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  1. #1
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    Cycling Down The Same Old Paths: The Dissipation Of Spirit, Speed, and Endurance

    I'm lucky: I have a small fleet of two Waterfords (touring and a lighter racing model) plus a Jamis Mtn Bike. I used to knock off a mile century and still imbibe a six pack and engorge a pizza, but aging has cut down on my mileage and my intake abilities. The being old part is not as formidable as the mental detriment to remaining a strong rider. I have ridden the same trails for 35 years plus the streets to the trailheads and the dullness of the same paths and the flatness makes me weary before even mounting up. The people I used to ride with suffer from maladies that include turning into to dust or disability from knee and shoulder infirmities. I get to travel to Colorado but can't begin to tackle the big rides. The local groups travel the same paths every Sunday, Wednesday, and early daily am. And the speeds are now to intense for me to keep up. And Peleton style holds little pleasure. I feel like I'm on a downhill that is an upgrade. Any advice?
    Last edited by contract truckman; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:30 AM. Reason: spelling puntuation

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    sure...same decision that Lennard Zinn chose and I will likely choose one day to 'stay in the game'. Lennard Zinn, our modern day Sheldon Brown suffers from a heart arrhythmia which has side lined him as a masters racer. A high end E-road bike. A 500 watt motor will keep you in the game. Of course, you don't have to use all that. Calibrate it to supplement your power level to derive the performance level you prefer.

  3. #3
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    What is your age?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom54 View Post
    What is your age?
    older than dirt. I don't like to say because it makes me weepy eyed.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by contract truckman View Post
    Any advice?
    All you can do is all you can do.

    In my prime (and my prime came relatively late) I was a force to be rekon'd. A day on the bike was literally that... with anything less than 40 miles seen as a "failure". Indeed, those were the days where rides averaged at least 50 at speed (18+) and sometimes extended into double centuries just because there was enuff daylight AND, I had to get home!

    I've got over 20 rigs in my basement and today, I can barely ride a half mile round trip to my nearest market (and that's because it IS my nearest market). It is a mental burden.

    I've also had my share of "comebacks" from injuries to surgeries to other pressing priorities, but I fear that this may be my last hurrah. A year ago, I broke my back and it's been a slow but definite downhill trend since.


    Advice? Nothing that will turn back the clock. But, there is still the knowledge garnered, the experiences and the friendships made (my absolute ride or die friends are all cyclists too).


    Also, I've not given up completely. While the prospect of returning to my former glory of looking over my shoulder and wondering where the rest of the group was is prolly gone forever, I also think that there is wiggle room and it ain't over till it's over.


    I can recall a comeback about 10 years ago when I actually broke down and cried as I rode over those familiar roads that I thought I'd never see on a bike again. Maybe, just maybe, I might see them again.


    All you can do is all you can do.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by contract truckman View Post
    Any advice?
    become a wrench and resurrect vintage lightweights. you can embrace the sport in a different way.

    or htfu.

    and smoke 'em if ya got 'em. you'd be surprised how god's natural herbal supplements can motivate you.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by contract truckman View Post
    I'm lucky: I have a small fleet of two Waterfords (touring and a lighter racing model) plus a Jamis Mtn Bike. I used to knock off a mile century and still imbibe a six pack and engorge a pizza, but aging has cut down on my mileage and my intake abilities. The being old part is not as formidable as the mental detriment to remaining a strong rider. I have ridden the same trails for 35 years plus the streets to the trailheads and the dullness of the same paths and the flatness makes me weary before even mounting up. The people I used to ride with suffer from maladies that include turning into to dust or disability from knee and shoulder infirmities. I get to travel to Colorado but can't begin to tackle the big rides. The local groups travel the same paths every Sunday, Wednesday, and early daily am. And the speeds are now to intense for me to keep up. And Peleton style holds little pleasure. I feel like I'm on a downhill that is an upgrade. Any advice?
    Sounds to me like you are suffering from boredom from doing the same rides. A few suggestions:
    - take a break from riding. Maybe you just need to get away from it for awhile to regain the passion
    - set a goal. Find a ride you can do next year that is not close to where you live.
    - do a different type of riding. Maybe a gravel bike, recumbent, fixie. Something that changes the way you ride

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    become a wrench and resurrect vintage lightweights. you can embrace the sport in a different way.

    or htfu.

    and smoke 'em if ya got 'em. you'd be surprised how god's natural herbal supplements can motivate you.
    good post bf...good stuff...lol. Hell yeah!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    become a wrench and resurrect vintage lightweights. you can embrace the sport in a different way.

    or htfu.

    and smoke 'em if ya got 'em. you'd be surprised how god's natural herbal supplements can motivate you.
    Haha! Great answer! Because of you I came within inches of buying a restored late 1970s Scwinn LeTour (I think) because I want to ride a steel frame to see what it’s like and a retro was an affordable way to do that. It had stem shifters though, if it wasn’t for that it’s be in my garage right now!
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  10. #10
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    A new thiought

    Quote Originally Posted by 11spd View Post
    sure...same decision that Lennard Zinn chose and I will likely choose one day to 'stay in the game'. Lennard Zinn, our modern day Sheldon Brown suffers from a heart arrhythmia which has side lined him as a masters racer. A high end E-road bike. A 500 watt motor will keep you in the game. Of course, you don't have to use all that. Calibrate it to supplement your power level to derive the performance level you prefer.
    For me this would be a novel idea and worth investigating.

