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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 09-30-06, 10:43 PM   #1
Velo Dog
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Who feels old and fragile? 'Cause I don't...

I'm 61, in mediocre shape at the moment because we've been getting our house ready to sell, so I've only done about 25 percent of my normal summer mileage this season. Gained 20 pounds, and now that we're about done, I'm looking forward to decent workouts again. I don't have any doubt that I'll be able to lose the weight (though it does get a lot harder as you get older), and I expect to come close to my pre-layoff performance by early spring.
Reading this forum, though, I get a sense that a lot of people over 50 fret about the frailties of age more than I do. That's not criticism--really, I wonder if I'm missing something, if I should be MORE concerned than I am.
I know I can't do what I could 30 or even 10 years ago, but I'm content to do what I can do. I never worry about going off on day-long solo rides, or about taking my mountain bike into fairly remote areas of the Tahoe National Forest (a couple of miles from my front door). I'm not macho about it--I tell my wife where I'll be and when I expect to be back, and at her insistence I've finally started carrying a cell phone, though I keep it turned off. But I've only called for help on a couple of occasions, when something went wrong that I couldn't fix or jury-rig, and unless my situation changes dramatically, I don't see myself changing that. I carry tools and emergency equipment, and part of the fun and challenge of cycling is being able to deal with what comes up.
Am I stuck in adolescence and denial, or are there others post-50 who just don't sweat it that much?
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Old 09-30-06, 11:50 PM   #2
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[QUOTE=Velo Dog]I'm 61,
I know I can't do what I could 30 or even 10 years ago, but I'm content to do what I can do. QUOTE]

Well, here is another opinion on this. We all get older. If someone does not exercise or push the limits, you will decline. Muscles not used will shrink. Maintaining weight, just with food control, deprives your body of needed nutrition. Gaining weight without muscle to support it is scary to me. I do not like wheelchairs.
I am 65. Today, I was able to improve my average speed over a 50 mile bike run I have done hundredths of times for the last 15 years. (wind neutral!)
NO, I am not content. I will push my limits, as long as I can.
I am training for another cross America Fast race. Slowing down is too easy.
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Old 10-01-06, 03:33 AM   #3
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I'm 59, its 5:30 am and my triathlon starts at 8. I'm just killing a few minutes till my son picks me up at 6.

Old Nope, fragile, Hey I'm going to Kick A** and take names.
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Old 10-01-06, 04:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velo Dog
Am I stuck in adolescence and denial, or are there others post-50 who just don't sweat it that much?
We just like to Beotch.
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Old 10-01-06, 05:50 AM   #5
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We just like to Beotch.
+1
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Old 10-01-06, 06:15 AM   #6
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My 18 year old and 22 year old sons (yep, had 'em later in life) both out perform me in almost any physical activity. When I play baseball with them (IMHO, the greatest game on earth... not the greatest sport, that would be cycling, but the greatest game), I've got to be careful, because the oldest has a rocket launcher for an arm. He's capable of bruising my catching hand bad enough that I have a hard time holding anything in it for a week or more. I used to be able to hit a fastball in the low 90's. It's been ten years since I could do that. When my younger son and I play guitar together, his fingers fly over passages that I used to be able to play as quickly, but have lost a bit of speed. (Just a quick tip for those who play guitar... my son has played honors violin for six years in school. His technique on guitar is incredible!) On the other hand, I've recently converted/remodeled our garage by myself, turning it into a music room. I laid a 40' by 30' bick patio this summer. I maintain 1.4 acres of lawn and garden. I ride thousands of miles per year in all kinds of weather. I also suffered a mild stroke in February of last winter. Do I feel old and fragile? When I had my stroke, yes. When I see my sons out performing me, yes. When I cut myself and it takes two weeks for it to heal, but only one week for my kids to heal from the same kind of cut, yes. When I look in the mirror and wonder who the hell the guy with the grey hair and wrinkled face is, yes. When my wife and I are alone and enjoying each other's company, no. When I'm playing with the dogs, no. When I'm riding a roller coaster, no When I'm on my bike, no. I'd be lying to you if I said otherwise. Personally, I think it all comes down to how we each deal with loss. Me, I don't like it much. I get over it, but that's just what I have to do... is get over it. So, if you ask me if I feel old and fragile, my answer will likely depend on what I'm doing when you ask.
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Old 10-01-06, 06:19 AM   #7
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Life and our bodies are a "use it or lose it" deal.
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Old 10-01-06, 06:58 AM   #8
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I'm with you, velo. I don't sweat the details, I just get out there and work up a sweat.
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Old 10-01-06, 07:16 AM   #9
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I'm with you, velo. I don't sweat the details, I just get out there and work up a sweat.
+1
Couldn't have said it better.
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Old 10-01-06, 07:24 AM   #10
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im 50, i feel like i'm gonna die!i'm always tired no matter how much i sleep,i have a cool fixed gear bike, but i dont feel confident to ride.
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Old 10-01-06, 08:07 AM   #11
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An interesting question:

I always feel old and fragile while I'm thinking about going out for a ride.
I always feel young and strong about 5 minutes or so into the ride.
I revert to old and fragile again by the end of the ride.

