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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.

Back in the saddle

Old 09-01-19, 11:04 PM
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Raptor1956
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Back in the saddle

I'll be 63 in a bit more than a month and have recently gotten back into riding after more than 4 years away from cycling. In June of 2015 I was riding on the Jordan River trail here in the Salt Lake City area when I fell hard making a sharp turn. The concrete, in blocks as they always are, had a step between the blocks and my front tire got hung up on the edge of a block and, well, it pulled the front wheel out from under me and I fell real hard on my left hip. I knew instantly I was in a bad way and I lay there on the ground for a few minutes writhing in pain. I managed to get back up but I felt I'd either broken/cracked my hip or otherwise severely damaged the muscles/tendons. I was a bit over a mile from home and I decided to walk the bike back home using the bike as a crutch -- it took about 2 hours to make the mile trip. Went to the doctor and his analysis was severe muscle and tissue injury but the bones were not likely broken.


The first week and particularly the first three days were torture and it took about four days to be able to go to the doctor and then the pharmacy for pain killers and a pair of crutches. The pills helped a bit but I wasn't about to re-up and gain an addiction. I was on the crutches for a couple months and limping for another four months or more but about 7 months later I was, well, OK.


I'd hung my bike up on a hook in my bedroom and there it sat, or hung, for over four years. Not quite three months ago I stepped on a bathroom scale for the first time in, well, years and the number it reported disturbed me -- 105.4kg (232.4lb), the heaviest I've ever been. I'd recognized I was getting in bad shape and my mobility and ability to bend to even tie my shoes was not acceptable, but perhaps the final data point was the development of jowls. So, the day after I stepped on the scale I started an exercise program that consisted of 4-9km of fast walking at about 6kph -- I did that for about a month to get back some fitness before getting back on the bike which I did about 6.5 weeks ago.


The first few rides on the bike were painful with my neck being the body part that affected me the most -- being off the bike that long and being really out of shape meant the act of craning the head up to see where you're going was fricking killing me. Yeah, add in a sore tail as you might expect and the total distance covered per ride was scarcely more than 20km and even then I was stopping midway to rest my aching neck. I kept the pace in the 20-25kph range for those first few weeks but as my fitness got a bit better and my neck became less of an issue I've upped my pace to a still mediocre 25-28kph and upped my distance to just about 30km per ride.


Now for some good news ...


As of today my weight is down to 97.1kg so I've come down 8.3kg or about 18.3lbs and those nasty jowls are pretty much gone. My ability to bend and move is much better and my fitness and endurance are much improved though much more remains to be improved. I'm hoping to be near 90kg by the end of the year, it's certainly doable but it gets harder over time so we'll see.


And just for completeness by kit includes: Trek Madone 4.7 58cm with powertap SL+ hub and blade spokes with rims that are modestly deeper than older style straight rims. I have an old Garmin Edge 705 head unit with heart-rate strap and speed and cadence sensor. My average power now is still quite dismal at 140-160W but that's an improvement from the 110W when first on the bike a couple months ago. I'm hoping to be up to or near 200W average by the end of the year and if so that would put my average pace on flat ground at about 32kph which would be a big improvement.


One thing that's been a problem is frequent flats -- in the nearly two months I've had 4-5 flats with the last one, just a couple days ago, being a pinch flat. Prior to getting back on the bike this time I'd only had one flat in several years and that was do to a nail that went through the tire AND the rim.



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Old 09-02-19, 05:37 AM
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Welcome back. I’m finding it takes awhile to sort things out after being off the bike several years.
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Old 09-02-19, 08:53 AM
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As for your flats, likely they are from the added weight. Make sure they are pumped up before each ride.

But good for you to get going again. I'm 64 and plan on going at it hard as long as I can.
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Old 09-02-19, 09:34 AM
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Jordan River trail is famous for goatheads . I use tire liners and no more goathead flats.I stay away from SLC part of the trail. Legacy trail is smoother ,straighter and safer.The Saltair ride , airport to Great Salt Lake Marina is pankake flat about 30 miles out and back. Very low traffic and great for personal time trails A lot of it has been resurfaced the last few years. The new prison and the proposed Inland Port might ruin it in the future though.Good luck.
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Old 09-02-19, 01:22 PM
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Glad to hear you are back in the saddle. Broke my ankle a few years ago( non bike related) and was laid up for 8 weeks. Then had to convince the wife to let me ride again while she was at work. All is pretty much back to normal now. It does take time ( a lot more as we get older) to get back to a previous level of fitness and weight. I know what you are going through. Keep at it though and you will get where you want to be.
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Old 09-03-19, 11:18 AM
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Raptor1956
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Originally Posted by Skullo View Post
Jordan River trail is famous for goatheads . I use tire liners and no more goathead flats.I stay away from SLC part of the trail. Legacy trail is smoother ,straighter and safer.The Saltair ride , airport to Great Salt Lake Marina is pankake flat about 30 miles out and back. Very low traffic and great for personal time trails A lot of it has been resurfaced the last few years. The new prison and the proposed Inland Port might ruin it in the future though.Good luck.

I do the Saltair ride about 40% of the time but haven't done the Legacy trail -- I'll have to give that one a shot.


