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The Factor of Age(26 posts)

The Factor of Agestan_b
Jul 29, 2003 8:56 AM
So much is being made about Lance Armstrong being almost 32. No one has even mentioned that Tyler Hamilton, who is already 32, rode an incredible race.

I just don't think that age is a huge factor yet for Armstrong. I think 35 would be when age would start to become an issue.

For non-elite cyclists, when does age really contribute to poorer performances? I would think that for this group, proper training could still allow a cyclist to continue to improve way past 35. For instance, I began cycling seriously 3 years ago when I was 28. I know I am much better now at 31. If I continue to train hard, is it possible for me to look forward to being a better cyclist at age 40 than I am now?
I'm faster at 45 than 35Dave Hickey
Jul 29, 2003 9:16 AM
Of course at 35, I was 50lbs overweight and smoked two packs a day:-) Seriously, you are going to lose a little speed as you get older but I truly believe you get tougher mentally. I have more will and desire to accomplish goals now that ever before.
Age and cycling ... Masters TT'ists and Pro TriathletesTime Trial dot org
Jul 29, 2003 9:25 AM
Masters TT'ists are very, very fast - they have been racing for a long time and know how to mentally prepare for the event ... traditionally - the winners of the Ironman have been in their early to mid 30's I believe. I think that LA will be able to get 6th with support from his wife and with a new plan to be better than Hamilton, Beloki and Ullrich. Then retire with the record. - Time Trial Racing and Training
re: The Factor of Age03Vortex
Jul 29, 2003 9:56 AM
I do think that LA will win 6 because this one was more difficult than he ever expected. That will provide him motivation in his training as opposed to an "easy" win and becoming complacent. Then I think he will retire. I don't see him going for 7. I think he owes it to himself to go for 6 and then owes it to himself and his family to retire on top. Age is not a factor here.

Tyler, I believe without question, would have been on the podium if it weren't for his collarbone. He was not 100% and placed 4th!!! true, if Beloki hadn't crashed out he would have more than likely been on the podium vs. Vino.

While some physical attributes may fade over the years, I do think mnetal strngth can and does play a bigger role.
Take care of your knees, my son.OldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 10:17 AM
Some limiters come with age that simply can't be overcome. I've been riding in very hilly terrain exclusively for 30 years, and my knees are gone because of it. I survive on ice, aspirin, and glucosamine.

Here's the kicker: I'm a lot slower in my 50s than I was in my 30s, but it's because of the knees, not the age. I have to baby them. On those rare days when the drugs, the ice the phases of the moon (and usually a week's layoff) come together for a day my knees don't hurt, I'm FASTER than I ever was 20 years ago. Part of that's the bike, but the rest is strength, learned skill and a weird stamina that has to do with a greater tolerance for suffering as you get older.

So to answer your question: Keep your joints sound and you can indeed look forward to years and years of improvment yet.
knees and Glucosaminestan_b
Jul 29, 2003 10:54 AM
I have had on/off knee problems since I was 19. I have been taking a Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM supplement every day for the last few months. I seem to notice some improvement.

From your experience, you definitely notice a difference using it?
Yeah, and not a subtle difference either.OldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 11:14 AM
I believe it makes the difference between riding and not riding for me. Most people who've taken it for long periods do a month-on, month-off regimen. At first, you take it steadily for however long it takes for the pain to lessen significantly. Then you can lay off a month (during which the cartilidge will begin to wear out again). The trick is timing. If you pick it up again before the pain really returns, you're fine. You start repairing cartilidge before the damage becomes too painful.

It saves on expense, and no one really likes taking more pills than they have to.

By the end of a month off, I feel the pain gradually getting worse, and if I go much past that, I'm in trouble. Resuming glucosamine has always been the key to getting back to a tolerable level of pain, i.e. I can ride.

Some people swear by it and I'm one of them. YMMV, of course, and I'm no doc (except a doctor of propaganda.)
so far, so goodJS Haiku Shop
Jul 29, 2003 11:22 AM
been taking glucosamine/chondroitin for about 18 months, noticed a big difference (over time). i'm not a particularly old guy (early 30s), but have had knee problems and would rather be safe. take them daily--was 2x/day for first year, now 1x/day with my other vitamins & herbals (not the kind you light, yo).
Glucosamine, Brooks and Voler = The three keys toOldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 11:32 AM
the Kingdom of comfortable riding.
gotcha on all 3, and then someJS Haiku Shop
Jul 29, 2003 11:34 AM
plus the look pedals.

voler team shorts
brooks b17 narrow
look pp296
woolie boolie socks :)

scary, eh?
If you add steel to the mixOldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 11:36 AM
we're twins.
ah, yesJS Haiku Shop
Jul 29, 2003 11:42 AM
all 4: steel cyclo-cross, fixed/ss, road, and mtb.

and i'm building up a columbus foco zeus, and have a tange prestige steel frame waiting for old parts.

but then again, i'm not a purist. i've CF and alum/CF waiting for kits, too.

