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Can't outrun youngsters now but my Back has recovered!

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

Can't outrun youngsters now but my Back has recovered!

Old 01-26-23, 11:47 PM
  #1  
AJW2W11E
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Can't outrun youngsters now but my Back has recovered!

I'm only 5 10 . To get some speed, I tried that trick where you raise your seat so high that you are on tippy toes when you are at a stop. I think I bumped it up 2 and a half inches.
It worked for me and for a while last summer I could ride with the youngsters. I think it's because you use your upper leg muscles more strategically.
Unfortunately riding with my seat that high brought on terrible back pain by fall and back pain is worse than knee pain or arm pain or even a migraine. It echoes through your body.
I tried to deny it , but in the end common sense prevailed. I lowered my seat by several inches last month .I feel great now.
I'm slower, but who cares?
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Old 01-27-23, 11:47 AM
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It seems clear that you are not familiar with the decades of bike fitting research and expertise.

For saddle height, when your pedal is at its lowest point, your knee joint should make an angle somewhere between 25 and 40 degrees.

If you can post a photo of yourself on the saddle from the side, with your feet on the pedals, and the camera-side pedal at its lowest point, we can tell you if your saddle is at a good height.
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Old 01-27-23, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by AJW2W11E View Post
...I bumped it up 2 and a half inches.
Back Pain is a BUGGER! So glad you have recovered. WOW... I can't change my seat hight more than a centimeter or two without excruciating results...
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Old 01-27-23, 12:00 PM
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The vets in my club had me lowering my seat many years ago and it's stayed low since. (I ride with plenty of knee bend. Never measured it.)

To the thread title - I'm getting older and get to be humbled regularly. Several years before COVID I was at a gravel weekend. Climbing a steep Oregon hill; not long but one of several. I was in my mid 60s. Now I made my name racing (Cat 3, briefly 2) as a climber; the guy many didn't like seeing at the start of races in Vermont.

So, I'm climbing this hill and a young woman dances past me. Yes, I could up my pace, stay with her and it would be fun, but ... she's going to do the same thing on the next two hills and I'll be blown after this one. I let her keep dancing past. And feel a little sad.

Edit: To seat height changes - for me, an 1/8" is a lot. I do change from time to time but I'll probably never hit the boundaries of a centimeter. (I put tape on first before any change so I know I am keeping the change small.)

Last edited by 79pmooney; 01-27-23 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 01-27-23, 12:28 PM
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always amused when I think I'm doing good & someone blows by me. it's remarkable how I've slowed in recent years

Last edited by rumrunn6; 01-28-23 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 01-27-23, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
always amused when I think I'm doing good & someone blows by me. it remarkable how I've slowed in recent years
There is always someone faster than you, even in your age group.

Iím thinking of doing the Huntsman uphill time trial this year, as I just aged up to a new category. I figure I can train up to 4.0-4.3 W/kg. I checked the winnerís pace last year, probably about 5 W/kg.
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Old 01-27-23, 05:51 PM
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My fitter lowered my saddle to the bottom end of the acceptable knee angle, and the back pain disappeared. He cautioned me to take note of any knee pain, but I've had none.

It felt weird for a while, but finally being pain-free is more than nice.
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Old 01-27-23, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
To the thread title - I'm getting older and get to be humbled regularly.
I can honestly say that I have never, ever been humbled by faster cyclists, nor been concerned about being outrun by any age cyclists in close to 70 years of bicycling, because I have never, ever been in a race or competition with strangers while riding my bicycle for transportation or pleasure, or both.
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Old 01-27-23, 06:14 PM
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I am humble at all times and butter would scarcely soften in my duodenum.
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Old 01-27-23, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
So, I'm climbing this hill and a young woman dances past me. Yes, I could up my pace, stay with her and it would be fun, but ... she's going to do the same thing on the next two hills and I'll be blown after this one.
I know that would certainly make my ride more enjoyable!
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Old 01-28-23, 10:07 AM
  #11  
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Adjusting saddle height by several inches at time will tend to produce extreme positions and makes it hard to get an optimal height. Itís worth being careful as saddle height is probably the most important part of fitting and a foundation for anything to do with bars and stem.

There are several good methods that all tend to get to a similar starting spot, from which you can tweak based on how you feel when you ride.

A method that is simple and works is the heel toe method. Adjust the saddle so that you have straight knee if your heel is placed on the pedal in the 6 oíclock (down) position, and a slight bend in the knee when your toe is on the pedal. If your heel cannot reach the pedal, your saddle is too high, and if you cannot lock out your knee, the saddle is too low.

That should be a good starting point. If it seems too high, adjust down by maybe 1/4Ē at a time and see when it feels ok.

Hope that is useful!

Otto
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Old 01-28-23, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I can honestly say that I have never, ever been humbled ...
humility is not a universal quality
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Old 01-30-23, 12:42 PM
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I lowered my saddles a bit starting about age 65, not sure the avg across all the bikes - on the order of 1/4". Not because of shrinking height or pain or injury, but I felt more power on seated climbs. I remember getting on a bike at the higher position and it felt weird at first, tho' not a problem thru the ride. For me, a higher saddle encourages a higher cadence, a more forward position on the saddle, more out-of-saddle efforts, the slight increase in bar drop is slightly more aggressive esp in the 'hooks'.. All of those things often result in a different feel at the end of the ride. A few bikes still have the taller saddle height (DeRosa, Merckx, Mondia, Calfee) - the ones I try to ride fast thru much of the trip.

I believe the trick to a low riding position is: flexibility/physique to touch your toes, reasonable abdominal strength to support upper body, a saddle to enable 'hip roll', the desire to flow more efficiently thru the air.

That's not all gut under the winter riding vest ^^^ - and leg extension in a 'high saddle' position, below.

don't fergit yer readers
clear your handlebars and your mind will follow.


edit: future expectation - drive side view.




...at any age!

Last edited by Wildwood; 01-30-23 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 02-05-23, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
future expectation - drive side view.
Looks like a small chainring for you in the afterlife. Or maybe just right ... if, like Sisyphus, you're always on a climb.
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Old 02-05-23, 07:23 PM
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I not only do not outrun youngsters anymore, I don't outrun oldsters, either. I ride probably ride faster and farther than most people my age, 70, but I cannot call it outrunning them. It's just my pace, which has slowed a good bit. What I like even better is not trying to outrun, or play the catch up game with anyone. I still very much enjoy the thrill of speed, when I have the urge, And, I still like to keep up a good pace, but not if it means sacrificing comfort. I hope the OP has learned that gaining a bit of speed at the cost of a bad back, and or other body parts, is too steep of a cost. As I get more aged, that cost gets inflated.
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Old 02-05-23, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
There is always someone faster than you, even in your age group.

Iím thinking of doing the Huntsman uphill time trial this year, as I just aged up to a new category. I figure I can train up to 4.0-4.3 W/kg. I checked the winnerís pace last year, probably about 5 W/kg.
5 .0 W/Kg is nuts! Retired pro or recreational overachiever?
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Old 02-06-23, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
5 .0 W/Kg is nuts! Retired pro or recreational overachiever?
Heís a cat 2 from Southern California.
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Old 02-06-23, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Am torn between admiration and hate. But it figures he is an active competitor.
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Old 02-06-23, 11:32 AM
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[QUOTE=rsbob;22792153]Am torn between admiration and hate./QUOTE]

Admiration and hate: the first two stages of loss?

I need to work my way to the final stage - acceptance that I will never win an event that he shows up at.
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