The Jordan River route is convenient for me as my apartment lies along it so it's easy to get to. A couple weeks ago I was riding on the Jordan River trail and was nearing the midway point of the ride where I planed to stop for a few minutes (neck issues) but a couple minutes out I started hearing a tick-tick-tick sound on the front wheel that I put down to the brakes rubbing a bit and figured to give it a look when I stopped. So I stopped as planned and after resting for a few minutes I gave the bike a once over before getting bak on and it was then that I noticed some form of plant material had poked though the tire and the tire was dead flat. I was just over a mile from home and with only my cycling shoes I decided to take them off and walk barefoot pushing the bike -- big mistake. I got about 3/4 of the way home when I began to feel like something was sticking to the bottom of my feet and when I look both feet were severely blistered. The balls of my feet now have a patch of skin missing about 30 x 40mm and 25x35mm -- that kept my off the bike for 5 days and, two weeks later, they're both still healing and a bit sensitive.


The last time I checked my weight, which I tend to do in the morning, I was at 97.15kg so I'm down now about 8.25kg or about 18 pounds in 2.5 months.


I also raised my saddle about 14mm as it was a little low with too much knee bend at full extension but I left it that way for the first few months to reduce the strain on my neck and now that I've raised the saddle the neck issue has come back though not as bad as it was when I first got back on the bike a couple months ago. Going back a couple months my hands stayed on the top most of the time and only moving to the hoods when I was braking or needed to maneuver, but I'm now riding mostly on the hoods. I have yet to get into the drops -- that is still a ways off I'm afraid.


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Old 09-03-19, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Baldy1953 View Post
Glad to hear you are back in the saddle. Broke my ankle a few years ago( non bike related) and was laid up for 8 weeks. Then had to convince the wife to let me ride again while she was at work. All is pretty much back to normal now. It does take time ( a lot more as we get older) to get back to a previous level of fitness and weight. I know what you are going through. Keep at it though and you will get where you want to be.
Thanks Baldy, I appreciate that.


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Old 09-03-19, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Raptor1956 View Post
I also raised my saddle about 14mm as it was a little low with too much knee bend at full extension but I left it that way for the first few months to reduce the strain on my neck and now that I've raised the saddle the neck issue has come back though not as bad as it was when I first got back on the bike a couple months ago. Going back a couple months my hands stayed on the top most of the time and only moving to the hoods when I was braking or needed to maneuver, but I'm now riding mostly on the hoods. I have yet to get into the drops -- that is still a ways off I'm afraid.
First of all, congratulations on getting back on the bike. I'm in the same boat (your age range, in the 12th week of my "comeback" after several years off the bike). It's a great feeling—I take the soreness as a positive sign of "weakness leaving the body", and every little increase in speed or endurance is good motivation to keep going.

Secondly, I can relate to your neck issues. I've had neck discomfort on and off for many years. It takes me a long time to develop my neck muscles enough to endure a long ride. To avoid the pain, I do these exercises whenever my neck feels even a little stiff (which is most of the time—including right now):

How to Stretch Your Neck

In addition, if you can stand it, I recommend you start trying the drops for short periods of less than a minute, then building up to longer bouts. That's what I've been doing, and now I'm able to ride in the drops for quite a while without discomfort.
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Old 09-05-19, 03:32 PM
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Didn’t mean to copy you’re title. I missed this time last year from foot surgery but this Fall I will be riding.
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Old 09-06-19, 08:26 AM
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[QUOTE=Raptor1956;21105838

I also raised my saddle about 14mm as it was a little low with too much knee bend at full extension but I left it that way for the first few months to reduce the strain on my neck and now that I've raised the saddle the neck issue has come back though not as bad as it was when I first got back on the bike a couple months ago. Going back a couple months my hands stayed on the top most of the time and only moving to the hoods when I was braking or needed to maneuver, but I'm now riding mostly on the hoods. I have yet to get into the drops -- that is still a ways off I'm afraid.


Brian[/QUOTE]

Have you thought about raising the bars? Might be an easy way to do it. Also, you can get shallow drop bars and short reach bars.
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Old 09-08-19, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Have you thought about raising the bars? Might be an easy way to do it. Also, you can get shallow drop bars and short reach bars.
I'm getting more used to riding and am getting into better shape so I think the neck thing is a short term problem. As of a couple days ago my weight is now down to below 212lbs from 232lbs 2.5 months ago so I'm down about 20lbs or 9kg. I can definitely tell my gut is a lot less Homer Simpson and the jowls I mentioned are gone. And, as my weight has come down and my fitness has improved the issues that I experience a couple months ago a receding. With only 12lbs more to lose to hit my goal of being under 200lbs by the end of the year it's looking like I should make that milestone fairly early.

BTW, my pace has been improving slowly but I had a run tonight at 18.8mph (30.3kph) though it was a bit wind assisted -- still nice to be getting back closer to 20mph which is another milestone I'm hoping to make by year end. Until recently my intervals of higher effort were quite limited to 1/4 to 1/2 mile but I'm now doing intervals of 1.2 miles (2km) at about 20-22mph (32.2-35.4kph).


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