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markowe 05-24-10 05:45 AM

Any other XC "late starters" out there (35+)? Experiences?
* de-lurk * Hi guys.

I got bitten by the bug about the age of 32, but it was only last season, aged 36, I started actually racing XC "for real" and actually caring about the result! I even came 2nd or 3rd (forget which!) in our local "Open League", but I hasten to add only because I was one of few riders who actually took part in all 8 races and consistently finished top 8-10, and also because the Open League is not raced by most of the top riders, except when they want a workout, and then they cream the rest of us! I also try to race the Hobby (unlicensed) category in national league races (this is in Serbia where I live, though I am British) whenever they are reasonably close to where I live. Think I finished 6th and 9th in the two of those I did last year, was quite pleased with that for my first year!

BUT, realistically, I am feeling my age a little, and the fact that I started quite late, I feel (even though I have always been in reasonable shape) - there's plenty of guys out there whom I really think I should be giving a run for their money but never quite hitting that form on race day. I feel I have to train a lot harder than them (many are younger) and that a large part of my training every year is just to stave off the extra year's "age"! However, I am encouraged by the fact that there are some very good riders out there older than me, and the 2nd-ranked Elite guy (also my good neighbour!) is just 3 years younger than me (erm, but started just a LITTLE earlier)!

What experience do you guys have with making a later start in the sport, and what are realistic expectations for you?

Oh, and aside from fitness, do you find, like me, that you have trouble overcoming The Fear regarding technical stuff, especially tricky descents? I have a feeling that now I have a family that is not going to go away too easily...

tollhousecookie 06-11-10 04:00 PM

I'm 45 and getting back into xc racing after being away for about 15 years... younger guys are faster on the decents but are not willing to suffer as much as this old man on the climbs. I'm having a blast...and hoping to race cat 1 next year...maybe.

Scooby Snax 06-24-10 05:22 AM

I started in at 34, 8 years ago, I stopped doing citizen races becaus I've too much on my plate this year, but will find a local weekly next season.

Someone please, hold me to it.

markowe 06-24-10 06:19 AM


Originally Posted by Scooby Snax (Post 11010960)
I started in at 34, 8 years ago, I stopped doing citizen races becaus I've too much on my plate this year, but will find a local weekly next season.

Someone please, hold me to it.

OK, will do - have you started training yet?! :)

Scooby Snax 06-24-10 06:30 AM


Originally Posted by markowe (Post 11011081)
OK, will do - have you started training yet?! :)

Yes, I only had one beer last night.
Tonight I'll have two,
Friday I'll have four...
Saturday is the 24 hours of Solstice, so we don't count beer, just laps.

Motorcyclist 08-18-10 08:23 PM

yep. I'm a 35 year old roadie Cat4 and just bought (today in fact) an '06 Kona Explosif to try my legs at XC and CX racing this winter. I'm on the edge of Cat3 for the road next year and figured the MTB racing would keep my legs and mental acuity fresh when it turns cold. Wish me luck...

Crazydad 08-22-10 06:56 PM

I'm 43 and did a few races about 20 years ago. Just got back on the bike in May and have rediscovered how much I love XC. Now i hope to drop a lot of weight and get fit enough to do some racing next spring. Just have to find the saddle time I need. With 3 kids (all doing something), a wife, and a real job, it is not as easy as it was 20 years ago.

RecceDG 08-26-10 06:51 AM

I'm 40 and keep meaning to try a race but keep putting it off.

But I have a new bike that is certainly capable enough...


TechKnowGN 09-06-10 07:38 PM

I bought my bike (2011 Trek 3900 disc) Saturday, and I'm "racing" Sunday. Racing is in quotes because I'm quite sure I have no expectations . But it'll be cool and fun and a challenge and that's all I'm looking for right now.

RecceDG 09-14-10 02:56 PM

OK, I did it. Signed up for and competed in my first race - a 4-hour endurance race at Two Creeks in Wheatly, ON.

Course is 8.5 km of mixed singletrack; about half of it rooty, snake-through-forest stuff, the other half grassy singletrack across forest meadows. About a half-dozen minor climbs, one "major" climb, one medium drop, and about a dozen log rolls. Reasonably technical, but not outrageously so.

