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Why am I getting slower?

Old 09-17-16, 10:01 PM
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hobkirk
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Why am I getting slower?

I started riding at 65. I was rabid about both speed & distance. From June-December I rode 4700 miles, including two days the temperature was 16. In mid September, I rode two Centuries on consecutive weekends. Two different courses, two different bikes, 15.3 mph average on both. On some shorter rides I could average 17 MPH if I was working hard.

6 years later, and my average speed continues to drop. Hard effort 20 mile rides are now 14.8 at best. I'm analytical, so I ponder why?
  • My weight is the same. No change in life style or location.
  • I'm riding less. First year I averaged 670 miles per month, rode 6 days a week, and did 1 or 2 hard effort rides each week. and "longer rides" were 50-65 miles.
  • I'm not doing "fitness rides" now, but last year I was doing hard intervals (4x8 minutes, 2-3 minutes easy to lower the HR). I'd get my AHR up to 150, which is high for me. These didn't seem to improve my speed in my other rides. (They were hard! I did them once a week for 2 months, I was disappointed!)
  • Now I only ride 450-500 miles/month (last year I started making an effort to do other things).
  • Medical stuff. Last year I got a new knee, the year before a new hip (accident), the year before breast cancer, and the year before that prostate cancer. I rode throughout the cancer treatments, but lost 2-3 months for each joint.

Reasons I've slowed down speculation:
  • Aging - is that the main culprit?
  • Medical problems? I don't think the new hip or knee slows me down. I don't see how cancer treatment would have an impact after two years.
  • Less riding? Would that really have that large an impact?
    • Decreasing my mileage per month?
    • Riding less long rides (I only do one 45-50 mile ride every week or two)?
  • Defective Garmin? Hey, I think this must be the issue...
I pursued this subject once before on BF, So I dug it up and found it is more useful than I remembered. Post 39 is the pith of my analysis based on champion Ironman athletes. Cycling speed dropped by 7.7% for age group 65-69 compared to 60-64 - 16.3 MPH dropped to 15.1.

What sayest thou? Are there any studies showing the impact of aging beyond age 65? Do you have any comments?

PS - I know this is stupid! No fat person should be doing this sort of analysis. And for a brief period 3 years ago, I had lost 40#* and averaged 17 MPH on a 51 mile ride (44' ascent/mile). I remain determined to lose weight (I see a nutritionist Monday) but the weight is constant in the analysis above. Sadly the 40# loss was short lived.

*Breast cancer ended the weight loss.
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Old 09-17-16, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by hobkirk View Post
I started riding at 65. I was rabid about both speed & distance. From June-December I rode 4700 miles, including two days the temperature was 16. In mid September, I rode two Centuries on consecutive weekends. Two different courses, two different bikes, 15.3 mph average on both. On some shorter rides I could average 17 MPH if I was working hard.

6 years later, and my average speed continues to drop. Hard effort 20 mile rides are now 14.8 at best. I'm analytical, so I ponder why?
  • My weight is the same. No change in life style or location.
  • I'm riding less. First year I averaged 670 miles per month, rode 6 days a week, and did 1 or 2 hard effort rides each week. and "longer rides" were 50-65 miles.
  • I'm not doing "fitness rides" now, but last year I was doing hard intervals (4x8 minutes, 2-3 minutes easy to lower the HR). I'd get my AHR up to 150, which is high for me. These didn't seem to improve my speed in my other rides. (They were hard! I did them once a week for 2 months, I was disappointed!)
  • Now I only ride 450-500 miles/month (last year I started making an effort to do other things).
  • Medical stuff. Last year I got a new knee, the year before a new hip (accident), the year before breast cancer, and the year before that prostate cancer. I rode throughout the cancer treatments, but lost 2-3 months for each joint.

