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Respect for cyclists...Part I

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Respect for cyclists...Part I

Old 06-06-16, 08:25 AM
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Stratocaster
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Respect for cyclists...Part I

I know by some standards I would be considered an "old dude" - I'm 53.

But I'm talking about people on my group rides that are in their 60's and 70's. Some of these people are BEASTS in my book. No, they aren't breaking speed records, but their conditioning is very impressive.
I got to talking to one older gentleman on a group ride last week - the guy was about 70 years old - maybe a bit older. He looks like an old man - askew cap underneath his helmet, white hair, belly etc.
But WOW - this guy just goes and goes. Our group tends to spread out over the course of our ride - he went from the front, doubled back to check on some people falling far behind, and then basically sprinted all the way back to the front group - no problem. He's a former marathoner.

Another is an older lady - maybe around 62-ish who's a retired teacher. Man, she just grinds it out. She also does boxing and yoga on the side.

There was another guy - probably around 60 who decided he'd ride his one-speed bike. Yeah, he had some trouble on a pretty steep/long hill (an unexpected detour due to a road closure). But still, the guy was grinding it out.

I consider myself to be in "pretty good" shape. If you look at me you would think I take pretty good care of myself. But no - not compared to these people. And these are just a few. There are other older folks on these rides that are also impressive.

The point? Well, there's a difference between thinking you're in decent shape, and actually being in good shape. These people are an inspiration to me. Perhaps some of you are in their class - or even in better shape. Good for you! I wish I would have realized what a wonderful sport cycling was when I was younger.
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Old 06-06-16, 08:35 AM
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Yeah...I hear you. I remember making it 3 miles and thinking I was going to have to walk my bike back home. Riding, seeing a 150 foot hill and just being drop dead tired at the top.

It's crazy how quickly you can get most of the way there from a very out of shape start if you're willing to put in the hours of suffering...Once you get that base in where you can hang for the longer rides or the longer climbs, it starts being more and more fun, but harder and harder to get to that next level as well.
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Old 06-06-16, 08:59 AM
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The people who you describe inspire me. I admire them, and and I aspire to be like them when I am their age. I'm 58 now and working on it.
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Old 06-06-16, 09:08 AM
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If it was an important aspect of your life then you'd devote time and effort into the training to become better at it, whether it's cycling, running, whatever. You don't start off being able to ride a sub-5 hour century or a sub-4 hour marathon, though the latter is probably more easily achieved. Either these people trained very hard to be where they are or they are genetically gifted. That's what you admire.

To para-quote a champion body-builder, everyone wants to be a power builder but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.
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Old 06-06-16, 09:21 AM
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Lot of retired people with a lot of free time. I was in my best shape in my mid 20's when I was getting paid to exercise as a lifeguard, as well as paying X dollars for a competitive 'class' gym membership.

If you're retired, sky is the limit in terms of available time for working out / being athletic.
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Old 06-06-16, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
If it was an important aspect of your life then you'd devote time and effort into the training to become better at it, whether it's cycling, running, whatever. You don't start off being able to ride a sub-5 hour century or a sub-4 hour marathon, though the latter is probably more easily achieved. Either these people trained very hard to be where they are or they are genetically gifted. That's what you admire.

To para-quote a champion body-builder, everyone wants to be a power builder but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.
Well, yes. I'm in the process.
As topslop1 mentioned - lots of time when you're retired. Still, they do have to put the work in. I admire that, especially at that age.
I also feel a little sad that I should have started this long ago. Oh well, I'm glad I'm doing it now.
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Old 06-06-16, 10:32 AM
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I'm 58, about average age for our club. I'm probably in the top 20%. But there are some older riders - men and women, who humor me to stay on their wheel. One guy about 8 years older than me is about to do his third double century this year. Another guy in his early 70s blows me away on hills. It's great to ride with them.
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Old 06-06-16, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
it starts being more and more fun, but harder and harder to get to that next level as well.
“It never gets easier, you just go faster.” -Greg LeMond
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Old 06-06-16, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by topslop1 View Post
Lot of retired people with a lot of free time.
that's not the only reason. they're also dedicated to what they do.

I work full-time and still manage to ride 7500 miles and swim 150K yards per year.

there's always an excuse to not do stuff if you look for one.
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Old 06-06-16, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by FullGas View Post
that's not the only reason. they're also dedicated to what they do.