Now here's the interesting part: The distance or difficulty of the ride doesn't seem to make any difference. If I'm planning a 30 mile ride, the first 25 miles feels pretty good and the last 5 miles is a struggle. If I'm planning a 50 mile ride, the first 40 or so miles feels pretty good and the last 5 or 8 miles is a struggle. If I'm only riding 20 miles, the last hill feels hard.

Do you suppose that this might all be in my head?
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Old 10-01-06, 08:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by na975
im 50, i feel like i'm gonna die!i'm always tired no matter how much i sleep,i have a cool fixed gear bike, but i dont feel confident to ride.
This feeling you are describing worries many of us. There are days I feel like that. I found out that doing an exercise routine helps. First thing in the morning before anything else. Not doing much, just light weights and resistance rubber bands. Actually I got this idea from therapy for an injured shoulder.
BTW, my wife deals with stress the same way. She feels lousy, goes exercise, feel better.
I am now going on another 50 mile bike run at my top speed.
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Old 10-01-06, 10:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
If I'm planning a 30 mile ride, the first 25 miles feels pretty good and the last 5 miles is a struggle. If I'm planning a 50 mile ride, the first 40 or so miles feels pretty good and the last 5 or 8 miles is a struggle. If I'm only riding 20 miles, the last hill feels hard.

Do you suppose that this might all be in my head?
Yes.

I have the same experience almost every time I go for a ride. The planned distance determines when I begin to get fatigued!
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Old 10-01-06, 11:00 AM   #14
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I feel a little diminished in some ways....don't eat as much, don't ride as fast without greater effort, more careful when climbing up on the roof, plan an easy or rest day after a hard ride--things I wasn't so conscious of before. These little, new awarenesses have come on in the last year or so (I'm 59) like little eyes staring at me from just outside the firelight. Yet, I don't particularly shy away from doing anything I used to do or have lesser expectations for myself. And, consciously, I believe very much like Will, that you dig in your heels and slow that inevitable backward slide down towards increasing incapacity. I've also been lucky, I suppose, no major illnesses or irreparable injuries. Maybe those are stonewalls you hit with age and they bring the sudden Realization.

Around 50, it seems that some people age, both body and consciousness, a lot faster than others. BF50 here is a good tonic and a refreshing squirt from the Fountain of Youth.

Last edited by CrossChain; 10-01-06 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 10-01-06, 11:27 AM   #15
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Guys,

I'm feeling old this specific week because of prostatitis. I'm 56.

BUT, I generally never feel like I'm 56. When I am at work I am moving all the time and working at a fast pace. When I am on the bike, I think I am still the same 25 year-old I used to be. When I put on my motorcycle helmet and get on my CB-1100-F, it all seems the way it has always felt. The view and sounds and experiences from inside my full-coverage helmet seem the way they have felt everytime I have ridden my motorcycle over the past 40 years. If I don't ride the bicycle as fast as I used to, it is never (in my mind) because I am older, I am either a bit out of shape (to be remedied by more training) or just having a bit of bad day. If I don't race the Honda at insane speeds, it's just because (in my mind) I am showing some discretion that particular day.

I am not the same, but it feels the same. I see myself as I perceive that others perceive me. (Herbert Spencer) Somewhere in there, though, I have a big disconnect that makes me see myself as young. Oh, well. Denial and repression are popular techniques for a reason, I guess.

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Old 10-01-06, 11:34 AM   #16
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My bike has been a fountain of youth for me. I always felt too bulletproof in my youth. I think that kind of attitude really sets you up for a fall when age starts to prove you aren't so bulletproof.

For me, the first hint of aging showed up in my mid-forties, when I discovered that it hurt more and more every time I fell while water skiing. I promptly gave up water skiing. Next, I found I could no longer read a map at night by dome light in my vehicle; it wasn't long before I had to buy reading glasses. By my late forties, degenerative discs had cratered my back to the point that it became my overwhelmingly biggest health issue. Then, at fifty, chronic bronchitis, from my years of cigar smoking, set in. At that point, I REALLY felt old and frail.

