Expectations at age 50

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ChrisAOnABike
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Expectations at age 50

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 08, 2012 08:22 am

Ok, so I'm making the transition from running to cycling, having been cursed for years with shin splints that would always stop me really pushing the distance up. The final straw recently has been a string of calf muscle tears that recover quite quickly but again get me having to rest up, have physio to break down the tightness etc etc. (And yes, I do stretch, start slow, warm up and down, etc, etc!!)

Just acquired my first road bike, having had a hybrid on loan for the last couple of months.

Yesterday I went out and did 24 miles in an hour and a half.... early days yet, but now that I'm nearly 50, I'm just wondering what I might realistically expect in terms of ability if I get into riding in a fairly serious way.

I've entered the ballot for Ride London 100 next year, but 24 miles seems a lot different from 100!!!
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lc1981
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby lc1981 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 08:43 am

Well that's a good average speed for a beginner, for a start, even if it was quite a flat route. I ride with lots of people around your age (with a club) and 100 miles is nothing that would cause them any problems. In fact, many of them are stronger riders than people who cycle regularly and are ten or 20 years younger.

danowat
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby danowat » Mon Oct 08, 2012 08:43 am

Put it like this, I know riders who are much older than you (some in their 70's - 80's), that can easily show a clean pair of heels to riders more than half their age.

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schweiz
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby schweiz » Mon Oct 08, 2012 08:52 am

Don't let age worry you. Just get out, ride and enjoy it!

I ride with a 63 year old in our club who can kick my ass anytime he feels like it whether we are climbing, descending or sprinting (I'm 35). Okay he's ridden the Tour de France a couple or 3 times, the Giro twice, Paris-Roubaix and much more but age is no limit!

...and you will be able to ride 100 miles without a problem if you train for it.

BeaconRuth
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby BeaconRuth » Mon Oct 08, 2012 08:59 am

Two much more relevant questions to ask with regards to your potential as a cyclist are "what genetic talent did I inherit from my parents?" and "how hard do I want to work at this?" It's not uncommon to find over-50s who are 2nd-cat roadmen or who can complete a 25-mile TT in 52 or 53 minutes (i.e. circa 28.5mph). Basically, your age is unlikely to be your limiter. Join a cycling club and you'll soon find out that age is neither here nor there to all but the most elite riders.

Ruth

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 08, 2012 09:13 am

BeaconRuth wrote:Two much more relevant questions to ask with regards to your potential as a cyclist are "what genetic talent did I inherit from my parents?" and "how hard do I want to work at this?"

I suspect that the answer to the first is 'not much' since I've always been way more interested in sport than either of my parents.

To the second, in truth I don't really know - all I know is that when I was running, the more I did, the more I wanted to do, until the shin splints knocked me back. It's been like that with cycling so far (even on the hybrid), and the relief at finishing a ride and not being in pain is just overwhelming.

I guess I'll just have to suck it and see :)

Thanks.
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BeaconRuth
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby BeaconRuth » Mon Oct 08, 2012 09:47 am

ChrisAOnABike wrote:I suspect that the answer to the first is 'not much' since I've always been way more interested in sport than either of my parents.

It's not always the case that someone's level of interest in athletic activity correlates with their aptitude for it. Just because someone hasn't proved themselves to be a great runner or great cyclist doesn't mean they couldn't have been.

To the second, in truth I don't really know - all I know is that when I was running, the more I did, the more I wanted to do, until the shin splints knocked me back. It's been like that with cycling so far (even on the hybrid), and the relief at finishing a ride and not being in pain is just overwhelming.

There's no need for you to ever feel any pain from cycling - except from your muscles when you've been riding extremely hard! Welcome to a sport you can do without any risk of injuries (bar crashes if you road-race or get into off-road riding) for the rest of your life.

Ruth

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ColinJ
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby ColinJ » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:03 pm

I met a man who is still riding his bike in his 80s and he told me that he did a 100 mile TT in his mid-60s in 4 hours 30-something minutes. I've ridden with several very fit riders in their 60s and 70s so I think you have plenty of room for improvement! :wink:

twotyred
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby twotyred » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:08 pm

I'm just wondering what I might realistically expect in terms of ability if I get into riding in a fairly serious way.


Did you ever do any events when you were running? If so then you'll already have some idea about your strength and fitness vs the rest of the running population. If you haven't already, work out where you normally placed in the field of a running event (top 20%, top 30% etc). In cycling events, even sportives, the field is generally stronger than for a running event so if you put the same effort into your cycling training as you put into your running expect to finish 10% further down the field.

