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50ís literally better than 30ís

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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.

50ís literally better than 30ís

Old 04-28-23, 06:50 PM
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PoweredByVeg
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50ís literally better than 30ís

Last time I cycled kind of seriously was in my 30ís. Back then Iíd do a big ride, or up a 3000 ft mountain and it would take days to recover. But since then, for general reasons I worked on my diet and health. I was vegan at the time but a bit more of a junk food vegan. Over the last 20 years, having an interest in a long healthy life I continued to improve things, but the one thing that I did more of when younger was my exercise regime. Iíve slacked off on exercising and the past few years have only continued the jogging and pilates.

So now Iím getting close to retirement and am getting back into cycling in a big way (it helps to be able to throw some $ at it now!) and Iím pleasantly surprised to find that Iím in better shape than before. Iíve been on a training program on my Keiser stationary and itís been ramping up to longer, more intense back to back rides of 3 hour rides and Iíve been keeping pace, with my ftp continuing to improve. Recovery is basically nil, after careful seat/etc adjustments there no aches or pains and the performance has surpassed anything I could do back then.

So it is possible to cycle better in your later years compared to your younger - you just donít get a free get out of jail car like when your younger and can cycle and eat poorly or average - at least in my experience. In my case focusing on diet and other factors over the long term really worked.
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Old 04-28-23, 09:50 PM
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70+ = Persistence (to some degree) + Recovery

I cycled fairly consistently from ~35. Not possible to beat that today. No way. No way. Wasn't slackin then, and not today, but still no how, no way.

Last edited by Wildwood; 04-28-23 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 04-28-23, 10:39 PM
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I never kept track of miles, mph, or feet climbed when I was in my thirties. I wasnít quite carless, but I did everything on my bike.
I started thinking of cycling as deliberate exercise in my mid-forties and continued to improve into my early fifties. In my sixties now and I feel great. Iím a little slower every year though.
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Old 04-29-23, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by PoweredByVeg
Last time I cycled kind of seriously was in my 30ís. Back then Iíd do a big ride, or up a 3000 ft mountain and it would take days to recover. But since then, for general reasons I worked on my diet and health. I was vegan at the time but a bit more of a junk food vegan. Over the last 20 years, having an interest in a long healthy life I continued to improve things, but the one thing that I did more of when younger was my exercise regime. Iíve slacked off on exercising and the past few years have only continued the jogging and pilates.

So now Iím getting close to retirement and am getting back into cycling in a big way (it helps to be able to throw some $ at it now!) and Iím pleasantly surprised to find that Iím in better shape than before. Iíve been on a training program on my Keiser stationary and itís been ramping up to longer, more intense back to back rides of 3 hour rides and Iíve been keeping pace, with my ftp continuing to improve. Recovery is basically nil, after careful seat/etc adjustments there no aches or pains and the performance has surpassed anything I could do back then.

So it is possible to cycle better in your later years compared to your younger - you just donít get a free get out of jail car like when your younger and can cycle and eat poorly or average - at least in my experience. In my case focusing on diet and other factors over the long term really worked.
We all have to take care of ourselves. Fitness for life is money in the bank. Good luck with your upcoming retirement.
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Old 05-03-23, 12:28 PM
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knowledge is power
old guys know stuff
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Old 05-03-23, 02:01 PM
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At age 42, I did a 66 mile ride at just over 20 mph average. There is no way I could come even close to that now, even with better, lighter, faster bikes. I am 70, though I do not track average speed, I do look at it during some rides, almost always at the end. That is curiosity much more than using it as a benchmark. Last week, I did a 35 mile ride and averaged just over 15mph, I was tickled with that. Today, I did a 25 mile ride at 14.5, and am fine with that. I also stop and get off the bike much more often.
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Old 05-03-23, 08:20 PM
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Some knee issues in my late-20's to early-30's - followed by home-buying and maintaining, having a kid, and more to do in the workplace than I really should have taken on - sidelined my cycling until I took it back up again in my late-40's. I had access to better information about the knee issues, along with training and nutrition, and the patience that age had brought with it. As a result, I built to an average 5K miles annually by my mid-50s - then pandemic, job re-booting, then grandbaby took up a lot of time I would have spent training a few years ago. Now, I'm on the way back to trying to get the mileage back - I put in 5X fewer miles the past 12 months than I did at the peak performance I had from 2019-2020.
I've got a feeling it might have to wait until retirement to get it back, but I'm determined...
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Old 05-03-23, 08:37 PM
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Peak fitness for me was probably ~55. Quality of training rose faster than athletic potential declined. No longer holding true at 62; I'm not motivated to continue increasing my training regiment.
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Old 05-03-23, 08:39 PM
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I think it’s a bunch of things for me, mainly with being older/wiser/smart/knowing myself better, as some have said here in the thread. I manage my physical energy and physical self better, sleep better, have more money for my own small home gym in a spare bedroom for example, and finally the internet. There’s far more and better information available now for doing a training program than back then by far. I downloaded a couple of free really good cycling training plan, beautifully done up graphically from UK Alzheimer's Assoc with Bicycling mag IIRC which made it easy to get going

Originally Posted by downtube42
Peak fitness for me was probably ~55.
I’m around that age, maybe I’m just at my peak.
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Old 05-03-23, 10:44 PM
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At my weekly XC mtb series, the 50-somethings are just as fast as the 19-39 group. A lot of it has to do with bike handling and technique, not raw horsepower.
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Old 05-04-23, 10:01 AM
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When I participated in a 24 hour challenge for a few years, I found it interesting to see how age groups compared.

