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Back in the saddle again!

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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 again!

Old 01-08-20, 11:32 AM
  #1  
Eric F
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Back in the saddle again!

It's finally time to get my fat ass back on the road - 15 years and 60+ lbs since I hung up my race wheels and put the bike aside. For the past month, I've been doing regular suffer-sessions in my garage, and got in a couple of short solo rides. 2 weeks ago, I got out for my first group ride since 2004. Although it's known as an easy Sunday ride of mostly older guys, for me, the 33 mile loop was a big stretch of my aerobic capacity and endurance. A big bonus was seeing a lot of very familiar faces from the old days, and a warm welcome to the group. Last weekend (2nd time on the ride), I felt stronger, and the distance slightly more comfortable. For now, this will continue as my weekly fitness test.

My early-2000 Time XV-Special Pro equipped with DA 9-speed still feels great and fits my body like a comfortable shoe. She will probably get upgraded with a new(er) drivetrain and some pricey wheels, but I'm not at all motivated to replace the frame. I'm not riding to get every watt of power to the ground, or shave every gram off my ride. Losing lbs. off my body will do a lot more for performance than anything I can do to my bike. Besides, I think my old gal is still sexy has hell...



We shall see where this takes me. I don't have any intent to return to racing, nor do I have the desire to suffer as much as it requires to be in that kind of shape. Right now, I'm trying to just enjoy the ride, the people, and a return to feeling strong.

Cheers!

Last edited by Eric F; 01-08-20 at 02:40 PM. Reason: You can say ass
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Old 01-08-20, 12:17 PM
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Welcome back. I too was in a similar situation after the racing stopped in 04 then jumping back on the bike several years ago. I don"t know your age, but after some time in the saddle I will on occasion jump into a masters race for fun...not to be competitive. So who knows... you may want to get that license back down the road.
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Old 01-08-20, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by washed up View Post
Welcome back. I too was in a similar situation after the racing stopped in 04 then jumping back on the bike several years ago. I don"t know your age, but after some time in the saddle I will on occasion jump into a masters race for fun...not to be competitive. So who knows... you may want to get that license back down the road.
I'm 51, and also quit racing in '04. Things may change in time, but I don't currently see a desire to race again. I had my time for that. Besides, I'm trying to teach myself how to ride for fun, instead of riding to make myself and others suffer - LOL
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Old 01-08-20, 01:06 PM
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I'm glad you are back on a bike and as you noticed, you are seeing a benefit already. As for weight, getting rid of sugar in your diet will go far in resolving that issue. Welcome to the cult compound.
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Old 01-08-20, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
I'm glad you are back on a bike and as you noticed, you are seeing a benefit already. As for weight, getting rid of sugar in your diet will go far in resolving that issue. Welcome to the cult compound.
I have no illusions about how I got to my current girth - LOL. I'm making adjustments in some of my eating/drinking habits...but not all of them
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Old 01-09-20, 09:24 AM
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At 65 years young I have no desire to race but I enjoy riding a lot. It does help , although I have never had a weight issue, staying fit. I get regular check ups ( actually going today) do to a thyroid issue , eat plant based foods , don't drink alcohol or smoke ....anything, and walk 2 miles a day , ride 40 miles +/- a week. My blood pressure , heart rate , weight , all good. A lot of it is genetics , but staying active is imperative as we age and our metabolism is looking for a reason to slow down. I am self employed so I have some flexibility as far as schedule goes which helps. Joe joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 01-09-20, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Besides, I'm trying to teach myself how to ride for fun, instead of riding to make myself and others suffer - LOL
I have never raced in an official race. At 62yrs old I thoroughly enjoy making myself and others suffer.
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Old 01-09-20, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
I have never raced in an official race. At 62yrs old I thoroughly enjoy making myself and others suffer.
I spent almost all of my previous time on the bike either hurting myself to be faster than I was before, or hurting myself to be faster than everyone around me (racing). I enjoyed the competition a lot at the time. I thrived on the self-determination to get better, and the test to see how far I could push my body, but that time has passed for me. My mentality is different now. I look forward to being able to go fast(ish) again, being able to respond when the pace of the group picks up, and not getting dropped at the start of moderate climbs. It's going to take some self-suffering to get that fitness back, and I'm fine with that. My intent to be savage to those around me has faded, however.
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Old 01-09-20, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
It's going to take some self-suffering to get that fitness back, and I'm fine with that. My intent to be savage to those around me has faded, however.
Suffering is one thing, savage is another.

I just enjoy being faster.
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Old 01-09-20, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Suffering is one thing, savage is another.

