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Slowing down.

Old 06-01-20, 07:42 PM
  #1  
Surubi
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Slowing down.

How do you convince yourself that you ain't as quick as you used to be and its time to ride a bit slower.
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Old 06-01-20, 08:57 PM
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big john
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Doesn't that take care of itself?

tbh I have tried to keep up with the younger and/or faster riders.
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Old 06-01-20, 09:06 PM
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At 65 I can still keep up with most of them, but not all of them. At 63 I was able to keep up with all of them, and most of them had trouble keeping up with me.

I keep thinking though that it was the training I did at 62/63 that did it and I can still get back to that shape.

So today I went out to do a modest 20 mile ride and I took my commuter bike instead of my road bike. Of course I couldn't keep up with the real roadies, but I still kicked ass over everyone else. "Who is that old fart on the beater bike?"
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Old 06-01-20, 09:36 PM
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Unless you've been competitive at a high level, you have plenty headroom between your actual performance and your potential. So it's a decision: train smarter and maintain or even improve, or keep doing what you've done and decline. Eventually it comes crashing down, but probably much later than most think.

You can always toss the measurement devices and just ride.
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Old 06-02-20, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Surubi View Post
How do you convince yourself that you ain't as quick as you used to be and its time to ride a bit slower.
Before you start the climb you ask yourself, ďwhatís the rush?Ē, then you take all the time you need. In other words, distance equals rate x time, so take the time and youíll go just as far. 😉
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Old 06-02-20, 01:41 AM
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I'm trying to convince myself I still have room to improve, to get stronger and faster. At 62 I figure I have about three years left to do that. After 65 I figure it'll be a (hopefully) long, gradual decline. I'll get slower no matter how much I work out, barring a miracle or PEDs. Don't think I haven't considered the latter. Budget is the only obstacle. I'd use 'em if I could afford 'em.

My fastest short segment speeds were still from 2017, my recent physical peak before injury and illness in 2018 made that a recovery year. Since then I haven't quite matched my top speeds for segments of 1/2 to 1 mile. But my average speed over distance has improved. Back then I averaged 14 mph over typical 20-50 mile rides on roller coaster terrain. Now I average 16 mph on my old school steel road bike, 17 mph on my carbon fiber bike (which is currently disassembled for long overdue overhaul).

That's partly because I pace myself better. I could probably beat my fastest sprints now, but I don't redline my heart rate when I'm planning on a ride longer than 10-20 miles.

By combining a heart rate monitor with estimating my maximum heart rate, zones and using an app to check my heart rate variability Elite HRV), my approach is more methodical. I've learned how much effort I can sustain for 20 minutes, how much for an hour, how much for 2-3 hours or longer.

And overall change in diet, supplements and prescription meds helped too. I had an untreated auto immune disorder that worsened in 2018, and taking better care of that helped me get a bit stronger and faster. But no dramatic improvements from any single thing. Lots of little tweaks added up.

I'd like to boost my average to 20 mph on my usual routes, but to be realistic that probably is unattainable (again, other than using PEDs). I figure 18 mph is attainable, especially if I'll finish putting my carbon fiber bikes back together. I disassembled both in February, planning to have them ready for springtime rides. But the coronavirus pandemic changed my plans and I decided I just wanted to ride, not tinker, and I've stayed with my slightly heavier steel bike. It's comfy and does what I need. I only notice a difference on climbs. The steel bike is a bit heavier and the bottom bracket flexes a bit under load. Not a huge difference, just enough to make a 1 mph difference on most rides.

If I do happen to boost my average to 20 mph for an hour, you can bet I've found some PEDs I can afford -- hopefully safe. If so, I'll admit it. I'm not racing, I don't intend to cheat on Strava to snag KOMs (we have strong, young local pros, and even PEDs won't make me 20something again, so most KOMs will be safe from desperate old men trying to regain their youth). It's just a lark, curious to see how much I can wring out of this aging engine while it's still responsive. If I do it'll be for only a year. I figure that's long enough with methodical training and medical supervision. And I tend to get bored with some goals after awhile.

