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Tougher than Ever(?)

Old 06-15-21, 08:28 AM
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Oldguyonoldbike
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Tougher than Ever(?)

Last weekend was the three-day celebration of cycling that is Tulsa Tough. Professional crit racing, a carnival atmosphere and five different gran fondo routes for the amateurs make for a fun weekend. It didn't happen last year for the reasons we all know, and this year's motto was "Tougher than Ever."

Well, I rode the 100km amateur event on Saturday, which turned out to be 118km in brutally hot weather (temps only in the mid-90s, but with humidity over 80% and a heat index of nearly 110). When I rode this four years ago I came in 271st out of 410 riders. This year I finished 246 of 273 riders. Seriously, though, I thought I was gonna die. I'm not sure if it was the heat, or that I now have a sedentary job, or because I'm allergic to dogs and we now have a dog, or if it's just the toll of four more years. I'd like to blame it on the pandemic somehow. At any rate it was the hardest ride I remember. I'm glad to have finished.

This falls into a pattern that I wonder if others are experiencing too. I've spent most of the last year working from home, which has freed up a lot of ex-commuting time for short evening rides. This past year I've ridden more miles than in ages, but in relatively short ten to twenty-mile rides. Still, I feel like I can't find the right form. I hope it's not just the inevitable decline (I'm not quite 60). Has the pandemic messed with any of you, even without getting sick?
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Old 06-15-21, 09:05 AM
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Has the pandemic messed with any of you, even without getting sick?
Not really. I was a little worried after I came down with case of COVID that didn't require hospitalization because my heart felt funny for a while afterward. But a cardiologist did some tests and looked at my documented histories and said I was good to go hard as I cared to with my efforts while riding.

I miss the quiet times when everything stopped in March, April and May of 2020. Our lockdown was always okay with doing activities outdoors for exercise. My son and I got to ride a lot of routes we other wise wouldn't have ever done. Also just got to ride a lot with him.

Not that I want the causes and circumstances that made that time with my son to happen again. But my lockdown experience was nice for the most part. Learned how much more enjoyable it is to just pull into the grocery store parking lot and let them put my order in the car and pull off 3 minutes later. (when they are johnny on the spot. Doesn't happen all the time)
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Old 06-15-21, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldguyonoldbike View Post

Well, I rode the 100km amateur event on Saturday, which turned out to be 118km in brutally hot weather (temps only in the mid-90s, but with humidity over 80% and a heat index of nearly 110).
Dude, it's the heat and humidity! Those are insane conditions. You must be in decent health to survive that. We are all different, but once you're 60+, you need to moderate. If you get satisfaction from the achievement, that's good. Just don't self destruct trying to do what you could when you were younger. 15 miles is about my limit when it's hot and humid. Could do more if my life depended on it, but since it doesn't...
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Old 06-15-21, 12:08 PM
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congrats, you finished that's a victory in itself
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Old 06-15-21, 12:43 PM
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I am not quite 60 but in July Lord willing. I am retired so I ride many miles but I must say COVID got me out more just because nothing else I had to do or could really go. Myself I ride early in the morning year around and although I like heat what you did in Tulsa was pretty hard. The combination of heat and humidity but that ride at the limit for most folks. For myself I find that getting older and not the pandemic I lose the ability to bring up really high power on the bike. I have endurance and can go on and on but when it comes to a huge difficult climb or other situation, age will take its toll. I notice on Grand Fundo's when I ride with others and I usually can ride strong I just don't have the energy to keep at it as I did even 10 years ago. However what I do notice is I don't take breaks or even had to take a break. I can pass up aid stations and rest stops and just keep on at a slower pace but many times end up finishing faster.

Now I am runner also and I can tell you 42 years of running has taken its toll. I don't hurt or feel bad but the body does not respond I ran too much in my younger days. I would say your ride was great keep at it you finished a brutal ride.
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Old 06-15-21, 07:08 PM
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Definitely the heat and humidity. It can make your age feel like it’s the heat index. Just keep on riding. But, to ride longer rides well it helps if you’ve ridden longer rides.
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Old 06-16-21, 04:16 AM
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Lotta variables beyond aging. How you handled the heat/humidity from a drinking/eating/rest perspective is one. I'm 64 - the hardest ride I've ever done was a flat century ride when I was about 35. It was on a killer hot day on Maryland's eastern shore, into a headwind for the last 40 miles, in the peak of the heat. Back then I didn't pay much attention to drinking (now known as hydration...) and I'm sure I was dehydrated. At age 62 I did a very similar century ride in similar conditions but I'm smarter now! Forced myself to drink more and eat more than I wanted to. Felt better and pretty much matched my time from 25+ years ago.

