Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Why am I getting slower?

Old 09-19-16, 05:28 PM
  #26  
jppe
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I have a lot of statistics that illustrate that as I've matured I've slowed down. Don't fight it. If you're like me, you still finish high in your age group. Just keep on with what you're doing. You're doing great. You're still faster than a lot of folks.
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Old 09-20-16, 06:51 AM
  #27  
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I was never a 'Hammerhead" but did average 15-16 on long rides. I now average 10-11 and am happy that I still enjoy the ride. I just passed 5k miles for the year. Not bad for a guy about to get Medicare.
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Old 09-20-16, 08:53 AM
  #28  
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The medical establishment claims that we get slower both physically and mentally as we get older, but I'm not buying it! I personally believe that time itself is accelerating while we stay the same, giving the illusion that we are slower. I call this my theory of temporal relativity!

Hey, we already know that time is malleable, aka the "photon in a box" experiment, so why not?

On a slightly more serious note: I solved my "am I slower" anxieties by simply never knowing how fast I was/am, in the first place. No cycle computer, and no GPS. I don't even know how far I've gone, except by mapping it out on google maps afterwards.

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Old 09-20-16, 10:08 AM
  #29  
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I don't plan on getting slower gracefully. I will be 71 shortly and have to "train" like a racer to ride with reasonably strong recreational riders a few of which are around my age. But there is a balance (something I'm not good at) between accepting you can't ride like you use to and using age as an excuse not to ride at your potential. Many are not interested in being able to "ride at their potential" which is fine-everyone has different interest and goals.
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Old 09-20-16, 01:17 PM
  #30  
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All that stuff you list makes you slower, age the least.

Minimizing getting slower with age is really kinda simple. Causes: weight gain, muscle loss, VO2max loss, slower recovery.

Weight gain: lose weight, duh. We know we'll lose power as we age. To keep the watts/kg up, weigh less than you did when your watts were higher.

Muscle loss: work out! Ski, lift weights, backpack. Stress your legs on the bike, too. Stand for long periods, push huge gears sometimes.

VO2max loss: Train smarter. The science of training keeps advancing. Keep up with it.

Slower recovery: Eat smarter. Use supplements. Nutritional science keeps advancing, too.

At 71, I did a 100+'/mile training ride with friends a couple months ago. I was climbing at about the same VAM that I did 15 years ago. These were short climbs, though, no more than 1000' each. I'm noticeably slower on the 3000' climbs. But basically I've simply been following my own advice, as above.

I had a horrible RAMROD this year. I was 14th oldest out of 800 and only finished 221st, when I should have been ~100 places faster. And I've always had a crappy VO2max, struggling to do an 8' mile. I did ~5000' of the climbing in a 26/27 gear. Knowing how to ride goes a long way. I'm going to kill it next year! Arrrggh!
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Old 09-21-16, 07:05 AM
  #31  
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Another thing I've noticed is that belts have started shrinking as I get older. What's up with that?
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Old 09-22-16, 03:02 AM
  #32  
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Medications? Are you taking many? A side-effect from one might be the reason.
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Old 09-22-16, 06:33 AM
  #33  
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So-------------why give much attention to the fact they you may be getting slower. The overridding fact is that they you are still out there riding, rather than sitting home in your easy chair rusting. Speed is overrated by a small percentage of cyclist, while most of us are just recreational cyclist just getting needed exercise.
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Old 09-22-16, 11:34 AM
  #34  
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I read an article that stated that at 50 yo you loose muscle mass and VO2 uptake for the rest of your life. I am 72 and definitely see the difference, in y 50's I could ride a 5 hour and change century; no more. Don't even do those any more, too long to recover, but ride 5 days a week and enjoy it tremendously. Don't sweat the small stuff, just enjoy your ride at this age, all relative.
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Old 09-22-16, 11:56 AM
  #35  
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Slowing down may be certainly related to the new joints and extra weight. Are you just slower or are you getting more winded over the same rides you did before? If the later is true I would see your physician and make sure it is not cardiac related.

