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  1. #1
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    It's hard to trust a 50+ body

    I try to pay attention to my form when I ride... to spin and not mash... not to hunch up my shoulders... keep my elbows bent... don't lean forward on my hands... all that stuff. You know.

    I've come to a couple of conclusions...

    First, after 20 years of sluggitiude, the belly is hard to bring around. Sometimes I find myself putting too much weight on my hands, especially after I've been out for a while and I'm not as "fresh" as when I start. I realized it's because my core is weak. And the 50+ belly just doesn't snap back into shape that easily. I'll need to focus more on that, it might be holding my progress back. And I wish I could learn to keep my shoulders relaxed. Any helpful hints for that? Or do I just need to stay aware and work on it until relaxing becomes a habit?

    Still, there are improvements...
    Climbing is still hard; I guess it always will be but it's easier now than it was before. I'm finding that my legs my get sore and tired as I climb but once I get to the top, they snap right back and I can ride with ease. Used to be that once I got to the top, I was cooked. The climb became the "thing" and now it's just a way to get from point A to point B. It has opened up my world a little more. But the real limit is my breathing. I can't stress enough what a limiter asthma is for climbing. My body holds up OK but if you can't get air into your lungs, you've got problems. Oh well, just gonna have to live with that.

    But the real thing -the area where I just need to learn to trust my body, I guess- it's my feet. Onne of them in particular. I find that, as I pedal, I tend to rely heavily on my right leg... it does a lot more work (or feels like it does, anyway) than my left. OK, I'm right handed so that's part of it. But the big issue is that, years ago, I broke my left foot and it need to be kind of patched together and there was nerve damage so a good part of it is mostly numb (or burns) all the time. Well, that's an issue with pedaling and I find that it becomes more bothersome as I go along. I try to push more with my left leg and the foot just feels more and more numb. Plus, I just have a fear that if I push too hard, it'll all come apart again. I'm not sure what to do about that... Help me Mr Wizard!

    You know me... none of this will stop me, I cannot be stopped. But it sure would be easier if there were some kind of answers. Or is it just the way it is with a 55 year old body?
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  2. #2
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    I feel your pain. I used to be able to whip my head around and check behind me like an owl. I still can turn, but not as quickly or as far, and I find I like a mirror more than my ego wants me to.

    Yep, we are not 20, 30 or even 40. But we are on our bikes! I'm pretty sure I'm by far the fastest cyclist on my suburban block.

    I always liked the line: "It's not how well the bear dances,, but that the bear dances at all."
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
    Website at curtis.corlew.com Bicycle blog at ccorlew.blogspot.com

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
    I

    But the real thing -the area where I just need to learn to trust my body, I guess- it's my feet. Onne of them in particular. I find that, as I pedal, I tend to rely heavily on my right leg... it does a lot more work (or feels like it does, anyway) than my left. OK, I'm right handed so that's part of it. But the big issue is that, years ago, I broke my left foot and it need to be kind of patched together and there was nerve damage so a good part of it is mostly numb (or burns) all the time. Well, that's an issue with pedaling and I find that it becomes more bothersome as I go along. I try to push more with my left leg and the foot just feels more and more numb. Plus, I just have a fear that if I push too hard, it'll all come apart again. I'm not sure what to do about that... Help me Mr Wizard!

    You know me... none of this will stop me, I cannot be stopped. But it sure would be easier if there were some kind of answers. Or is it just the way it is with a 55 year old body?
    In general, the more you use your damaged foot, the more you can use your damaged foot.
    That's been my experience, anyway.
    Be patient. Nerve damage takes a very long time to heal, to recover.
    In my case, over 10 years and counting.
    "We don't have to be mean because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    -Buckaroo Banzai

  4. #4
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    I guess there might be hope, then, but I've lived with this for 30 years; I don't know how much improvement I can expect. One thing I forget to mention is that there was so much pain involved in walking when I broke it that I stopped taking the train in a walking the last block or two to work and, instead -tadaaaa!- I bought a bike and started driving in and parking, not a couple of block but a few miles away, and then riding my bike the rest of the way. This I could do. Since I worked swing shift, I started riding around the city after work for an hour or two before I headed back to my car and on home. And thus began my adult love affair with the bicycle. When life hands you lemons...
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  5. #5
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    I had pain from my riding style (If you could call it that). I got professionally fit and it made a night and day difference. My feet (Bad cleat position) and my hip (Bad overall position) are much better.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sherbornpeddler's Avatar
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    Lemonade!
    I dropped 25 lbs since beginning to bike regularly at the age of 55, my owl-neck days are behind me (I guess...) but I am a legend in my own mind in my neighborhood. There is one 47 year old I can't seem to beat, but there is hope.

    My cousin the wise old family doctor tells me the one thing common to those who live longest are those who refuse to give in to age, rail, push, shove and slam until they hit a wall then ...they redefine their limits and begin again: refuse, push, shove against those rules. Learning to redefine the world to fit our capabilities without caving in.

    Illegitimi non carborundum may not be real Latin but it is a great attitude.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein

  7. #7
    should know better
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
    But the real thing -the area where I just need to learn to trust my body, I guess- it's my feet. Onne of them in particular. I find that, as I pedal, I tend to rely heavily on my right leg... it does a lot more work (or feels like it does, anyway) than my left. OK, I'm right handed so that's part of it. But the big issue is that, years ago, I broke my left foot and it need to be kind of patched together and there was nerve damage so a good part of it is mostly numb (or burns) all the time. Well, that's an issue with pedaling and I find that it becomes more bothersome as I go along. I try to push more with my left leg and the foot just feels more and more numb. Plus, I just have a fear that if I push too hard, it'll all come apart again. I'm not sure what to do about that... Help me Mr Wizard!

