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  1. #1
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    Letís hear it for seniors kicking butt!

    When it happens, it feels so good. So how about some stories? Hereís one to start.

    First, a little background: Iím 60 years old, with a grand total of 8 months road biking experience. I love the fitness aspect of cycling and work hard to improve, one ride at a time. But how many times have I been really getting after it Ė cadence up, sweat dripping off my nose, heart rate pushing into the stratosphere - only to be humbled by some guy (or gal) passing me as if I were pedaling backwards? And theyíre not even breathing hard! Obviously they had a gear in their legs that I did not.

    The Fort Roots Hill is a favorite training run Ė about a mile long with several switchbacks leading up a four hundred foot elevation gain. Though a modest climb by most standards, there have been many times I did not think I would live to see the top while creeping up in my granny gear. But ever so slowly I improved - to the point that I can now ride it a few gears higher, maintaining 9 to 12 mph along the way.

    So one dayÖ when Iím about to make the turn up Fort Roots road, I noticed a much younger rider approaching from the opposite direction, about 100 yards away. He was outfitted like most of the young bucks Ė wearing a multi-colored jersey and riding a hot bike - obviously fresh off The Tour.

    When I hit the second switchback into the climb, I heard a sound and turned to find this guy just off my rear wheel. We were now on the longest pitch of the hill, leading to a final sharp turn just before the top. I gritted my teeth and decided to give it my all, although I expected him to blow by me any second.

    Breathing in gasps, I just concentrated on stroking the bike, my body too stressed to even glance behind. When I finally reached the top and looked back, I couldnít believe it - he was not in sight! I caught my breath, sipped water and was most of the way around the circular road at the top before he finally crested the hill.

    At last - I was able to celebrate a small, quiet victory, unnoticed by the rest of the world - and know that at least on that day, I was the one who had the extra gear.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Your previous 8 months, your granny gear creeping up the hill...it all comes together-- and makes you want to do more. Whether you dropped him or not, you deserve to feel good!
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  3. #3
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    And the more you ride the faster you can go with distance as well. I ride year round and in warm weather ride with a college club and there astounded when I don’t drop or end up having to slow down for some of them. I hate riding a trainer in the house so any temps above freezing will see me out riding unlike those warm weather whips. Riding in the cold "pumps you up"! Just keep at it.

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I have more sense nowadays and I wait till he has passed me, then try to catch his wheel. works even better if you take your pace out a bit. Then when he passes you puffing like a train-You still have a bit left to catch his wheeland slow him down a bit. Doesn't work if they have a chat with you as they pass, as they have more energy than they should have------Or you have.

    Nice when it happens but Youth and fitness does not have a chance when it meets experience, age and treachery.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  5. #5
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Some of you have heard the story of how I got involved in the 1972 Los Angeles Wheelmen Double Century. While cycling through Santa Monica on San Vicente Bl., on my way back from Malibu to Rancho Park, I caught up with a couple of other 20-somethings and began cruising with them. A few blocks later we were passed by a guy with a white Mercier and a white goatee. One of my new-found friends asked me and his buddy, "Are you going to let an old guy like that pass you up?" I responded, "Nope," leaving them in the dust. When I caught up with the "old guy," he told me, "You keep up a good pace," to which I responded, "That should be MY line!" I soon learned that he was 50 years old and just starting to train for his second Double Century. He pointed out that if he could handle it at 50, I should have no problem, two months before my 22nd birthday.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    When I was still in my 60s, used to still ride an occasional century/double century.
    Sort of funny, on my last a double century, when kids sneeringly asked me the start: "Hey old man, what time will you finish?" Answer: "I'll finish".
    Kids haul butt and leave old man in the dust. At the 150 mile mark, pass up the kidz and said 'how ya doing'?' and leave them in the dust. Achieved my goal, did a 12 hour double century.
    Age/experience can overcome youth/impudence.


    Can't tell a book by its cover . . .

  7. #7
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    It took me awhile but I did move up on a distant foe the other day. After some serious hammering I finally passed the SOB. Turned out to be a mailbox.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

  8. #8
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis
    It took me awhile but I did move up on a distant foe the other day. After some serious hammering I finally passed the SOB. Turned out to be a mailbox.
    Been there.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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  9. #9
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
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    We end up being the bug often enough; it's nice to be the windshield now and then. Good story, mb.
    Bud
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  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Back to kicking Butt- In 2003 I did a big ride that is hard for anyone. This was after a couple of serious medical medical problems and a lay off for 6 or 7 years from the event. 100 miles offroad with 10,000ft of climbing and only daylight to do it in. What made it worse was that I was doing it on a Tandem, not the ideal machine for staying upright on, and I was 55. At the start the organior That I knew quite well pointed out to me that NO tandem had ever completed the organised event in the 6 years it had been running. Plenty had started but none had completed the distance.