I can tell that just better physical therapy, massage and other standard stuff will help a bit. I was in PT quite a bit in 2019 while recovering from injuries (hit by a car in 2018), but most of my non-urgent health and medical stuff has been cancelled this year due to the pandemic. I can feel some stiffness and pain in my neck, shoulder and ribs making it a bit more difficult to breathe fully and naturally. Improving my core last year really helped my breath control as well.

And I'm not doing group rides until the pandemic is over or a vaccine is available. I'm in the high risk group and can't take a chance riding with younger, stronger riders. I enjoyed that last year -- it pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me stronger and faster.

So between resuming physical therapy and either faster group rides or motivation from a coach (and finishing my carbon bike projects) I think an 18 mph average over my usual 20-50 mile rides is attainable. If I can do that, I have a friend who's a little younger (50s) and much stronger and faster to hang with occasionally for a little psychological nudge. But I don't want to hold him back so if we do ride together it's usually only for a few miles before I wave him on ahead.

By age 70 I picture myself wearing a tweed or plaid vest, knickers and riding a proper upright hybrid with albatross or North Roads bars, no faster than 12 mph, pipe filled with hash clutched between my false teeth, and wondering how I survived the 2020 Super Cooties Apocalypse and collapse of western civilization as we have never actually known it.
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Old 06-02-20, 09:47 AM
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What??? Blasphemy. The idea is to die as slowly as possible. "Do not go gently into that good night." - Dylan Thomas. Fight back, every step of the way.
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Old 06-02-20, 11:07 AM
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Nature will take its course and we will succumb to it. In the meantime, we do what we can. I'm back into cycling after a long layoff and while I am training far more efficiently and intelligently than before, I know I cannot match my former self. That said, I don't really need to. I compete against people my own age group and don't need to worry about the Elite youngsters any more.

As far as convincing myself to ride slower...no, I don't do that. I simply take the extra time my body needs to recover nowadays from harder efforts but still try my best whatever the speed may be on hard training and race days.
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Old 06-02-20, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Surubi View Post
How do you convince yourself that you ain't as quick as you used to be and its time to ride a bit slower.
Are you convinced that it is time to ride slower? Then do that for as long as you enjoy it. Not every ride is a training ride, but some of them still should be.

My VO2 Max (according to Garmin) is 45 which they say is pretty good for a 63 y.o. guy, I still want to be fast, but being in good shape is more important now.
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Old 06-02-20, 12:50 PM
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I can look at my stats history and tell when I'm slower. But to convince myself to slow down..... Why?

Though as I get older and shed some of my teenage ways, I do find that I try to not blow by every walker, jogger, runner and other cyclists out there. I try to use some sense not blast around people slowing me down on blind curves and such that might have my doppelganger coming the other way.

Or is this a let's all sit back and enjoy the finer things type thread?
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Old 06-02-20, 12:56 PM
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I've definitely slowed down......but I'm riding even longer distances than before and enjoying it more. Life is good!!!!
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Old 06-02-20, 06:51 PM
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At 68, and having fallen in love with the road again, I have learned the importance of rationalization. My standard ride from home starts on a mile long climb. And it stays hilly. Ok, my speed is not the 20 mph of my youth but itís uphill for gods sake. I feel like the animal I once pretended to be. Iím old, Iím thrilled with cycling, Iím in the country...yippee. On that hill yesterday I passed a guy in his garden who started whistling that racing operatic thing from Breaking Away...how cool.
Best,
jim

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Old 06-03-20, 02:19 AM
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Hey canklecat, you make repeated references to PEDS, just out of curiosity what are you thinking of and how would you obtain them? You mention money being the hurdle to getting them so are they legal to buy in the US? I'm in the UK and pretty sure it would be tricky getting them here. Not that I've looked or even know what to look for! Just wondering.
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Old 06-03-20, 08:36 AM
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The best thing I did was to remove the computer from the bars. I felt like I was always looking down and trying to push for higher speeds, longer distance, etc. Now I just turn on the phone app for Strava, throw it in my jersey pocket, and focus on the road and scenery. Interestingly, my average speeds have gone up slightly because I'm not tiring myself out on segments for no good reason.

