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Coming to grips with age and reality

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Coming to grips with age and reality

Old 12-25-06, 04:18 PM
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Coming to grips with age and reality

Saturday afternoon I had kind of a depressing and sobering moment . . . .

As this is my first posting to this forum, I'll assume that most of the readership hasn't run across any of my posts to Classic & Vintage or Bicycle Mechanics, and give out a quick introduction. I'm 56, road heavily back in the 70's, dropped out of the sport completely in '77 and re-entered last year. I normally put down about 500 miles a month during the good season, half that during the off-season (like now). Consider myself in pretty good shape, 5'10", 175lbs. Five bikes in the garage, two pre-90's road bikes, one modern, one vintage long distance tourer, and a vintage mountain bike set up for primarily road riding.

Got home from work Saturday, on the road by 1600, which meant I have about an hour of daylight left. This is a normal Saturday afternoon opener to more serious mileage on Sunday and Monday, I normally put down about 15 miles before it starts to get dark. I grabbed my '71 Gitane Tour de France off the wall, and figured I'd push it a little bit.

Took it easy the first five miles, as per my usual so I could start warming up (I hadn't done anything but the trainer in the garage since Monday), and was starting to pick up my pace when , when I get passed by someone flying by on a Quintana Roo something-or-other. OK, I can use the challenge, up one gear and let's go! Yeah, he's obviously in his thirties at the oldest, but what the hey?

Being a mileage junkie, I've got cyclometers on all my bikes, so I can keep appraised on what I'm doing. Over the next 2.5 miles I kept up a pace that had me never dropping below 23mph . . . . and that guy on the Quintana was completely out of sight by the end of that stretch. Gone. We're talking Floyd Landis, stage 17 of the Tour or, more accurately, Roadrunner playing with Wile E. Coyote.

Went back to my previous pace (14.5/15mph) and finished the day's ride, went home, and felt like absolute crap. Hell, I though I was in better shape than that.

By the next morning, I'd gotten over my self-pity, grabbed my long haul bike instead (1969 Magneet Sprint with a three bag setup), and went out and did a relaxed 25 miles. Felt a lot better, more like I knew what I was doing this time. Just the same, it was kind of a humbling feeling.
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Old 12-25-06, 04:28 PM
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It's like skiing... you feel really good when you can keep up with the "kids", but mostly, you can't.
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Old 12-25-06, 04:29 PM
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Young pups on their rocketships. Not fair is it. I was cruising along the other day, about 50km into a ride and feeling like I was 50 km into me ride, when this bloke went flying past. Didn't hear him coming, just a flash of lycra in the corner of my eye and he was gone. Okay, I don't mind being passed, but I've had cars make more of an effort of it. He looked as calm and relaxed as if he was sitting in a Rolls Royce and despite running a decent cadence, looked as though he wasn't even working. He didn't bother me for long though ... he disappeared over the horizon before I'd recovered from me shock.

Richard
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Old 12-25-06, 04:39 PM
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There is always someone faster around. This time of year, I ride the Joe Pool dam a lot. It's 5 miles from home, drains well after rain, and with no motor vehicles allowed, if I get caught on it after dark, it's not like being in the rush hour traffic around here.

There are short, steep hills on both ends of the dam, but the rest of it is very flat, a good place for a recumbent rider like me to ride with speed. Mind you, I'm not the fastest rider in my club, and get dropped badly on the hilly rides, but can hang with most on flats.

The dam is 8 miles across and back, and I made 4 trips across and back, Saturday. As I started, there was a rider just in front of me. I could not believe how fast he put distance between himself and me. One thing about riding across a dam and back, you can keep track of how far you fall behind someone, no matter how far ahead they get. If I had made just a couple more trips across and back, this rider would have lapped me.

I did not know there was anyone around here who was that much faster than me, but guess what? There is....
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Old 12-25-06, 06:31 PM
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I only get worried, and a bit depressed, when I start lapping myself.
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Old 12-25-06, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee
I only get worried, and a bit depressed, when I start lapping myself.
Is that like meeting yourself, coming and going?
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Old 12-25-06, 06:49 PM
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Syke,

Sure, I've read many of your posts on C&V. Some of us 50+ regulars stop by there now and then.

Hope to see you over here more often.
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Old 12-25-06, 06:53 PM
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1969 Magneet Sprint? Is there a picture we can see?
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Old 12-25-06, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee
I only get worried, and a bit depressed, when I start lapping myself.
I get worried when kids on tricycles lap me.
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Old 12-25-06, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Louis
Syke,

Sure, I've read many of your posts on C&V. Some of us 50+ regulars stop by there now and then.

Hope to see you over here more often.
It's funny, having gotten back on a bike after a 28-year absence (now I well understand the concept of Rip Van Winkle), and getting myself back into probably the best shape I've been in twenty years, I never really considered myself a 50+ rider . . . . . . until Saturday. Which is why I haven't stuck my nose in here previously.

