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Old Guys and Descending

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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.

Old Guys and Descending

Old 07-16-19, 03:07 PM
  #76  
berchman
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I ride a recumbent trike. The last stretch of my usual ride is a narrow rural road with a steep downhill and a 90 degree right turn. I prepare for that turn by leaning far to the right. A year ago I didn't slow going through that turn except for feathering the right brake lever. My rear wheel slides a little to the left. Now that I'm 81½ I have started slowing a bit before entering the turn. Maybe it's just that I'm riding a different trike (ICE Sprint instead of Catrike 700), but I think that I'm a little more cautious due to getting older and having experienced a few non bike related incidents.
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Old 07-17-19, 02:58 PM
  #77  
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I am 73 a cyclist and motorcyclist. A Ducati guy since 1997. I mention this because I feel the same way about both endeavors. I am more distrustful about road surface than I used to be. But, if I have a clear line of sight and can see the exit clearly I am still willing to go for it. To a lesser extent than in my youth. But, I regularly will hit 40-45 mph when appropriate. My fastest downhill, at age 38, was 55 mph.
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Old 07-19-19, 06:30 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
It's a 28 mile ride from Idaho Springs to the top of Mt Evans. I've done it six times, but the last was when I was 53. My best time was 2:35. Look up Bob Cook memorial hill climb. There's a race every year.
That is awesome. lol, 28 miles in 2:35 is a good ride for me...on the flats. But I still dream of riding up Pike's Peak some day
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Old 07-19-19, 06:48 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I am 73 a cyclist and motorcyclist. A Ducati guy since 1997. I mention this because I feel the same way about both endeavors. I am more distrustful about road surface than I used to be. But, if I have a clear line of sight and can see the exit clearly I am still willing to go for it. To a lesser extent than in my youth. But, I regularly will hit 40-45 mph when appropriate. My fastest downhill, at age 38, was 55 mph.
Cowardly turn of events here. I too was both a motorcyclist and biker until recently. My pride and joy was a 1969 Honda 750 that I restored as second owner since 1972. Gave it to my nephew about a year ago. Had to go to someone who enjoyed wrenching, bikes of that era need a good deal of attention. I'm 76 in a couple of weeks and recently barely broke 30 mph on a decent. Fast enough for me.
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Old 07-19-19, 06:53 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by imakecircles View Post
I have a pet theory that after a couple of close calls of this nature, squirrels get addicted to the adrenaline rush of the near miss and seek it out. Makes 'em extra squrrely.

Originally Posted by Lemond1985 It's like the "running of the bulls" with them, closest I can figure. Impresses the lady squirrels, perhaps.
I think I met one of your adrenaline junkie "running of the bulls" squirrels on a ride last week. Was descending at 25 mph and this squirrel ran out from the right shoulder, scurried under my chainring (between and rear wheels), stopped, did a 360 pirouette, then shot across the center line right between the front and back wheels of an oncoming car, ending up safely in the ditch on the far left side of the road. That squirrel had good timing.
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Old 07-19-19, 07:17 PM
  #81  
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Wow, I'm 64, raced two scores ago, and find this thread both inspirational and depressing. Interesting that with age some are more confident and some are more cautious.

I used to climb up a 26 foot ladder to fix the gutter. Soon after turning 40, I would get about twenty feet up, then a funny feeling would take over. I would start thinking about the mortgage, and how would the kids get through college, and the legs would start to shake. The older I get, the less I like ladders.

By age 50, trying to get back in shape, I was pretty shaky doing descents on my old 70's bike. I would pump the brakes to stay under 30 mph. But after getting a new bike in 2006 with decent (rock solid) wheels, tires, and brakes, I gained alot more confidence and now feel comfortable descending at "terminal" velocity, which is mostly ~37 mph on the downhills from the bluffs around here. That assumes all the precautions expressed in many excellent posts; not "getting too far out over your skis".

