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COVID, Training & Competition expectations. How are you dealing with it?

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COVID, Training & Competition expectations. How are you dealing with it?

Old 04-10-20, 09:51 AM
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COVID, Training & Competition expectations. How are you dealing with it?

This is really targeted to the older Master's racers, so I did not put it in the COVID thread. As someone at a vulnerable age how are you handling training and competition, or the lack of it?

I'm 66, which by itself puts me in the vulnerable class for the virus. And I have other vulnerabilities. As a result I'm very wary of any racing until a vaccine is available. That likely means I'm out for the whole season. Throw on top of that, I strictly race track, and a lot of velodromes have been closed to training. I'm a boonies-based trackie so I do a lot of training on flat, deserted roads, but that only goes so far. Track time, particularly on the shorter tracks, is invaluable, but it's not available making training more difficult.

My vulnerabilities are myriad. In addition to age, I've been fighting stage-4 prostate cancer for the past three years.

<Personal ranting and raving the next paragraph, you may skip >

In fact, it was the reason I got back on my bike after 35 years away. Oncology shrink told me to live life to the fullest while I still have my health, and to find something that made me happy. Thinking back, it was juggling a job and dealing with a sociopathic wife that took me off the bike. Retired and with the wicked woman in the rear-view, I made the choice to return to the sport. It has been difficult. Not just getting back to riding and training, but sandwiching it between cancer crap, which included two rounds of radiation, gross hematuria [severe bleeding in the bladder, AKA "my urine stream could be used in a slasher flick]" bladder cauterization to staunch the bleeding, and two months of hyperbaric treatment. That two-month period was fun -- I was allowed to ride my bike, but not allowed to sit as it would aggravate the bladder situation, and I was not allowed to exceed endurance pace HR since hyperbaric was intended to inject O2 into my system and repair the bladder. Try riding out of saddle for 30 miles without reaching into your tempo zone.

Overall, between the cancer, radiation, and side effects I rarely had six weeks straight to train. It was like starting over and over and over. The radiologist clobbered the scary tumor, we had record growth for the tumor and exceptional results (I still have the cancer, it's just not growing as fast), and the radiologist scheduled our next appointment for after Masters Track Nationals in July. The radiation technique, SBRT, is relatively new for prostate cancer and we were using it to stave off the inevitable chemical castration that would end any hope of competition. I think he wanted a good story for the medical journals -- guy goes from facing castration to any kind of finish at Nats. I had a freakin' 8 months straight to train -- who-hoo! I was really pumped.

Finally got well for a bit, now the whole world is sick.

While I'm disappointed things are over before they got started, I've found some happiness in having the time to get out and ride. It's like I'm going back over that year I didn't race, but got a lot better: I learned to really love my time on the bike, concentrated on technique, and enjoyed getting stronger just because it felt good. So this year it's all about the base and technique and riding out in some of the most beautiful countryside in Michigan. I can't be guaranteed a next year -- cancer teaches us that -- but I can make the most of every day I have -- cancer teaches us that, too.

So, as an older rider, how are you handling training, riding, and your competitive expectations for this year?
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Old 04-13-20, 04:25 PM
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I feel you. I was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer 18 years ago. I had radiation seed implants. I am 67 and no longer race, but train 6 days a week. My routine is Tuesday to Friday 42 miles a day, and then a 50+ mile group ride Sat & Sun. On the weekdays I ride at an average pace of 17mph. On the group rides my average is 21mph and I usually get involved in the sprint at the end. I've given up racing because there are less people my age who race, and so race organizers group us in with the 55+ masters and that makes it difficult to differentiate who in the group you are racing against. I am also better at crits than road races. I wish there were crits just for older guys.....although I'd probably get beat there too.
Best wishes.
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Old 04-19-20, 10:39 PM
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Man, I really do wish it were a better world for you right now. All I can think of that might help is the Zwift world, or something like that. Setup an indoor ride room with a Wahoo trainer or similar and keep riding the bike of your choice, as often as you like. You can throw down with others from around the world. I did this for 3 plus months and it helped me get back into riding after years of being a beach bum of sorts. Now I'm leading epic road rides, (last week 120 miles with over 8,800 ft of elevation gain), and 70-80 mile road rides every week, in this time. Many of my fellow club members who are less comfortable venturing out, are just jumping into Zwift. It's interesting enough to keep your attention for at least a little while, and then, perhaps we'll be beyond this. I haven't had an account for many months, but will alway be thankful for what it provided to me, in a place not really safe or conducive to riding outside. What I see it doing for you, since you can ride outside, is the competition part of it. Strava PRs, goals to work toward, virtual riding friends, virtual rivals, etc. Tomorrow, I'm leading 3-6 seniors on a 65+ mile ride over a local pass. We all have our reasons to sit at home instead, and one of the regulars on my tough rides is 78. I'm sure he has reasons to not ride too. Best of luck to you, whatever the future holds. Hang in there and keep turning those crank arms over.
Ron - Tucson, AZ
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