Cheers.
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Old 06-03-20, 12:45 PM
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I know I'm not where I was at 35 but I am better than what I was at 60. So, at 74 I'm still chasing PBs. Although I will admit I take more rest days and some of my rides are pretty chill. It's all about what you like to do.
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Old 06-03-20, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jleeg View Post
who started whistling that racing operatic thing from Breaking Away...how cool.

Questa... non e vero?
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Old 06-04-20, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferCyclist View Post
Hey canklecat, you make repeated references to PEDS, just out of curiosity what are you thinking of and how would you obtain them? You mention money being the hurdle to getting them so are they legal to buy in the US? I'm in the UK and pretty sure it would be tricky getting them here. Not that I've looked or even know what to look for! Just wondering.
I have no idea how to get EPO or anabolic steroids that would be safe. I know from reading admissions from pro athletes who've been caught doping that they just ordered them online (from China, I think, maybe Mexico). I think they mentioned costs of a few hundred dollars, but I don't know the quantity. They learned about it from fellow athletes and anonymous/pseudonymous discussion forums.

There are some US doctors and clinics that can do this legally, with diagnosed "medical need", supervised and as safe as can be. For a price.

To be honest, I haven't been that motivated to go to that extreme.

For one thing, I haven't fully exhausted my available means. The past couple of years have been recovery years, from injury and illness.

Only during the past month have I finally been able to breathe properly, after years of constant, chronic sinus inflammation, congestion and pain. An immunologist put me on some steroid inhalers that are working well. First time in years I can sleep and not wake up with a pounding sinus headache, and I can breathe during a bike ride without a constant flow of phlegm. It was just ridiculous how much phlegm came out of my head and lungs during bike rides. It got so bad I stopped doing group rides late last year. I didn't know whether I was sick and contagious (pre-coronavirus/COVID-19 scare), but I knew it was disgusting and didn't want to be that guy constantly blowing snot rockets and spitting every few seconds. Fortunately the new steroid inhalers have cleared up most of that problem.

I didn't see any point in wasting money on stuff that would offer marginal gains, when I haven't yet achieved the best base fitness I can manage without PEDs. I'm getting close, but not quite there yet.

I have tried many legally available supplements, some of which are not regulated even by pro or amateur sports authorities -- larger doses of amino acids, etc. Some of this stuff supposedly works only when taken at appropriate times around a workout schedule, in certain combinations, etc., otherwise it just makes expensive urine. Added creatine, besides what naturally occurs in beef and some meats. I also use a lot of whey, chicken, etc., which have little or no creatine. That's why some whey powder mixes include creatine and various amino acids, to better mimic the nutrition profiles of beef.

I eat beef liver 2-3 times a week -- whatever I can find. Sometimes it's organic, no hormones, but that's been hard to find this year. I suspect some of the cheaper frozen beef liver I eat comes from beef raised on a lot of hormones, which is concentrated in the liver. Some pro athletes have failed drug tests after eating liver from animals raised on added hormones. There's some disagreement over whether orally ingested hormones actually contribute to any useful athletic benefit. But eating organ meats and sweetbreads for enhanced strength dates back thousands of years, even if there's no solid evidence it helps.

A more recently trendy supplement is beta-ecdysterone, an anabolic agent derived and concentrated from plants as ordinary as spinach and some more exotic stuff from Russia, China, Pakistan and elsewhere -- various plants that supposedly have high enough concentrations of the stuff to be worth using. I've been using various forms of it for months and it does seem to help with recovery and strengthening. I've noticed it mainly in leg strength. Hasn't helped my aerobic fitness, but that's a lifelong problem with chronic respiratory inflammation.