I ride with a guy who is about 6yr younger than you. 2 weeks ago he was complaining of some indigestion from a bad provolone sandwich. We cut our ride short that day. Over the next 3 days he rode about 70miles. When he was still complaining of indigestion. I recommended he see his physician which he did the next day and discovered he had a heart attack 4 days prior.

When he looked back over the preceding year he was getting slower and more winded and had to stop more often during the ride. He had attributed to increasing age.

He had a cardiac cath and 2 stents to open the narrowed vessels. We went riding last week (post stent). He did not get winded and we didn't have to stop at the normal places and says he felt better than he has over the past year.
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Old 09-22-16, 01:08 PM
  #36  
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As background, I'm 71 and been on road bike four full years. Over weight and have had total right knee replacement; left knee is so so but not a problem. Going faster each year so far and working hard to do so. Group rides of 50-62 miles average 19-21 moving with speeds of 23-25 for stretches. Our group gets faster each year.

Can only say what I do and you can decide if any applies to you. That said:

1) Senior Games has fastest cycling scores in quinquennial brackets starting at age 50. Quel surprise--times go up in each 5 year group to age 84 I think. But only about 2+ % per group. So assume 5% to 10% drop per 10 years IF EVERYTHING IS EQUAL, which it never is.

2) If you really really care about performance, get a power meter as the only real way to measure your effort per ride or over time. Can't rely on speed, heart rate or how tired you feel. Of course meter good for future and not past, heck all you have is the future.

3) Train with intervals to build strength, Vo2 Max and leg strength. I use a coach but your call.

4) Adjust training as we age, doing more recoveries and taking Epsom Salt baths after riding. Body needs more time to recover and get stronger.

5) Focus on nutrition to fuel your rides. Night before, day of and during ride along with hydration we all know about.

6) Hope for good genes as not many can do what you are now doing -- as some have pointed out.

7) Ride with friends to help push you. Nice to have a few buddies to spur us out on the road. Did you ever regret doing a ride? Social aspect important to make the effort more enjoyable and something to look forward to.

That's it for now. Would love to hear what others find works for them. My group averages age 50 with the majority 25-55; four of us are 69-71 and one is 77.

Thanks for the question, and yes, you are doing great!
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Old 09-29-16, 02:30 AM
  #37  
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Time for a diet change. The obesity, breast cancer, and other issues hint at metabolic syndrome caused by a high carb diet resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. Like to read? Start with "Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes. "Grain Brain", "Wheat Belly", and "New Atkins Diet" are good reads as well. Life changers IMHO. No time to read? Listen to the audio book versions while riding, driving, or doing mindless chores.
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Old 10-05-16, 09:00 AM
  #38  
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I'm 58 and have been riding for 30+ years, and I haven't really seen much slowdown yet.
My max pulse is down from 210 to 185 so I can't sustain a sprint as long, but my endurance is good and I regularly ride 1-2 hours at 20+mph, and the occasional century and double-century. I still set new PRs over times I set 5 years ago.
BUT I need more recovery time; I can train 3-4 days a week tops, and if I do a race or a hard ride I need 1-2 days of recovery.

I use a power meter and Trainerroad to structure my training which includes intervals and periodization with easy weeks after a couple of hard weeks.
I think with proper training (and recovery) you should be getting faster not slower, since you were probably not as well trained 5 years ago.

Why don't you share a typical week of your training/riding and see what kind of feedback that gets you.

Btw I also agree on with RandyO on the nutrition side. I generally avoid fast carbs and processed foods (after reading Grain Brain) and eat far more vegetables, berries, and nuts than I did 5 years ago which resulted in my dropping 5 pounds pretty quickly and am back at my college weight of 155lbs (5'10").

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Old 10-05-16, 10:03 AM
  #39  
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I'm 66 and have been cycling for 48 years now, pretty consistently, and keep my weight in the 160 lb. area (varies by a few pounds) and, unfortunately, the only thing I've found that works to retain as much speed as possible are intervals.

Yes, I know, intervals are painful . . . make that very painful. They are also tedious, difficult to remain motivated through and big picture: Not Fun. And if you think intervals on flat ground are painful, try some hill intervals for a change! Sheesh.

