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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.

65-85+ Thread

Old 11-10-19, 10:08 PM
  #3001  
momsonherbike
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@Ninetimes - very interesting read on long ride prep and recoveries. I'm planning on trying my first metric century next season, so this info comes in handy. (Member of the Old Ladies With Trashed Knees on Ebikes Club)

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Old 11-11-19, 07:32 AM
  #3002  
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Yep...

Originally Posted by DougG View Post
I'm not a MTBer, but have some general advice. I did similar trail riding years ago, but on dirt bikes, and recall that in my early days of learning all the techniques, I used to crash --- a lot! Of course, I was 50 years younger back then and could pretty much shake it off and climb back on, and many's the time when I showed up at work on Monday morning limping and then was back out at it the next weekend.

Not that long ago, I took my hybrid-style "trail bike" onto some single-track trails that were established by the local MTB riders. I had no trouble with basically negotiating turns, etc., but was a bit unsteady in any place where the trail was off-camber or I had to thread a narrow line. I also wasn't sure what to do about various obstacles, such as a fallen tree across the trail. I remembered on my dirt bikes that I'd just gas it to loft the front wheel over the log and let the back end follow, but how to do it on a bicycle? So I got off and carried it over. Later, I came to where the trail crossed a ditch and I figured I could just go down into it and up the other side, but when the front wheel got to the bottom of the ditch it just stuck there and I went right over the bars! It was something that in my younger days would be something to have a good laugh about, but I've found that any fall at my age now can do some damage. I was lucky in this case, but that was my last serious off-road foray.

My point is that, regardless of your road riding experience, a lot of riding an MTB will be new to you and I'd advise you to be extra cautious with anything that makes you feel uncomfortable along the trails. Good luck and keep us posted on how you're doing!
DougG is right, you often fall, specially doing technical singletrack. difficult descents, roots, jumps, and so on. If you do fire roads, double singletrack, gravel tracks MTB bikes can be fun. Some people like difficult singletrack, and usually use double suspension bikes, with a special geometry for descents. They wear big helmets, long gloves, and some other protections. But for most of us, above 60, that can be dangerous.

This past Eastern week, I went to Vancouver and went to Burnaby Mountain, on a rental cross trail. Mostly, I was on paved roads and streets. But at that place, I tried to do a technical singletrack, and it was slippery and dangerous . So, I walked through the technical stuff. I remember, I saw a guy who was in his early 60's going without any problem....and with the right bike.

But, fireroads, double singletrack, and gravel tracks can be fun on a MTB. The position is more relaxed, and a front suspension can mitigate the irregularities on the road.
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Old 11-11-19, 08:05 AM
  #3003  
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Originally Posted by marcoguzm View Post
But, fireroads, double singletrack, and gravel tracks can be fun on a MTB. The position is more relaxed, and a front suspension can mitigate the irregularities on the road.
I agree on that. I don't know what type of gravel roads so-called drop-bar "gravel bikes" are intended for, but we have a lot of unpaved roads around here and they can range from rough to really rough to darn near impassible depending on weather, time of year, and how recently they've been graded. There's a group of "gravel grinders" that does rides a couple times a week on these routes, and they are almost all on MTBs and most of those fully suspended. I've ridden with them once or twice on my hybrid with 700c wheels and suspension fork and it was not particularly fun, especially if we hit some soft stuff or really loose gravel.
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Old 11-11-19, 04:03 PM
  #3004  
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Originally Posted by DougG View Post
I agree on that. I don't know what type of gravel roads so-called drop-bar "gravel bikes" are intended for, but we have a lot of unpaved roads around here and they can range from rough to really rough to darn near impassible depending on weather, time of year, and how recently they've been graded. There's a group of "gravel grinders" that does rides a couple times a week on these routes, and they are almost all on MTBs and most of those fully suspended. I've ridden with them once or twice on my hybrid with 700c wheels and suspension fork and it was not particularly fun, especially if we hit some soft stuff or really loose gravel.
Sounds like your unpaved roads are rougher than most. A drop-bar gravel bike will ride ok on rough roads to a point and on non-technical trails (depending on the riderís tolerance), but an MTB would probably be a nicer ride. I had a hybrid with a suspension fork, but my gravel bikeís 650b tires provide more shock absorption than the hybrid had. Where gravel bikes have the advantage is on decent unpaved roads (and pavement). Since a lot of people out here in New England live on back roads, they tend to be in good shape (the roads, not necessarily the people). The organized gravel grinders Iíve ridden in have a pretty good mix of gravel and MTB bikes.
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Old 11-11-19, 05:57 PM
  #3005  
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Looks like I'll be joining this thread soon, but yet I've never really given in to the 50+ forum either... Did a quick 45 miles in the bay area the other day and felt like I could do another 50 but time was running out. Paved roads, road bike, I'm still looking for a good gravel trail here in the NY area for my knobbies.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:52 AM
  #3006  
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Originally Posted by momsonherbike View Post
@Ninetimes - very interesting read on long ride prep and recoveries. I'm planning on trying my first metric century next season, so this info comes in handy. (Member of the Old Ladies With Trashed Knees on Ebikes Club)
Lolz, I need to start one of your clubs here in the Bay Area! I nearly spit out coffee when I read that =).
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Old 11-17-19, 08:26 PM
  #3007  
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I think I'm starting to realize I'm 70. I still look pretty good, at least people are always surprised to hear I'm 70. I have almost all my hair, and at 5'5" I weight 136lbs. Always been a very average weekend athlete and have been riding on and off since 1973. I really starting riding in earnest about twenty-five years ago. However due to inherited cholesterol issues I did have a heart attack six years ago. Five bypasses and stents.

