I’m relatively new to cycling specific training (2 years). I’m a decent athlete but for the past few summers I’ve been humbled again and again by older guys with massive legs that have been at it for years. For you older cyclists maybe 50+, what are your personal observations on how a giant FTP/ ridiculously strong legs helped you in life as you age? Are you still able to carry all your groceries inside in one trip? Haha, but seriously…
Life Lesson No1
The secret to aging well as a cyclist is to get your wife to carry the groceries in.
As a track sprinter at age 64 and 88kg, I have become aware of my lack of endurance after the 30 second mark of a 500M TT. My max wattage is 1588W, 5 sec. is 1380W, 10 sec is 1147W, but by 60 seconds, I fall off to a 558 W avg. The 60 sec. power should be over 600W. I don’t train for endurance, but I just did a 20 minute test to check my FTP and it was 250 W. In the last month , I have been working on 2’30" hill repeats with a 350W average and 10 minutes rest. I am hoping this will boost the edge of my anaerobic capacity and still help my VO2 Max. and give me a stronger finish in my most important race, the 500M TT, that usually finishes in about 38 sec. I sag too much at the end of that race. I am also doing 60 sec efforts at about 500W for 4 reps with 6 minute rest. In the past, I focused on building crazy leg strength in the gym and worked only on top speed and standing starts, but that lets my power fall off fast after 20 seconds where I am still at 984 W. My finish at 38 seconds leaves me left with only about 400W. The race is known to be best done with maximum output at the start , letting you decay much by the finish. I have played with Tabata protocol intervals, where I do a set of eight 20 sec repeats at 480W with 10 sec rest. Take 6 minutes rest and do 3 more sets of 8, with power declining as I fatigue by 10 W/ set. These are really hard, but maybe the best thing to build me up? Does anyone have an opinion whether I should focus on Tabata intervals vs 2’ 30 " hill repeats vs 60 sec repeats if I want to improve my finishes ? I only ride about 3 hours/week.
I’m only 42, but I had so many of my older friends tell me that their “metabolism just changed” when they turned like 30… turned out they also “stopped working out” which was probably a bigger factor in their body composition change. It’s a lot easier to keep unwanted weight off when you burn 1,400 calories before most people are awake, so I’d say that’s a pretty tremendous benefit!
I’ll relate a story from this week…being in the Chicago area, and combined with COVID19, there have been precious few chances to get out and ride this year. Got out twice this week, though…
Second day I was just doing my thing over some rollers and it hit me…damn, I feel good. No, better…I feel alive. I don’t feel 54, and ya know what, right now I feel like I did back in my 20’s.
I’m also stronger and faster now than I ever was back then.
In my book, that is a win.