    All these young competitors started taking side bets as to where I would drop out. Most reckoned it would be before the 65 mile mark but the several said 20 miles. It was for charity so the bets were on- providing the money went to the charity. The charity got an extra £20 from the youngsters.

    Next year at the riders briefing-and a warning was given out to the riders. All the safety rules and a few Riding tips. Last one of which was- "Whatever you do- Do not try and stay with the Tandem. It may be slow uphill and it requires a lot more room to negotiate the trail than you think. Plus the fact that on the flat and downhill it will kill you. That thing is fast"
    Last edited by stapfam; 02-18-07 at 01:09 AM.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  11. #11
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    I've always had an abundance of fast twitch muscles. So, I've been able to sprint pretty well. As I've aged, the distance over which I can effectively sprint has lessened. Yet, once or twice a season, if I'm positioned in the pack just right, I can smoke the other guys on the typical "sprint to the townline sign". It really annoys the ones 15 to 25 years younger that I can do this. Still annoys my kids that I can out sprint them on foot for 60 yeards. What they don't know, and I'm not telling them, is that after 60 yards I'm toast. So, I guess you could say that I've learned that if I'm going to let the competitive streak rear it's head, "I've got to pick my battles." Now some of the things you guys do, I'll never be able to do. I suspect that a double century in 12 hours or 100 miles off road with 10,000 ft of climbing just isn't in the cards for me in this life time.... maybe the next one.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  12. #12
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    I suspect strongly that the only rear end kicking I will ever do will involve 12 year old children on bikes.

    Pretty much everyone else passes me.

    East Hill
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    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  13. #13
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I hate to think what it will be like riding with my son when he turns 12. At 11 y/o he regularly kicks my butt on the hills. Once he learns to keep a steady effort going on the flats, It'll be all over for me.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  14. #14
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill
    Pretty much everyone else passes me.

    East Hill
    Riding sweep is the way to meet the most interesting people. Don't ask me how I know this.
    Last edited by Jet Travis; 02-18-07 at 08:54 AM.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

  15. #15
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Congrats on defeating the other climber!

    If anyone finds themselves in NE Pennsylvania and want to drop someone, send me a PM.

    I have references.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  16. #16
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis
    Riding sweep is the way to meet the most interesting people. Don't ask me how I know this.
    My husband is already in awe of the way I meet people. He is extremely shy (how often have you seen the name Sammilove on BF?), and thinks it's amazing that I can go up to people and have good conversations with someone I've never met.

    He thinks it's a curse. I'm not certain that I don't agree sometimes.

    East Hill
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  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill
    My husband is already in awe of the way I meet people. He is extremely shy (how often have you seen the name Sammilove on BF?), and thinks it's amazing that I can go up to people and have good conversations with someone I've never met.

    He thinks it's a curse. I'm not certain that I don't agree sometimes.

    East Hill
    Had a lot of conversations today with people I have never met and probably will never meet again. Plenty of walkers up on the hills- Normally as I was going up- but they declined my request for a push. Only saw two other bikers on the hills- and they asked the same- Where is everybody? No other cyclist's out this morning. Then I met the ramblers- They maybe an English thing but they are normally found in large groups littering the trails that apparantly they own. They have all the walking gear- Boots, leggings to protect the lower part of their trousers from thorns and Dog bites. Ski poles to help them get up the hills and Large backpacks to carry all their spare clothing and emergency supplies in. The other point about them is that they are Deaf. Despite all my Assertations of The fact that there was a cyclist behind- they would not move to allow me past. Then there was a BIG DEEP puddle that they all went round-half going one side and the rest the other. I thanked them greatly for finally Allowing me past as I went straight through the Middle and sending up as large a spray as possible.

    At long last- I have got one up on a Bunch of UK Ramblers.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Stepfam,you're a bad boy,betcha it felt good to find that 10 year boy in everyone of us is still there! I think the word will be out about how a dufas on a bike splashed the poor walkers when they were nice enough to move over so that he could pass.Next time someone says cyclist behind they'll head for the hills tout d'suite.

