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Thread: Gains

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    Gains

    I have no idea what to expect, so here goes:


    Is it still possible to make speed gains over 50 if you've been cycling regularly for over two years? I feel as though I've pretty much maxed out.

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    50 years old; and, no, I am riding in Dallas where the wind is the only challenge!

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    For the average rider- once you get over the initial hurt stage stage- some big improvements come in the first 6 months of riding. They are noticable and that big hill you used to struggle on is just a pimple- average speed has gone up and distance has rocketed. This is due to a certain amount of fitness coming in and the size of those improvements have come about from how low a base you have started.

    But personal fitness is one thing- "Bike Fitness" is another. That takes time to aquire. After those 6 months- improvements tail off and any improvements come slowly but come they do. I have a hill that I attempted when I first started and it was a struggle. In fact it is still a struggle but over the years I have got to know myself- my body and I have got the right mindset. Improved bikes may also help a bit aswell but my body has got attuned to being pushed just to the limit and my brain has known where that limit is.

    So I reckon that right now you have aquired that bike fitness. From now on you have to get the brain to use it correctly.

    Think back to that first 6 months and you will understand what I am talking about. The first two years of your cycling have bought you to the stage where you can use the fitness and skills it has taken this long to aquire. So stop moaning and go and find that big hill and do 5 repeats up it. Then do it again in a years time and see how you have improved again.
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    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullforce View Post
    Is it still possible to make speed gains over 50 if you've been cycling regularly for over two years? I feel as though I've pretty much maxed out.
    Join a local club and try to keep up with the faster riders.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    I'm 66 and gained a great deal this summer. My average speed for a 30+ mile ride has increased and I easily conquer hills that were a huge challenge for me earlier in the summer. And I had knee surgery in July. Only slowed me down for a few weeks.
    As a reward I bought myself a new bike.

    Set some goals and don't give up. You can do it.
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    As stapfam said, beyond the first few months (although for me it was the first couple of years) you can no longer count on "automatic" speed and strength gains from just riding around. Now you have to work for it.

    I'm 54, in my sixth season, I work at it, and continue to experience measurable gains in strength and speed. Even so, it comes slowly over time. Perhaps if I used a regimented training program it would move along a little faster, but regimentation and my personality don't make a good fit.
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    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

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    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    I think some of it depends on who you are. When I got back on the bike after an 8 yr. absence I was 59 yrs old. I was 25 lbs overweight and out of shape. It took me a couple years to get back into some sort of reasonable condition and lose some weight. Then I plateaued...mainly because I refused to modify my eating and drinking habits. This past year I finally made some dietary changes...lost 13 lbs and am faster now at age 65 than I was two years ago or even last year. I'm looking forward to losing another 10 lbs and getting back to my college football weight. I should be even faster next year and that's my focus.

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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullforce View Post
    I have no idea what to expect, so here goes:


    Is it still possible to make speed gains over 50 if you've been cycling regularly for over two years? I feel as though I've pretty much maxed out.
    as long as your this side of the dirt, there are possibilities of speed improvements.

    First see your doctor, is your bicycles engine operating at peak efficiency, if it smokes too much, drinks too much, is over it's optimum weight, then you can make big performance gains by fixing these issues. Next get your bicycle properly fitted, a bicycle that does not fit right, will not give it's best performance. Now go out and ride, lots, the more you ride, the better you get at it. You can always get a bicycle that is lighter and better geared, but you need to fix the other stuff first.

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    It depends on where you start - that's one important variable.

    For example, I took up swimming at age 69. I made some progress, learned a proper stroke from a lesson, and kept on swimming regularly (for almost 3 years now). However, it is just these past few months, when i decided to push a bit harder and try for better endurance that I have seen some pretty good improvement - enough so that I am seriously considering a sprint triathlon next September. This was a case of starting at pretty much ground zero and improving from there. If I had been a swimmer all my life, I wouldn't be showing so much progress on a percentage basis, but, overall, I would likely be a MUCH better swimmer than I am now, even with my pushing myself.

