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  1. #1
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    Boy I'm old and slow

    New poster here folks. Been riding for close to 30 year. I'm just shy of 54. Used to be MUCH faster. So 15 years ago I lived back east. Rode with friends. Was pretty flat. And of course I was 15 years younger. Used to do 50 milers a couple time a week in the summer. Used to average 17.5-18.5mph when in shape. Moved to the rural mountains of NM 15 years ago. It's REAL hilly here. Don't seem to make it up on the downhill side. I almost never see other riders out here. Couple weeks ago got dropped badly by a guy in his 60's who was 70 miles into a century..I was 15 miles into a 25 miler.

    Today, 35 miles is a lot and I average 13 or so. My weight isn't that off from 15 years ago. I KNOW I'm a bit lazier..and not riding with others enhances that. Since the "old" guy dropped me I've been pushing a bit harder, but still light years from what I used to do.

    Not a big deal really. don;t race. I ride for the physical and mental benefits. Just curios how the rest of the over-50 crowd fairs compared to wen they were in their 40's?

  2. #2
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Are you near Silver City? My wife and I visit out there sometimes, we have friends that live there. If so, I'll look you up next time we're in town!

    Rick / OCRR

    PS: I'm 59 and like to climb up mountain roads on my bike!

  3. #3
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    Rick, we live in the other side of the state. The Sacramento Mountains. Similar terrain to the Gila Wilderness. I've grown to like climbing, just not that good at it! 7000 feet above sea level here

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    So what make you different to most of us? I used to be one of those Ultra Fit youngsters but didn't take up cycling till I was 42. I found cycling hard for a couple of years but got into long distance riding in 1992. Offroad then but I still had to train for the 100 mile enduros.

    Kept riding hard till 2001 and then had a medical problem and tailed off- tailed off a lot and even thought about going roadie to get an easier time. BUT in late 2002 set myself a goal. A goal that I knew was hard. To do that 100 miler that I has last done in 97. Trained for it and the big part of the training was the mental aspect. WHY am I doing this? The legs hurt- and the lungs- and the butt after 6 hours non stop riding

    But In June 2003 I did that ride. Did it in the same time I had done it in 97 and "Enjoyed" it so much that I entered for the following year and did it in my best time ever.

    For the last 3 years I have gone to the dark side and now ride road. Not in preference to offroad but the body just won't take the lumps and bumps any more. I found it so easy- I set myself another goal and climbed Ventoux in 2007.

    So set yourself a goal. Not too easy- but one you know you can attain. You do 35 miles at present- so how about a metric century by the end of the year. You will have to put some effort in and training will not be easy. Just having that goal will spur you on. Riding will have more put into it- it will have to- and speed- distance and enjoyment will return. Well perhaps not the enjoyment for a while until the legs and lungs come in but even that will come.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  5. #5
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    stapfam..never said i was different! When i was 35 I rode all the time with a buddy. We were very evenly matched. There was always an "old" guy that dropped us then!

    Part of it is time. I'm 18 months into a new start up. I may set a goal of ridding 55 miles before my 55 b'day. Wife. Business. House. Ain't like it used to be.

    BTW I rode with some mountain bike guys when i was younger. Boy did I get hurt. More than getting my blackbelt

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipgreenberg View Post
    stapfam..never said i was different!
    What I should have said is that most of us have the same problem. And the goal of 55 miles by your birthday is ideal- but will only be the start of the next stage of riding.

    And if you have just "Discovered" hills- rest assured they are hard. I live in a hilly area and I still find them hard- but what an achievement when you can ride then just a little faster- in a higher gear- or not be as tired at the top as last time.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  7. #7
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    Hills are tough. I know part of this is mental..I used to push more. That's why a goal is good!

    I do have a goal this year. It's a 39 mile road..to the first real town I hit going south from home. The miles are no biggie obviously, I've done 35. BUT the last 6 miles down to town are down hill. Not huge,,but it's uphill coming home so I always turn around when I get to that point. I will do that this year. It will be a stretch of road I haven;t riden since moving here 15 yrs ago.

  8. #8
    el padre
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    Chip...welcome to the forums, and congrats on your 'new' resolve to enjoy the ride. I am here in flat Kansas but have enough hills to know what you are talking about. We have wind here too which you have to get used to. Whether it is wind or hills you just have to knuckle down and go the pace that gets the job done. Practice makes perfect.
    Again Welcome.

