Something I would love to see expanded upon in the PodCasts

Background: I’m a 60 yo cyclist with 30 yrs of racing exp (6’1", 80 kg). My first “10 speed” bike I bought for $105 in 1974. Been riding ever since, racing since 92. Last 20 yrs averaging 7000-11000 mile/yr. Cat 4, then to Masters 1/2/3/4. Now retired, living in the Philippines and race here about 3-4/month crits and RR’s. (talk about heat acclimatization!!:grin::grin: - but no cramps!!)

I love the podcast, appointment viewing on Friday morning for me here for the last 3 years. Started using TR w/power in 2012 (?), just started again since the lock down started.

In watching the Podcast, I come away knowing that the advise and discussion is great, but that I must always make adjustments for my age. I know that everyone (almost) likes to refer to themselves as “average”. And that Nate, Chad, Jonathan and Amber sometimes refer to themselves as average, but really in the big picture, they are in the top 5% of the competitive cycling population. They are all exceptionally talented, focused and hard working…and young.

I would love to see you have a guest who is an older cyclist who can speak to older cyclists from experience. Everyone will be in this boat one day, in that the gains become harder to get, and PB’s are further in the past as each year goes by, regardless of effort, diet, weights (squats, etc.) or motivation.
I know that when I do my Ramp Test and get result of 257 or 247, that I have to knock that down due to my age. I use about a 0.9 factor and set 225 as my FTP, so I can finish consecutive workouts. I can do a workout at 245 ftp, but I cannot get in enough recovery to complete the plan. (I’m on SSBMV1, Rolling RR focus).
And at a set FTP of 245 over-unders feel like over-overs. One thing that kills me in races and hard group rides are spikes over 350 watts (attacks and short hills), I just need more recovery than younger guys. I have found that no matter what I do, I am limited by the a fact I am getting older. The last 3 years have really shown me that, especially since in almost every race and hard group ride, my fellow riders are usually in their 30’s/40’s. And Zwift racing has no age categories.

Also, I have been experimenting with calorie intake over the past months on TR & Zwift races, and find that its nowhere near the 90 grams/hr of a rider with a higher FTP. My work rate, with a low FTP, is much lower that someone with a 375 FTP. Would love to hear this discussed, as it seems to me that calorie intake is directly related to FTP (work rate ability).

Any perspectives for senior cyclists who want to remain as competitive as possible would be of value. I know I’m on the downward side of the curve, and I know what I need to do to “flatten” it, just would like to hear what other competitive old guys are doing to keep as much of their gains as possible.

Thanks!
Ray

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Whilst I’m not in your age category just yet :wink: I do think this would make an interesting topic for discussion. After all, we’re only getting older and we’ll get there, if we’re lucky.

Totally agree with you on this point. Might be that they consider themselves ‘average’ due to the calibre of the cyclists in their area(s).

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I agree - this would be an excellent topic.
I started riding (and running and Tri) only 5 years ago and thanks to TR i’ve become reasonably fast. I feel 15 years younger than i did before i started riding and i love being able to buzz along at a decent pace for mile after mile feeling young and awesome… until i don’t, until i feel slightly more tired than i’d like or reach a talent ceiling. Then I have to tell myself that i’m nearly 50 and i’m not the invincible 25 year old i once was.

How should us older guys/gals approach cycling?
Our age group can clearly still be very fast but what is the impact for recovery etc?
What should our expectations be? Are we a bit silly trying to race?
or should we enjoy the childlike joy of pedalling fast for as long as possible and ignore the chronological age?

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This would be a good idea - at 54 I’m not quite up to your age but it does seem to be for many a later in life onset sport. I always dabbled in MTB but only got into more serious road riding in the last 4 or 5 years.
There’s plenty of fast old guys in the club I’m in but they’re retired and putting in 200 miles most weeks. :grin: Lucky dogs.

Good points though - should and how would you adjust for age? Does FTP not get around that anyway where as if you can test to that power surely you can train to that power?

Just a thought but be good to have an average older cyclist on the pod maybe. :grin: David Millar?

I’m coming up to 64 and to keep going find the best way is to ride ( presently Group Workouts) with some peers and under 16’s where you can be pulled out just enough without taking a hammering. I’m also a coach so i can pass on help, teach skills and riding awareness with a younger group. Senior (O17’s) are just too strong, unless you catch them on a recovery ride.
As regards indoor workouts, because of the new Group riding, i have to use the stock TR workouts. Otherwise I would be using my custom ones, where the peaks are tapered back a bit, or recoveries increased in tme but at a higher intensity.
I’ve a feeling this is being addressed, but could be wrong as Amber is working on some new feature, but this may be more for female riders.

