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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.

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Old 05-22-07, 08:06 AM   #1
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14 months, 1000 miles, & Fountain St.

Well this week I passed 14 months and 1000 miles since getting back on a bike. Although Nov, Dec, Jan, and Feb pretty much involved no riding. To celebrate I gathered up my courage and rode up Fountain St. Now I have been thinking about this for a long time but it was so damn intimitating. Fountain St. is about a mile long and has a wall for the first and last quarter miles. I don't really know the grade but it's one of those hills that your car downshifts three times on the way up just to maintain 30mph. I thought I was going to freakin die, but made it with one short rest stop on each wall, maybe a minute to catch my breath. Here is what I kinda learned in the last year that may help other newbies.

1. Don't compare yourself with others avg speed. Avg speed is meaningful only to you. The conditions vary so much that comparing yourself to someone elses avg speed is pretty meaningless. The avg speed for my normal 10 mile course is about 13.7 mph. That's because half of that is 8-9 mph hills. Trying to compare that to someone who lives in the flatlands and averages 17-18 mph will drive you crazy. Only care that you can see improvements agains't yourself.

2. Don't compare milage to anyone elses. Again, here hills and climate has alot to do with how far your can ride in a year. I know that with the New England climate, hills, and 12 hrs a day commuting/working, I will never be able to ride more than 1000 miles a year. DG made a comment in a thread yesterday about it being only 61 degrees with an 18 mph wind. Heck, that's about as good as it gets on the New England coast.

3. Everyone has different abilities. I am slow, period. I will never be a jppe, not many of us will. Just remember a 13 mph ride is better than not riding at all. BTW, last year the 13 mph rides were 11 mph rides.

4. You may be slow and you may not be able to ride a century, but be proud that you do this. At our age this is a great accomplishment. As I look around the ofice today I see alot of people 10 and 15 years younger than me who could not put in 25 miles on a bike if their life depended on it.

5. I am very fortunate that my wife rides also. It's a great way to spend the weekend together.

6. I want a better road bike already!
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Old 05-22-07, 09:03 AM   #2
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Much wisdom in your words. And way to go on Fountain St.! I challeneged my own intimidating hill last week, so I understand the great sense of achievement!
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Old 05-22-07, 09:32 AM   #3
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I couldn't agree more with every one of your points. It has been oft said that there will always be someone better than you (it is NOT as oft said that the inverse is also true). I compare my progress as a rider to what I've been able to do before and since I got a cold shot of reality from my cardio two weeks ago, I have learned that there is no shame in going slow when and where one needs to. In fact, I see much more benefit -especially going uphill- in being a tortoise; not the hare. And keep breathing.
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Old 05-22-07, 10:29 AM   #4
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First of all, congratulations on your 1,000 miles! That's fantastic, and I know you feel good about it as you should.

Your reflections are spot on. Right on. Dead on. Whatever -- you are correct, Sir! And it would be worth adding, methinks, that those of us trying to lose weight should resist comparing ourselves to others. Some people can drop weight like a stone, and some take, well, a little longer. It's the journey and new eating habits we should celebrate!

And we should all remember (especially the newbies) how awesome this all this, when compared to the mileage we were getting on our sofas watching Law and Order or reruns of Gunsmoke.
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Old 05-22-07, 10:42 AM   #5
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But how come none of the Gunsmoke reruns have Chester in them?
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