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Faster than ever -not wholly sure why, but definitely not complaining.

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Faster than ever -not wholly sure why, but definitely not complaining.

Old 06-04-19, 02:08 PM
  #1  
MinnMan
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Faster than ever -not wholly sure why, but definitely not complaining.

I know that some of you don't care about speed or performance. This thread isn't for you. Please skip it.

At 58, I've reached the age where I'm mostly happy to find that I'm not yet getting slower each year. Most years, if I stay healthy, then by summertime I reach a level that's more or less the same as the previous year, and I take that as good.

This year, I'm faster than I've ever been. Well, I started riding in my late 40s, so I'm sure my hypothetical 20 year old or 30 year old self would have been faster, but that's moot.

I'm not going to write down numbers here -I'm not posting in order to brag - but on solo rides I can reach average speeds that are better than previous years. On Strava segments, I regularly break PRs that have stood for 5 or 8 years.

Why?

Yes, I've been putting in the miles (3000+ outdoor miles so far this calendar year), but that's normal for me in years when I haven't been stopped by injuries or too much travel.

Partly it's that I'm now regularly riding with a group that is on average younger and stronger than me. These rides include semi-organized sprints, (Ride leader says, "First 3 to the 'Stop Ahead' sign!", which may be a mile or so ahead, and we all take off.) I always lose the sprints, but they are excellent cardio workouts- something like intervals. In previous years, I rode with this group, but not as regularly, in part because I wasn't fast enough to hold my own in the pace line (i.e., do my share of the pulling).

Partly it's because I've been working on technique. I'm lucky that I can still ride in a low tucked position and not suffer back pain or other. I've improved my ability to ride low, hands on the hoods with my elbows down, for long periods of time.

Other than that, I don't really know why. It makes me VERY happy.

I know that diminished returns are coming in a few years. I'm just glad that I'm not there yet. If there's a lesson for 50+ riders who care about performance, it would be something like this - be lucky enough to avoid injuries, put in the miles, and ride with people who challenge your limits.
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Old 06-04-19, 03:09 PM
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I think you've earned a new bike!
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Old 06-04-19, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
I think you've earned a new bike!
I like your thinking. Actually, I bought a new set of wheels. I'm pretty happy with my stable of bikes at the moment.
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Old 06-04-19, 04:31 PM
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I'm a little jealous. I am fatter and slower than ever. I'm almost 61. Over the winter I was sedentary, I put on a ton of lard and it's just not coming off. When I was I was 56 I was down to my old racing weight (150 - 155 lbs.) and FLYING up the hills, not just for an old guy, but a darn fast recreational rider. Enjoy your fitness and stay fit, health is wealth.
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Old 06-04-19, 04:43 PM
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Aero always wins given a similar engine, try to get to the drops with forearms nearly parallel to the ground, another mph maybe. Continue what you are doing. And Good Luck into the future.

Flying low is the way to keep up with stronger youngsters as I approach 70. And actively sucking a wheel when permitted, on longer rides.


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Old 06-04-19, 05:25 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I know that some of you don't care about speed or performance. This thread isn't for you. Please skip it.

At 58, I've reached the age where I'm mostly happy to find that I'm not yet getting slower each year. Most years, if I stay healthy, then by summertime I reach a level that's more or less the same as the previous year, and I take that as good.

This year, I'm faster than I've ever been. Well, I started riding in my late 40s, so I'm sure my hypothetical 20 year old or 30 year old self would have been faster, but that's moot.

I'm not going to write down numbers here -I'm not posting in order to brag - but on solo rides I can reach average speeds that are better than previous years. On Strava segments, I regularly break PRs that have stood for 5 or 8 years.

Why?

Yes, I've been putting in the miles (3000+ outdoor miles so far this calendar year), but that's normal for me in years when I haven't been stopped by injuries or too much travel.

Partly it's that I'm now regularly riding with a group that is on average younger and stronger than me. These rides include semi-organized sprints, (Ride leader says, "First 3 to the 'Stop Ahead' sign!", which may be a mile or so ahead, and we all take off.) I always lose the sprints, but they are excellent cardio workouts- something like intervals. In previous years, I rode with this group, but not as regularly, in part because I wasn't fast enough to hold my own in the pace line (i.e., do my share of the pulling).