Aging has happened very slowly...almost imperceptibly. However in the last year I have noticed that I really can't ride as far as I used to and I'm almost unable to ride comfortably two days in a row. No pain, just tiredness. Optimum seems to be a 25 mile ride at 14-15MPH and then at leaset two days off. Three if I really want to feel strong.

Also, I am now napping in the afternoon if my schedule allows...and I have NEVER napped before. Not to mention that if I want to really feel fresh the next day and not bleary eyed when I get up...then a minimum of eight hours sleep is vital. And I hate that because I'm a night owl.

So...I'm feeling like age has really hit when I look at my bike performance and energy levels. Energy, tiredness and recovery have never even been on my radar in life....but it seems real now. I'm not planning on giving up riding (maybe my motorcycles) but will it be a constant downhill performance wise from here on? (No pun intended).

What do you think?

Thanks a bunch, be safe!

What do you guys think?

Last edited by smoore; 11-17-19 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 11-18-19, 05:03 AM
  #3008  
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
I think I'm starting to realize I'm 70...What do you think?

Thanks a bunch, be safe!

What do you guys think?
Iíve got just one lap around the sun on you. I donít buy the ďage is just a numberĒ line, but I think there are things you can do to at least slow the natural decline in strength and conditioning that comes with age. Thereís some discussion about that in the posts above and a whole lot more info. online. Regardless, you and I should feel fortunate we can do what we can do. There are so many people our age who, through bad choices or bad luck, canít. Keep on truckiní....and nappiní!
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Old 11-19-19, 07:32 AM
  #3009  
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
I think I'm starting to realize I'm 70...

What do you think?
I'm not a competitive cyclist, but I do compete regularly in running events and can track changes in my performance over the years. When I started running, I progressed in distances from 5Ks to 10Ks and eventually up to doing marathons, but only ran a few of those. Then, for a while, half-marathons (13.1 miles) were my favorite events, but in the last 10 years I've slid back down the distance scale and am back to doing 5K races with an occasional 10K that I actually have to train for as opposed to when I could run one at will. So much for changes in endurance.

As for performance, I've discussed this with numerous other runners my age -- including one who is in the "elite" category -- and we all agree that when we passed 70, our performances fell off noticeably from year to year. I've never been a great runner, but have generally been in the top third of my age group. When I was in the 65-69 AG, I could sometimes place well when I was 68 against runners who were 65-66. But since 70, that has not generally been true. When I turned 70 and entered the 70-74 AG, I ran a lot of races that year since I was placing really high and even winning a couple of local events. But now, at 73, I can see that my 5K times have gone down in the past 3 years by about a minute a year (out of a typical time for me of about 30 minutes). Pace-wise, this is the loss of about a minute-per-mile since I was 70. So now in a decent-size field, I'm often beaten by some 70yo young whippersnapper and am looking forward to when I turn 75 and can be at the top of the field again.