The problem with ecdysterone is finding reliable sources. It's possible the suppliers are just stuffing capsules full of inert powder, maybe adding some proven PEDs that are known to work. I haven't been tested and have no idea. I've mostly switched to plain concentrated dried spinach powder from a reliable vendor. It clearly looks, smells and tastes like spinach. It's just highly concentrated because spinach is mostly water -- if you've ever made your own homemade greens at home for Southern dishes, you know how much it boils down from large bulky batches. Dried powder just makes it easier to consume larger amounts. The flavor is mild and I just add it to my usual whey protein powder drink mixes.

It does appear to have some benefits, but I'm not sure the main benefit is useful for sports. The most immediate change I noticed was my body odor -- I have the BO funk of a teenage boy again -- and enhanced libido. If anyone had tried to sell it to me on that basis I never would have tried it because those alternative products are usually so much BS. It's just an unexpected side effect. I wasn't expected it so it's not a placebo effect. I only noticed it after a couple of weeks taking the stuff.

On bike rides and workouts my muscles don't fatigue as easily, and I can climb better. I was a terrible climber before, usually dead last on every Strava segment. Now I'm middle of the pack and sometimes a little better, and in the top ten in my age group (whatever that is on Strava, 55-64 I think?) on some climbs. But we don't have any mountains, our climbs are all roller coasters, and my ranking depends on who else rides those segments. As some segments have become more popular I've been nudged from 2nd, to 8th, to 12th and falling. I was never anywhere close to the KOM and as younger, stronger riders tackle those segments the 2nd-10th positions tend to be within seconds of each other, sometimes tenths of a second. Eventually I'll be very middle of the pack, maybe in the top 30% at best.

But there's no single thing that I can point to and say "that's the stuff." It's a combination of overall improved health (prescription treatment for an auto immune disorder that resulted in thyroid cancer), losing weight, improving my diet, vitamins, minerals, supplements, a more methodical approach to workouts, etc. I don't workout or ride every day.

And more rest. I didn't realize how much difference that made. I went for years sleeping only 3-5 hours a day. Now I try to sleep, or at least rest, 8-10 hours a day.

Anyway, I haven't ruled out trying PEDs, but I'd rather do it safely and methodically. And I don't feel like I've exhausted the approach I've been taking. It'll just take a little more time to rebuild after a couple of years of physical setbacks.
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Old 06-04-20, 05:07 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Surubi View Post
How do you convince yourself that you ain't as quick as you used to be and its time to ride a bit slower.
No convincing required since it is INEVITABLE DUE TO AGING.
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Old 06-04-20, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by camjr View Post
The best thing I did was to remove the computer from the bars. I felt like I was always looking down and trying to push for higher speeds, longer distance, etc. Now I just turn on the phone app for Strava, throw it in my jersey pocket, and focus on the road and scenery. Interestingly, my average speeds have gone up slightly because I'm not tiring myself out on segments for no good reason.

Cheers.
Many years ago I removed all speed information from my main Garmin screen. Now it shows HR, Grade %, Cadence, Gears (thanks, Di2!) and that's it. Other information is available by scrolling, but this setup keeps me from focusing on speed.
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Old 06-04-20, 08:33 AM
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I did something similar with my old computer on tour: set it to display cadence and distance. That's what I really needed to see, make sure I wasn't dropping down to 50 rpm on the hills (makes my knees hurt that night!), and be looking for the next turn.
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Old 06-04-20, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I did something similar with my old computer on tour: set it to display cadence and distance. That's what I really needed to see, make sure I wasn't dropping down to 50 rpm on the hills (makes my knees hurt that night!), and be looking for the next turn.
Surubi Here's your answer. Focus on what is important to you and do what you can to avoid distractions!
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