Reasons I've slowed down speculation:
  • Aging - is that the main culprit?
  • Medical problems? I don't think the new hip or knee slows me down. I don't see how cancer treatment would have an impact after two years.
  • Less riding? Would that really have that large an impact?
    • Decreasing my mileage per month?
    • Riding less long rides (I only do one 45-50 mile ride every week or two)?
  • Defective Garmin? Hey, I think this must be the issue...
I pursued this subject once before on BF, So I dug it up and found it is more useful than I remembered. Post 39 is the pith of my analysis based on champion Ironman athletes. Cycling speed dropped by 7.7% for age group 65-69 compared to 60-64 - 16.3 MPH dropped to 15.1.

What sayest thou? Are there any studies showing the impact of aging beyond age 65? Do you have any comments?

PS - I know this is stupid! No fat person should be doing this sort of analysis. And for a brief period 3 years ago, I had lost 40#* and averaged 17 MPH on a 51 mile ride (44' ascent/mile). I remain determined to lose weight (I see a nutritionist Monday) but the weight is constant in the analysis above. Sadly the 40# loss was short lived.

*Breast cancer ended the weight loss.

It is quite simple really. Over the years the sun and moon have pulled steadily on the surface of the earth. Doing so the roads have all been tilted slightly upwards towards the gravitational pull. Hills are steeper, rollers are longer and the winds have all shifted to hit us in the face. It has also charged the molecules in the air with a positive charge that is attracted to the negative ground called the earth. all of these things are working against you that is all.
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Old 09-17-16, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
It is quite simple really. Over the years the sun and moon have pulled steadily on the surface of the earth. Doing so the roads have all been tilted slightly upwards towards the gravitational pull. Hills are steeper, rollers are longer and the winds have all shifted to hit us in the face. It has also charged the molecules in the air with a positive charge that is attracted to the negative ground called the earth. all of these things are working against you that is all.
New hills and strong ions sound much better than "my Garmin did it!" Thanks.
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Old 09-17-16, 11:04 PM
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You weigh 55 lb more than me, you are almost 20 years older than me, you've had far more medical problems than me (including a rare cancer I had only read about in books), and you are still faster than me.

Congratulations. If I were in your shoes, I would probably be dead. You are doing great. Sorry if that sounds like a platitude, but it really is not meant to be.
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Old 09-18-16, 12:07 AM
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I fully expect to eventually have joint replacements and cancer. When I do, I sure hope to come through something like the OP. I'm impressed as can be. All I can offer is cheers. I hope your quest for more speed is successful, but if not you are still rocking it, imo.
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Old 09-18-16, 12:22 AM
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So you can enjoy stuff longer.


Cheers!
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Old 09-18-16, 08:06 AM
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The odds are stacked against us as we age.
So, to increase your speed, there are two things you can do.
1. Ride more. Ride at least as much as you did in the beginning...or even more.
2. Lose those 40lbs. To do that, eat a little less and see my first suggestion.

This may not work, but at least you will be riding more...
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Old 09-18-16, 08:11 AM
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Ride for miles not speed.
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Old 09-18-16, 08:23 AM
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1. Weight. (that's my excuse)
2. Age. (I don't use that excuse.......yet)
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Old 09-18-16, 08:25 AM
  #10  
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I don't see how cancer treatment would have an impact after two years..
I'm not sure you can rule this out.

Long-Term Side Effects of Cancer Treatment | Cancer.Net
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Old 09-18-16, 08:40 AM
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My guess is the 40lbs. I'm 57 and 250. My cruising speed on flat terrain is the same as it was 20 years ago when I weighed 50lbs. less. At that point, I quit smoking, gained the 50 lbs that I can't seem to lose (we'll see with this latest effort!) and the two big differences in my riding are that I can ride farther and my climbing is slower. The first due to no cigarettes, the second due to my weight. My average speeds at the end of a flat ride are the same as always, my average speed on a hilly ride is slower.