Partly it's because I've been working on technique. I'm lucky that I can still ride in a low tucked position and not suffer back pain or other. I've improved my ability to ride low, hands on the hoods with my elbows down, for long periods of time.

Other than that, I don't really know why. It makes me VERY happy.

I know that diminished returns are coming in a few years. I'm just glad that I'm not there yet. If there's a lesson for 50+ riders who care about performance, it would be something like this - be lucky enough to avoid injuries, put in the miles, and ride with people who challenge your limits.
I think you've really nailed it. Ride with stronger riders--you'll push yourself so much harder to stay with them than you ever would riding solo. And it's just more fun.
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Old 06-04-19, 06:32 PM
  #7  
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Same here. I understand completely that urge to see what the older body is capable of, before that window of opportunity slides downward.

I resumed cycling at age 58 after a long hiatus. Took forever to get back into shape. I wasn't too much overweight, around 175, down from 205 lbs around 10 years ago (now I weigh 150). But health problems, back and neck injuries, and decades of doing nothing more strenuous than walking made it challenging to get back into shape.

The first year back on the bike my goal was to just ride. I got a comfort hybrid and discovered I couldn't ride half a mile without wheezing from asthma and huffing my inhaler. Over the course of a year I gradually worked up to some leisurely 20 mile rides. Then I got a lighter cromo steel hybrid that's more my size, and rode a little farther and a little faster. I was still dead last on every Strava segment with any sort of incline, and not much faster on flat terrain. But the downhill blasts were exhilarating.

Two years ago this month (possibly this week, first week of June) I got my first road bike in more than 30 years, an '89 Centurion Ironman. That motivated me to start working a little harder on speed, getting faster and improving my stamina, rather than just riding for fun. The advantage was that my casual fun rides with friends became easier. My hybrid felt lighter. The group wasn't waiting at the top of every hill for me to grind my into catching up.

My times climbed to middle of the pack on Strava segments. I added some interval training and more specific goals, without going overboard into too many gadgets. After six months I cracked the top ten on a few tougher segments, including the longer mini-time trial segments around 5-6 miles long. By early 2018 I was considering getting back into competitive time trials (no more crits, thanks, at 61 I don't bounce anymore).

But after spring 2018, most of the year was setbacks. I was hit by a car in May last year. Then diagnosed with thyroid cancer and early onset osteoporosis. Most of last year was just treading water, mostly using the indoor trainer to hold onto some fitness. By March this year I was equaling my best 2018 times again. Took a year to get back to that point.

The whole shebang motivated me to take advantage of that closing window of opportunity to continue improving physically. I figure by age 65-70, no amount of optimal health and conscientious attention to fitness will keep that window from sliding down. So I'd better get a little more serious now if I'm going to find out what my physical limits are.

I was curious to find out whether a lighter carbon frame would help on climbs, and got a good deal on a 1993 Trek 5900 a couple of months ago. It's definitely easier on climbs, but overall I'm not seeing significant improvements in my times over my usual 20-30 mile routes. I just feel a bit less exhausted. Probably an indication that I could push a little harder now, at least on that bike. I think my body is locked into a certain cadence and perceived effort, so I lapse into that when I could push a little harder.

I'm still nowhere near as fast or strong as some of the other more experienced 50something guys and some women in my area (amazing how much difference there is between 16 mph and 17 mph over a 20-50 mile ride). But recently I was finally able to hang with them, not get dropped and actually enjoy the effort. Which also nagged at my suspicion that I've plateaued in conditioning and could push a little harder.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:00 AM
  #8  
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NICE. I also started riding at 40ish and got to ride with faster and faster groups -- always wanting to be as fast as the guys that were older and more grey than me and getting a kick out of being faster than some younger ones. My favorite part of STRAVA is the surprise PRs.
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Old 06-05-19, 07:07 PM
  #9  
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You should check your bike computer. It might had the wrong wheel size specified

Just saying.
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Old 06-05-19, 08:06 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
You should check your bike computer. It might had the wrong wheel size specified

Just saying.
Ha ha. I wouldn't blame anybody for doubting my word.