I just enjoy being faster.
I get it. Being the strongest in the group is fun.
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Old 01-09-20, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I get it. Being the strongest in the group is fun.
Pretty much.
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Old 01-09-20, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Pretty much.
I am fine with the reality that I won't ever feel like I did when I looked like this...



Last edited by Eric F; 01-20-20 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 01-09-20, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I am fine with the reality that I won't ever feel I did when I looked like this...


Right along with the rest of us. The older you get the better you were.
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Old 01-09-20, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Right along with the rest of us. The older you get the better you were.
Well...duh.
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Old 01-20-20, 06:02 PM
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Yesterday was my 4th week in a row on the group ride I've been doing. The easy parts are starting to feel easy, and the hard parts are starting to go by quicker. My recovery time is still terrible, but my power output is definitely improving. I've also been religious about getting on my trainer on Tuesday and Thursday nights for about 30+ minutes each session, which has most definitely been a big part of my Sunday gains. Tuesdays I tend to focus on strength and power, including 2-3 max. effort intervals. Thursdays has been a focus on high cadence (90-120 rpm) with low load.

This weekend I will be rolling on new-to-me wheels (used set of Shimano C50s) and tires (Pirelli P-Zero). A good friend gave me a bunch of free 10-speed (7800) parts and I'm working on sorting out the rest of the system for a slight upgrade to the old 9-speed stuff. The 9-speed group will be hung on a Bianchi I'm building for my daughter, which will get either my current Ksyriums, or a set of Rolf Vector Pros.
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Old 01-20-20, 07:34 PM
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I really like the looks of your Time bike and setup. It’s just a really nice traditional very sharp look and ride. It sounds like your saddle is still working for you as well. Obviously the bike was a great fit, so much that even after all this time it still feels right. Isn’t it funny how you can get on a bike and know fairly quickly if the setup is good.

Congratulations on getting enough of your spark back to even give it a go again. You are a step or two ahead of most people as you know what’s needed to get to a higher level of fitness. Having others to ride with is such a huge plus as well.

Just curious, what size crank are you using? Had the industry gone to compact cranks while you were riding or was the norm still 53/39 and triples? I’m thinking that’s about the time compact cranks started being used more. I really enjoyed my 9 speed drivetrain but eventually did like you and converted to 10 speed. I really couldn’t tell much difference riding but it probably helped being in a little better gears at times.

Good luck with your efforts and enjoy your time out riding.
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Old 01-21-20, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
I really like the looks of your Time bike and setup. It’s just a really nice traditional very sharp look and ride. It sounds like your saddle is still working for you as well. Obviously the bike was a great fit, so much that even after all this time it still feels right. Isn’t it funny how you can get on a bike and know fairly quickly if the setup is good.

Congratulations on getting enough of your spark back to even give it a go again. You are a step or two ahead of most people as you know what’s needed to get to a higher level of fitness. Having others to ride with is such a huge plus as well.

Just curious, what size crank are you using? Had the industry gone to compact cranks while you were riding or was the norm still 53/39 and triples? I’m thinking that’s about the time compact cranks started being used more. I really enjoyed my 9 speed drivetrain but eventually did like you and converted to 10 speed. I really couldn’t tell much difference riding but it probably helped being in a little better gears at times.

Good luck with your efforts and enjoy your time out riding.
Thanks! Over the last couple of weeks, and spending more time in the saddle, some things have changed. My old and worn Selle Italia has been replaced by a very lean Specialized Toupe that I got for free from a friend. The shape of it works very well for me. I was finding myself riding with my hands shifted a little back of the brake hoods a lot, and my big gut and older back were struggling with being long and low like I used to be. I swapped out the 130 stem to a 120 (found an FSA to match cranks and seatpost!). The position change feels pretty good.

The crank is an FSA SL-K 53/39 with a 130 bolt circle. Compact cranks were starting to show up as I was fading out, but not so much with the go-fast flock. I still like a pretty tight block in the rear, giving me options for small changes in cadence. My upcoming change to 10-speed will be to a 11-25, which will give me the same 11-23 I have now, plus an additional lower gear. Looking at today's pro race bikes, the presence of long cage derailleurs and big cogs seems odd to my old-school brain.

Last edited by Eric F; 01-21-20 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 01-22-20, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Thanks! Over the last couple of weeks, and spending more time in the saddle, some things have changed. My old and worn Selle Italia has been replaced by a very lean Specialized Toupe that I got for free from a friend. The shape of it works very well for me. I was finding myself riding with my hands shifted a little back of the brake hoods a lot, and my big gut and older back were struggling with being long and low like I used to be. I swapped out the 130 stem to a 120 (found an FSA to match cranks and seatpost!). The position change feels pretty good.

