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Old 02-04-07, 09:44 PM   #1
BluesDawg
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Any 50+ Beginner MTB Racers?

Although I consider myself mostly a roadie, I have been riding mountain bikes off and on since 1990 when I got the first new bicycle of my adult life, a Giant Iguana. I have enjoyed riding singletrack since those days, and always tried to ride a little smoother and faster, but never gave much thought to racing. MTB riding was mostly something I did to help me climb better on road rides.
In the past year I've been getting more interested in riding offroad, especially since my club helped make some great new trails at a local recreation area. I started doing more rides with some of the guys who race for the team my LBS sponsors. I can't hang with them when they really get after it, but I've been surpised at how my speed has increased. I finally broke down and bought a decent modern MTB, a 2006 Specialized Rockhopper Comp. I'm amazed at how well a decent fork can make a bike handle.

Anyway, I've let myself be talked into joining the team and plan to race in the Georgia State Championship Mountain Bike Racing Series. http://s161425410.onlinehome.us/2007...FLIER-main.pdf
I'll be competing in the 40+ beginner class (the 50+ class doesn't have a beginners category). I don't think I'll have a chance at winning any races, especially against all those youngsters, but I do think I can finish and not be last. The racers I know tell me that one of the local trails is as hard as anything on the race series, harder than most. I don't doubt it. It is a monster 5 mile trail with roots, rocks, switchbacks and hills - my the hills!

One big incentive for racing is that by racing in 6 series races, I will qualify for a new bike at a really deep discount. Maybe I can get myself a good full suspension bike.

So I was wondering if there are any others out there who are getting into MTB racing in their 50s or later. Anyone?
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Old 02-05-07, 02:24 AM   #2
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I have no interest in mountain biking, and less in racing...but my hat's off to you for taking the plunge. Please, keep us informed of the details and nuances of the experience. Like Will D's high speed cross country adventure last summer, it's something I could never do, but am endlessly fascinated by anyone who can.

A big thumbs up, BD!
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Old 02-05-07, 10:23 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg
One big incentive for racing is that by racing in 6 series races, I will qualify for a new bike at a really deep discount. Maybe I can get myself a good full suspension bike.

So I was wondering if there are any others out there who are getting into MTB racing in their 50s or later. Anyone?

Been there- Done that and got the T Shirt. In fact I think I won that one.

I started racing in my late 40's to make up the numbers at a local meeting. Had no chance of even getting near the front but Felt that I had got enough out of my previous sports to put something back. I enjoyed it but went to one meeting and found I was the only 45+ entered. I was asked if I would mind racing in the 35+ group as a class of one was not on. I agreed and tagged on behind the youngsters and only saw other racers from the other age groups lapping me. Got to the prize presentation to find that I had come 2nd in my group All the others dropped out. Went to my next meeting to find that I had been taken out of sports group and put into the Top group------ Due to my excellent placing in my last race. You try tell officials that coming 2nd in a group that may have had 15 starters but only 2 finishers doesn't really count. I had to finish the season off in the top group- but had just as much fun coming last in that group as I had coming last in the lower group.
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Old 02-05-07, 03:29 PM   #4
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stapfam,

I'm sure hoping there will be enough people racing to prevent that sort of thing happening. There are at least 5 of us on my team who will be at most of the events. But I would have no qualms with taking home a trophy by default. I remember when my parents got involved in running, my Mother came in first or second at almost every event because there was rarely anyone there in her class.
***Oh man! I've just realized that they were younger than I am when they were geezer road runners!***

Anyway, I'm looking forward to it. I think that preparing for the races (I don't use the "T" word) will boost me to a new level of fitness. I've kind of settled into a good place, but I'd like to get back on the weight loss track so I can climb better.
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Old 02-05-07, 05:06 PM   #5
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I got into mountain biking about a year and a half ago. Now I'm an avid mountain biker, but I've not raced because I am just too slow. I have total respect for your actions because it is difficult at any age to race mountain bikes and more so at 50+ trying to compete with younger cyclists. I hope you drop them all!
BTW, congrats on your choice of bikes. I too have a Rockhopper, but mine is a 05. They're great bikes but I like the RS Tora on your bike better than the so-so Manitou Axle on mine.
Best of luck with your racing and keep us posted on how it goes.
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Old 02-05-07, 05:50 PM   #6
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Did some MTB racing when I was in my early 40's. No reason I can see not to do so when in your 50's. I never won races but often finished well enough to pick something from the prize table. The 40+ beginners class is probably a good choice as there are some fast guys in the 50+ class if it is like what I have seen here.
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Old 02-05-07, 06:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
So I was wondering if there are any others out there who are getting into MTB racing in their 50s or later. Anyone?
Well, I'm not just getting into it - - I've been racing since my mid-40s. My main focus has been DH and some Super-D though, which I've had a fair amount of success at. I do race XC, but on a much more recreational level (if I did NORBA XC, I'd be a Sport)