I work full-time and still manage to ride 7500 miles and swim 150K yards per year.

there's always an excuse to not do stuff if you look for one.
Guess I've got a few of 'em
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Old 06-06-16, 12:03 PM
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Ohh yeahh??? Can they walk up a few flight of stairs?
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Old 06-06-16, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by FullGas View Post
that's not the only reason. they're also dedicated to what they do.

I work full-time and still manage to ride 7500 miles and swim 150K yards per year.

there's always an excuse to not do stuff if you look for one.

Having an extra 10 hours/day certainly doesn't hurt.
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Old 06-06-16, 12:27 PM
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Do you think these 'older' athletes got to where they are by only began training after they retired?
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Old 06-06-16, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Stratocaster View Post
I know by some standards I would be considered an "old dude" - I'm 53.
Wait a second. I'm 53 and I'm not old--just experienced... j/k

My good friend and riding partner had 3 75+ wins at Master Nationals in NC two weeks ago. He won the road race, criterium, and 4th in the ITT, which also gave him the overall win for his age group. He's a bad hombre on a bike, as were most of his competitors. He has also previously had 2 national wins in the 70+ age group as well.


Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Do you think these 'older' athletes got to where they are by only began training after they retired?
That would be no in the case of most. But, my friend didn't start cycling until he was about 50. He was an avid runner for many years before that however.
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Old 06-06-16, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Do you think these 'older' athletes got to where they are by only began training after they retired?
Maybe...maybe not. Obviously, the marathoner has some miles under his belt.
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Old 06-06-16, 03:23 PM
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Full time job and full time family, makes it difficult for me to improve.
Maybe when I retire, or divorce , I'll train more.
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Old 06-06-16, 04:07 PM
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A few years back, I lined up for a fast century. Next to me, a guy lined up who had a long gray beard, knobby knees and a bit of a stoop to his shoulders. He wore black dress socks. He looked 100 years old (was actually 78). I wondered to myself, "What is this guy doing here?"

At the end of the day, I did the century in 4:44:22. The old guy beat me by almost exactly 30 minutes!
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Old 06-06-16, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
A few years back, I lined up for a fast century. Next to me, a guy lined up who had a long gray beard, knobby knees and a bit of a stoop to his shoulders. He wore black dress socks. He looked 100 years old (was actually 78). I wondered to myself, "What is this guy doing here?"

At the end of the day, I did the century in 4:44:22. The old guy beat me by almost exactly 30 minutes!
See, that sort of stuff amazes me!
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Old 06-06-16, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
Ohh yeahh??? Can they walk up a few flight of stairs?
I sure cant. Bores me half crazy.
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Old 06-06-16, 09:09 PM
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More like resentment than respect from me.
At first I thought I was doing well and fairly accomplished for someone my age (52 yesterday), until I realized that most of the guys my age and older with whom I find myself riding are much faster, and the only younger guys that make me look good are overweight or out of shape novices. I have such a long way to go!

There are plenty of younger guys I ride with regularly who will only do the metric when an imperial century is the main event, but then there are all the older guys who'd rather do a double or a 12 hour ride instead. In racing, I'm about ready to upgrade (technically qualified, mentally not so much), but I'm pretty sure I'd do better in younger fields of Cat 4 than among the 50+ Masters, as conservative as the latter may be.
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Old 06-06-16, 10:59 PM
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We had a guy in our club that was 65. He rode 18 MPH, flats, downhill, uphill, didn't matter. His idea of fun was doing a double century at least once a month year around. I can only hope to be in that kind of shape when I am 65.
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Old 06-07-16, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
... In racing, I'm about ready to upgrade (technically qualified, mentally not so much), but I'm pretty sure I'd do better in younger fields of Cat 4 than among the 50+ Masters, as conservative as the latter may be.

...which will bring me to "Part II". Stay tuned.
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Old 06-07-16, 06:40 AM
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I know what you mean OP, I'm in my 30s and I'm one of the youngest riders in my group. The oldest guys are some of the fastest, even with replaced joints!
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Old 06-09-16, 09:06 AM
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Another anecdote: One of the absolutely fastest guys (fastest guys = just as strong the Ironman triathletes who are in their 20s & 30s) in our group rides is about 60 yrs old, and rides a 1990 Aluminum Cannonade ST600 Touring Bike...with a rack attached! It still has original everything, downtube shifters included. That bike has a 28 tooth small ring that he never uses. Instead, he stays in the 44 tooth middle ring, and stands up for every climb, the whole climb, every time...even if it takes 20 minutes!
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