I’m a 50-year-old guy who fell out of cycling 20 years ago for reasons unknown before getting sucked into realizing some lifelong (yet unambitious) car related dreams. All told, I went from being a 145lbs 30-year-old guy with average fitness to a horribly unfit, 185-195lbs 48-year-old.
Then 2021 came around and my right shoulder stopped working. No damage, just “stuff that can happen when you’re closing in on 50”, the doctor said. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the rehab forced me to stretch and start strength work to restore the full function of my dominant arm. The work made me feel good. Even better was my wife started doing it with me.
Then we started riding our bikes again and by the fall of 2021, we had invested in modern mountain bikes (Pivot SwitchBlade for me). I took to my old stomping grounds (Gatineau Park) to tackle a route I did routinely in my 20s. I couldn’t get anywhere near my target. Not my target time. I couldn’t get anywhere near as far away from the parking lot as I had hoped. I had to walk up several sections as other rode by me. Humiliation.
In response, winter 2021-22 saw us on dumb trainers with our old bikes doing our best take on “intervals”. Riding in 2022 was much improved. I managed that old route, including the longish, steep, steady climb that stands resolutely between riders and the parking lot. By the fall, I was tackling rides with more climbing than I would have thought possible in 2021.
Then on Dec 3, 2022, I did my first Ramp Test with TR on a smart trainer (using my trusty '92 StumpJumper) netting a paltry 139W FTP. From there, it was a Low Volume Plan with a focus on XCO. “Ask a Cyclist Coach” is alwasy on now: on YouTube, in the car, and in my earphones when commuting or doing chores (working through the back catalog current episodes) has provided tons of inspiration and motivation.
Now, I’m at 178W (still paltry), weigh about 173lbs, and going faster on nearly every outdoor ride, even when I’m not pushing my pace. I sleep better, I feel better, I’m happier, and I’m so motivated to keep going.
My wife’s gains (she’s in her 60s) are not as big (not sure that’s the right word), but she is also motivated and happy with the change in our lifestyle, which for her includes regular strength training as well. We’re even talking about engaging a dietician to bring the same structure to our eating.
I’m going to finish Short Power Build this month and will be trying Mid-Volume over the winter.