But the data are all GPS.
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Old 06-05-19, 08:19 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Ha ha. I wouldn't blame anybody for doubting my word.

But the data are all GPS.
keep it up there is no reason other than bad heath that u can't keep it up for years to come.I ride a route on the weekends and see plenty of groups of riders that ride toggetter and there are alot of people in there late 60s early 70s that can keep a good pace line going into the upper 20s if you ride enough I think the fitness remains with you its almost like second nature to these guys to ride like they do
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Old 06-08-19, 08:11 AM
  #12  
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I am 65yo, a life long cyclist and competitive cyclist. No, I am not as fast as I used to be, not even close. But I maintain myself and keep weight down, 5-11 and 156 pounds. Weight off me is way better than weight of the bicycle. We do a weight watcher based diet, I restrict calories and eat very little that is not essential. But I am still pretty fast and can put on a turn of speed when needed.



I do not cycle big miles but I workout every day. I swim and I do weights and I run (elliptical mostly) and I cycle. I see too many older cyclists with a spare tire around the middle, they have a good engine still but they are hampered by way too much extra weight. Getting a CF bicycle is not going to make up for that. Weight around the middle is the worst place for a man, restricts flexibility, breathing and heart/circulation. I swim more in the winter and cycle more in the summers but do all four throughout the year. It is absolutely essential to keep the weight down/off to go fast on a bicycle.
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Old 06-08-19, 02:43 PM
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I'm 73, been seriously cycling for about a year. I've gone from 186 when I started to 161 in about four months and maintaining mid 160's. Had an "off" last February; fractured a clavicle and was off the bike for five weeks. My per week mileage has increased from 50-60 miles per week before the fracture to 70-80 miles per week, currently. BUT... my "average speeds" still don't quite equal my times before my crash. I give myself a day to recover between rides so I only ride every other day and I've noticed I don't recover from my longer rides as quickly as I used to. Gonna' keep on truckin' in the hope that speeds start show some joyous increases!
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Old 06-10-19, 09:50 AM
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Interesting stuff. I imagine when you start riding in your 40s or 50s, after a lifetime of relative inactivity, you'll gain a lot of ground and will continue to do so into your 60s (all things being equal) as long as you don't train too hard.
Being an early Septo, I've had the pleasure of treadmill running, over a couple of minutes or so (mustn't tax the old knees/hips) at speeds which I could not attain 10 years ago. A little and often seems to work well with me, and maybe is a good guide to getting older and staying mobile! Some call it hiit. High intensive interval training. And you can do it on a bike anytime you get on one. And I've cut out the chunky chips. . . .
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Old 06-10-19, 11:28 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I know that some of you don't care about speed or performance. This thread isn't for you. Please skip it.

At 58, I've reached the age where I'm mostly happy to find that I'm not yet getting slower each year. Most years, if I stay healthy, then by summertime I reach a level that's more or less the same as the previous year, and I take that as good.

This year, I'm faster than I've ever been. Well, I started riding in my late 40s, so I'm sure my hypothetical 20 year old or 30 year old self would have been faster, but that's moot.

I'm not going to write down numbers here -I'm not posting in order to brag - but on solo rides I can reach average speeds that are better than previous years. On Strava segments, I regularly break PRs that have stood for 5 or 8 years.

Why?

Yes, I've been putting in the miles (3000+ outdoor miles so far this calendar year), but that's normal for me in years when I haven't been stopped by injuries or too much travel.

Partly it's that I'm now regularly riding with a group that is on average younger and stronger than me. These rides include semi-organized sprints, (Ride leader says, "First 3 to the 'Stop Ahead' sign!", which may be a mile or so ahead, and we all take off.) I always lose the sprints, but they are excellent cardio workouts- something like intervals. In previous years, I rode with this group, but not as regularly, in part because I wasn't fast enough to hold my own in the pace line (i.e., do my share of the pulling).

