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Training for old guys like me(15 posts)

Training for old guys like medownunderracer
Aug 30, 2001 8:33 PM
Having decided at 40 years of age to take up racing (is my mid-life crisis showing?), I'm interested in hearing from others with similar experience about training techniques. I've bought a new bike with reasonable specs and have joined a couple of group rides to get the hang of riding in a bunch, but am finding my fitness lacking. On the weekend I was close to my HRmax trying to keep up with a bunch (unsuccessfully), so I figure that I need to improve my cardio capacity as a first priority.

I'm hoping to get an idea of appropriate frequencies, durations and intensities of training for someone of my age. Any other tips would be appreciated.

As a motivational aid, I'd also like to hear from anyone who has successfully gone fom recreational cyclist to competetive racer in their late 30's or 40's.
re: Training for old guys like meJon Billheimer
Aug 31, 2001 1:18 PM
Hey Down Under,

Recently met a couple of Aussies at the World Tri Championships here in Edmonton. Great folks
and outrageously fit! For yourself, find a good annualized training program that emphasizes aerobic
base building for the next couple of years. After that you can start more targeted training for
specific types of races, seasonal peaks, etc. Stick with whatever program you choose. Consistency
and patience in training is everything. In the meantime keep going on group rides regularly even
though you get dropped. Eventually you'll get stronger and faster, plus you'll learn essential
pack riding skills.

Some good training resources are the menu of workouts by Chris Carmichael at;
Serious Cycling by Dr. Ed Burke; Smart Cycling by Dr. Arnie Baker; The Lance Armstrong Training
Program by Lance Armstrong and Chris Carmichael; and best and most definitively of all The Cyclists
Training Bible and Cycling Past Fifty by Joe Friel. Friel's book is so good that within one year of its
original publication one third of the membership of the USCF had purchased a copy! Additionally,
you have a wonderful high performance training program in Australia. Try contacting either a local
racing club or your national cycling body for some home grown resources.

I started riding a bicycle when I was 49. I'm almost 57 now. I've been dabbling in racing for about
two years, get my head handed to me with depressing regularity, but am getting faster, fitter, having
an uproariously good time, and have gotten wired in with a great group of people spanning all age
groups from Cat 1s in their 20s to some amazing age-groupers in their 70s and beyond! This is the
most age-immune of all sports. It is also one of the most intense with the longest fitness and
learning curve. But you have an advantage! As an adult you've acquired the patience and persistence
required to hang in and improve. So go for the gusto! And you'll never look back.

If I can be of more assistance, e-mail me at

P.S. This weekend our masters club is doing its end of the World Masters TT Challenge. We were challenged
specifically by the Aussie Masters, so are going to have to kick some serious Kangaroo butt!
re: Training for old guys like medownunderracer
Sep 3, 2001 5:23 PM
Hi Jon,

Thanks for the pointers. I had a look at, USD79 per month for the cheapest plan - that's about a zillion Aussie dollars ;-(, and I've spent enough already on my bike and gear. Maybe a book is more my speed.

I've hooked up with a couple of groups. One is a vets club which I'll probably join at the start of the next season, after I've recovered from a little op I'm having to fix some nasty deviations in my nose. I'm getting out on the bike only once a week at the moment, which I now know is not enough to improve my aerobic fitness. My plan is to ride three days a week and do other activities when I can. I have to fit my training around work and family commitments.

Good luck with your Kangaroo butt-kicking. Hopefully we'll cream you like our tri guys and swimmers did at the Goodwill Games over the past few days!

Any chance you're considering coming to the Masters Games next year? It'll be in my home town, Melbourne.

Never too old, excuses are for the weak.Canidraftyou
Aug 31, 2001 11:08 PM
I was a rec. MTBer for three years, before I started Road/Crit racing at age 36. Im not killing them, but holding my own. One thing I can tell ya, Speed Plays help with those who have knee problems. Its free floating and is less stress on the knees. Conditioning is not just about fitness, its also about Conditioning the mind and using proper form. You must be able to read your body, failure to this and your cheating yourself, you'll be doing too little or too much. Know your Max. HR and your Lactic Thrushold. Not going to tell ya what program to follow, they dont pay me to push the, just find one and follow it. Set goals that can be obtained, and stay focused. Make no excuses. For the body on the bike is your own. And as long as your doing the best that you can do, you'll be making a mark. Maybe not in the record books, but a mark in your life.