All that said, they do work. I won't go into the "why" here (you can look that up easily enough). I will say that if you're motivated, dedicated and just plain suborn enough to carry through with intervals you will be pleased with the result.

Rick / OCRR
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Old 10-06-16, 09:29 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by kingfishr View Post
I'm 58 and have been riding for 30+ years, and I haven't really seen much slowdown yet.
My max pulse is down from 210 to 185 so I can't sustain a sprint as long, but my endurance is good and I regularly ride 1-2 hours at 20+mph, and the occasional century and double-century. I still set new PRs over times I set 5 years ago.
BUT I need more recovery time; I can train 3-4 days a week tops, and if I do a race or a hard ride I need 1-2 days of recovery.

I use a power meter and Trainerroad to structure my training which includes intervals and periodization with easy weeks after a couple of hard weeks.
I think with proper training (and recovery) you should be getting faster not slower, since you were probably not as well trained 5 years ago.

Why don't you share a typical week of your training/riding and see what kind of feedback that gets you.

Btw I also agree on with RandyO on the nutrition side. I generally avoid fast carbs and processed foods (after reading Grain Brain) and eat far more vegetables, berries, and nuts than I did 5 years ago which resulted in my dropping 5 pounds pretty quickly and am back at my college weight of 155lbs (5'10").
Congratulations! You are obviously Superman! If I remember right, "Periodization" is the process of building a lop-sided training program that's only purpose is to get your body to peak during the best time of the racing calendar. And that's great on your weight - weighing the same as during college is unusual.



Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
I'm 66 and have been cycling for 48 years now, pretty consistently, and keep my weight in the 160 lb. area (varies by a few pounds) and, unfortunately, the only thing I've found that works to retain as much speed as possible are intervals.

Yes, I know, intervals are painful . . . make that very painful. They are also tedious, difficult to remain motivated through and big picture: Not Fun. And if you think intervals on flat ground are painful, try some hill intervals for a change! Sheesh.

All that said, they do work. I won't go into the "why" here (you can look that up easily enough). I will say that if you're motivated, dedicated and just plain suborn enough to carry through with intervals you will be pleased with the result.

Rick / OCRR
I tried polarized training last year - one day of intervals and LOTS of zone 1. 4 x 8 minutes with enough rest (1-4 minutes) to get my HR down to 100. I'd get my AHR for the last 7 minutes at 150 (my LTHR in 2012 was 145). I did them every week for 2 months. Results? I found very little change overall, but I did improve my ability to crank up the speed for a short burst, but no significant improvement on typical rides. Made me very sad!


TO EVERYONE -
Let this thread die. I'm embarrassed by it. I've since found my original logs, and I was even more insane than I remembered -
  • 1st week = 3 rides, 27 miles, 2nd = 5, 103 (long 38), 3rd = 4,127 (45), 4th = 6, 162 (57), 5th = 6, 241 (!!!) w/ long of 57, 6th = 6,162 (65), and my 7th week I only did 3 rides but they were 50 & 56 miles and then 83 (had to stop due to cramps on a very hot century, "Climb to the Clouds")
  • I also rode a weekly fitness ride with experienced cyclists - I pushed myself to be AFAP
  • I was also working out at the gym
So that seems pretty intense to me. Plus my cycling has come back stronger in the last 2 weeks since I made the original post. Hopefully I will start a new post next month asking what I can do to keep my average speed on hills under 20 MPH.

But thank you all for your words.
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Old 10-07-16, 04:31 AM
  #41  
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Old 10-07-16, 06:46 AM
  #42  
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[QUOTE. Hopefully I will start a new post next month asking what I can do to keep my average speed on hills under 20 MPH.

/QUOTE]

That's nothing. I can average 25mph down hills all day, even steep ones, and I don't train for it.
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Old 10-07-16, 07:02 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by hobkirk View Post

Reasons I've slowed down speculation:[LIST][*]Aging - is that the main culprit?
Aging of the bike. Get a new bike that's faster, lighter, better tube shapes, stiffer, electronic shifting.
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