  19. #19
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Youth and fitness does not have a chance when it meets experience, age and treachery.
    Pretty much sums it up for me. Also, I've downgraded my rear end kicking to those under the age of 6. After thinking over what BlueDawg said, I think that most 12 year olds are already taller than I am, not to mention younger .

    East Hill
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  20. #20
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    When I was younger, I used to look back down the road and think, "You gotta really admire an old dude like that being out here." Now, I look up the road and think, "You young twerp...I wasn't always this old and you won't always be this young." Then I have to laugh, because the main thing is that BOTH of us are out here. I once was him and he'll be me and, after a while, who cares? As long as we're out here.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  21. #21
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
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    Some great stories and points in this thread. I'll add another story. This one is too long, but this seems like a good place to put it. Just stop reading if you get bored.

    This time of year, I don't have much daylight after work to ride, so I do a lot of riding on a nearby dam that is closed to motor vehicles. It is 4 miles across. My wife often rides with me. She is a 12 to 14 mph rider. If I'm wanting a slow ride, I stay with her; 2 times across and back is 17 miles (with the half mile each way to the parking lot) and darkness has fallen. Sometimes I speed up and do 3 trips across and back (25 miles), knowing that if she has a problem, I'm never far away, meeting her coming and going. Sometimes, I catch her on her second lap; sometimes she meets me after starting her third, but I usually try to ride fast enough to catch her before she starts the third.

    Last Monday, I was on my faster bike (my first time lifting a bike over the dam gate after my hernia surgery, so I wanted it to be my lighter bike), and rode off ahead of her. After getting most of the way across, I met Mark, a very good long distance rider I join often, coming from the other direction. With him was another rider he knew only slightly from riding with on the dam, who he introduced as Tom. Tom appeared to be a serious rider. I turned around and joined them. On one of his fast days, I cannot keep up with Mark, but he had ridden over 250 miles the weekend before this Monday, so he was doing his usual 16 to 18 mph recovery ride, a good comfortable pace for me. With more long rides coming the next weekend, Mark said he would just do recovery speed all week.

    After we had ridden across the dam and back, as we turned for the next lap, Tom said, "Well, I have things to do. I have to get home. I'm going to ride faster. Y'all have a nice ride." The tone in his voice told me he was really saying, "Well, it's been nice riding with you two, but you are just too dang slow for me."

    As I was thinking, "Rut roh...... why do I think I'm going to be paying for that remark?", I heard Mark reply, "I might stay with you", and I knew what was coming. Tom took off at a 24 mph pace. I fell in behind him, and Mark behind me. After a mile or so, Tom started slowing, and after another half mile, he was doing 21 mph. At that point, Mark came zooming around us, and proceeded to drop us like a bad habit.

    I stayed behind Tom for a short while, then, just like I had good sense, I pulled out and passed him. I never came close to catching Mark; Tom never came close to catching me. After I made my second turn after passing Tom, as he passed me going the other way, he waved and said goodbye, so I knew he was leaving. I had just passed my wife going the other way, knew she wasn't all that far ahead, so toasted old f*rt that I was, I slowed down.

    This dam road only has a small curve, right in the middle, but it's enough that you can't see around it. Like Jet's mailbox, I thought I saw my wife just before this curve, with 2 1/2 miles to go, so I wasn't worried about not catching her. Of course what I saw wasn't her, and what I didn't know was that when Mark caught her, he joined her and said, "If you'll pick up the pace some, Bud won't catch us".

    When I realized she was far ahead, I sped up again, and caught them just as they stopped at the gate. I said, "So much for recovery all week". Mark smiled and said, "That was before we got motivated, wasn't it?" Somehow, I doubt that Tom told many of his friends that he'd been dropped by a sandal wearing old guy on a recumbent.

    We all have our own little victories. Just knowing that we ride miles and miles, while most of those we know are just couch potatoes, should be victory enough for those who can't or don't want to pass anyone on the bike. As for me, there are at least two Joe Pool dam riders I can pass (including my wife).
    Last edited by Bud Bent; 02-18-07 at 06:12 PM.
    Bud
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    They told me it's ok to post mileage over in the commuting forum, so you'll probably find me there these days.

  22. #22
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Today, my 60 y/o mountain biking mentor kicked my young 51 y/o butt all over his incredibly hilly home trails this afternoon.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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