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How many “Old guys” actually feel old?

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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.
View Poll Results: Do you Feel old?
No, I still feel middle aged
47
45.63%
I feel younger than I look
30
29.13%
Yes, I definitely feel my age
21
20.39%
I feel older than my chronological age
8
7.77%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 103. You may not vote on this poll

How many “Old guys” actually feel old?

Old 12-24-23, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
An unscientific pole to see how the 50+ crowd feels about cycling and aging. Yeah, I know it is worthless, but what the hell.

I for one, at 69, don’t fell old unless I look in the mirror. Sure there are the aches and pains, but in general am fortunate to be doing ok. How about you?
I feel as strong as ever for about 20-30 miles. But I don't feel like I am losing ground because I have zero desire to crank out 100+ mile rides, or even 50 miles. So I am as strong as ever for the rides I actually feel like doing. I'm fairly certain if I tackled one of my "famous" 150 mile solo rides I might need an ambulance to complete it. I just don't even care to try that distance any more.

I'll be 66 in April and 100% at peace with my riding just now.
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Old 12-24-23, 04:41 PM
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I'm a relatively new cyclist, having started six years ago, and as far as cycling goes, I've noticed no reduction in my capabilities. I'm riding 100+ miles almost every week and feel like I could do a lot more if I had more time to devote to it. I'm 73 and feel like I can keep up that amount of cycling forever. I know that Father Time can't be denied, if I think about it, but I FEEL like I will be able to keep cycling at this level forever. As a recent convert to cycling, I'm comparing my current performance with my performance at age 67, when I started, unlike some of you who have been cycling longer and can compare your current performance with how you were in your 30s.

Prior to cycling, I was a runner, and took up cycling because I had to quit running because of knee problems. Mostly, I ran for mileage and didn't time myself, and I never felt like I was getting slower over the years. But I ran the same ten mile race every year from age 38 to age 66 and kept track of my times. I was running 6 minute miles when I started doing that race, and by the time I had to quit, I was running 8:30 miles. So even though I felt like I was just as fast, the evidence showed otherwise. And it's probably the same with my cycling. Even though I don't feel like I'm riding slower, I'm not timing my rides, and there's a good chance I am getting slower. As I said, Father Time can't be denied, but I feel like I can keep up my current cycling regimen forever. I felt the same way about my running,.. until the knee issues forced me to quit.
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Old 12-24-23, 05:02 PM
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Do I feel old? Well, I am 69, have COPD and a-fib. Several joint injuries, 2 back injuries, vision is crappy, severe hearing loss in the right ear and some loss in the left.
Lately, been getting arthritis symptoms in my neck so I have started using a rear view mirror on the bike. So, yes. Definitely not 55 anymore.

Still, feel pretty good on the bike, considering. Did 50 miles yesterday with 3700 feet of climbing front loaded. I wasn't the slowest in our group of 8 but they worked me pretty good. Haven't done a century since 2019 and haven't done the long rides in the mountains that I used to love in way too long.
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Old 12-24-23, 05:26 PM
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At 65 I'm still fast, but don't have the ability/desire to do the long distance rides any more. My biggest problem is joint pain that I get after a few hours on the bike, although I suppose I've been suffering from various osteoarthritis aches for over 20 years now. I just don't want to live on ibuprofin.
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Old 12-25-23, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
As I have said once before, a bicycle is a Time Machine. And it happens to be in more ways than one.
A favorite blogger, "Mr Money Mustache," writes: "But wait – we’ve so far neglected the whole reason I even talk about bicycling on this blog: because it is extremely good for you, and it saves you a ****load of money. It is not an exaggeration to say that a bicycle is a money-printing fountain of youth, probably the single most important and highest-yielding investment a human can possibly own."

The rest of the post is here. It's mainly about risk and reward. I found the blog after my wife and I had retired at age 40, after brief careers in engineering during which we shared a car, commuted and toured by bike, living easily on half our income. We didn't realize the biking would keep us acting young, too.