  9. #9
    Senior Member tntyz's Avatar
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    Welcome to our merry band. It's amazing how fast your body can improve if you work at it. Put together a plan or schedule and try to stick with it. Oh, and having a goal is always a good idea.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that you're doing it wrong.

    It sounds to me like you're trying to compare yourself either to somebody else or, worse, some idealized vision of yourself. Those comparisons are always going to come up wanting.

    Try to focus on having fun. Some fun things are even more so when done slowly.

  11. #11
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    54 years old? Can't remember back that far!
    Am 76. Quit riding double centuries and centuries in my late 60s.
    Still riding 100+ miles a week.
    Ride down that hill and come back up it . . . you can do it.
    Use your gears, that's what you've got them for.
    No, can't average 20+ mph any more, but still can kick in a good short sprint!
    Keep at it . . .
    Can hardly wait 'til I get older!

  12. #12
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    "Boy I'm old and slow "
    I hate it when folks in their 50's complain about how "old" they are.

    Like ZT, I can't wait to get older - it sure beats the alternative, and a youthful outlook makes things a lot better.

    Ride for FUN and smiles, and the rest comes easy.

    70 in 4 months.

  13. #13
    Senior Member semsd's Avatar
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    Just keep riding and push yourself just a little, you will improve over time. But on the other hand were not 20 years old any longer.

    As my mother would say “ Getting old sucks but it sure beats the alternative”
    the woman sure did have a way with words.

  14. #14
    Fred at large
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    "The spirit are willing but the flesh are weak" is about the best way to describe my current "abilities" as compared to when I was younger.

    FWIW, I believe that you are suffering from a lack of competitiveness. Not that this is bad, per se. Instead, you don't feel like you have to push yourself to enjoy your riding. Which is fine and is better than sitting in a Lazyboy with a remote in one hand and a beer in the other every day/all day.

    I, OTOH, push myself as best I can and I still fail. Miserably and often.
    I am Fred, hear me slurp my Grande Mocha.

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  15. #15
    too wheels
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    I've been riding for almost 40 years now. I'm enjoying it now more than ever. Speed is not a goal any more. (This applies to my motorcycle riding too.) Now it's about being smooth, consistent, aware of the area I'm riding in and most important, having fun.

    Someone once said to me, "Hey! You're not a professional bike racer. You never were. For most of us there is no prize money or trophy. So why are you in such a hurry? Do you want your ride to be over quickly or what?"

  16. #16
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    Thanks for al the posts folks. I am NOT complaining. I'm in better shape than most people my age. Don't get sick. Don't have medical problems. Most 50 yr olds can't imagine a 30 mile bike ride. We're an elite group. I guess I always compare yourself to others, or yourself. That said, I ride for me, and have always enjoyed the psychological effects as much or more than the physical..of course how can you separate the two? This is the first year I realize I can't do what I used to in my 30's. Went back to karate after a 10 yr. hiatus, pulled too many things and threw in the towel. Guess that's life. I think it beats the alternative !

  17. #17
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    ANd oh, yeah. We get wind here too. Spring really sucks. 25mph winds are a good day. I average 13mph. Do the math. BUT it hits at least 45-50 almost every day through the winter. So I left my wind trainer in NJ!

  18. #18
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipgreenberg View Post
    ANd oh, yeah. We get wind here too. Spring really sucks. 25mph winds are a good day. I average 13mph. Do the math. BUT it hits at least 45-50 almost every day through the winter. So I left my wind trainer in NJ!
    Wind??

    Wouldn't know how to ride if we didn't have wind.

    After a bit one gets used to it, just like hills.

    Where in NM?

    My sis lives in Ruidoso.

  19. #19
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    Welcome to the club, if you ever need/want answers or opinions to your problems, issues, concerns, this is the right place. The folks oon this board have done seen it all, and are nice enough to give a straight answer(but still young enough to have some fun).

    Quote Originally Posted by chipgreenberg View Post

    Not a big deal really. don;t race. I ride for the physical and mental benefits. Just curios how the rest of the over-50 crowd fairs compared to wen they were in their 40's?
    Who cares, your still on wheels aren't ya? Seems to me you have the right attitude, Enjoy the ride.
    And if you do enjoy the ride, you ride more, and get better, in body, mind and soul.

    Just, Enjoy the ride.