Partly it's because I've been working on technique. I'm lucky that I can still ride in a low tucked position and not suffer back pain or other. I've improved my ability to ride low, hands on the hoods with my elbows down, for long periods of time.

Other than that, I don't really know why. It makes me VERY happy.

I know that diminished returns are coming in a few years. I'm just glad that I'm not there yet. If there's a lesson for 50+ riders who care about performance, it would be something like this - be lucky enough to avoid injuries, put in the miles, and ride with people who challenge your limits.
OTHER THAN THAT???

I don't think there is other... You could be riding a Walmart bike, and if you did everything you mentioned, you would still be faster than before...
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Old 06-11-19, 02:43 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post
OTHER THAN THAT???

I don't think there is other... You could be riding a Walmart bike, and if you did everything you mentioned, you would still be faster than before...
Maybe so. But in celebration, I did go out and buy my first set of deep (55 mm) section carbon wheels. They are icing on the cake.
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Old 06-13-19, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Aero always wins given a similar engine, try to get to the drops with forearms nearly parallel to the ground, another mph maybe. Continue what you are doing. And Good Luck into the future.

Flying low is the way to keep up with stronger youngsters as I approach 70. And actively sucking a wheel when permitted, on longer rides.


the trick is to learn to look through your eyebrows.
OHHH, Man! That looks so painful. You hit a pothole, your neck'll never forgive you!
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Old 06-13-19, 11:10 AM
  #18  
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I sense a TED talk in your future
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Old 06-13-19, 11:11 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
OHHH, Man! That looks so painful. You hit a pothole, your neck'll never forgive you!
Really? His elbows have a deep bend and he's perfectly balanced over the bike.
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Old 06-13-19, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Really? His elbows have a deep bend and he's perfectly balanced over the bike.
He looks kinda comfy on it, but what can he see? If I rode like that, I'd see only the road a few feet ahead. So I'd crane my neck up on many if not most occasions . . .I used to ride with much lower bars, and that was how I managed. My eyes are dreadful in that position, but of course, his probably won't be.
I did my neck in once; It was enough. I have to ride upright; just love it like that now, it's a real pleasure.
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Old 06-13-19, 04:36 PM
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just learn to look through your eyebrows.
and, yeah, ride smooth or well known roads.


taken me 35 yrs of reasonably consistent cycling to get here.
lots of frame and cockpit refinement.
I don't intend to give it up.
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Old 06-13-19, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
He looks kinda comfy on it, but what can he see? If I rode like that, I'd see only the road a few feet ahead. So I'd crane my neck up on many if not most occasions . . .I used to ride with much lower bars, and that was how I managed. My eyes are dreadful in that position, but of course, his probably won't be.
I did my neck in once; It was enough. I have to ride upright; just love it like that now, it's a real pleasure.
actually, on these 2 bikes and about 3 others, this position is very comfy.

on the smaller 58cm frames the drops are comfy for a few fast miles but not long distances.


I offer the photos in response to the desire to ride further distances with less fatigue. OP stated to be working on technique for faster. I'm not faster, just trying to keep up as years move on.
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Old 06-13-19, 05:10 PM
  #23  
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Hit a pothole sitting bolt-straight upright and it's more likely to hurt your neck that way than low and parallel. Your spine is less flexible vertically.

You can also tilt your head slightly to get a better view but it's not necessary once you get strong enough and flexible enough to hold your head up like that and look eyeballs up.
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Old 06-13-19, 07:58 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Hit a pothole sitting bolt-straight upright and it's more likely to hurt your neck that way than low and parallel. Your spine is less flexible vertically.

You can also tilt your head slightly to get a better view but it's not necessary once you get strong enough and flexible enough to hold your head up like that and look eyeballs up.
it's easy to straighten elbows a bit for higher position with better relaxed forward vision.
also, better stopping distances with a low center of gravity and max leverage near bottom of brake levers.

Don't you guys move around much on the bike during a ride? I certainly do. Antsy rider, I guess. Not a tourer for sure.
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