Interesting question. Guess I’m not alone in the soul-searching that went on during the dumpster fire known as 2020. It was distressing. However, I am glad that adversity exposed some things (and sadly people) that weren’t good for me so they could be jettisoned. It made me feel old.
Typically I’m comfortable being alone. I spend most of the year riding alone. Starting last summer, once a week I would ride with a riding partner. Turns out, I really needed that.
Riding bikes is in my blood. It isn’t only an outlet for my competitive nature, it’s where I’ve made some of my closest friends. We’ve been through things together. I think that’s a big reason why I am going to keep riding as long as I can.
To answer the op and my own questions I think we do this to stay young. Feel young. Delay the slow decay of body and mind. I’m watching my Dad and Mom both 81 go through dementia. Both still super active running, riding, hiking, kayaking, x-c skiing…but uber slow and brittle. We talk about it. How they used to be when in their 30’s etc…
Looking back is human but, I think it’s a unique flaw to everyone save a few. Being at peace and in the moment is such a blessing if you can do it. I’m always looking back and forward. Rare to be in the moment. Except for when I ride or sail or with the kids at dinner. Maybe that’s it. Riding keeps you in the moment.
Sixty-seven here. All I have to say is, get back on that bike, sonny. And remember, there’s no crying in cycling. Well . . . there is crying. Lots of crying. But then, after the sweat and pain, because of the sweat and pain, you have a healthy body and the joy of the experience itself.
But what is the alternative? The couch?
Though, I do admit, I have never come to grips with the likelihood that my hope of being recruited by Team Ineos (or even Movistar) grow dimmer with every passing day.
I am not young (early 50’s), and i’m definitely mid-to-back of the pack. I’m the classic suburban dad on a bike. I am a better human, overall, when i’m working on a plan to improve, and the bike is my favorite way to do it. i like to travel, see the countryside and bikes make it easier to get out there. But, ultimately, like @Kris_Wyman said, I don’t do this for the results, i do this because it’s the best way to keep my mental health in balance, the black dog at bay.
I turn 44 years old tomorrow actually and only started really riding any type of real mileage or hours in last 3 years so I am happy to ride more and don’t feel slow at all. Still getting stronger and building my base.
I love it so much that I have pretty much given up running to ride full time even though I have no issues running.
Been contemplating adding a Diverge or Epic to go with my Specialized Tarmac SL6.
My good friend is 52 and rides 15- 20+ hours a week for the last 2+ years and he smashes people 20 years younger than him.
My goal is to be a M45+ national crit champ, riding my SWORKS Tarmac SL20 with Dura Ace Di 14050.
M55+, masters track world championships?
I’ve viewed the years between U23 and Masters 45+ as the time for professional development and family commitment. I’ve seen such incredibly strong guys in their 50’s and 60’s that I’m not too worried about my limits.
45 this year, 5 years in cycling, training 10h per week only with one purpose - to beat those younger m…f.ers
but on a more serious note - just do what you love to do to see how far you can go. And remember - only you can set the limits and determine how important it is to you
Convertible + young girl-friend + divorce is far more expensive than all my bikes. It’s a good way to live out the midlife crisis, you just have to shift goals/ambitions. I’ve moved to more “extreme” events where it is about beating myself and not beating others. However, I’m still somehow competitive in shorter events as well, maintaining this is a goal, too. And the process of training is fun as well. My bigger problem is that we’re now into the second year where all events get cancelled. Training without a goal is difficult. I want to train, not just exercise.
I sometimes look at the young lads in the bunch and think to myself, “Gosh it would have been great to pick this sport up at 19/20 years old!” Unfortunately, for me, it was all about football - cycling was never an option and was always looked down upon in derogatory terms because of the Lycra wearing etc. All those beliefs were incredibly shortsighted because cycling is right up there with one of the hardest sports physically. It was just never introduced to us as an option. Instead, we spent hours in the gym bulking up for football and getting whacked around the field for the best part of 15 years. I’m still carrying injuries from those days that impact me on the bike! I look at the young lads and think that they are lucky to be able to enjoy the sport so young.
Psychologically it is quite difficult to flog yourself and know that physiologically your are on the downward slope in terms of cardiac output etc. It’s a numbers game and it’s hard to see your max capacity slide over the years, I get it. However, I have seen some 50-60 year olds in races and in bunch rides that are absolute Ox’s and can hold 300-350w continually without fail. Absolute workhorses out on the road! They get so good by flipping their mindset and focusing on what they can do well rather than their weakness - climbing mostly. So you look at guys like that and watch them spank anyone else who comes close to them in crit races and flat road races and you realise that it’s all about mindset and focusing on your strengths just as much as it is about the legs.
I have found that I enjoy racing and also Zwift racing - not to win, but to just step into the ring and have a crack. Help a mate out by leading them out so they can experience a podium finish. It’s those little one percenters that keep me in the game. I may not climb as fast as the young bucks, but you stick me in front of a bunch and I’ll pull the hard yards into a headwind more easily than most. It’s not about winning anymore. It’s just about being there. Being alive. Being tactfully smart in a race. Knowing when to chase. Knowing when to lead out. Knowing that there is a moment or two in the race where I know that I’m suffering less than the guys behind me. The thrill of just being present.
I also like that my family get to see me be active and fit and take pride in a sport that I’m working hard at. That’s worth more than any podium. If I can inspire my kids to take up cycling as a sport early - if they choose to of course - then that is worth more than any race win.
No reason at all you can’t switch either cycling focus or even get into a new sport.
Maybe some non-sport hobby. There are far more interesting and intellectual hobbies in this world than pedalling a bicycle, no matter how we dress it up or get geeky on the training aspect of it.
If it’s becoming a drag. Take a time out and get into something else.
You can rebound and come full circle and find your love for it again that way too.
I see guys late 40s and early 50s still holding world records in ultra-distances. Also worth noting, cycling is more than about racing. I’d actually strongly argue racing is the least important aspect of cycling.