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Old 07-17-06, 09:52 AM   #1
bruce19
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Making a comeback at age 60--need advice

I started riding road bikes just before age 40 and continued until age 54 or so. Rode a lot locally in eastern CT, did a century each year and once rode from Lake Sebago in ME back to CT. Got to be a fairly good recreational rider. Then, at age 54, I just sort of stopped. Last year I decided to get back on the road and did about 1100 mi. during the season. Since I started out weighing 190 lbs. (should be 170-175 lbs) I truly suffered, especially in the hills. Last winter I took spinning classes 3Xwk. and have about 1000 mi. in so far this season. Problem is that even though I've lost 5-7 lbs since May, and have increased my average speed about 2-2.5 mph since May, it doesn't seem good enough to me. I think I should be going faster and climbing hills better. Is this an age thing? Am I training incorrectly? I could really use some advice.


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Old 07-17-06, 10:31 AM   #2
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Take a look at Friel's Cycling over 50. It is a good book and can give you some good tips on getting back into form. I don't think there is a lot of difference in training over vs under 50 but rest is probably more important. Big thing is to get your endurance up by building base miles and once you have done that start working on fitness by doing interval training. When I started out riding regularly again last year I put on about 2500 miles as a base and then started doing more speed work by getting involved in a weekly fast ride. I think most people get into the habit of just going out and riding as hard as they can for as long as they can. This results in getting some initial results but then you plateau. Mixing things up and getting enough rest seems to be the key for me.
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Old 07-17-06, 10:32 AM   #3
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I don't know how to answer your concerns??

Your expectations for yourself are exactly that. Your expectations. No one elses.

I would suggest you read the account by Will Dehne of his trip at 65yo across the country in 25 riding days at

http://69.16.211.161/showthread.php?t=190996

And of jppe's Assault on Mt Mitchell

http://69.16.211.161/showthread.php?t=197468

as two examples of what 50+'rs can accomplish.

Also, take a look at the 60+ folks in the 50+ Rogue's Gallery (see below).

This will give you some kind of yardstick if that s what you want and need.

Personally, I would be tickled pink to increase my speed and decrease my weight since May.

Have you defined your goals in riding? That might be a start.

I am 66yo, and just did my morning 32 miler.

Good luck and welcome.

(Yeah, and reading Joe Friel's book is a great suggestion.)

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Old 07-17-06, 11:08 AM   #4
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Friel's book is my bedside companion. Maybe I'm just expecting too much too soon. Or, not riding enough. In any event, since I'm basically riding on my own, I don't really have anyone to bounce these questions off. Thanks for the advice.

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Old 07-17-06, 11:21 AM   #5
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Each year, from about 35 on, our body has a slight decrease in reserve capacity. This means that what we did last year, all other things being equal, will come harder (or not at all) than the year before. Hence, I agree with DnvrFox's post. Your expectations are yours and yours alone. It sound to me that you're doing OK, but that's based on my expectations. If I'd give one bit of advice it is this: what you are doing this year is MUCH better than what you were doing between 55 and 59.
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Old 07-17-06, 11:46 AM   #6
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I will just add one more thought.

IMHO, it is much more advantageous to set a reasonable small goal and celebrate, then to set an unreasonable small or large goal and bemoan the fact one did not achieve that goal.

Success should be built upon success, not on failure. Little stepping stones.

Also, I think it is important to include in one's bicycling goals such things as recreation, fun, "personal time," socialization and the like, and to include these sort of semi-intangibles in one's goal definition.