  11. #11
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    In the heyday of over the road trucking accompanied by CB radio, the most common departing greeting was "Keep on trucking" which I guess for you could be "Keep on cycling." For me chasing somebody and at least staying even would be great; but in spite of my equipment I hear "on your left" all to often as a beater fixie blows by.

  12. #12
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    Not as old as Metheuselah

    Quote Originally Posted by 11spd View Post
    older than dirt. I don't like to say because it makes me weepy eyed.
    Seventy-one with no artificial parts. But the leg doesn't flyover the saddle like it used to. Compared to some of my cohorts I am more flexible and still have more endurance. But comparing performance to a friend who has had two open heart surgeries and now pedals for 15 seconds and coasts until he has to pedal to stay upright ain't saying a whole lot. Or the friends that "drink alot."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    become a wrench and resurrect vintage lightweights. you can embrace the sport in a different way.

    or htfu.

    and smoke 'em if ya got 'em. you'd be surprised how god's natural herbal supplements can motivate you.
    Yossarian offers sage counsel. Maybe a different herb will bring improved attitude and increased mph and a belief that the headwind is just a helpful challenge

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    Sounds to me like you are suffering from boredom from doing the same rides. A few suggestions:
    - take a break from riding. Maybe you just need to get away from it for awhile to regain the passion
    - set a goal. Find a ride you can do next year that is not close to where you live.
    - do a different type of riding. Maybe a gravel bike, recumbent, fixie. Something that changes the way you ride
    Yo, Yo, YO, setting a goal for a trip to Missoula and Couer d'Alene is dynamite. What you have made me realize even more is that changing the way I ride means that I ought to figure out a way not to do the same geography solo as I have for the past 30 years. I need to ride with somebody that I have to chase and will put out the effort to not get dropped. Thanks

  15. #15
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    Dunno truckman, I'd go within my capabilities, keep down the body weight, do full movements when kneeling and walking heads up and back straight, and stay limber on and off the bike. Old people tighten up. Their muscles lose elasticity and atrophy.

    I'm 75, hit with shoulder injuries on several occassions. The docs say exercise after surgery or things won't go back to normal. Couldn't lift my right arm up my back without intense pain in the shoulder for two years after taking a spill. Kept stretching it, and now it works great. Right knee injury from weightlifting lasted a couple of years riding, until I learned to spin. Now I can hop up steps without fear of throwing out the knee.

    The key: keep moving. How intensely doesn't matter. Go by feel. Listen to the body. Best to work within your capabilities, which in most cases are considerably above what an old man might feel. A Swiss doctor advised his 104 year old cyclist patient to roll back his 80+ mile a week schedule and do shorter rides with higher intensity intervals. His times got faster. He became "fitter."

    With me, the aches and pains of old age are the main deterrent to throwing on the jersey, pumping up the tires, and going on a ride. Once the ride starts, its just like old times. I practice my spin, easy as pie. Everything falls into rhythm and feeds body and soul, like Italian opera. The hardest part is simply getting out the door. Where I ride doesn't matter. I sure don't worry about riders who pass anymore. It used to be fun to try and stay with them. Once in a while I'll catch someone on the first climb. That's what 40 years in the saddle will do for ya once you get your spin down.

    The older I get, the more important it is to "stay on form," as the saying goes. Lose form and things start to fall apart. Tai chi, man. Keep an even strain. Smell the roses. It ain't over until the medics take that bike out of my cold dead hands!
    Last edited by Fredrico; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:24 AM.

  16. #16
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    You need to move.
    Your roots seem to be getting in the way of your life's progress.

    edit: 68 here, and ready to move again.
    Last edited by SantaCruz; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:16 AM.

  17. #17
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    There isn't anything you can do about age.... Likewise I'm 34 and will never race a serious bike race in my life or be competitive in that sense. There are other things to win in life. There are also other ways to ride your bike. You can buy an electric bike. There's a guy I know of in an over 50s riding group that had a heart attack and now he rides an e-bike. It's not a cardinal sin and if it gets you back on the road its not such a big deal. The biggest thing a man can do in his life is get over his own ego.