Happy Holidays, everyone.
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Old 12-25-23, 07:06 AM
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Well, it's how I feel versus what the mirror says, and the mirror is saying a facelift is half the cost of a Pinarello F9.
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Old 12-25-23, 07:29 AM
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I'm 58. I don't know what "old" is supposed to feel like yet. Athletically, I'm not near the person I was in my 20s/30s. Still fairly athletic for a 58 year old. For those that say they're still close to what they were at a young age, I'd say that's BS. Even if we're talking about cycling, the bikes themselves have improved so much that comparisons to the past aren't really valid. Go out and do some hard labor for a week or two and see how you compare to your younger self. Back slapping/brass playing threads tend to be filled with BS. I think as long as a person is remaining med free, then they are doing a good job of aging. If they have to get up each day and pop a bunch of pills or other stuff though, the fountain of youth talk is not accurate.

Last edited by seypat; 12-25-23 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 12-25-23, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat
I'm 58. I don't know what "old" is supposed to feel like yet. Athletically, I'm not near the person I was in my 20s/30s. Still fairly athletic for a 58 year old. For those that say they're still close to what they were at a young age, I'd say that's BS. Even if we're talking about cycling, the bikes themselves have improved so much that comparisons to the past aren't really valid. Go out and do some hard labor for a week or two and see how you compare to your younger self. Back slapping/brass playing threads tend to be filled with BS. I think as long as a person is remaining med free, then they are doing a good job of aging. If they have to get up each day and pop a bunch of pills or other stuff though, the fountain of youth talk is not accurate.
some of us are doing it on old style bikes...nothing really improved on my Handsome xoxo vs my last modern bike a 1993 Ritchey road logic and my xoxo weighs about 30lbs without drop bars and with fat tires......I did a decent solo century on it. I no longer do hard labor per se but can still do it when I need to. I am sure it could all end tomorrow but so far everything is working as it should. I used to be a decent runner sub 17 for 5K sub 36 for 10K sub 60 for 10 mile and pr marathon 2:48 and of 10 slowest was 3 hours 5 seconds (boston) I agree I can't run like that anymore but I still do a weekly power hike of 16 miles at a decent pace ie lower 16 minutes per mile unless it is plodding thru snow and then it slows down. I guess my point to this boast/brag is I know lots of guys my age and older can kick my ass so if they say they are as fit or close to it I have no reason to doubt them.




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Old 12-25-23, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
No XC ski tracks? Looks to be prime conditions!
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Old 12-25-23, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by spclark
No XC ski tracks? Looks to be prime conditions!
Not enough snow yet for XCing yet..kind of a crazy snow year here.
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Old 12-25-23, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
Not enough snow yet for XCing yet..kind of a crazy snow year here.
That pic shows enuf for me!

Where I am now it's 12/25 yet it's been raining since 1 PM, temp's @ 50°F right now. There've been years here (this is our tenth) when we've had 18" or more snow by now and temps on Christmas run to the single digits. (I'll let you choose whether to add a + or a - to that number!)

Back when we lived 40 miles NW of Chicago there were Christmas days like this in the late '70's but a couple years later it was -20°F or more & two feet of snow by Jan. 1.

Winter of '14 we'd just moved here. I was 'commuting' 215 miles every week / ten days to the place we'd lived for 37 years getting it fixed up & ready to put on the market. There were trips when I recall driving through plowed trenches 25 feet deep both sides of US Rt 12 near Whitewater WI watching snow blow across the top well above my MINI's roof in the middle of the day. Probably pretty commonplace for MT but here?

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Old 12-25-23, 09:14 PM
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At fifty I discovered randonneuring after a lifetime of recreational riding. I've never been a racer, so there always been a lot of headroom in my fitness. In the last thirteen years, I've learned enough about endurance cycling to more or less compensate for the undeniable athletic loss. Nutrition, fit, time management, pacing, mental attitude. Honestly not sure I could have done PBP at 30; patience was lacking. At fifty I was median age for rando; at 63 I'm older than all but a few.