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Old 07-17-06, 12:27 PM   #7
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Sounds like you're well on your way, bruce19. You've gotten some good advice above, better than I could have given you. But I do want to offer an alternative view: As someone still coming back from an injury, I've had to cut back on my hammering this year. After an enforced layoff of about six months, I've built a pretty good base of miles, but I'm definitely slower than I was previously. Here, however, is the silver lining. I still enjoy riding as much as ever, maybe even more so. By going at a spinning pace, I see more. I interact with people and the environment more. Others may have different points of view, but I've found that Gandhi was right: "There's more to life than increasing its speed."
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Old 07-17-06, 12:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackberry
Sounds like you're well on your way, bruce19. You've gotten some good advice above, better than I could have given you. But I do want to offer an alternative view: As someone still coming back from an injury, I've had to cut back on my hammering this year. After an enforced layoff of about six months, I've built a pretty good base of miles, but I'm definitely slower than I was previously. Here, however, is the silver lining. I still enjoy riding as much as ever, maybe even more so. By going at a spinning pace, I see more. I interact with people and the environment more. Others may have different points of view, but I've found that Gandhi was right: "There's more to life than increasing its speed."
+1 to that! I was trying to figure out how to say what Blackberry has said perfectly.
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Old 07-17-06, 12:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce19
since I'm basically riding on my own, I don't really have anyone to bounce these questions off.
bruce19
Naahhhh. Nobody who posts here with any regularity is "riding on their own". You have just joined the 50Plus grupetto. It's just that we're a bit spread out on the road and across a few oceans. Otherwise, you have many friendly bikie types staring over your shoulder, into your water bottle, waiting to hear what you did on your last ride...............and more than happy to offer up answers to questions-- some of which might even be good answers. We also offer advice to the lovelorn, how to buy a new camera, etc.

You might even (but don't count on it) get a complimentary tee-shirt in the mail someday-- but you'll have to register in the Rogue's Gallery first.
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Old 07-17-06, 12:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce19
I could really use some advice.
Hummmm, need more information.

1. what is your average speed?
2. how much of time is spent climbing vs level or descending?

What are your expectations?
-- lose weight as fast as you did before?
-- how long on your spinning classes, ie what distance do you cover?
-- how fast do you think your average speed should be?
-- how fast do you think you should be able to go up hills? of what grade?

Without data, I think your expectations are higher than your training schedule, and you are not making allowance for the longer recovery/strength building time that comes with age.

Since we can't jump start our bodies like a 40 year old, it's extremely important to make reasonable goals and celebrate all successes. Else you'll be back in burnout and be a couch potato again.

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Old 07-17-06, 12:58 PM   #11
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couch potatoe again.
err . I didn'tknow you were related to Dan Quayle!

HiYoSilverQuayle?
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Old 07-17-06, 01:01 PM   #12
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sometimes it's difficult to type and follow conference call at same time. at least now can blame age
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Old 07-17-06, 01:06 PM   #13
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sometimes it's difficult to type and follow conference call at same time. at least now can blame age
And we all know which is most important - the conference call? or the BFN 50+ Forum?
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Old 07-17-06, 01:20 PM   #14
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This is all good feedback and I appreciate it. I think several things are becoming clearer for me. Since I'm an ex-college football/baseball player I tend to be competetive. Usually, this is with myself and not others. I just tend to want to always ride longer/faster/better. It's way past time to reevaluate that mind set. I also don't have a lot of cyclists around me who can offer their experiences with the whole idea of training for a season. Cycling, as you know, is such a total body/mind/lifestyle pursuit. I think I have to put in more miles on longer rides to build a base and not worry about getting faster. Probably need to work on technique for climbing as well. As for the question asked about spinning, it's been a little odd for me. Our spinning sessions were 60 min. each and at the end everyone (ages teens to 60's) were dying and swearing they wouldn't do another. Even at my then 190 lbs. I felt fine, like I could go another 60 min. So, I was expecting to be "good to go" once on the road. What I found out was that hauling 190 lbs up a hill is a lot different than spinning at increased tension. In summary: ride more, lose weight, have fun and relax. This has been very helpful. Thanks.