This year, I've seen the "high mileage but mostly short rides" effect of staying safe during the pandemic. I have an indoor trainer, so I've been able to mix in hour long interval rides to get more training gain than I can on 25 mile rides out on the road. That really seemed to help on my only 2 long rides this year, a flat (cool but crazy winds) century and an 82 mile rolling hills ride. But I did still get in a few 50 and 60 mile rides in advance of those - I find that my butt needs that before long rides!
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Old 06-16-21, 04:52 AM
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Congratulations on your finish. I worked at one of the rest stops on the fondo route. I saw heat and humidity affecting a lot of people younger than you.

I'd have to guess that a lot of what you are feeling came from the cooler than normal temperatures we have had here in NEOK and then being slammed with heat and humidity the last couple of weeks. You had to ride in much hotter weather than what you trained in.
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Old 06-16-21, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Not really. I was a little worried after I came down with case of COVID that didn't require hospitalization because my heart felt funny for a while afterward. But a cardiologist did some tests and looked at my documented histories and said I was good to go hard as I cared to with my efforts while riding.
Man, interesting to read this. I too had a mild case of Covid back in Feb 2020. I also was poisoned by one single does of Cipro about 5 mos. prior (please, people, never allow a doctor to give you that unless you're dying). The Cipro gave me an arrhythmia for a while(along with other issues), and then I believe the Covid picked up that ball and ran with it. But, I got right back to riding as soon as I felt pretty OK, and it totally helped me recover. Feeling strong now, a little "different", but had an EKG recently and my 60 year old motor looked like a 35 year olds (or so the Doc said.... Been climbing my arse off lately, actually.
But anyhow, I actually ended up getting a lot of riding in overall during our lockdowns in CA. I would have lost my marbles if I couldn't ride.
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Old 06-17-21, 04:04 AM
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Yeah, the weather in this part of the country (Texas, OK, etc.) turned brutal in June, much worse than usual. A friend who's usually a bike riding machine in summer suffered heat exhaustion this week after only a few miles.

I usually enjoy the heat and often ride or run in midday, but I've had to be much more careful than usual because of the uncommonly high heat and humidity. I watch my heart rate and slow down when it reaches 150 bpm, and try to keep it between 120-150 bpm.

Regarding the pandemic, it didn't really affect me much until March when I suddenly got sick. Not sure whether it was COVID or a relapse of my old pesky autoimmune disorder. I didn't bother with testing for COVID. I got the Moderna injections, had some side effects, but overall feel better now than during April-May.

I rode and worked out as much as usual throughout 2020, although I cut way back on group rides. I quit doing fast group rides, and did only a few casual pace group rides with a few friends between July last year and now.

My weight, BP and HR are all about the same, but I can see from my activities apps that my fitness is declining. I'm suddenly slower and more tired. Not sure whether that's due to illness, age or something else. My doctors aren't interested so I'll have to find another doctor or just get used to it.
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Old 06-17-21, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldguyonoldbike View Post
............................... turned out to be 118km in brutally hot weather (temps only in the mid-90s, but with humidity over 80% and a heat index of nearly 110). .......................

AWESOME RIDE!!!

Originally Posted by Chuckles1 View Post
................ once you're 60+, you need to moderate. If you get satisfaction from the achievement, that's good. Just don't self destruct trying to do what you could when you were younger. ......................
November 2013 was my FIRST Ironman 140.6 at age 63. Two years later with a few weeks to prepare riding in SW FL where 100 miles has 100+/- feet elevation I rode my first 6 GAP Century 103 miles and 11,000+ feet climbing.

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Old 06-18-21, 12:28 PM
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While I agree with those who have opined that it was the heat and humidity that slowed you down on this ride, I will add that both the pandemic and the pathetic election season in 2020 took a major toll on my emotional health, which, in turn, has clearly affected my physical stamina this cycling season. Even though things appear "better," subconsciously, I am nervous about the next assault on our democracy and how the next crisis we face will tear us apart even more. When I get on the bike these days, I don't feel that euphoric energy that used to push me to do all sorts of things. Now, I just feel like I am running away from a bleak reality for a few hours. Many times, I catch my mind dangerously drifting away from the road and my feet sluggishly turning the pedals. I was fortunate enough to avoid contracting COVID-19, but its effects on my body are undeniable.
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Old 06-19-21, 06:37 AM
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Still, I feel like I can't find the right form. I hope it's not just the inevitable decline (I'm not quite 60). Has the pandemic messed with any of you, even without getting sick?
Well - congrats on the finish - but too bad that you feel disappointed about your performance. Since you seem to be fairly interested in exercise performance - what other metrics or experience do you have to measure your efforts?

I don't know how it goes for anybody else - but my own tolerance for environmental stress really dropped after getting to the sixties. If you've been paying attention to your ride performances in the past - you should be able to tell what's in and out of your range, even as you do inevitably decline.

;
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