I'm 55 now, and yesterday, I did a 55 mile club ride. The middle 18 miles of this ride is a loop where the club hammerheads really take off and leave everyone else. I was able to hang with the lead group of five until the last couple of miles. At the next stop, where the riders regroup and wait for everyone, a couple of riders came over to check out my recumbent and compliment me on how well I rode. One even mentioned how strong I looked on the hills (always a weakness of recumbents, and me, especially). So, no, I'm not feeling that old or frail this afternoon.
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Old 10-01-06, 11:56 AM   #17
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You ARE going to die. Just like the rest of us. The trick is to make a useful, fun filled life last as long as possible. I'm convinced that riding my bike, as well as other healthful excercise persuits aids in this process. If you're really feeling negative about your condition at your young age, I suggest reading and adopting "Younger Next Year" by Crowley & Lodge. The book motivated me to change my habits for the better a year ago.
Ride your bike, stay young.
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Old 10-01-06, 12:49 PM   #18
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At almost 67, I sometimes surprise myself about how great I feel.

Last three years included brain surgery, heart surgery (to correct atrial fibrillation), and some continuing bouts of skin cancer.

But, I can still bicycle many miles, and when I don't I walk 3 miles - as today while traveling. I lift more weights than many 20 year-olds can, and look fairly decent. My heart recovery rate is very good. I can still climb a flight of steps or two with no problem

I have been looking at men my age this trip, as it seems this time of year is the "senior tour." Some are on tour buses, others driving.

I am aghast at how many grossly obese males I have seen - folks who can barely make it from their Buick to the front door of the restaurant or motel. Not just overweight, but folks who could roll easier than they walk.

It's scary!

Me?

I feel strong and vibrant.
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Old 10-01-06, 12:51 PM   #19
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I don't sweat it at all. I just turned 62 and today did 31 miles at an average speed of 15.4 mph. I ride almost every day and last week did a three day ride to a town near here; one day there (54 miles), one day there looking around, and one day back home (50 miles). I sometimes ride with younger people who can't keep up with me. I ride because I feel good doing it and feel good after. I ride instead of taking the car for groceries, the library, to visit family, or other shopping. I plan to be riding 20 years from now and with luck lomger than that!
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Old 10-01-06, 03:32 PM   #20
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I am trying to get a message out there. It is NOT the chronological age which we need to worry about.
Due to special circumstances (doing a 3000 mile XC and 1000 mile training) I have biked over 10,000 miles in a 12 month time period. I learned something along that way.
Here is my message: Assuming you are otherwise in good health, assuming you eat sensibly, assuming you do not overstress your joints and muscles, you will not feel your age. You will have more energy, be faster, can handle ridiculous stress and look at the future with an optimistic attitude.
I recommend it.
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Old 10-02-06, 06:48 AM   #21
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You know, I always have to ask my wife how old I am. I don't think it is even worth the brain cells to keep track. Age is a useless metric unless your counting down to retirement which just means more time to ride. Just forget about it!
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Old 10-02-06, 08:54 AM   #22
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Every morning I jump out of bed thinking of going riding. I started riding about 3 months ago at age 65 lost 15 pounds and feel great. I'm 66 now and when my kids come over I joke with them and say,man I feel like I'm 60 again.They just laugh. Anyhow all the happy times and hardships all go away when I'm on my bike.I just focus on what I'm doing and forget everything else.Which way was the house again,George
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Old 10-02-06, 09:03 AM   #23
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Funny, the time I feel the least old is when I ride my bike. I am slower and definitely fatter, but I got fatter when I was in my 30's during a a far too long sojourn from cycling. I never worry about adverse tings happening out on the road, and as for mechanicals, I think only once in my life have I been totally unable to ride back home. (I am a pretty good wrench, and can be innovative if needed). cycling to me is ageless. Kind of like living a Nike commercial - just do it!
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Old 10-03-06, 10:20 AM   #24
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Just guessing....seems like most of ya'll are guys....let me tell you...females 50+ make me SCREAM!
"Oh, you ride out there alone, I'd be too afraid.." Your only old if YOU believe you are. I can run circles around my boys, 27, 25 & 23....to say nothing of the 55 yr old husband!!! My regular ride partner...who always drafts off me is 41! Most of the other females I know can't even manage that! They're great gals, but we just meet at the beginning and end of rides! Like OBXrider said...YOU/WE are going to die....but I'm not ready to act like I'm already dead!! To many miles to look for...too many challenges to look forward too! (Like getting the old man out on a bike!!) k
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Old 10-03-06, 02:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velo Dog
Am I stuck in adolescence and denial, or are there others post-50 who just don't sweat it that much?
We're all stuck in adolescence and denial... One difference between youth and now is that I carry credit cards and insurance now. My tools to get out of trouble are more sophisticated.

But as far as letting up? Nah.

This weekend I pedaled over 25 miles of hilly rural terrain to get to the rest stop of a bicycle tour where I helped set up, gave refreshments and helped tear down and then hopped back on the bike and went over the same hills again to return home. I actually did about 110 miles for the whole weekend.
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