The smile on my face at the end of Paris Brest Paris this year is genuine, not posed. I rode a calm pace, slept enough, took care of myself, and rolled in ezpz at 88:57. Barring anything serious, I plan to be back in 2027.
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Old 12-25-23, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
I'm 58. I don't know what "old" is supposed to feel like yet. Athletically, I'm not near the person I was in my 20s/30s. Still fairly athletic for a 58 year old. For those that say they're still close to what they were at a young age, I'd say that's BS. Even if we're talking about cycling, the bikes themselves have improved so much that comparisons to the past aren't really valid. Go out and do some hard labor for a week or two and see how you compare to your younger self. Back slapping/brass playing threads tend to be filled with BS. I think as long as a person is remaining med free, then they are doing a good job of aging. If they have to get up each day and pop a bunch of pills or other stuff though, the fountain of youth talk is not accurate.
I have been helping out with physical labor on my parent's home remodel.
Mostly removing old flooring, demo of a patio and similar type work.
I feel the strain mostly in my anatomy from previous injuries - shoulders, hip and lower back.
My cardio is great but it is the lifting and walking with weight that is not easy at almost 60 y/o.
I count those labor days as a workout.
My only meds are Ibuprofen 400 mg QD.
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Old 12-26-23, 05:23 AM
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Kind of subjective, what constitutes feeling old? I will say, physically, I feel much better than I could ever have expected. But, 71 years ago, 71 was considered very advanced age. I have aches and pains, not as much energy, and I am okay with that. I have younger siblings that can barely walk around their home. I absolute believe long term cycling to be a large factor in my general good health.
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Old 12-26-23, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1
Kind of subjective, what constitutes feeling old?
That was my very first thought when I saw the thread title. I have never been as old as I am right now. (Oo now. Or now.....) So, I have no idea what feeling old is like.
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Old 12-26-23, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
That was my very first thought when I saw the thread title. I have never been as old as I am right now. (Oo now. Or now.....) So, I have no idea what feeling old is like.
Ditto. Never having been 84 before, I really don't know what one is supposed to feel like at 84. I see people in the community that look older and sometimes fat, and sometimes it look very much out of shape, but I don't know their ages. I would feel strange going up to them and saying "how old are you?'
I do know that I can ride a bike and work out pretty well and do a 2 minute plank and a variety of other physical measures. But, I don't know if other 84 year olds do this. So it's difficult to answer the question. I do know that my physical abilities have decreased these last few years. But I'm working hard to keep them as good as possible. I guess that's all I can do!
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Old 12-26-23, 11:45 PM
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At 64 I'm just starting to feel things that seem related to age and not merely lack of fitness or training. But so far, everything still seems able to improve if I just put in some work. By getting back into cycling, I'm pretty sure I'm fitter right now than 10-15 years ago when I was only playing table tennis. So when I notice something that makes me feel "old", I just find some bit of exercise or movement to add in somewhere/somehow to address it. As a simple example, a few years ago I stopped sitting or kneeling to tie my shoes and instead now stand on one leg and lift the other up to tie the shoe. The goal was to improve/maintain balance. But a few weeks after I started doing it, I noticed improved flexibility too. Anyway, that's the general plan. When I notice something getting worse, start adding some activity to address it. The more I can integrate it into daily life, the better. Another example is that I don't drive anywhere locally. If its in town, I generally use the ebike. I know its all ultimately a losing battle. But I like being physically able. I'm not willing to let it go easily.
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Old 12-27-23, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay Turberville
So when I notice something that makes me feel "old", I just find some bit of exercise or movement to add in somewhere/somehow to address it. < > Another example is that I don't drive anywhere locally. If its in town, I generally use the ebike. I know its all ultimately a losing battle. But I like being physically able. I'm not willing to let it go easily.
Great approach! One I've adopted also, as best I can (no e-bike for me, at least not quite yet...).