First lap I went out hard and was sitting third. Problem was that this was a MUCH faster pace than I was used to, and while I was doing OK from a cardio point of view, things on the trail were happening much faster than I was used to and I was making a lot of mistakes. This eventually brought me to an angled log roll on top of a hill (that I had done dozens of times without issue) where I didn't quite unweight the front end enough, skidded down the log, and went over the bars.

Happily, a misspent youth BMX racing taught me how to crash, so no harm done. But I considered this a shot across the bow and backed the pace down quite a bit.

I proceeded to put in 6 laps, for a total of 51 km. This was good enough for 5th or 6th (results not yet posted)

Oddly, the limiting factor was not so much cardio fitness or fatigue (although the last lap sucked balls) but rather lower back pain. Looks like I need to work on the core strength.

Overall, I think I did reasonably well for a first race. I need to work on some speed and some technique, but the way forward is clear and seems attainable. Certainly I'm glad to have "broken the seal" and competed in my first race.


pinerider 09-20-10 04:08 AM

I'm 56, did a weekly race series this year and thought it was great. I'd done some citizen races before and had planned to do some serious provincial races, but I just had too many other things I had to do on weekends. The weeknight races gave me some confidence, and while I didn't burn up the trails, I finished every race and didn't finish dfl.
I need to seriuosly commit to training this winter and hope to do the provinicial races next year.

I found that racing really helps combat The Fear. Riding behind other people in a race I'd try the feature and found most weren't that difficult. I rode stuff in the races I probably wouldn't even try riding on my own. Racing doesn't allow a lot of thinking time, maybe that helps!

Descents were not my specialty, I'd let people pass at the top of steep descents, but found I'd usually be passing them a little later on. I was being a little too polite!

TechKnowGN 09-23-10 02:13 PM

Forgot to mention above that im 36.

RavingManiac 09-25-10 09:45 AM

I'm 59. Raced sport class XC races in the early 90's. I have been mostly riding the road with some trail rides mixed in since then. I've decided to give racing XC a try again next year. I plan on using my 90 hardtail mtb since I'll be doing it for fun, not results. Maybe my bike will generate some interest from the younger riders who never saw Ringle skewers, Answer Aggressor grips, or a Manitou 3 suspension fork.

UBUvelo 02-27-11 08:28 PM

47+ and 1990's mountain biker...returned to cycling all out in mid 2009...two seasons of cyclocross tomfoolery and more bikes and healthier than ever, i'm now itching to race back to my roots.

on a team now and about to hit my first xc race in a couple of weeks...after the next 4 months+, i ought to be a bit more prepared to hit the 45+ cat in cyclocross better than ever!

loving the competition, but it's mostly a blast. as long as i don't blow out the lungs or crack my noodle.

grasscutter 04-17-11 10:25 AM

1 Attachment(s)
39 years old. Super green in all forms of racing. Got 5 races in last year in Road, and did my 1st MTB race and MTB TT a week or so ago.

Was in '1st timer' class of the Cat 3 group. First race Saturday morning was a time trial on a 3.5 mile single track VERY hilly, g-out, pump track style course, log jumps, rock garden, wood bridge, typical MTB stuff.

1st timers went about 10min after Juniors. I lined up, listening to the official read off the rules, nerves a little edgy... must have been more tense than I realized, as I was squeezing the rear brake lever, I heard a loud 'SNAP', and my rear brake cable let loose! Almost decided to nix the race, but went for it instead!

Rode whole race with front brake only. AND... dropped my chain during one heavily rooted downhill section, all the while doing it on a 1993 Specialized Rockhopper, full rigid, steel, with no clip-ins.

Results: 1st place in my class. Found out later I didn't have to register as a 1st timer, (even though Ive never raced MTB before). Checked times of 'Cat3 open' group, and would have placed 2nd! Not too bad, considering all I had working against me! Age, newbie, old heavy bike, and 2 mechanicals. Had a blast, and plan on trying to hit the whole season of local races.

redtires 04-17-11 10:51 AM

It's really NEVER too late too start....ever. I used to race and wrench in my late teens into my late twenty's. I went to college at the "ripe old age" of 28 and pretty much stopped riding. I joined the Army when I was 32(!) and got back into riding when I was in my mid-30's. I'll be 40 this year and I'm looking forward to doing some "old man" racing next spring! :)

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