I probably already know this, but in what part of the country are you located?
Old Kentucky. Southern boy too. Ride on up and we'llOldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 11:45 AM
go out and be comfortable together.

Tange Prestige? Yikes! The good stuff.
we need to have a central get-togetherJS Haiku Shop
Jul 29, 2003 11:55 AM
how far are you from st. louis?

they have two things there that interest me:

Spoke Wrench, and a beer factory.

we'd discussed a(n?) RBR gatering in october in STL.
That clinches itOldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 4:35 PM
I drink more beer than any man alive who puts in consistent triple-digit weeks (despite sn69/Scott's belief that I'm a Bourbon hound). And I admire Spoke greatly.

STL is just five-six hours away, and October sounds good unless the campaign I'm part-time consulting for heats up and needs me. Keep me posted, twin brother.
will doJS Haiku Shop
Jul 30, 2003 5:23 AM
STL is about 4 hours from here. will keep you posted as things develop.
I do ... in my back.Humma Hah
Jul 29, 2003 11:41 AM
Depends on the type of joint disease ... some people don't notice any improvement at all. I start feeling a problem in my upper back within a few days if I run out of or forget my 1200/1500 dose of G/C/MSM. Go back on it and I'm better in just a few days.

My knees are fine, in spite of 45 years of singlespeeding.
My back also.dzrider
Jul 29, 2003 12:33 PM
I have a knuckle that quickly reminds me that I haven't taken mine lately. The back cured more slowly, and acts up more slowly as well.

Also blessed with great knees. 35 years of tennis, running, cycling and very few problems. I suffer bouts of back pain and chronically sore feet/heels.

What little speed I had is a memory now, but I can ride and run a long way smiling. Survived a 300k Saturday without having a particularly good day which would have been much harder mentally at 30 than it is at 54. Something about patience, experience and confidence working together.

All us old guys out there doing have a lot to be grateful for.
Take care of your knees, my son.redge0519
Jul 29, 2003 11:02 AM
"Old" Ed-Just to give you a little hope--I destroyed my knees with college f-ball, rugby, basketball, running, etc. Turned to the bike 10 years ago to preserve what was left. Had a total knee replacement about 1 year ago. Biking is now good again! (and I can hike/backpack again).The only problem on the hills is the squeak my titanium/chromium cobalt/polyethelene joint makes when I mash a bit. So, at least for me, biking is even better after getting a new knee.
I can deal with the squeak -- I use Look pedals and ride aOldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 11:17 AM
Brooks saddle! I'll never notice.

My doc says I'll probably be looking at knee replacement someday. Good to hear it's been a success for you.
"Old age and treachery beat youth and skill"Humma Hah
Jul 29, 2003 10:29 AM
32 is NOT over the hill, particularly for an endurance sport. In the TdF, they have to have a special category for the youngsters so they have any hope of winning anything.

Armstrong's a great strategist. The TdF is as much a chess game as a demonstration of power and speed.

I'd say it would be pretty remarkable to be able to get the Grand Champion's jersey at age 45. Remarkable, but not impossible. 35 would still be young, IMO.

At 50, I'm a much better endurance rider than I was at 21, or 25. At 32-35, I was a couch potato, so don't know if I would have peaked.
Starting to slow a little.MR_GRUMPY
Jul 29, 2003 11:42 AM
My problem isn't my knees or my endurance. I just can't keep from putting on a few pounds every year. I believe that if I weighed the same as I did, when I was 40, I could still compete in hilly road races.
As an example of slowing with age, I remember the master's crits at nationals. The 30+'s averaged 29 mph, the 50'+s averaged 27, and the 60+'s 24 mph. As you can see, the speed starts to drop off fast after 60 years of age.
Starting to slow a little, don't feel too bad.mainframe
Jul 29, 2003 1:58 PM
Each decade, like it or not, our max HR declines and thus our ability to put oxygen to the system surrenders to aging physiology. The difference you exemplify can be mitigated but not avoided. Note the following article. "World records in endurance sports are not accomplished at age 55. Why? Because one of the unavoidable consequences of aging is a decline in the maximal capacity of the cardiovascular system to pump blood and deliver oxygen while removing metabolic waste products. The components of cardiovascular pump performance are 1) the maximal heart rate that can be achieved. 2) The size and contractility of the heart muscle 3) The compliance (stiffness) of the arterial tree. We will look briefly at what is known about aging effects on each of these variables.