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Hi Ray,
This is a great post and I totally agree. Im a 64 yr old mtb (female) racer and have recently started on TR. Im small 5 ft 2, and weigh 110 lbs. Like you, I struggle with the change of pace in the road races and get dropped quite quickly if there are too many bursts. In mtb and cx racing I beat many riders I cant hang with on the road. I find some of the workouts on here really hard, struggled with Carillon +2 and had to quit. Better since then though. Older folk are a huge % of our racing scene over here. I`ve been a competitive runner for 25 years ,and competed in Triathlon, TT, 24 hr mtb and won our National championships for some years Cross country mtb… I won the Masters world cx in the O/40 cat, and now I want to repeat t hat in the O/65s. Do you think our Ftp decreases over the years? has it in your experience. You sound like you are a similar, probably higher level athlete than I .Lets encourage them to do this Podcast. I will be so keen to listen

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My FTP has gone down over the last few years. But what has really disappeared is my sprint power. In my 30’s and 40’s I could easily get over 40-42 mph is a sprint, on a flat road. In my 50’s my top speed dropped to about 38 mph. Now, I’m lucky to hit 34 mph. I used to be able to stand up and jump, sit down and spin, and then shift and stand up again for the last 200 m. Those days are over, once I sit down I just spin as fast as I can. :grin::grin:

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:frowning_face:me too!

Lydia, you racing pedegree is vast. I can compete in my age at national level with top 10s, locally top 5 and occasional wins. For the last 6 months I’ve been holding my FTP at around 230 at 68kg, and see this as improvement, compensating against getting older. Working in a group environment is great for giving examples of what efforts are similar to race situations and how to react to them. The lads I work with don’t complain and can’t wait to put the learning into practise once lockdown is eased.

Regarding sprinting, I used to gain a length with my first kick, but that disappeared 10 years ago. Against the O60s I have to rely upon getting the best wheel to follow and time my kick to perfection, mostly out of the saddle. Or make well timed hail Mary moves that sometimes work.

@Nate, good post here for inclusion in a future episode.

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Totally agree & thanks to the OP. I’m 55 and been wondering about the TR approach as it applies to someone of my age. In particular when I read “fast over 50” and the focus it puts on VO2 etc & comparing with the sweet spot focus of the TR plans I wonder if there’s potential for improvements we are missing.
I’m in a specialty phase right now - I have no events, but have not seen FTP via ramp test improvements after either base or build, I figure maybe the change in emphasis would show me something from which I could learn.
Anyway, I felt so much better when reading this & realising others were having similar experiences and thoughts, so thanks!
I’ve managed to force some improvements in FTP by raising manually, I’ve not (yet) failed a workout, but “manageably difficult” clearly has different meaning to different people. Interested to hear others perspective and journey.

For what its worth my personal belief is that TR plans are designed for 20-40 year olds (and not older masters athletes). I’ve got a couple plans from other coaches, designed for masters athletes, and versus younger riders they have fewer intervals and more aerobic endurance work. For context I’m two years younger than you and this is my 5th season. I’m a volume responder, recognize the need to strength train, and given younger training age am prepared to do longer 16-20 week base to build the aerobic engine.

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I’m 61, 1.80m tall and weigh 86kg. Currently have an FTP of 266W so 3.1W/kg or thereabouts. Cycling is my third sport - I was a climber (rock and mountaineering) for thirty years, that overlapped with fell running (mountain running) until I got to 50 or so when I began to bike more. Gave up the running about seven years ago when I had a hip replacement.

I’ve spent much of my working life doing physical work, I grew up on a farm and worked in the construction industry as well. As a result I’ve a pretty good aerobic engine and can ride all day. Where I struggle are the high power intervals, I’m more: light the blue touch paper and … better go and grab a cup of tea.

I can push myself pretty hard - this last week I’ve gained a handful of Strava top tens for example so there’s live in this old dog yet!

I’m not too bad with the plans - I did SSB LV and Sustained Power Build LV without problem but with a lot of time I’ve moved up to the MV version of the Climbing Road Race speciality plan though I’ve subbed out the weekend rides for outdoor rides so far. I monitor things using intervals.icu, the two times I’ve felt I’ve overdone things that site showed that I’d dipped into the red in terms of form. I’ve yet to feel the need to swap in extra recovery weeks say 2:1 rather than the planned 3:1.