    Ditto to my progress in resistance exercises, although I have been doing them for years. I can still improve - as in doing 72 pushups in a row a couple of weeks ago (a new PR for me), and 30 x 3 body dips this morning - also a new PR at almost age 72.
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

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    Thanks for all the encouragement!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Join a local club and try to keep up with the faster riders.
    I think this is the best advice, knowing Texas the way I do, & it's human nature to do just good enough to be better than average. But the thrill of competition will surely bring out the best in all of us, well most of us.

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    DnvrFox
    It depends on where you start - that's one important variable.
    This is very true. I have been riding pretty steady since the early 70's, I raced for several years, and was in very good shape. I'm still in good shape, but my goal is not so much to gain, as it is to maintain as much as I can. There are still seasonal fluctuations because skiing and other activities tend to lower my mileage. These other interests help provide variety and keep me anxious to get back on the bike. I am fortunate, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, to have a wife that does triathlons. I ride with her a lot on her training rides, which helps me slow the inevitable. We also manage to do at least one major bike tour a year. Four years ago we averaged 50 miles a day for 74 consecutive days on a cross country ride. We also just completed a 2900 mile fully self contained ride through Europe this summer. I know I will never ride like I used to; but like most of us, I want to do my best. However, and more importantly, I still enjoy riding my bike as much as ever!
    Last edited by Doug64; 10-24-11 at 09:38 PM.

  14. #14
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I've been riding about 2.5 years, and am still rapidly improving. There is a big difference between 'just riding' and 'training with a purpose'. For the first year, I just commuted to work 8 miles each direction, on a hybrid. I lost maybe 5 pounds, then gained it back when it stopped being a huge effort to ride the commute. I wanted to go faster, so I got a road bike, and then started doing group rides. At first, my goal was to finish the group ride while there was still someone in the parking lot. I finished long after they did, but I always finished. I finally started finishing with the B group, then started riding with the A's, and eventually started finishing with them. Then I found a faster group, and only ride with the old group when I want slower miles. I got a coach after the first year on the road bike, and started actually training, and eating to fuel that training, instead of training so I could eat. Over the course of about 6 months of that, I dropped 30 pounds, which of course also made me faster. I started racing, and found I loved it. Most people here would consider me pretty strong and fast, but I am still constantly setting personal bests as I pursue those (of all ages) faster than me. Age affects us, but not to the extent most think it does, so long as we have the right approach and don't let it automatically lower our expectations.

    So, if you want to go faster, then train yourself to go faster. That includes lots of base miles, and also hard intervals. You do have to teach yourself to ride fast, by riding fast. Once you can hit over 30 mph on the flat, solo, you will find it easier to ride in the mid 20's, and you'll be able to more readily hold your own in a pace line. Hard training isn't for everyone. I'm in the off-season right now, and only riding 6-8 hours/week. In another week, I enter my base training phase, and that will jump to 14-16 hours/week, with gym work on top of that.

    Improving is a combination of both how much time you spend training, and how long you've been training. Some say you don't max your potential until you've been at it (hard) for 7 years. Some say 4. It is most certainly longer than 2 or 3. The strong riders have been at it awhile, building that base of strength and endurance.

    Ride lots, ride hard, and the speed (and endurance) will come.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  15. #15
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    . . . There is a big difference between 'just riding' and 'training with a purpose' . . Age affects us, but not to the extent most think it does, so long as we have the right approach and don't let it automatically lower our expectations . . . So, if you want to go faster, then train yourself to go faster . . . Ride lots, ride hard, and the speed (and endurance) will come.
    That approach also works for those of us who train with less focus, intensity and dedication. Riding lots, adding intensity and staying at it over time improves our cycling fitness and thus our speed. At age 65 I find myself soft-pedaling to ride with groups that would have been a major challenge five years ago.
    George
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