I was just shy of 56 when a (mild) heart attack opened my eyes to what my body had been trying to tell me. I'd watched family and friends decline starting much earlier, over a variety of practices that they had various degrees of control over.

The morning I was driving to work, only to find myself suddenly wondering if I had time to find an ER on my way (once off expressway) to work, caused a sea change in my behaviors over avoiding issues deserving more of my attention. Making time for getting back on my MB and into the local indoor pool once again offers gratification despite a lapse of a decade since our willful uprooting in '13.
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Old 12-27-23, 07:11 AM
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You are always the same age inside.---Gertrude Stein
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Old 12-27-23, 09:58 AM
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I’ve just turned 56 and still feel much like I did in my 30s, in some ways slightly better from improved nutrition and more consistent exercise.

I do notice a few more niggling aches and pains and recovery is a little slower, but my aerobic fitness is as good as it ever was and I have actually dropped a few kg in weight without losing any muscle. I’m certainly fitter than I was 10 years ago in my mid 40s when I had dropped off a fair bit from my early 30s.

I take the view that lifestyle (especially exercise) trumps age, at least for now. But maybe it takes a little more effort to retain fitness. I could get away with a lot of bad habits in my 20s that would really take their toll in my 50s. For example I need quality sleep and nutrition now. In my 20s I could do all-nighters and metabolise pretty much any junk food!
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Old 12-27-23, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Blue Zone studies have validated most of what you have written. I find it interesting that all of us have genetic switches, as it were, that can remain dormant or be ‘flipped on’ due to external triggers. These may be environmental, psychological - stress hormones, dietary, drug abuse, exercise, etc. Flip the wrong switch and you may go down the dark rabbit hole.
I was reading a paper recently on more primitive people and their eating habits. The closer to the equator, the closer they tended to consume a more evenly mixed diet of plant and animal sources. At higher latitudes they skewed toward animal sources (think Inuit). It seems likely that your genetic background will influence how you respond (switch flipping) to various influences like diet and environment.

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Old 12-27-23, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat
I'm 58. I don't know what "old" is supposed to feel like yet. Athletically, I'm not near the person I was in my 20s/30s. Still fairly athletic for a 58 year old. For those that say they're still close to what they were at a young age, I'd say that's BS. Even if we're talking about cycling, the bikes themselves have improved so much that comparisons to the past aren't really valid. Go out and do some hard labor for a week or two and see how you compare to your younger self. Back slapping/brass playing threads tend to be filled with BS. I think as long as a person is remaining med free, then they are doing a good job of aging. If they have to get up each day and pop a bunch of pills or other stuff though, the fountain of youth talk is not accurate.
You are only 2 years older than me, but from your posting history you sound much older, both in mind and body. I have no doubt that you are a shadow of your younger self, but that certainly doesn’t apply to everyone else.

While I was at my fittest and strongest in my early 20s, the drop off from there has been pretty shallow into my mid 50s and my fitness peaks and troughs throughout my 30s and 40s have been far more in line with my exercise regime than my age. My lowest fitness was actually in my early 40s when I went through a period of little exercise and a lot of stress. I put on about 10 kg of weight, lost most of my aerobic fitness and developed a few aches and pains that I assumed at the time were age related. Turns out they weren’t. Once I got out of that little rut my fitness returned pretty quickly. My cycling endurance today is as good as it ever has been, even if other aspects of fitness are lower than they were in my youth.
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Old 12-27-23, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat
I'm 58. I don't know what "old" is supposed to feel like yet. Athletically, I'm not near the person I was in my 20s/30s. Still fairly athletic for a 58 year old. For those that say they're still close to what they were at a young age, I'd say that's BS.
I suppose a lot depends on your fitness level in your 20s/30s. I only started getting pretty fit by riding my bike in my late 20s and early 30s. And frankly, I never got particularly fast compared to other cyclists. So for me, the bar I set back then isn't particularly high. It was above average for my age, but not spectacularly so.