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Old 07-17-06, 01:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce19
This is all good feedback and I appreciate it. I think several things are becoming clearer for me. Since I'm an ex-college football/baseball player I tend to be competetive. Usually, this is with myself and not others. I just tend to want to always ride longer/faster/better. It's way past time to reevaluate that mind set. I also don't have a lot of cyclists around me who can offer their experiences with the whole idea of training for a season. Cycling, as you know, is such a total body/mind/lifestyle pursuit. I think I have to put in more miles on longer rides to build a base and not worry about getting faster. Probably need to work on technique for climbing as well. As for the question asked about spinning, it's been a little odd for me. Our spinning sessions were 60 min. each and at the end everyone (ages teens to 60's) were dying and swearing they wouldn't do another. Even at my then 190 lbs. I felt fine, like I could go another 60 min. So, I was expecting to be "good to go" once on the road. What I found out was that hauling 190 lbs up a hill is a lot different than spinning at increased tension. In summary: ride more, lose weight, have fun and relax. This has been very helpful. Thanks.

bruce19

I see you've already figured it out but I have friends that are 60 and are riding as well as ever. My guess is dropping weight is the biggest factor right now-especially for the hills. I think fitness will increase as the weight comes off as it will require more riding to get the weight down to the 170-175 level. One of my good friends just went through a version of what you're after and is now one of the top riders in his age group in our area. Just turn that competitive spirit of yours loose to guide you and you'll get there. You just need to take it up a notch or two on the mileage you're doing for weight reduction. It would also help to work in some interval training for the speed work. Good luck!
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Old 07-17-06, 01:57 PM   #16
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One Bruce to another: I am a mere stripling of 52, but here's my $0.02 to add. If you don't want to ride alone all the time, see if there is a bike club with simpatico riders. I belong to one club and ride with them and others. The social aspect (and being able to draft!) makes the miles go faster & more pleasantly than riding alone. YMMV and all that.
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Old 07-17-06, 02:38 PM   #17
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I believe long, slow rides in the lower heart-rate zones burn more fat than quick, short rides. The two to three hour range for maximum calorie burn. Aerobic vs Anerobic enters in too. Aerobic burns only during the workout, anerobic speeds up metabolism and burns on past the workout time.
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Old 07-18-06, 05:05 AM   #18
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Having resumed cycling myself last summer after many years of layoff, I have had a very similar experience. Much slower to develop my legs than I "scheduled" and very frustrated in the process.

I also agree that Friel's book is great, I've learned a lot from it. First develop aerobic capacity, then develop endurance. Also don't push at max capacity, stay well below that. A knowledgeable racer told me to focus on LSD: long slow distance. For hills, the best training is do hills, then do them again. Choose your own speed, just do them.

The only thing I'd add to other posters here is take a careful look at your diet. I experienced dramatic changes just about 6 weeks ago when I added protein supplements to my diet and cut out a lot of carbs a the same time.

When I started out the same racer told me it would take 12 months to acclimate. I scoffed at him. Now after 12 months of resuming cycling, I see he was right. I've lost only 5 pounds, but my strength and speed has increased, and all of a sudden I've crossed some sort of threshold and things are falling into place: uphill speed and endurance has increased dramatically.

So you've made great progress, just keep it up, and you can expect "sudden" significant changes!
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Old 07-18-06, 06:27 AM   #19
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So, this morning at 5:50 AM (CT time), I went out without the computer on my bike and rode 23 mi. The route is one I know well but haven't done in a couple weeks. A couple long hills and some nice flats through the woods. I just kept my head "in the moment" and focused on my pedaling and tried to be consistent while spinning. I also used a little bigger gear on the hills and just got into a groove and stayed with it. I had checked my watch when starting and again when I got back. But, in between there was nothing but me, the bike and the road. As it turns out, I felt great on the bike, was energized when I got home and still managed to do 16.1 mph for the ride. And, that's the best I've done on this course this year. Best of all, it was a blast!

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Old 07-18-06, 07:58 AM   #20
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Good stuff Bruce19. SOunds like you had a great ride.

