Sustain 90% of VO2 max for 2.5 hours – at 59!
If I cram a decade of volume into the next year, it should be possible to raise my vo2max by 20 points and catch up at the same age, right? Time for an early retirements!
The fastest people in my club are the old geezers who never stopped training and have been doing it for decades. The slow guys are the fair weather riders.
At age 42 I was invited to join my Local Weezers and Geezers Cycling Club…
Was that an eye opener as everyone older than me dropped me on the first ride!
Moral… Age is a number however… experience is priceless!
As I head off to 48 this year… now a Cat 4 from nothing… I thank everyone older than me in that group… and even the newest younger than me for teaching me greatest trick of all time…
Sit on the back and draft for as long as you can before the ride leader calls you out and says…
Set the Pace You Young Whipper Snapper!
Go catch that Break-Away Artist and Sit on his wheel!
Riding with a cycling team of veteran racers all over 40…
Chat, Giggle, Laugh and catch and pass everyone later when the direction points upwards!
Thus, go enjoy your ride with others!
The key fact here is that the decline happens mostly when you stop exercising. I used to run and most of the good runners I raced with lost their speed when injury (and associated weight gain) cut their training. So it is spending time on the couch (usually because you are injured which mostly affects masters athletes). I was starting to pick up a lot of niggles when I tried to up my mileage past 50 miles/week in my late 40s which is what you need to keep running fast (relative I know - I was just happy if I could keep my marathons in the 2:4x range). Now just riding I hope that short of having an accident that shouldn’t be an issue and I can keep my VO2 max up even as I age - I’m 51 now - I do try and get a least 1 session a week with 120% FTP reps in it. Use it or lose it as they say!
I started regular strength and conditioning this year and that has really kept the niggles away. My 9 year old son (I’m 53) started playing tennis so we play a few times a week. I’ve had no knee, hip or elbow issues playing tennis and I credit the strength training.
I’ve been using the Maximum Overload for Cyclist book because the routine is easy to do with dumbbells and doesn’t require a gym.
I’m a case study of what happens when you do stop. I rode and raced up til age 56, then pretty much hung up the bike. Continued to lift, occasionally swim and hike in the Sierras. Started riding again at age 64. At first 15 mph was painful. I sit now with an FTP that is < 200 and seems stalled. Currently 66. I was halfway decent before, won a state hillclimb at age 44.
Hillariously I can relate to this. I’m doing TR mainly to keep up with the retired ex miners and rugby players at our club who are all much older than me and waaay faster. They never stopped training and now retired have all day to do it.
Once went on a mid week ride with a couple of them - one of them over 70 and they almost destroyed me. But they regularly do 200 mile weeks…
And I’m 54 with an OK ish FTP of 260 but I do weigh almost 98kg.
I ride with a group who is kind of “directed” by a guy in his mid 60’s. This is a fairly fast drop group and any time we come up to a stop sign, he will pass everyone, while half us us are struggling just to keep from getting dropped, then he will stop and see if any traffic is coming, wave everyone on and then catch back up with the group. It’s a little bit demoralizing. lol It’s like he could ride away from the group at any time at will. It is also very interesting to me that his average cadence is in the high 60’s to low 70’s.
I’m the young guy at 56 in my group with a sort of OK ish FTP of 219
TR is the only chance I have to stay on all the retired guys!