Maximal Heart Rate
Young children generally have a maximal heart rate approaching 220 beats per minute. This maximal rate falls throughout life. By age 60 maximal heart rate in a group of 100 men will average about 160 beats per minute. This fall in heart rate seems to be a linear process so that maximal heart rate can be estimated by the formula 220- AGE. This is an ESTIMATE, however. If we actually measure the maximal heart rates of those same 100 men during a maximal exercise test we would probably see a range of heart rates between 140 and 180. There is no strong evidence to suggest that training influences the decline in maximal heart rate. This reduction appears to be due to alterations in the cardiac electrical conduction system (SA node and Bundle of His), as well as down regulation of beta-1 receptors, which decreases the heart's sensitivity to catecholamine stimulation.
Maximal Stroke Volume
The research picture regarding age effects om maximal stroke volume is far less clear. This is in part due to the technical challenges involved in making these measurements. Studies showing a decline, an increase, and no change can be found in the literature. It appears that if middle-aged and older adults continue to train intensely, stroke volume is well maintained. Heart size in older athletes has been shown to be similar to that of young athletes, and bigger than their sedentary, same-aged peers. Ultimately, maximal stroke volume appears to decrease due to a 1) decrease in training volume and 2) an increase in peripheral resistance.
The Peripheral Resistance
The blood pumped out of the heart enters the systemic arterial system. In our youth, this system of arteries is quite flexible or compliant. This is important for the performance of the heart. Compliant vessel walls stretch when blood is pumped through them, lowering the resistance that the heart must overcome to eject it volume of blood each beat. As we age, these vessels lose their elasticity. Consequently, resting blood pressure and blood pressure during exercise slowly increase as we age. Continued training appears to reduce this aging effect, but does not eliminate it. Increased peripheral resistance results in a decrease in maximal blood flow to working muscles. However, at submaximal exercise intensities, the 10-15% decrease in blood flow is compensated for by increased oxygen extraction (a-v O2 difference). This compensation is probably possible due to the increased transit time of the blood through the capillary tree.
The Big Picture
In the sedentary population, cardiovascular performance declines progressively with age. However, much of this decline is due to 1)physical inactivity and 2) increased body weight (fat). Maximal oxygen consumption declines about 10% per decade after age 25. However, if body composition is maintained and physical activity levels are kept constant, the decline in VO2max due to aging is only about 5% per decade. Prior to age 50, this decline may even be less, perhaps 1-2% per decade in hard training masters athletes. Ultimately, cardiovascular capacity is reduced however, due to the
re: The Factor of Recoverydotkaye
Jul 29, 2003 2:34 PM
I wuz puzzled by this - in most endurance sports, the peak comes in the mid-30's or even later (think Carlos Lopes winning the Oly marathon and setting world records at 38). But most TDF winners are 32 or younger: of the 5-time winners, none was older than 32 at their last win. The oldest TDF winner IIRC was 37.

I think the difference in the TDF is recovery time. The older (30's) athletes are likely not getting slower, it's just they can't recover overnight, to perform well for 3 weeks on end.

In distance running, it appears that improvement continues for 6-8 years after starting serious training, up until the 60's. That is, start training at 40, and you'll probably get faster until nearly 50: start at 60, and the results are unpredictable. I'd expect the improvements to go on longer in cycling, since it's usually injury that puts paid to runner's progress..
I'm 44, in my second year of racing, and I've been gettingbill
Jul 29, 2003 3:06 PM
faster every year I've been doing this (got my road bike in 1998). I can beat guys who look as if they should kill me -- twenty years younger, etc., etc. 'Course, a lot of guys beat me, too, both younger and older than I am.
At this level of the sport, I think that I can be competitive for another couple of years, anyway. I can't believe I won't lose speed by the time my racing age is 50, but that's only four years away. I'm not ready -- ahhhhhhh!!!!!!
Weekdays there are these sprint rides in Hains Point in D.C. -- round and round a 3 mile loop. Lots of older guys. The thirty-somethings rule, but with some of those older guys, you think that they're dropped and all of the sudden they're in front of you.
I'm 16.OPUSsum
Jul 29, 2003 7:12 PM
I ride road and XC Mtn (racer), I can't wait to see how fast I am at 31!

Ride On