As for motorcycles, I gave them up over 10 years ago mainly due to my perceived loss of the visual and mental acuity necessary to stay safe (general loss of "situational awareness") and the increase in inattentive and generally bad drivers.
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Old 11-19-19, 09:03 PM
  #3010  
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Greenhill, DougG,
Thanks for your input. I guess I'm just struggling with the concept of getting slower no matter what I do. I've always been able to get better if I just trained a bit more, ate less, etc. But now even if I do all the right things and none of the wrong things...I realize not only will I not get better, but age will assure that my times will regress. Sigh. It's weird because I don't have problems with aging as it relates to death eventually...but I guess I'm not fond of wasting away.
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Old 11-20-19, 05:43 AM
  #3011  
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
Greenhill, DougG,
Thanks for your input. I guess I'm just struggling with the concept of getting slower no matter what I do. I've always been able to get better if I just trained a bit more, ate less, etc. But now even if I do all the right things and none of the wrong things...I realize not only will I not get better, but age will assure that my times will regress. Sigh. It's weird because I don't have problems with aging as it relates to death eventually...but I guess I'm not fond of wasting away.
Completely agree! Itís not comforting to consider that at our age you can work hard at training and fitness and all it might get you is a slower descent into that which shall not be named. I guess itís better than the alternative (a faster descent).
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Old 11-20-19, 07:31 AM
  #3012  
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Originally Posted by Greenhil View Post
Completely agree! It’s not comforting to consider that at our age you can work hard at training and fitness and all it might get you is a slower descent into that which shall not be named. I guess it’s better than the alternative (a faster descent).
To get back to my running experience, I started running a lot when I was in my 50s and steadily increased in performance right up to my mid-60s, and in fact several of my PRs were when I was about 65. After that I saw that I would never see another PR, and my goal became just to slow down the decline. It was tough for a while, but after 70 I finally came to accept it and just appreciate what I was still capable of doing.

My cycling has lately also started to feel like that. I went on a multi-day road riding trip this summer over many roads that I had ridden before, but about 10 years ago. I found that even though my bike was far superior to the one that I rode back then, I wasn't doing any better when it came to the difficult hills. But again, I was doing what I could and enjoying it, which is the point of it all, right?
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Old 11-20-19, 07:05 PM
  #3013  
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Originally Posted by DougG View Post
To get back to my running experience, I started running a lot when I was in my 50s and steadily increased in performance right up to my mid-60s, and in fact several of my PRs were when I was about 65. After that I saw that I would never see another PR, and my goal became just to slow down the decline. It was tough for a while, but after 70 I finally came to accept it and just appreciate what I was still capable of doing.

My cycling has lately also started to feel like that. I went on a multi-day road riding trip this summer over many roads that I had ridden before, but about 10 years ago. I found that even though my bike was far superior to the one that I rode back then, I wasn't doing any better when it came to the difficult hills. But again, I was doing what I could and enjoying it, which is the point of it all, right?
HA! And that brings up the "better, lighter bike syndrome". Which we all know doesn't really help that much...unless you're counting tenths of seconds. But still, who hasn't rationalized that a new bike wouldn't help at least a little. Well at 70...there is a very good chance that NO bike will make you faster. Maybe I should start looking into that EPO stuff? Although my wife keeps pressing me to try Vicks Vapo Rub.
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Old 11-21-19, 07:37 AM
  #3014  
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
HA! And that brings up the "better, lighter bike syndrome". Which we all know doesn't really help that much...unless you're counting tenths of seconds. But still, who hasn't rationalized that a new bike wouldn't help at least a little. Well at 70...there is a very good chance that NO bike will make you faster. Maybe I should start looking into that EPO stuff? Although my wife keeps pressing me to try Vicks Vapo Rub.
But it's significant that, while it wasn't noticeably easier, it wasn't any worse, which does speak to an improvement in the equipment. Between the weight of the bike and the difference in what I was carrying on it, my bike was probably about 15lbs lighter. But mainly there was a big difference in gearing. On my old triple-crank bike, I had a 30/27 (or maybe 28) gear as my lowest ratio, whereas my current bike has a 30/32 low gear. These days, I would be walking my old bike over the top of a couple of hills that I encountered. So I'm at least slowing the decline...