Originally Posted by seypat
Even if we're talking about cycling, the bikes themselves have improved so much that comparisons to the past aren't really valid. Go out and do some hard labor for a week or two and see how you compare to your younger self.
I don't think the improvements in bikes are nearly as much as people would like to think. I'm sure that they make a difference but I doubt it is huge. That said, I wouldn't know from experience since I'm riding older steel bikes and used to ride an aluminum Trek 1400. So the apples I'm comparing are pretty similar. The biggest problem I have is that I'm comparing hilly rides to flat rides. Given that, I'd bet my hill climbing is at least as good now as it was back when I road mostly on flat ground.

Originally Posted by seypat
Back slapping/brass playing threads tend to be filled with BS. I think as long as a person is remaining med free, then they are doing a good job of aging. If they have to get up each day and pop a bunch of pills or other stuff though, the fountain of youth talk is not accurate.
Yeah. Probably some BS. But I'd guess that depends a lot on what your past fitness levels were and whether you have objective data for comparison. Does a person have have past and present VO2 max tests? I bet some of the more race oriented people here have stuff like that - and race data even. Frankly, I'm riding more yearly miles now that I'm retired than I was when I was busy working full time in my 30s. I'm sure that doesn't fully make up for the effects of age, but it helps. Also, the poll asked how people "feel". So it was a subjective question from the start.

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Old 12-27-23, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
You are only 2 years older than me, but from your posting history you sound much older, both in mind and body. I have no doubt that you are a shadow of your younger self, but that certainly doesn’t apply to everyone else.

While I was at my fittest and strongest in my early 20s, the drop off from there has been pretty shallow into my mid 50s and my fitness peaks and troughs throughout my 30s and 40s have been far more in line with my exercise regime than my age. My lowest fitness was actually in my early 40s when I went through a period of little exercise and a lot of stress. I put on about 10 kg of weight, lost most of my aerobic fitness and developed a few aches and pains that I assumed at the time were age related. Turns out they weren’t. Once I got out of that little rut my fitness returned pretty quickly. My cycling endurance today is as good as it ever has been, even if other aspects of fitness are lower than they were in my youth.
Nope, still in good shape and a decent athlete. Nothing holding me back now except for the occassional overuse injury. But, I was a college level athlete over multiple sports at the younger age. 172-173cm tall 83-84kgs, but could dunk. Mid 4 40s, etc, etc. Still was dunking in my 30s. That went away as did some of the speed and quickness. Eventually had to move away from those sports because of injuries and I couldn't compete with the younger crowd. Still would be an elite athlete in my age group. Well, not in endurance sports. Good in the other sports means you're not good in endurance sports. Someone posts the usual "I'm as good at 70 as I was at 25!" I'm saying that's BS. If you're as good at --- as you were at 25, it means you weren't very good at 25. You might be elite for your age group now, against your age peers, maybe even a few age groups below, but you aren't going to be able to hang with the young upper to elte level athletes in physical activities day in and day out, period. Whether that's bike racing, weight lifting, soccer matches, distance running, etc, etc. That's life. Just be the best you can be. That's all you can ask for.

Every year since 2013, I run 2 fall marathons. The same 2 events. I've run 3 before. And every year those times get a little slower. Same for the centuries/long bike rides. That's life, I'm happy I can still do it. One of these years that will end.
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Old 12-27-23, 11:28 AM
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I will be 71 in 3 weeks.
I am still working 3 days a week. The folks at work assume I am 60ish.
I have ridden about 4000 miles this year. Including a trip on the Going to the sun road in Montana.
However, 70% of those miles have been on a "Pedal Assist" electric bike! I have gradually lost cranking cranking strength over the last 10-12 years.
Riding is still my first choice for free time use.
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