarter than I used to be.
2. I'm not racing anybody. Who cares if I'm not the first one to the bottom?
3. I heal slower than I used to, and have a lower tolerance for pain.
4. I've been over the handlebars/slid along the pavement enough. If I never do it again, that's fine with me.
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Old 12-15-05, 11:41 AM   #16
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LOL, no way dude, on a 40 mile off road ride last fall, I was "flying" down hills, staying off the brakes on my lowly comfort bike!! A lot of the other riders told me I was NUTS but I just told them I LOVE flying down hill and mach 9, it's probably because I go so SLOW uphills that it makes up for it!! We call downhills "Reward" and I LIKE Rewards a lot more than "Paying the piper" (uphills)!
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Old 12-15-05, 12:03 PM   #17
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I've got to admit, I love going down hills. In my area the fastest I get up to is about 37 mph. I don't know if I would be comfortable at 50 mph, probably not. Coincidentally all of the fast drop hills I ride regularly have great long curves. I love the sense of leaning in and swooping downhill.
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Old 12-15-05, 12:24 PM   #18
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Here's the single thought that always slows me down. It comes to me whenever the speedo goes above about 38:
"Everything on this bike came off a clearance table and was installed and maintained by me."
My record, achieved one time just so I could say I'd done it, is 50.4mph. There are hills here where I could beat that almost whenever I want. Not going to happen, though
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Old 12-15-05, 12:38 PM   #19
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You guys blow me away. My top speed ever this year was something like 25 mph. I don't do a lot of hills so this was on a flat road, but still. And that was probably with a tail wind. And when I saw that I was going 25 mph, I nearly did a double take. That was plenty fast for me. I can't imagine going 35, 40, or 50+ (hey, is that a pun in this forum?) on a bike. I guess I'm not only a geezer, a clydesdale, and an old fart, but I'm also a wuss.

But I have fun.
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Old 12-15-05, 12:52 PM   #20
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Whatever you are Gary, we'd probably run you for President if we were organized enough.....fortunately for you, we are an individualistic bunch of overly gassy geezers who have become a (loosely but affectionately) somewhat coherent community here online.

I've enjoyed the variety of responses on this thread and LOL at many of them and said "Damned right" to several others!

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Old 12-15-05, 01:02 PM   #21
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I am definitely slower now, and hit the brakes during descents. Part of it is that at 300 pounds it takes me a while to stop from high speed, but I think age is part of it too. I did do 38 mph on one hill earlier this year.

In my young adult days, I rode my Schwinn LeTour IV regularly down a hill at 45 MPH plus, and I had to get seriously aero to do it. When I was in my downhill position, my sternum was directly over the nose of my saddle, with my arms stretched out to the bars.

It would scare the crap out of me to do that now... Then I kept trying to figure out how to get even more speed.
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Old 12-15-05, 02:33 PM   #22
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Funny, but when I was young and any injury would have been devasting to wife, kids, house and car payments, work, I rode down hills without a care in the world.

Now, with the kids grown and gone, house payments coming to an end, ect., etc., I've become so much more careful.

Seems a little backwards, doesn't it?
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Old 12-15-05, 04:06 PM   #23
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If one feels uncomfortable on fast downhills, then it is probably wise to be extra careful and watch the speed. No problem with that.

To paraphrase that immortal 20th Century policeman, Harry Callahan, "A good man always knows his limitations."
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Old 12-16-05, 05:21 PM   #24
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The title of this thread was such that I ignored till now. Simply, I "resembled" it & thought I should stay away so that I didn't unload on some young kid.

Anyway, I think Trnrtr summed uip my response:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trsnrtr
Even though I live in a flat part of the world, my area is blessed with short 50+ mph drops. Many (not all) are safe to just let 'er rip. I'm still a kid at heart and still get a rush hitting 50.
I would rather go doin what I waht to do, & doin it my way rather than full of tubes & drugs.

Just my $02. Ask me in another 20 years. With any luck, I will have the same response. Bob
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Old 12-16-05, 07:13 PM   #25
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I never brake because of age. It's mostly because of FEAR !!!!!!!!!!
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