* de-lurk * Hi guys.
I got bitten by the bug about the age of 32, but it was only last season, aged 36, I started actually racing XC "for real" and actually caring about the result! I even came 2nd or 3rd (forget which!) in our local "Open League", but I hasten to add only because I was one of few riders who actually took part in all 8 races and consistently finished top 8-10, and also because the Open League is not raced by most of the top riders, except when they want a workout, and then they cream the rest of us! I also try to race the Hobby (unlicensed) category in national league races (this is in Serbia where I live, though I am British) whenever they are reasonably close to where I live. Think I finished 6th and 9th in the two of those I did last year, was quite pleased with that for my first year!
BUT, realistically, I am feeling my age a little, and the fact that I started quite late, I feel (even though I have always been in reasonable shape) - there's plenty of guys out there whom I really think I should be giving a run for their money but never quite hitting that form on race day. I feel I have to train a lot harder than them (many are younger) and that a large part of my training every year is just to stave off the extra year's "age"! However, I am encouraged by the fact that there are some very good riders out there older than me, and the 2nd-ranked Elite guy (also my good neighbour!) is just 3 years younger than me (erm, but started just a LITTLE earlier)!
What experience do you guys have with making a later start in the sport, and what are realistic expectations for you?
Oh, and aside from fitness, do you find, like me, that you have trouble overcoming The Fear regarding technical stuff, especially tricky descents? I have a feeling that now I have a family that is not going to go away too easily...