You also have to take into account the abuse your body has gone through due to the surgeries and cancer. Your disease and subsequent treatment have probably taken an enormous toll on your body. Try not to be so hard on yourself and enjoy what you're able to do.
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Old 09-18-16, 08:42 AM
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Also, think about this... I've played golf with people who are old enough to not be able to walk the course, yet every ball they hit goes 150 yards, straight as an arrow and they hit in the low 70's.
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Old 09-18-16, 09:31 AM
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I would expect a post like the OP's from a youngster to be one of true concern, but as we grow in wisdom and age we all know the answer. I am one to admit that I am 66 YEARS OLD not 66 YEARS YOUNG.
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Old 09-18-16, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
I would expect a post like the OP's from a youngster to be one of true concern, but as we grow in wisdom and age we all know the answer. I am one to admit that I am 66 YEARS OLD not 66 YEARS YOUNG.
If I was 96 years old I would say you were 66 years young. Alas I'm 53, so can't help.
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Old 09-18-16, 09:41 AM
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Age, of course, but I'd suspect riding less and fewer fitness rides is the main culprit.
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Old 09-18-16, 01:49 PM
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I'm 78, no wait, 77, umm, I forget exactly. I would suspect age mostly. As we age, ability to recover from hard rides is impaired as well as overall strength and endurance. The combination of these factors becomes evident the older we get. In my case, I'm reminded of accelerated diminishing with each passing year. My motto these days is to do as much as I can as long as I can.
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Old 09-18-16, 02:19 PM
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I am slower than before some major medical stuff 2 years ago but I think when you hit 68 you never really get back 100% I am more than happy to be at 90% plus and I am thankfull for what I can do and don't worry about what I cannot do. Anyway it is the electronics that are messing up your info. I have the same problem with my phone's GPS and the rpm meters on the spin bikes read way too low. It might be solar flares
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Old 09-18-16, 09:29 PM
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I hear about your hard efforts and your high intensity days. I'm sure you pepper some really slow, ride like a tourist days in there if you have logged 4700+ miles in 6 months before.
Are you shocking your fitness enough? I mean, varying rides enough that you aren't stuck in a plateau that you can't get out of.

Your body composition has changed quite a bit. Is it possible that your bike fit is off and robbing you of that power or gear you seem to be missing?

New handlebar tape always makes me a bit faster....
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Old 09-19-16, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by RiPHRaPH View Post
I hear about your hard efforts and your high intensity days. I'm sure you pepper some really slow, ride like a tourist days in there if you have logged 4700+ miles in 6 months before.
Are you shocking your fitness enough? I mean, varying rides enough that you aren't stuck in a plateau that you can't get out of.

Your body composition has changed quite a bit. Is it possible that your bike fit is off and robbing you of that power or gear you seem to be missing?

New handlebar tape always makes me a bit faster....
Red tape is the fastest tape.
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Old 09-19-16, 10:57 AM
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There comes a point as we age that we get slower and weaker (at least that's my excuse).
The point is variable, and the deterioration can be reduced a bit by regular exercise and training, but it will happen.

Having said that, I'm with Dylan Thomas on aging.....

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Old 09-19-16, 12:15 PM
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Blame it on age! Since I'm older than you, at 70 3/4; and, not as fast as you, or as I used to be - age makes sense.......

Since I started riding again, with a bad knee that will have to be replaced someday (if I live long enuf) I have come down with diabetes, 4 stents in my heart, and a host of other physical problems ---- I've been doing a lot of calculating.............. Yep. it's age!

I remember when I used to be faster, ------- I think. And I still love the ride along the river!
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Old 09-19-16, 12:40 PM
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I'm 65. I can ride a little bit faster, and a little bit longer than last year. It's because I ride a little bit faster, and a little bit longer. Amazing !!
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Old 09-19-16, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Ride for miles not speed.
I'd second this. At 65, having started at 60, I can go farther and take hills better, but it takes me longer to do it. Even at that I consider hills more of a challenge than distance.
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Old 09-19-16, 03:11 PM
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I am only 52 and I swear I suffer from similar issues as OP, compared to when I was 42.
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Old 09-19-16, 05:10 PM
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If this helps it is my only comparison. 25 years ago I ran a marathon in 3:06. That is 26.2 miles at 7:06 pace. Right now I would love to run even one mile at that pace. I am still running but age will slow you down and read my thread on wife's chemo.
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