Results are from the 2019 National 42 Hour Challenge. These are amateur athletes, self-selected to participate in a 24-hour bike race obviously, but across the spectrum in terms of how seriously they take the event.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place overall are from the 40-44, 25-29, and 50-55 age categories respectively. IIRC, over my 4 years there, winners came from these 3 categories.

I think the data reflects things like available time throughout our lives and changing interests with age, as well as athletic ability. I found it interesting that more than once I would have won every category except mine and 18-24. Ages 25-45, I presume, people are busy doing things like chasing potential spouses and subsequent kids, and careers.
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Old 05-04-23, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by PoweredByVeg
Last time I cycled kind of seriously was in my 30ís. Back then Iíd do a big ride, or up a 3000 ft mountain and it would take days to recover. But since then, for general reasons I worked on my diet and health. I was vegan at the time but a bit more of a junk food vegan. Over the last 20 years, having an interest in a long healthy life I continued to improve things, but the one thing that I did more of when younger was my exercise regime. Iíve slacked off on exercising and the past few years have only continued the jogging and pilates.

So now Iím getting close to retirement and am getting back into cycling in a big way (it helps to be able to throw some $ at it now!) and Iím pleasantly surprised to find that Iím in better shape than before. Iíve been on a training program on my Keiser stationary and itís been ramping up to longer, more intense back to back rides of 3 hour rides and Iíve been keeping pace, with my ftp continuing to improve. Recovery is basically nil, after careful seat/etc adjustments there no aches or pains and the performance has surpassed anything I could do back then.

So it is possible to cycle better in your later years compared to your younger - you just donít get a free get out of jail car like when your younger and can cycle and eat poorly or average - at least in my experience. In my case focusing on diet and other factors over the long term really worked.
Hang tight...that won't last long. Age will eventually knock you down.
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Old 05-04-23, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
Peak fitness for me was probably ~55. Quality of training rose faster than athletic potential declined. No longer holding true at 62; I'm not motivated to continue increasing my training regiment.
similar for me. at aboutm40 I embarked on a body transformation. first slowly, then more intensely. by age 50 I had the fitness of my life (if I exclude 17-25). it was fun beating back time. about 14 years later now ... & it kinda shows ...
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Old 05-04-23, 12:24 PM
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I have run into this nice summary of ageing for cyclists:
https://cptips.com/age.htm
It confirms all well known facts about losing muscles, vo2max etc. however, there are also a few interesting statements that I was not quite aware of.

===============================
The cyclists, as a group, all had thinner bones than the runners, ... consider adding regular bone-stressing activities to your weekly routine:

Muscle mass decreases 3-8 % per decade after the age of 30, accelerating as we pass 60. ... A study of men, 60 to 72, training with standard muscle resistance exercises, produced strength improvement equal to young adults.

... regular exercise program (riding three to four times a week) can have to blunt the inevitable changes.
  • 41% less likely to die from heart disease
  • 58% less likely to develop diabetes

Interval Training is the Ideal Anti-Aging Exercise.

... exercise time, it appears that the sweet spot is around 150 minutes per week.

And the summary:

Strategies To Stay Ahead Of The Curve.

  • It's not just the miles you put in. Athletes who maintain workout intensity, especially if they contain intervals, see their VO2 max decline at a lower rate than those who focus on higher mileage at a slower pace. Stay with those intervals - year round. And aim to keep your normal training heart rate at 85 - 90 % of max.
  • There is a drop off in muscle volume near age 60. Keep lifting those weights.
  • You will need a more recovery time than when you were 25. So factor in a little extra off-the-bike rest time to let those muscles heal between workouts.
  • Maintain a balanced diet with an emphasis on fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. And with enough protein to help main muscle volume (you will need a bit more as you age, not less). And, of course, plenty of replacement carbs for the Calories you will be expending on those rides.
  • Aim for emotional balance between your riding and family, friends and other activities. Don't let your biking goals consume you.
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Old 05-04-23, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rowerek
....

Interval Training is the Ideal Anti-Aging Exercise.


....
In terms of effectiveness, I don't doubt that. It's also one of the least enjoyable (to me) things I can do on a bike. Figures.
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Old 05-05-23, 06:58 AM
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I took some ambitious trips in my 50s that I couldn't do in my 30s. I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 3.5 months, a 20 mile-per-day average, at age 51. I crossed the US by bike in 55 days, an 80 mile-per-day average, at age 55. I tried those things twenty years earlier and failed, due to carrying too much, not being in shape, trying too hard, not eating and resting well.

I agree with all the above. I'm losing weight as I age. I know it's muscle mass, and that can't help my speed and strength. But I can still get out on the bike all day and have a great time with like-minded friends, so I'm not complaining. As one of those friends says when someone complains, "Get over it--nobody's getting out of this alive."

What the OP said that rang true for me was about being a junk-food vegan when younger, and now having more money to throw at the problem. I'm eating better than ever, getting regular exercise, living in choice environments. That makes getting old easier to handle.
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Old 05-12-23, 10:13 AM
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I was a dedicated recreational rider in my 30s doing about 5000-6000 miles a year but knew very little about proper nutrition, other than carbo loading and keeping hydrated. I also did minimal weights.

Now I know about proper nutrition, weights, recovery and equipment. Even though I still ride about the same mileage, there is no way I can average 20 MPH over a century by myself. Back then my quads felt like pistons with unceasing energy, but I have yet to recapture that marvelous feeling. My intervals are hammering short climbs out of the saddle - but don’t know if really counts. Also I now am packing an extra 10 lbs since then which doesn’t do me any favors. Last summer I did manage to get down to my ideal weight until a 3 week vacation with zero exercise and wonderful food stole my resolve. Can I be better or as good as? Nope, but I keep up the good fight and have resorted to lower gears for 10%+ hill climbs which helps a lot.

Good luck on your quest.
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