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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 11-23-09, 12:54 PM   #1
curmudgeon
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older I get, better I was

Hi all, Usually celebrate the time around my birthday with a ride up a hill around my house (Old La Honda Rd., Woodside, CA), however, the decrease in ability appears to increase exponentially every year since I turned 50. For comparision, in my 20's and 30's I was clearing the hill in under 25' (and riding another 50-70 miles afterwards!) in a steel bike (42 x 21), in my 40's still under 35' in aluminum (39 x 26). I'd always hope to have a time less than my age, well, at 53, I am struggling to make 45' on a carbon bike with (30 x 25 triple). Any secrets on maintaining that youthful vigor? The low gear on my mt bike is (21 x 28 triple) so I can still probably ride the hill in my 60's and 70's even though it will take 2 hours.
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Old 11-23-09, 01:00 PM   #2
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Hi all, Usually celebrate the time around my birthday with a ride up a hill around my house (Old La Honda Rd., Woodside, CA),... Any secrets on maintaining that youthful vigor? .
Welcome to the 50+ forum!

The biggest mistake I can see in your post is that there is no mention of pie. Most birthday rides around here involve pie, usually as a reward for finishing a ride where miles = age on the birthday.

If you are choosing a timed hill climb as a substitute for riding your age in miles, that's probably OK, but there still needs to be some pie involved.

As far as training for faster speeds, there are a number of experts here who can chime in and give you the details. I just wanted to the first to hammer home the critical point about baked goods.
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Old 11-23-09, 01:07 PM   #3
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Hi all, Usually celebrate the time around my birthday with a ride up a hill around my house (Old La Honda Rd., Woodside, CA)...
Don't wait until your birthday to ride the hill. Ride it every day if possible.
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Old 11-23-09, 01:54 PM   #4
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I just wanted to the first to hammer home the critical point about baked goods.
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Don't wait until your birthday to ride the hill. Ride it every day if possible.
Skip the hill and head directly for the baked goods. And happy birthday.
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Old 11-23-09, 01:54 PM   #5
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At 60, I climb OLH and other local climbs frequently and my times have been improving. I suggest more climbing at tempo or threshold heart rate or power with focus on longer duration.

Last edited by Hermes; 11-23-09 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:30 PM   #6
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Old 11-23-09, 06:11 PM   #7
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Pie helps a lot of problems,according to some on this forum blueberry is the best but others postulate any type of pie is good.
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Old 11-23-09, 07:39 PM   #8
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ride, ride and ride... and when you get tired of doing that, ride some more. The only way to improve is to keep at it... Like Hermes said, more climbing will make you a better climber

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Old 11-24-09, 01:24 AM   #9
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Hi,

I can't offer much more than what has already been offered. Ride as much as possible if you want to maintain your form. One thing to note is that the smaller the gearing (in gear inches), the slower you will go -- duh. So part of your riding has to focus on power, because you can't spin a 30 X 25 fast enough to get up that hill in less than 30 minutes. I used to ride up some local hills in a 42 X 19 and now I use a 39 X 21 or 23. I am trying to regain some of the climbing form that I had in my youth. It probably is not entirely possible but I am going to see how close I can get.

BTW, I rode up that road for the first time this past August just a few weeks before I turned 52. It was a lot of fun and it's a good length for working on your climbing technique and strength without killing yourself. You are lucky to live near it.
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Old 11-24-09, 07:45 AM   #10
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Hill climbs are the one bright spot in my cycling ability. It's all about practice, pacing, gearing, and body weight. I also find alternating between standing and sitting helpful on a long climb. Now if I could just find a way to keep up on the flatlands against a headwind or sidewind ...

"Man who climb hill soon over it."

"Over the hill? I don't remember any hill."
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Old 11-24-09, 07:49 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
Hi all, Usually celebrate the time around my birthday with a ride up a hill around my house (Old La Honda Rd., Woodside, CA), ...
That is a tough climb. I ended up walking part of it in 1971 because my 45" low gear (47/28) was too stiff toward the end of my first double metric century, which had taken us through Big Tree Basin to Santa Cruz, then north for 40 miles against a stiff headwind. I must have spent half of the 121 miles in first gear.
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Old 11-24-09, 10:00 AM   #12
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I remember reading about a Fountain of, spinning or was it youth or something like that. You have to ride Central America and find a Sherpa from Romania for directions. Fill two Water bottles and you will regain the strength of a 27 year old for two weeks. Well that's what I've heard.

Try Cherry Pie with vanilla ice cream if you can't get to Central America. I feel younger just smelling it........

My favorite riding shirt is from Durango, CO-The Older I get, The Faster I Was!
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Old 11-24-09, 10:06 AM   #13
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The real question needs to be are you enjoying riding more than you did when you were younger??? I hope you are.
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Old 11-24-09, 10:10 AM   #14
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Don't worry about how long the journey takes, just keep taking the journey.
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Old 11-24-09, 10:11 AM   #15
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You really shouldn't get a huge drop in performance with age if you continue to train. As we get older, hard efforts like intervals, sprints, hills, etc. require longer times to recover and you can't do them as frequently. But you can make up for it with longer but slower endurance rides. The secret is keep riding with long, slow rides, throw in the occassional things to work on power, and enjoy yourself.

The "older I get, the better I was" subject line reminds me of my old running group. A dozen or so of us ran together every day at noontime. We also did races together on weekends. As people left or retired, the group got smaller and smaller. We keep together still by meeting for lunch or dinner and talk about old times. It's funny how we get faster and faster in our stories each time we tell them.
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Old 11-24-09, 01:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
Hi all, Usually celebrate the time around my birthday with a ride up a hill around my house (Old La Honda Rd., Woodside, CA), however, the decrease in ability appears to increase exponentially every year since I turned 50. For comparision, in my 20's and 30's I was clearing the hill in under 25' (and riding another 50-70 miles afterwards!) in a steel bike (42 x 21), in my 40's still under 35' in aluminum (39 x 26). I'd always hope to have a time less than my age, well, at 53, I am struggling to make 45' on a carbon bike with (30 x 25 triple). Any secrets on maintaining that youthful vigor? The low gear on my mt bike is (21 x 28 triple) so I can still probably ride the hill in my 60's and 70's even though it will take 2 hours.

Yah stop aging. I wish I could.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:04 PM   #17
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Don't worry about how long the journey takes, just keep taking the journey.
Rick--That is the best reason I have heard for keeping doing hills in a long time.

I have stopped the severe hills on the MTB for a couple of years now. If I were to do them I would find them hard right now. But getting up on top of those hills on a crisp frosty morning just as the sun is rising is one of the memories that I will never forget. So sometime this winter I am getting the MTB dusted off and oiled and starting that ride a bit earlier. Might not be when the frost is about though.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:18 PM   #18
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I bet even Brett Favre won't being playing at his current level when he grows up, err gets north of 45. Who really knows.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:25 PM   #19
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"I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was"

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Old 11-25-09, 09:32 AM   #20
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the title reminds me of the country song lyrics:

"I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was"
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Old 11-25-09, 09:32 AM   #21
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hey chipcom I hate to admit I like you now. WTF - I didn't even read the last post before writing my own - too funny
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Old 11-25-09, 06:05 PM   #22
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Great job just keeping at it. I find each year takes a little more effort to stay in shape and with each passing year I seem to have less time to devote to it. Make the time to keep at it and you will start getting back some of that form.
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