Don't worry about age. Like Ruth says genetics and how seriously you train are more relevant. At age 50 I took my training far more seriously, knocked at least 10-15% off my time for a century and did my first Marmotte. Two years later I'm at least as fast and have improved my threshold power slightly.

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:31 pm

twotyred wrote:
I'm just wondering what I might realistically expect in terms of ability if I get into riding in a fairly serious way.


Did you ever do any events when you were running?

Not really. I did some local 5k TTs a long time ago and was neither bad nor good.

After that it became a cycle of pushing up the distance, getting injured, resting, losing fitness, getting back into it, regaining fitness, pushing up the distance, injuries recurred, rinse and repeat :(

So I gave up on the aspirations, just ran when I could. Distances up to 10-12k typically until I started getting calf strains. Tried swimming, hate it :roll: . So I guess triathlons ain't gonna figure too strongly in my future...

Love cycling - so far at least :D

Don't worry about age. Like Ruth says genetics and how seriously you train are more relevant.

Fair enough - thanks for the encouragement. Happy to train increasingly hard as long as I can avoid injury.

If I can eventually do 100 miles (either Ride London next August or, frankly, on my own!) in less than 8 hours or so it will feel like a huge achievement.

For now I plan to go out as often as I can, and gradually push up the distances (say 10% per week??), on a mixture of routes. Does that sound sensible for the initial few months?
Is the gorilla tired yet?

Tom Butcher
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby Tom Butcher » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:57 pm

A lot depends on what you want to do. Cycling can be a great leisure pursuit or a great sport - but being competitive at the sport side takes huge commitment unless you are one of the talented few. There are other challenges though - audaxes, sportives etc which can be something to aim for while being either semi competitive or non competitive.
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ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 08, 2012 13:04 pm

Tom Butcher wrote:A lot depends on what you want to do.... - audaxes, sportives etc which can be something to aim for while being ... non competitive.

^^
Very likely to be my thing, I think. If I can see my times and distances improving that will be enough for the forseeable future. I don't see the point of trying to catch up with and compete against people that have been cycling seriously for decades.
Is the gorilla tired yet?

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SBezza
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby SBezza » Mon Oct 08, 2012 13:32 pm

ChrisAOnABike wrote:
Tom Butcher wrote:A lot depends on what you want to do.... - audaxes, sportives etc which can be something to aim for while being ... non competitive.

^^
Very likely to be my thing, I think. If I can see my times and distances improving that will be enough for the forseeable future. I don't see the point of trying to catch up with and compete against people that have been cycling seriously for decades.


Why not, I only took up cycling properly 4-5 years ago, now beating alot of those that have been cycling for 3 or 4 times as long. Time spent doing an activity is not related to ability alot of the time.

colinsmith123
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby colinsmith123 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:27 pm

I don't see the point of trying to catch up with and compete against people that have been cycling seriously for decades.


To quote SBezza: Why not, I only took up cycling a year ago and racing properly this year, now beating alot of those that have been cycling for 3 or 4 times as long and more than half my age (that's the bit I like best). Time spent doing an activity is not related to ability alot of the time. Never more true than in my case.
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twotyred
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby twotyred » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:57 pm

For now I plan to go out as often as I can, and gradually push up the distances (say 10% per week??), on a mixture of routes. Does that sound sensible for the initial few months?


Sounds like a good plan. If you can only get out at weekends just don't be a weekend warrior and try to squeeze too much riding into the weekend. A turbo would also help you keep things going over the winter.

Cycling is low impact so it will be a nice change for you to see how much your body is capable of when its not being injured all the time.

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Cleat Eastwood
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Re: Expectations at age 50

Postby Cleat Eastwood » Mon Oct 08, 2012 21:45 pm

Best time to start cycling in my opinion is the autumn / winter. In the spring summer you see people making use of the light warm days and think they have to do 40-50-60 miles.....and at speed. Overdoing it can easily kill the fun of being on the bike.

In the winter its easier to do shorter rides but at a more regular pace, so you can slowly build up your base miles.

I did a local sportive just 2 weeks ago and was chatting to a guy who was 68 who told me that his mate had just won silver in his age group at a triathlon - he was 74. Use your experience to beat the race snakes - and above all have fun. :D
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