As for no bike making me faster, after seeing what it did for my wife, I'm seriously looking at adding an e-bike to my stable next year.
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Old 11-21-19, 09:16 AM
  #3015  
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Originally Posted by DougG View Post
But it's significant that, while it wasn't noticeably easier, it wasn't any worse, which does speak to an improvement in the equipment. Between the weight of the bike and the difference in what I was carrying on it, my bike was probably about 15lbs lighter. But mainly there was a big difference in gearing. On my old triple-crank bike, I had a 30/27 (or maybe 28) gear as my lowest ratio, whereas my current bike has a 30/32 low gear. These days, I would be walking my old bike over the top of a couple of hills that I encountered. So I'm at least slowing the decline...

As for no bike making me faster, after seeing what it did for my wife, I'm seriously looking at adding an e-bike to my stable next year.
Hmm, an e-bike? That's another whole bag of worms that I'm not ready to dive into.
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Old 11-21-19, 12:38 PM
  #3016  
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Originally Posted by DougG View Post
But it's significant that, while it wasn't noticeably easier, it wasn't any worse, which does speak to an improvement in the equipment. Between the weight of the bike and the difference in what I was carrying on it, my bike was probably about 15lbs lighter. But mainly there was a big difference in gearing. On my old triple-crank bike, I had a 30/27 (or maybe 28) gear as my lowest ratio, whereas my current bike has a 30/32 low gear. These days, I would be walking my old bike over the top of a couple of hills that I encountered. So I'm at least slowing the decline...

As for no bike making me faster, after seeing what it did for my wife, I'm seriously looking at adding an e-bike to my stable next year.
Yes, the only thing for me that might eventually constitute a ďbetterĒ bike is one with even lower gearing. Speed isnít anything I pay attention to, since 80% of my riding is gravel and nearly 100% of the riding around my place is hilly. Iíve got 32/36 right now which has been fine (it even got me up the ďsteepest paved mileĒ in the U.S. this year). I havenít been able to picture an ebike in my life. The most fun I have is traveling, camping and riding and how would I charge the thing? I rode the dirt roads in Superior National Forest and Chippewa NF in your beautiful state this summer. I might just go back to hiking when I run out of gears.
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Old 11-22-19, 12:48 PM
  #3017  
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Something I put together the other day after going through some photos on my PC. I guess you could call it "65+ Years of Pedaling":

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Old 11-23-19, 08:29 AM
  #3018  
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Biking over the years

I remember those days!
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Old 11-23-19, 02:46 PM
  #3019  
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Originally Posted by Drinian View Post
I remember those days!
Heck, I can't remember what I had for breakfast.
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Old 11-23-19, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Heck, I can't remember what I had for breakfast.
Breakfast? That's short-term memory. Who has that anym....what was I saying?
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Old 11-24-19, 07:06 PM
  #3021  
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Had that wake up call last fall when I decided to give an advanced loop a try and flamed out cresting a steep incline with a huge root sitting just where it shouldn't have been. Low speed tip over and onto my rt hip and hand. No worse for wear but, afterward thought it could have been a cracked hip or worse if there was a good sized rock where i landed.

Sticking to the open XC and gravel/fire roads makes sense. Hard enough keeping healthy without a multi-month time out.
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Old 11-25-19, 05:45 AM
  #3022  
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
I think I'm starting to realize I'm 70. I still look pretty good, at least people are always surprised to hear I'm 70. I have almost all my hair, and at 5'5" I weight 136lbs. Always been a very average weekend athlete and have been riding on and off since 1973. I really starting riding in earnest about twenty-five years ago. However due to inherited cholesterol issues I did have a heart attack six years ago. Five bypasses and stents.

Aging has happened very slowly...almost imperceptibly. However in the last year I have noticed that I really can't ride as far as I used to and I'm almost unable to ride comfortably two days in a row. No pain, just tiredness. Optimum seems to be a 25 mile ride at 14-15MPH and then at leaset two days off. Three if I really want to feel strong.