Good to see another 50+ racer! I'm sure you'll find it fun and discover an amazing amount of camaraderie 'mongst the older racers.
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Old 02-06-07, 11:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by roccobike
I got into mountain biking about a year and a half ago. Now I'm an avid mountain biker, but I've not raced because I am just too slow. I have total respect for your actions because it is difficult at any age to race mountain bikes and more so at 50+ trying to compete with younger cyclists. I hope you drop them all!
BTW, congrats on your choice of bikes. I too have a Rockhopper, but mine is a 05. They're great bikes but I like the RS Tora on your bike better than the so-so Manitou Axle on mine.
Best of luck with your racing and keep us posted on how it goes.
Rocco- Do not be put off by thinking all the others are fast-Not all of them are after 5 miles. One of the reasons I got into Enduro riding was because I have stamina. I know 40 miles may not sound long to some of the roadies but Offroad at 10mph is a 4 hour ride. I did a 45 miler a few years ago and I was told by lots of the riders that I was too old to be thinking I could do a ride like this. 2 hours into the ride and I had passed at least 20 of the 130 starters and a further 20 had pulled out , By the 3 hour mark I was in the top half of the field and at the end I finished 23rd. Next Enduro I entered was a 6 hour round a 5 mile course and I had a lot of respect from the Other riders. Especially as I was doing it solo and they were in teams doing it in relays. I may have been lapped by the leaders plenty of times but even they were not passing comments as they Passed me. Now if you really want excitement- Get into Night Enduros or Randonnees. They are even greater fun.
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Old 02-06-07, 10:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by stapfam
Rocco- Do not be put off by thinking all the others are fast-Not all of them are after 5 miles. One of the reasons I got into Enduro riding was because I have stamina. I know 40 miles may not sound long to some of the roadies but Offroad at 10mph is a 4 hour ride. I did a 45 miler a few years ago and I was told by lots of the riders that I was too old to be thinking I could do a ride like this. 2 hours into the ride and I had passed at least 20 of the 130 starters and a further 20 had pulled out , By the 3 hour mark I was in the top half of the field and at the end I finished 23rd. Next Enduro I entered was a 6 hour round a 5 mile course and I had a lot of respect from the Other riders. Especially as I was doing it solo and they were in teams doing it in relays. I may have been lapped by the leaders plenty of times but even they were not passing comments as they Passed me. Now if you really want excitement- Get into Night Enduros or Randonnees. They are even greater fun.
Thanks for the encouraging words stapfam. I've got a lot of conditioning to do before I can go 40 miles. What I lack in stamina and ability, I try to make up for in enthusiasm. I follow many of your posts and I'm glad to see BluesDawg is now racing an MTB. This is great!
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Old 02-06-07, 10:53 PM   #10
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Stamina is one of my strengths, but I'm sure not ready for 40 miles offroad at racing pace. The main reason I'm going in a younger age group is so I can race the shorter distances of the beginner class rather than the longer Grand Masters class. Usually about 10 - 14 miles vs. 16 - 25 miles.

Offroad endurance racing is getting really popular around here with 6, 12 and 24 hour races becoming more frequent. I may try that next year, but for now I'll be happy to finish the short races without blowing up.
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Old 02-11-07, 07:44 PM   #11
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Brief update. I had a chance to tackle the tough local trail today, Selma Irwin Nature Preserve, or "Salmonella" as it is affectionally knowby its victims . I can see that I am making some progress. The trail is still a huge challenge for me and there are a few steep, twisty, root covered climbs that I have yet to climb without dismounting and pushing. But I am getting a little farther up them and I am starting to see better lines to take as I climb them. I did manage to clean one especially tricky downhill switchback section today that has been a problem for me before. I guess the best sign of progress was that I only had to stop a few times to quickly catch my breath after the hardest climbs. Last time I rode there I thought I was going to need to lie down for a while. I cant wait to get out there again next weekend. Just 5 weeks to get ready for the first race!
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Old 02-17-07, 05:18 PM   #12
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Whoohoo! I cleaned the switchbacks at salmonella again. And this time I got video proof.





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