    You know me... none of this will stop me, I cannot be stopped. But it sure would be easier if there were some kind of answers. Or is it just the way it is with a 55 year old body?
    I'd suggest concentrating on the top and bottom of your pedal stroke--pushing over the top and pulling through the bottom. Making sure your toes are relaxed as you do this helps also--well, at least it does me. When I pay attention to the top and bottom of the stroke I put less pressure on the soles of my feet on the downstroke. The other benefit is that doing this bumps up my cadence by an RPM or two, never a bad thing for me. You might also do one legged pedaling drills with your left leg to encourage it to catch up to your right--probably on a trainer would be the best way to start. Of course, I'm a mere lad of 51, but the development of new aches and pains can be nature's cycling coach--not invariably, but in some cases those pains are pointing to areas that need improvement, whether that might be through better fit, better fitness, or something else. I share both your positive attitude and your frustration--wish these kind of problems would sort themselves out and resolve more quickly. I love riding so much that I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep going, no matter how much time may be involved. Beats sitting in front of the TV!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
    ... I realized it's because my core is weak. And the 50+ belly just doesn't snap back into shape that easily. I'll need to focus more on that, it might be holding my progress back. And I wish I could learn to keep my shoulders relaxed. Any helpful hints for that? Or do I just need to stay aware and work on it until relaxing becomes a habit?....
    ... I tend to rely heavily on my right leg... it does a lot more work (or feels like it does, anyway) than my left. ...I try to push more with my left leg and the foot just feels more and more numb. Plus, I just have a fear that if I push too hard, it'll all come apart again. I'm not sure what to do about that... Help me Mr Wizard!
    Here are my thoughts and reasoning behind them.

    1. The abdominal muscles are always hard to keep in shape. I don't think age has as much to do with it as you are perhaps thinking it does. They tend to be the muscles that we use less frequently in everyday activities at almost any age. I do think you are correct in your assessment that a greater focus on your core would help.

    2. Where do you shoulder hurt? By relaxed, do you mean you tense up and get pain between the shoulder blades? Do you mean you get discomfort or pain in the shoulder joints, or at the front of the shoulders? I've learned that these kind of shoulder things likely have very different causes. If you are getting tense between the shoulder blades, this could be more of a problem with neck muscles not being strong enough. If you have discomfort or pain in other places, then I think you need to look at the weight you are putting on your arms. Once again, core strength will help with this. You might also want to check the width of your handlebars. I know many people who ride too wide a bar. I also know quite a few will disagree with me on this, but I think the ideal position is with your arms directly under your shoulders. Try this. Sit in front of a table with back straight and a bit less than an arm's length away. Now place both hands on the table (palm down) in front of you. Keep the hands at just shoulder with. Now, while keeping one hand where it was, remove the other hand and place it on the front of your shoulder with palm on the front of the shoulders and fingers wrapping up over the top. Once in this position, slowly start to slide the hand that is still on the table out-wards - wider than shoulder width. You should be able to feel with the other hand just how much your joint and muscles move in the shoulder area. Putting pressure on the shoulder joint when the arms and hands are wider than shoulder width, is like having a lever prying up on the joint. Not a good thing. It takes VERY strong muscles to counter act this.

    3. The bad foot/leg with nerve damage is a real bummer. My wife has nerve damage from two spinal operations that have left her one leg and foot unable to perform as well as the other. While you are correct to pay attention to the leg muscle instead of the foot, you might also want to consider deliberately thinking about pulling up with the foot on your pedal stroke. It is the combination of deliberate down and up muscle movement that works for my wife.

    I don't know if any of this is helpful, but hope you find some solutions either here or from the sage advice of others on the forum.
    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.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    I had to laugh at this title, definitely some truth there, but I am also a firm believer in the keep pushing and shoving theory. I think you have to remind yourself of how much healthier - mentally and physically- you are because you are a bike rider.
    AND your "I cannot be stopped" is perfect!

  10. #10
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Well I gotta tell ya after 30 some years working on a concrete factory floor there is not one joint where I don't have pain at some time from carpel tunnel in both wrists to tendinitis in the shoulders and elbows and a couple of knees with small tears in the meniscus I'm a mess BUT when I get on the bike, after about a hundred yards all that pain seems to go away until I get off the bike but thats ok I'm not giving in to it. I used to take more Ibuprofen than I should and finally got to where I rarely take it at all. I just make sure to get up and move instead of sitting for long periods. But isn't it odd that I don't hurt when I'm on the bike?
    (Life is too short to play crappy guitars) 2006 Raleigh Cadent 3.0, 1977 Schwinn Volare, 2010 Windsor tourist. ( I didn't fall , I attacked the floor)

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stringbreaker View Post
    I just make sure to get up and move instead of sitting for long periods. But isn't it odd that I don't hurt when I'm on the bike?
    Keeping active at work has saved me from a very early enforced retirement. But it is getting back on the bike that cures everything. Perhaps it mat not feel it after a gruelling ride- but had to have a couple of weeks off last year and I found myself with sore joints and lethargy.

    I do have a knee problem and that was from a serious injury in the forces. It was 10 years of no exercise- other than chasing the kids around that got me back into cycling- and I have not regretted it at all. And as those hills- They are there and there to be climbed.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  12. #12
    Old Enough to Know Better WalterMitty's Avatar
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    I know I haven't trusted a fart since I was 40...
    Youth we got, what we need is a fountain of Smart!

    "Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?"

  13. #13
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalterMitty View Post
    I know I haven't trusted a fart since I was 40...
    If you mean what I think you mean, ew, ew, ew! (She said in between laughing out loud)
    Embrace diversity: hug a conservative.

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