Also, I am now napping in the afternoon if my schedule allows...and I have NEVER napped before. Not to mention that if I want to really feel fresh the next day and not bleary eyed when I get up...then a minimum of eight hours sleep is vital. And I hate that because I'm a night owl.

So...I'm feeling like age has really hit when I look at my bike performance and energy levels. Energy, tiredness and recovery have never even been on my radar in life....but it seems real now. I'm not planning on giving up riding (maybe my motorcycles) but will it be a constant downhill performance wise from here on? (No pun intended).

What do you think?

Thanks a bunch, be safe!

What do you guys think?
I am getting ready to turn 76, and each year the decline speeds up, but still enjoy riding, have been doing this for 40 years and don't plan on quitting , much slower but still enjoyable.
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Old 11-25-19, 10:02 AM
  #3023  
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After reading the above postings decided to contribute. I'm 74 and ride with two friends who are 72 and 74 -- both of whom are stronger than me.

I started riding at age 63 after moving to Miami. Got as high as 6,300 miles per year riding with a group at 21 to 25 MPH. Kept up until fell and broke left femur Feb of 2017. Since then have not got back to where I was.

In 2018 rode 5,100 miles. To date have 5,200 miles with another month to go so hoping for 5,600 for this year (which is fourth highest mileage in 11 years).

Ride with slower groups now with target speeds of 17-19 and yes keep up and pull my share. Sometimes ride with prior fast group for 15 miles til get dropped. We get up to 25 MPH which is tough for me. Group will go to 30 MPH at times.

Point is don't give up. There are so few (percentage wise) riding even over 60 never mind over 70. Find it best to appreciate what we can do, not what we used to do.
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Old 11-29-19, 11:29 PM
  #3024  
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Miami, I am impressed with your efforts and your great outlook. All the best as you pedal on!
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Old 11-30-19, 06:25 AM
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Greenhil
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: Central Vermont
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Bikes: 2018 Kona Rove NRB, 2121 Kona Libre

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Originally Posted by DougG View Post
I'm not a competitive cyclist, but I do compete regularly in running events and can track changes in my performance over the years. When I started running, I progressed in distances from 5Ks to 10Ks and eventually up to doing marathons, but only ran a few of those. Then, for a while, half-marathons (13.1 miles) were my favorite events, but in the last 10 years I've slid back down the distance scale and am back to doing 5K races with an occasional 10K that I actually have to train for as opposed to when I could run one at will. So much for changes in endurance.

As for performance, I've discussed this with numerous other runners my age -- including one who is in the "elite" category -- and we all agree that when we passed 70, our performances fell off noticeably from year to year. I've never been a great runner, but have generally been in the top third of my age group. When I was in the 65-69 AG, I could sometimes place well when I was 68 against runners who were 65-66. But since 70, that has not generally been true. When I turned 70 and entered the 70-74 AG, I ran a lot of races that year since I was placing really high and even winning a couple of local events. But now, at 73, I can see that my 5K times have gone down in the past 3 years by about a minute a year (out of a typical time for me of about 30 minutes). Pace-wise, this is the loss of about a minute-per-mile since I was 70. So now in a decent-size field, I'm often beaten by some 70yo young whippersnapper and am looking forward to when I turn 75 and can be at the top of the field again.
I ran in a 5k Thanksgiving morning in Woodstock VT. The thing that bugged me a little were the age groupings for awards: 20-29, 30-39, etc. The last grouping was simply ď60 and overĒ.

I interpreted it as implying that they either believe that no one over 69 runs, or that anyone who does doesnít really count. Granted, out of nearly 800 runners only 7 or eight of us were 70 or over, but I think there ought to be some acknowledgement.

There was one 70 year old runner who ran a great 25:23 time (Iím 71 and ran 28:57) but even that didnít place him among the top 60+ finishers. Itís to your race organizersí credit that they they have age groupings for 70+ runners.


Many timed gravel grinders like the ones I ride in have just a 50+ category for riders. Itís not really about winning an award. Itís just nice when thereís some acknowledgment that people in our age group exist.
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