Peace out
Never too old, excuses are for the weak.downunderracer
Sep 3, 2001 5:43 PM
I'm really keen at the moment - the question is, will I remain so? I hope so because I love riding and love the thought of racing. The proof will be in the pudding.

I used to have sore knees after riding some distance. I now know it was because I was trying to mash the high gears rather than spin. Probably partly because I was emulating the macho image that comes across in the media about riders who can do that. Now I'm older and wiser and don't care if I use a lower gear. Lance proved that the ability to spin can make all the difference in the right circumstances.

See you on the road.
re: Training for old guys like merafael
Sep 1, 2001 7:09 AM
try this,,coach Carl
this guy is awesome,It was sad when I realize that I need to put about 2000 miles in a seasen to even train seriously for racing, next year i will train and race, this year is just puting miles on my joins and muscle to get ready for next year.
re: Training for old guys like medownunderracer
Sep 3, 2001 5:29 PM

Thanks - there's some great stuff at that site and the most amazing thing is, its free!

I'm continually impressed with how eager people in this sport are to share their experience and to offer advice.

I've not taken up racing, but ...Humma Hah
Sep 3, 2001 3:55 PM
... I'm 48, and if I met the me I was at age 24, I could beat that younger me, and soundly.

I'm not fast, never was (probably a genetic VO2 thing), so never have been drawn to racing. I've always been more of a distance rider. At about age 21, I rode 130 miles. Last year I did a 140-miler, at a substantially faster pace. Next weekend I'm going for a 150-mile distance, under cyclocross conditions. I've hit about 150 miles in training for the last two weeks in a row, hit 190 miles about a month ago, distances I never touched when young. I've also climbed mountains non-stop, grades and elevations that would have rendered me unconscious in my 20's.

I know its not because I bought a faster bike, because I'm still riding the same one.
I've not taken up racing, but ...downunderracer
Sep 3, 2001 5:33 PM

Thanks - great story. I feel the same way about how I used to ride in my twenties compared with what I can do now and what I will do with more training.

Keep it up!

I've not taken up racing, but ...nestorl
Sep 5, 2001 11:12 AM
"...I've also climbed mountains non-stop, grades and elevations that would have rendered me unconscious in my 20's. I know its not because I bought a faster bike, because I'm still riding the same one...."
WOW classic line...send it to Bicycling...they'll publish it!!! Cheers. Nestor
No they won't ...Humma Hah
Sep 6, 2001 7:56 AM
... to publish a bicycling magazine, you need advertisers. Advertisers don't sell 30-year-old bikes. Cycling mags MUST perpetuate the myth that you need a brand-new bike.

And, in the case of my old tank, they'd be RIGHT. I could probably pick up 3 mph by switching, but then I'd lose my comparison to the old days.
re: Training for old guys like mecp123
Sep 6, 2001 3:43 PM
hi down under racer - I'm another down under-er living in Canberra. I'll be coming down to melbourne to ride the "around the bay in one day" in October. Are you riding then?
re: Training for old guys like medownunderracer
Sep 8, 2001 11:23 PM
Nope, I'll be going under the surgeon's knife a few days beforehand and so won't be in a fit state to complete the 210km. I know a few peoplewho are going, unless they've chickened out! :-) There are lots of people out training around the bay on weekends in preparation.

Which direction are you going?

re: Training for old guys like mecp123
Sep 11, 2001 8:15 PM
hi steve - sorry long time no reply - i've been off line for a bit with computer problems. This will be my first attempt at ATB. I've nominated going to queenscliff first to get the "boring" bit out of the way, plus the eastern side has more facilities if I need to re-energise along the way. I've got a number of friends from melbourne who are also entered but who are much more competitive than me. A couple will be finished by about lunch time.

I myself am facing the knife to correct a knee injury - but my choice was to fix it before melbourne - and not ride then - or try to delay it until after melbourne - but potentially lose most of summer. Might sound funny, but I'd rather ride in melbourne. I guess if I can ride, I don't need to walk. And I've been limping for 6 months now since i stacked and smashed up my leg - so what's one more?

Most of my rides in or around Canberra are probably hillier than the bay ride, but I gather wind is often a killer down there. But having not much idea of how the whole thing operates, I'm waiting with baited breath to find out. Is there any way I can respond without being quite so public?

Good luck with your own operation.

re: Training for old guys like medownunderracer
Sep 12, 2001 4:21 PM

No problem with the delay - I've been too busy to check this board every day anyway.

Sorry to hear about the knee. My problem is much less serious - correcting a deviated septum.

You can email me at ssBzalla@hIotmKail.cEom (just take out the uppercase).