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Just turned 79, and share this wish. No past glories to relive – since I didn’t pedal a bike after childhood until I was 60 – just a present life that working pretty hard on a bike with TR’s help has really helped make so enjoyable the last few years. TR’s mission is of course to make us all faster – with an obligatory nod to us “recreational” cyclists, but mostly in the context of organized competition – whereas my mission is to be as healthy and happy as I can for the time I still have. Paradoxically all their data and research on getting to their finish lines faster have helped me get to my own inevitable finish line more SLOWLY (and happily) than I would have as couch potato, so I’m hugely indebted to them for that. But sometimes I wish they would get as explicit and specific about actual physiological issues confronting genuinely old riders like me as they have on the arcane rules of how I can advance through racing categories. :rofl:

For instance. In several years of podcasts I’ve heard repeatedly that the older cyclists get the more recovery they need. But they use that term so many ways – e.g. for a) the short rests between short intervals, b) the longer rests between sets of intervals or between longer intervals, c) the days between hard workouts, e) the proportion of hard weeks to easy weeks in a block, f) the spacing and timing of the blocks in a year, again with the design of trying to win a specific race. This old man is just trying to figure out whether to favor or customize workouts with longer rests between efforts, or build his own plan with workouts every two days instead of every other day, or a plan with one week on, one week off, or what? So that – since his age requires more recovery – he gets the most benefit he can out of the interval/set/workout/week/plan. The podcast a week or two ago – where @ambermalika and @Jonathan – were laughing about the Russian dolls was the first time I’d heard this made explicit. Recovery is apparently all of the above. But I still want to know what exactly to tinker with, at my age, and how I can tell if it’s the right tweak.

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from the beginning in 2016 after a month or so of putting in 6 hour weeks I could ride all day. Took a bunch of time off last year / 2019 and again had the same experience. Looking back at 2016-2017, and again this year in 2020, I’ve found doing 8-12 hour weeks for a couple months provide additional “top-end horsepower” to the aerobic engine and I’m NOT struggling with high power intervals like I do when just putting in the time on SSB LV/MV. Never going back to the less time / more structure / more hard days approach to the later phases of building a base.

Like you definitely feel the need for an older cyclist to give some guidance.

Funny thing my 10 speed bought in 1971 was $105 as well…all my savings went into a bike!

I am turning 60 this month. I have been using TR since late 2015. Unlike you though my background is completely different. Athletic in my early years but was diagnosed with Crohns at 19. Life goes on, multiple surgeries and lots of ill health till two significant surgeries in my early 50s. At 53 with no fitness and years of neglect I start to ride. The body doesnt adapt very quickly is what I learned. When you do 8 push ups and tear a tendon, or when you lift a suitcase and some of your muslces tear…you learn you need to adjust.

The plans for me were a challenge. Mostly physical parts of breaking down. A couple of years of TR low volume plans and 18 months with a physio working on whatever I was breaking has me now feeling great and well able to ride. I have learned how to monitor my body, learned that yoga is essential for me. Work on the core. Have an ache…get it worked on right away. All this sounds simple when you understand but as I get older I do wonder what not to do as well

All this to say I think at this point I feel strong and ready to keep working.

The debate for me is what to follow. I find TR workouts are fine but at times they just dont make sense for me. Normally this is workouts at too high of an FTP. Subtle tweaks to lower tend to work or doing -1 versions. Would love input from someone who has been through cycling in their 60s on what worked and what didnt. Is their and older version of young Chad out there?

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Wow that’s great reading the initial questions & replies as I have also been thinking along the same line - though being a little younger at 52 I may be slightly different. I came from racing Motorcycles nationally and playing rugby up to my early 40’s where I was a typical MTB weekend warrior, gave up the rugby and went road riding and dabbling in a few crits and local MTB cross country races, this led me into using TR just over 18mths ago and gave me a massive boost into challenging for top 10 positions in nationals (FTP from 230 to 300 & weight from 83kg to 73kg). I’m currently doing the High volume short power route due to lockdown (mid volume used before) and i’m starting the build this week but my FTP has not moved up significantly since hitting 295 12months ago. Do get real tired during heavy weeks and as others have mentioned maybe need more recovery time built into the training plans for all the vets. Maybe there should be a selection built into the training plan builder that looks at older athletes?

This is something that I think Nate has said that they are looking at.

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I too would like to see this discussed again, it was quite a regular topic a few years ago.
A guest could be problematic though, an older ATHLETE guest would be great, but they would be outliers - Ned Overend, or Rebecca Rusch - even Joe Friel for example. All have decades of top level training and/or racing, or both. Hard to apply to newer cyclists currently looking at a paradox of power gains through improved technique, lifestyle and training structure, whilst trying to mediate for a “physiologically weakening” body. All the same maybe a less publicly recognised guest with the specific training experience would be better? Yes, some on this thread would have been training all their active life, but those people can use the examples mentioned above. Anyway here’s a link if I add it right … https://blog.trainerroad.com/how-aging-athletes-can-get-faster/

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