The crank is an FSA SL-K 53/39 with a 130 bolt circle. Compact cranks were starting to show up as I was fading out, but not so much with the go-fast flock. I still like a pretty tight block in the rear, giving me options for small changes in cadence. My upcoming change to 10-speed will be to a 11-25, which will give me the same 11-23 I have now, plus an additional lower gear. Looking at today's pro race bikes, the presence of long cage derailleurs and big cogs seems odd to my old-school brain.

Good stuff! Iíve shortened my stems a hair as well. Iíve also raised my bars a few mmís. While the former positions were fine Itís just more comfortable for the longer rides Iím doing. I tried the Toupe a few years ago and it worked great for short to medium length rides. However I just keep going back to a Selle Italia. Unfortunately my model has been discontinued but I try and pick up some used ones on eBay from time to time.

My latest bike has a 52/36 crank and a long cage RD. Iím running an 11-34 cassette so thereís a really wide range of gears for the hilly and steep stuff.
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Old 01-23-20, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
It's finally time to get my fat ass back on the road - 15 years and 60+ lbs since I hung up my race wheels and put the bike aside. For the past month, I've been doing regular suffer-sessions in my garage, and got in a couple of short solo rides. 2 weeks ago, I got out for my first group ride since 2004. Although it's known as an easy Sunday ride of mostly older guys, for me, the 33 mile loop was a big stretch of my aerobic capacity and endurance. A big bonus was seeing a lot of very familiar faces from the old days, and a warm welcome to the group. Last weekend (2nd time on the ride), I felt stronger, and the distance slightly more comfortable. For now, this will continue as my weekly fitness test.

My early-2000 Time XV-Special Pro equipped with DA 9-speed still feels great and fits my body like a comfortable shoe. She will probably get upgraded with a new(er) drivetrain and some pricey wheels, but I'm not at all motivated to replace the frame. I'm not riding to get every watt of power to the ground, or shave every gram off my ride. Losing lbs. off my body will do a lot more for performance than anything I can do to my bike. Besides, I think my old gal is still sexy has hell...



We shall see where this takes me. I don't have any intent to return to racing, nor do I have the desire to suffer as much as it requires to be in that kind of shape. Right now, I'm trying to just enjoy the ride, the people, and a return to feeling strong.

Cheers!
Welcome back. My situation is somewhat similar. After riding for years, I bought a motorcycle in '98 and the bike remained hanging in the garage until July 2019. The motorcycle is long gone. The mirror lied to me, telling me I was still in OK shape, but the photos were telling a different story. Fast forward 7 months and a couple of new bikes later, I'm back in the saddle, riding an Echelon during the winter for 45 minutes every day and I'm down 21 pounds with 8 more to go. I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed riding a bicycle. I put 1570 miles on before hanging it up at the end of November and have set a goal of 3,000 miles for 2020. Enjoy your return to riding!
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Old 01-23-20, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ultrarider7 View Post
Welcome back. My situation is somewhat similar. After riding for years, I bought a motorcycle in '98 and the bike remained hanging in the garage until July 2019. The motorcycle is long gone. The mirror lied to me, telling me I was still in OK shape, but the photos were telling a different story. Fast forward 7 months and a couple of new bikes later, I'm back in the saddle, riding an Echelon during the winter for 45 minutes every day and I'm down 21 pounds with 8 more to go. I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed riding a bicycle. I put 1570 miles on before hanging it up at the end of November and have set a goal of 3,000 miles for 2020. Enjoy your return to riding!
Great job!
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Old 01-25-20, 01:27 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I get it. Being the strongest in the group is fun.
A zero-sum game (like being strongest) is for youngsters who need their egos stroked. It is much better to get out and ride, ride, ride - after all we only have so much time/will power left.
Great to read about those who gave up racing, but still get out and enjoy riding as their body permits. At almost 72, I have started riding again too - and walking a lot more too (according to a pedometer and belt size).
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Old 01-27-20, 11:52 AM
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Upgrades...
- Shimano Dura Ace C50 wheels (used)
- Pirelli P-Zero tires
- FSA K-Force stem
- Specialized Toupe saddle (used, free!)
- Shimano Dura Ace 7800 shifters and derailleur (used, free!)
- FSA 53/39 chainrings
- Elite bottle cages


First ride with this setup yesterday. Very nice!
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