One recommendation (from another thread) that really helped me was to bend the brake caliper springs a little, making the levers much easier to press and modulate the brakes with arthritic hands.

We have a 400 foot, mile long hill with 20% grade on part of it. That descent accelerates me to just over 50 mph. For a minute or so my 215 pounds (65 of which are "extra" pounds) turns from a health liability into a worthy asset !
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Old 07-19-19, 07:28 PM
  #82  
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All these claims remind me of Rapid Roy:

‘Yeah Roy so cool
That racin' fool he don't know what fear's about
He do a hundred thirty mile an hour
Smilin' at the camera
With a toothpick in his mouth’

Thanks to Jim Croce.
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Old 07-25-19, 09:09 AM
  #83  
horatio 
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Got a taste of prolonged speed today on a short section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 35 is fast enough for my present skill level and bike setup. I'm thinking disc brakes would be good for riding in the mountains, at least until I develop mad skillz.
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Old 07-25-19, 10:07 AM
  #84  
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South Florida has no hills... so I don't think about too much speed :-)
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Old 07-27-19, 06:43 AM
  #85  
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I find that the older I get, the better I am at imagining how it would feel to hit the pavement at speed (or a guardrail, or a tree).

The bike itself is also a big factor. Strava tells me that I reached my maximum speed on a very stable steel Colnago. I don't ride that bike very often these days, preferring a lighter cf bike that's quicker up hills, but more skittery on the way down.
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Old 07-28-19, 12:46 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I think you need to risk your life once in a while, to really appreciate it, a little like those pesky squirrels that run out in the road and play chicken. I know I do.

And when I go fast, it usually is over pretty quickly. I think the more dangerous thing than high speeds, is simple lapses in attention. If something takes you by surprise on a bike, by definition it means you were not paying attention and or didn't react. When I go fast, what's on the road ahead has 100% of my attention, so I think that counts for something, as a positive safety factor.
I'm not sure how I feel about the "need to risk your life...etc." though probably more an issue of semantics, rather than behavior. I go fast sometimes, more on skis than bikes, precisely because I feel there are fewer risks that I have zero control over. The second paragraph, yep, and not just regarding bikes...
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Old 08-14-19, 05:48 PM
  #87  
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I'm going to be 62 very soon and the blind 'sweeper' turns I used to take at speed get some braking action now! As another poster stated, line of sight is everything. There are plenty of hills where I live and the steepest for me locally are across the Ohio River in Indiana. There is one I've hit 58mph. A few years ago on Edwardsville Hill Road in IN I got behind a motorcyclist. I couldn't pass but he couldn't leave me, either. It was pretty fun!
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Old 08-17-19, 09:24 PM
  #88  
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As someone mentioned above, it depends on how familiar I am with a particular downhill. The organized rides I do in north central Texas have some fairly decent hills, but many of these country roads are rough, uneven, and have potholes that may, or may not, have been patched numerous times, etc.
In instances like this, I try to follow a fast rider at a decent distance and watch closely what sort of evasive maneuvers he's executing, if any, and adjust accordingly. I'm a lightweight rider (130lbs) on a very responsive bike (Allez).

I'm also well into geezerdom at 71. The thought of tumbling down a road for dozens of yards isn't appealing at this point, but the thrill of a steep decent never gets old. If I'm familiar with a particular route (decent), I'm all in for it. 'It feels like 'flight' is the only way I can describe it.
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Old 08-18-19, 08:01 AM
  #89  
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My answer to the question of slowing down with age is No I haven't. But that's because I was never fast

I've never had any desire for speed. Never been much over 30mph. Doesn't give me a thrill or make me feel like I proved something.
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Old 08-18-19, 12:50 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by bargeon View Post
My answer to the question of slowing down with age is No I haven't. But that's because I was never fast

I've never had any desire for speed. Never been much over 30mph. Doesn't give me a thrill or make me feel like I proved something.
Words to "live" by.
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