Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Bikes: Rodriguez Shiftless street fixie with S&S couplers, Kuwahara tandem, Trek carbon, Dolan track
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I think we are starting to see the beginning of a new "norm" here. Back in 1971, when I first started riding a bike seriously and seeing my first bike races, Masters (then called "Veterans") started at age 40, there were very few of them, they looked old, and they engaged in what I would call "pretend racing." Well, there were some exceptions, but they were pretty notable. Guys like Franz Hammer in Seattle, who always raced with the A riders, later Cat I and II.
This all started to change when I was finally old enough to race Masters at age 35, in the mid 80's. I started off winning most of the races regionally, but more and more Cat I and II riders continued to race. They'd ride the Cat I/II criterium, but they'd warm up by riding the Masters 30+ and/or 40+ races. If you were a Cat III rider, the Masters races were often harder than the category races.
At the same time, older guys who were not bike racers started to discover bike racing. I remember going to Masters Track Nationals in the 90's and 00's (I'm a dual US/Cdn citizen, so I'm eligible to ride both nationals) and having guys 10 years older than me setting faster pursuit times.
So it makes perfect sense to me that we will be seeing more and greater achievements by older people. The human body is a remarkable thing; it adapts to the stresses you place on it. As long as you keep stressing it physically/mentally and within reason, it will continue to respond. This seems to be lost on most "normal" people, who let their bodies fall into decay.
It's quite paradoxical. Most people think they are being kind when they offer to give granny a lift home. If they had any sense, they'd walk home with her, benefiting themselves and granny with some physical activity. Or just let her walk or rider her bike. Same with our epidemic of obese kids. People have to stop being "kind" to each other, and start getting fit!