  20. #20
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    Welcome and hope this puts things in proper view:

    Two of us "pensioners"(as the French press called Lance) were grinding up a climb last month. I was moaning about not being able to climb better. My riding partner put it in a different light. He said for our age group we are better than 95% of all cyclists in the USA. Keep at it it will come back.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    I've turned this query into the "What should I be able to do at my age?" question. I live in eastern CT and all I can say is it's not flat. And, of course, starting the season at 20 lbs over my "cycling" weight, hills are my downfall. For a frame of referrence, I am an ex-college football & baseball player, just turned age 63 and my "ideal" weight is probably around 175 lbs. (I'm still 10 lbs short of the goal) At a natural 5'10" (now down to 5'9") this is not exactly a Tour de France cyclists' body. There are two "truths" I've come to recently. One is: if I treat cycling like I'm in training for some major event, I'm eventually going to say "the hell with it" and go have a beer. Two is: I can do a lot more than I thought I could. These are my truths and should not be taken as my prescription for everyone else. I recently gave up riding with my club on weekends because a typical ride is 4 hours long. I just don't want to spend my Saturday doing that. Instead, I ride during the week solo doing my several TT routes so I can measure my improvement. These are typically 1-3 hr. rides which start on a plateau go down into the flats and then require you to climb back up a series of hills. Today, despite 3 weeks off the bike, due to an episode of the gout and a drawn out affair with pneumonia which ended two weeks ago, I managed my 29 mi. ride at 16 mph. This is actually better than I was doing last year at season's end. And, I'm a lot happier just riding and setting my own goals for improvement. Imagine that! Age 63 and looking for and getting improvement. IMHO, this is the best thing about cycling. Enjoy your rides.

  22. #22
    Old, SLOW bike rider! ;)
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    Welcome, ya I get dropped all the time, sometimes up kids on stingray's, LOL!! Still I really have enjoyed my everyother day rides, WHEN we have sunshine which seems ONLY for a 3 hour time slot in the morning this summer?? Yep, there drying to dust in TX. and we here in So. Colorado are trying not to float away with the constant daily rains, (arrrrrrrrrugh!) I even took off my computer so now I just ride and don't worry about what other's can do or how agonizingly SLOW I ride going UP HILL!
    Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
    B.J. Ondo
    1993 Mongoose Switchback MTB, converted to a "comfort bike"! :)

  23. #23
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Welcome. Don't worry about getting dropped, unless your a TDF racer there will always be someone who will drop you and if you are like a lot of us - sometimes that guy is older and a lot fatter.

    I was a lone rider all my life until about 14 yrs ago I discovered club rides, I considered myself a good rider until I found out what a strong rider was - I got dropped all the time. I tried to keep up until eventually I developed knee problems and went back to being a lone rider. About 6 years ago I picked up a riding friend who was stronger than I and I hated when he would wait on me (he never complained) - so I worked harder to get stronger. My knee acted up again. I then discovered how to protect my knee and found through hard work and a lot of training I could ride the club rides and stopped getting dropped all the time. Now I have moved up and am challenging myself with stronger groups - sometime I get dropped but I don't care about that, I know eventually I will be strong enough to keep up and then I'll move to the next stronger group. For me it's not about beating other riders, it's about that feeling when you hit a small roller you crank the power up and actually accelerate going up the hill, it's about the feeling of riding with others, enjoying the pace and still being able to hold a conversation w/o panting like a dog. I actually go out and seek hills to challenge myself on, sometimes it's not about how fast you go its just about getting up the hill and then being able to recover quickly, it's also about realizing that if I can do that steep long grade even at 4mph I can easily motor up that roller and immediately gear up and accellerate at the top. It's about the thrill of what your body can make the bike do when you are a little bit stronger.

    Enjoy the ride.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  24. #24
    Pat
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    I am 57. I have done a couple of 20 mph centuries this year. So I am in reasonably good shape. Time was when I could do those solo or pretty close.

  25. #25
    pgk
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    Some funny stories here, I'll add mine in. I'm 52 and just took up riding again last year after about a 35 year break. Used to to a little road biking back in the early to mid 70's. Anyways one of my riding buddies is 42 and just took up riding also last year, both of our families drove down to Florida for vacation and naturally we took our bikes. We found one of the local bike runs and went out for a ride. About half way through our 40 mile loop "we were averaging just over 18 mph" I noticed a biker behind us about 1/2 mile back, in no time he caught up to us and proceeded to drop us like a bad habit. He appeared to be in his late 60's, we laughed most of the way back to our hotel..

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