I'll be around.
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Old 12-25-06, 07:00 PM
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You're pretty fast, other people are faster. You'll get used to it.
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Old 12-25-06, 07:00 PM
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Good first post. Many of us can relate to your sentiments. I bet that if you were ever able to grab his wheel you would have been able to hang with him for a while. Are you faster than him? Probably not but I'm sure you're a lot more fit than most folks your age. Plus, I bet you probably have not trained and concentrated for real top-end speed. However, I suspect you could hold your own at a brisk pace for a pretty good distance.

Glad to have you over here on the 50+ers group.
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Old 12-25-06, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by sykerocker
Coming to grips with age and reality
I know exactly what is the matter. Just exactly what is this fixation
with reality?? Just get over it and accept delusion.

Here in Colorado Springs we have some Olympic weenies. Without
delusion I am nothing!!
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Old 12-25-06, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Dogbait
It's like skiing... you feel really good when you can keep up with the "kids", but mostly, you can't.
Is your name Arnold and did you used to lift weights?
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Old 12-25-06, 09:15 PM
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I've enjoyed your posts on C&V, sykerocker. My advice is, think about all the guys you've dropped recently. I'll bet there have been quite a few.
If I get upset about getting passed on the road or trail, I always go to one cycling path where I feel like I'm one of the better riders. Happened to me this last weekend. After being dropped by a couple of 30 year olds on a MTB trail, I went to my ATF path and had a situation where a younger rider on a hybrid had to slow for a horse and rider. I lined up behind the cyclist to pass the equestrian but the fella was taking his sweet time about passing the horse. So I pulled out to pass both and the guy on the hybrid decides to pedal really hard while shifting as fast as possible. I sized him up. Although he had a better bike for the surface we were on, I knew I was in better shape. I stood on my old MTB and passed him and did not let up. I pulled out on him about a half mile over 3 miles.
So go out and ride. You're bound to find someone who can't keep your pace and forget about that other guy.
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Old 12-25-06, 10:00 PM
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Milage and speed.........

You guys make me feel terrible. Last year I started riding and did about 1k for the year, but couldn't keep up with a group I ride with on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Never mind the Wednesday crowd. And the Friday crowd is the twenty something crowd. One third my age, and half my weight.

This year I just wanted to keep the Tuesday-Thursday crowd in sight, and do 2k.

Haven't quite done 1k yet and I still can't keep anybody in sight. Even the homeless on bikes pass me and just laugh at my shorts and jerseys. And don't get me started on riding over about thirty miles.

You folks are doing great.
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Old 12-25-06, 10:30 PM
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Don't feel bad LastPlace, I wouldn't have a chance of staying up with you.
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Old 12-26-06, 11:17 AM
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I'm 50, and my regular riding buddy is 30. On the road he can leave me for dead if he wants. On the Mountain bikes the field is more level, due to the years I spent on dirt bikes. I also ride on the road with 2 guys in early to mid 50's. They kick my butt too.
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Old 12-26-06, 11:52 AM
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You're old and getting older. You'll never be young again. You'll only get slower and slower. Soon, you won't be able to ride at all, unless you consider a wheel chair riding. There. Feel better now?
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Old 12-26-06, 12:02 PM
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My bike is a time machine. I can climb on, start pedalling, and before I know it, I'm no longer a 50+ rider -- I become a young kid, thrilled with the wind in my face and the sensation that on this machine, I can go ANYWHERE.
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Old 12-26-06, 12:06 PM
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Im 62 and ride a kickbike in the summer months, all the other guys who ride regular bikes know one thing,when we get to where were going, be it 15 miles or 100, they better damn well get there ahead of me, or they will never live it down!That alone makes me feel younger! kick on!!
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Old 12-26-06, 12:08 PM
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Since I am devoid of natural athletic ability, I have always competed only against myself. Thirty-five years ago I was an average cyclist, easily passing the casual riders as easily as the elite club riders passed me. My situation and status on the road have changed very little since then.
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Old 12-26-06, 12:15 PM
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Hey! I can now "legally" post to Fifty Plus!!

In my early forties I started having knee trouble that slowed me down quite a bit. The problem was chronic, but not "career ending". For a while it bothered me that I wasn't as fast as I used to be. But then I realized that despite riding slower, and usually shorter, I was still enjoying the ride.

So, now I don't worry about keeping up. I'm just enjoying the ride!
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Old 12-26-06, 12:16 PM
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There is a solution and I found it by accident - move out to the middle of nowhere in a Third World nation where the best bike in town probably hasn't seen oil in a month. Use a bike that is worth more than some homes - and you will destroy everyone.

True, it might be a bit extreme, but it is a solution.
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Old 12-26-06, 12:59 PM
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I played cat and mouse with a guy clearly 10 or so years my senior one day last summer. Riding in the low 20s for 10 miles or so down the MUT. Me on one of my fancy uber-bikes, he on his <$500 LBS Trek 25 pound whatever MTB. At the end he told me he thought I was a "great rider." I laughed at that comment for a long time afterwards because I know he could've kicked my butt solidly had we gone on.

It has nothing to do with age, but has a lot to do with reality. There will always be someone faster than you are, regardless of their place on the age continuum. And there will be plenty of slower ones too.
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