  18. #18
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    What you are describing is partly a lack of exercise, but mostly a classic case of clinical depression. Talk to your doctor. There are many medications available.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  19. #19
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    Looking at were you live, it looks like the Chicago area. There are probably enough different clubs around there that ride different routes and difference levels/pace where you won't get bored. Are there any different clubs you can join that will give you new routes to ride?

    And you can always use Ridewithgps.com to plan and discover new routes on your own. I don't know how good you are with technology. I don't have a Garmin or anything like that, but I use Ridewithgps.com to plan routes and print cue sheets. It's a fairly intuitive program.

    I tend to do more solo rides than group rides these days, but enjoy both. I'm 57 and don't consider myself the competitive type, but I like to challenge myself and stay in good shape.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBL450 View Post
    Because of you I came within inches of buying a restored late 1970s Scwinn LeTour because I want to ride a steel frame... had stem shifters though...
    for a schwinn like that, stem shifters are easy enough to remove and add down tube shifters. i can sometimes find suntour dt shifters at my co-op lbs for $5.

    some lower-level bikes, though, have those ugly brazed-on down tube stops for their stem shifters. (like peugeots.) they're not worth the trouble.

    a super letour is about as low as i would go with a schwinn for my own personal use, but you can flip pretty much anything.

    i just finished an '87 schwinn circuit. their mid-late '80s lineup was pretty stellar for mid-level steel.

    but nothing beats a paramount.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  21. #21
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    My take-
    Don't stop pedaling. Once you stop, it gets harder and harder to start again as you get older.

    Instead, I would find a new goal that inspires you. Maybe a new discipline within the sport, a trip to a beautiful (and warm) cycling locale, or something else to look forward to, or maybe a new group of friends that can show you new routes or new ways to look at the same old roads. Slap on some easier gears and see how they work for you.

    You don't have to be as good as you used to be or as good as that other guy. You just have to be able to turn over the pedals.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Looking at were you live, it looks like the Chicago area. There are probably enough different clubs around there that ride different routes and difference levels/pace where you won't get bored. Are there any different clubs you can join that will give you new routes to ride?

    And you can always use Ridewithgps.com to plan and discover new routes on your own. I don't know how good you are with technology. I don't have a Garmin or anything like that, but I use Ridewithgps.com to plan routes and print cue sheets. It's a fairly intuitive program.

    I tend to do more solo rides than group rides these days, but enjoy both. I'm 57 and don't consider myself the competitive type, but I like to challenge myself and stay in good shape.
    Yep...domocile is Oak Park. Two years ago I made the effort and the drive to ride with the Elmhurst Bike Club. The rides were regular and the leaders efficient, but the routes repetitive along with the same lunch stops. Most of the participants seemed to be pedaling for the exercise and more interested in fitting the workout into the rest of their plans. I tried a beginning to intermediate group that had more varied rides and social occasions. But as the group grew the leader excised the more intermediate riders. Those experiences returned me to being a solo sojourner. But then my speed and endurance began to drop off and I spent more time with an Ashtanga Yoga practice. Community is great but the aerobics limited. And of course it is hard to keep up with the participants who are 30 to 40 years younger than I am. PerhapsI can find a coach to coax me out of my malaise, but I will keep looking around for different groups.

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    I am not sure where to draw the line between just depressed and clinical depression. But I would certainly concur in a diagnosis of some level of depression. My exercise routine is not zero; I ride to the yoga studio and back everyday to complete an Ashtanga practice that takes almost two hours. But the ride is into the Loop area of Chitown and except on Sundays has high stressors of traffic and pedestrians in the bike lanes along with uber, lyft, delivery and construction vehicles. Usually the elevator isn't running and I have to carry my bike up and down three flights of stairs. However, the adrenaline and dopamine from knocking out a century did do away with any couch and tv depression. Do you still think a shrink will get me in the pink?

  24. #24
    The Slow One.
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    Every pursuit has its highs and lows. If it was this climbing, linear path of progress until the day you die, life would be far less interesting.

    Me? I think you need a ride that reminds you why you like cycling in the first place. Maybe you just need to see what's around that next corner or feel some warm sun on your back.

  25. #25
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    Rolling Stone Syndromn

    Quote Originally Posted by SantaCruz View Post
    You need to move.
    Your roots seem to be getting in the way of your life's progress.

    edit: 68 here, and ready to move again.
    Missoula, Coeur d'alene, Taos, Fruita, Paonia, Colorado, are regular fantasy visions. But my spouse of 33 years ain't going anywhere and splitting up isn't an option. I did get three weeks to travel to The Maze and Capitol Reef in October. I could, however, easily disappear: 1999 Subruban and a small trailer with bike mounts on the floor of the trailer for my three bikes. Just need to get off the leash.

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