Curious - did you see any deer or other wildlife in those woods?
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Old 07-18-06, 08:44 AM   #21
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Good stuff Bruce19. SOunds like you had a great ride.

Curious - did you see any deer or other wildlife in those woods?
Now that you mention it, I did. I was extremely vigilant about deer since they seem to be everwhere at that time of the morning. Strangely enough as I was cranking along on the top of a hill I had just climbed I saw a strange shape on the right side of the road. Thought it was some pudgy,but large,dog from a distance. I was going about 18-20mph (my estimate) at the time. As I got closer I realized it was a huge (maybe 300 lb) pig! I'm guessing about the weight, but it was big. He didn't hear me coming and had his backside to me. So, I just rolled until I got really close and then cranked it, on the theory that by the time he realized I was there, I would be able to fly by him. And, it worked just that way. But, did he squeal and dive into the woods once he saw me! had forgotten about that. Thanks


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Old 07-18-06, 09:02 AM   #22
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I think that is the first "pig" wildlife report we have ever had on BFN - at least that I have seen!

I was asking because I saw deer in three different locations on my ride yesterday morning. It seems to me they are getting tamer and tamer as the suburbs progress into their former wildlands.

On a more positive note, the town council just voted to acquire 71 more acres of open space - right in deer country. This will abut 60 acres previously acquired in the area, and a large multi acre park!

Our own little subdivision of 400 homes has 55 acres of open space.
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Old 07-18-06, 10:13 AM   #23
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On a more positive note, the town council just voted to acquire 71 more acres of open space - right in deer country. This will abut 60 acres previously acquired in the area, and a large multi acre park!

Our own little subdivision of 400 homes has 55 acres of open space.
Open space is a good thing and not just for the obvious reasons. I spent 13 yrs on my town council and dealt with the issue a lot. I have been very supportive of the town purchsing open space. This, of course, made me a "flaming Liberal" in the eyes of some. But, when you consider the economics of it, it's really quite prudent. In my town (the home of the Univ. of CT) we have a lot of professors, doctors, lawyers and generally well educated people. As you might expect they want the best education possible for their children. So, it costs the town about $10K a year to educate one child. Taxes, on the other hand are pretty reasonable. I think I pay about $3600./yr. on a house valued at $240K. Everytime we have a new subdivision here we get about $3000./yr. in taxes per house and pay about $20,000./yr. per house to educate the two new kids who come to town. That's a loss of $17,000./yr. per house. Open space probably gives us a few hundred bucks and cost nothing in the way of services. Cool.

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Old 07-18-06, 10:39 AM   #24
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bruce19,

Keep working at it and you will get there, it sounds like you are following the right course of action. Just another note; I have a 20mi course that a friend and I ride 4-5 times a week. When we started last Aug our avgs were in the 17s and sometime getting to 18. In January we were regularly in the low 18s. Right now we avg in the mid 19s and break 20mph at least twice a week. What made the biggest change for me was the fast group rides, by forcing myself to ride in a group that avgs 22mph and does 4 sprint zones of 27mph+ it became a lot easier to do the daily 20. I still get dropped once in while by the sprinters and I cannot pull a sprint at that speed, but I hang on more often than not these days and look down to see 29mph or even 30mph on the flat. I am not sure where my max is, but I don't think I have hit it yet.
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Old 07-18-06, 06:05 PM   #25
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At least for me (61-1/2 today) I'm just SLOWER than I was even five years ago. I was able to maintain about the same level of performance until recently--I mean, it varied with my fitness level, but I always was able to get back where I'd been.
I generally gain a few pounds in winter, and I started late this spring, so I'm working at it now. I'm feeling better than I did in May, and I'm confident I'll improve quite a bit by the end of summer. For the first time ever, though, I don't think I'm going to get back to where where I was last September. Dunno if it's because I just don't want to push as hard as I used to, or if it's really age.
It bothered me a little at first, but now I try to focus on the guys my age who couldn't ride the hills at all, not the 30-year-olds who pass me....
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