Author Topic: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility  (Read 21788 times)

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2016, 06:34:38 pm »
53.

Cycled everywhere in my teens and 20s.  Restarted again in my 30s a bit but got the long distance bug in my 40s.

I broke all my PBs last year as a result of planned weight loss and qualifying for PBP.  I'll struggle to ever feel that good on a bike again I think, everything was so easy.
So I can say that I improved, from a fairly fit Audaxer and PBP2011 veteran, from 49 to 53 years old.

After a bit of a lay off after PBP and feeling (and being) distinctly heavy on the bike I decided last month to set myself a new goal in Watts per Kilogram (at FTP).

My local bike shop runs Wattbike "Spin" sessions so, for the first time, I know my power output.  I know my weight and I have a good estimate of my Functional Threshold power (FTP - The maximum power you can deliver, consistently, for an hour... and subsequently falling in a heap on the floor).

My goal is 3Watts/Kg which equates to an average local club rider I think.  I'm currently at around 2.4-2.5. (Bradley Wiggins is most likely >6).

The beauty of this is that I have 2 ways to get there, losing weight and/or gaining Power. (I have more weight to lose than power to gain me thinks).

I'm loving training with power though, it doesn't lie and you can't hide from it.   I think it's the best way to get and/or maintain speed as you go through your 50s and 60s. Basically structured and accurate HIIT sessions, between your regular rides and, importantly (because I can really feel the impact of this morning) RECOVERY.

It's too soon to know how effective it is but I certainly feel like the sessions hit me "deep down".  The hour this morning has left me feeling like I rode a 200k Audax.

Edit. If nothing else the Wattbike power meters have put the GC Contenders ability into perspective.

It's estimated that, when Sir Brad won the World TT Title a couple of years ago, he put out around 470watts for about 55 minutes.  That meant very little to me until I went on the Wattbikes.  Now I know what it means*

*It means he's a legend and possibly not human.

It's not that I can't develop 470 Watts it's just that I'm a bit short of doing it for 55 minutes*

* By about 54 minutes and some seconds.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2016, 07:21:42 pm »
Quote from: LEE link=topic=96188.msg1998355#msg1998355 da

I'm loving training with power though, it doesn't lie and you can't hide from it.

Agreed, it's a game changer for me, I had 3 different indoor trainers in the old days, and I got so bored on them it never worked for me. Now with virtual power and TrainerRoad software it keeps me entertained and I work damn hard, averaged over 5 hours of intervals a week since breaking my hand at the beginning of the year.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2016, 07:03:05 am »
55.

Started riding a two-wheel bicycle at five and have never been without this mode of transport.
Got first sports bike at 12.
Got first race bike at 14.
Got skateboard at 15. Asked to join a Pro skateboard team.
Got given a BMX by skate team at 17. Turned Pro BMX. Won nothing.
Returned to road cycling at 19 to commute to 'regular day job'.
Commute cycled for next 15 years.
Joined AUK at 34.
Got Rando 1000 in 2007.
Started Time trialing at 51.
Won club TT championship is 2013 and 2014.
Rode last 200 in 2015.
Tapering down to 100 km events to get Brevet 3000 patch.
Still commute cycling 20 miles per day.

Riding first Pop 50 this year. Aiming for 17 kmh average on a 1966 Moulton Mini ( 50th anniversary ). 49" singlespeed. ;)


Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2016, 09:02:18 am »

Riding first Pop 50 this year. Aiming for 17 kmh average on a 1966 Moulton Mini ( 50th anniversary ). 49" singlespeed. ;)


Ooooo.... I used to ride to (junior) school with a mate who had one of those and we would occasionally swap, now I'm not a great fan of Moultons but that thing seemed to go like the wind compared to my crappy Raleigh.  I had gears as well.   14" wheels IIRC - getting tyres must be a problem these days?


MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2016, 09:06:25 am »
I'm 61 - I've never been fast, and I've never been able to fly up hills. I've always been a plodder, so when I discovered Audax (in the early 80s I think) it was rightup my street. I'd 'come back' to cycling after just using a bike to do very short errands and the like, but I did a 100k ride with no preparation, and I don't recall feeling at all bad. I stopped doing audax rides around 2002 when work got in the way.
About 8 years ago I lost all motivation (for everything, not just cycling) culminating in severe depression which allowed me (!) to take early retirement about 5 years ago. I used short fast rides to boost my mood, and looking back some of my times were - for me - astonishing.

This year I've set my goal of doing some audax rides probably 150km max. I've been increasing my distances - and feel like sh!t at the end of the ride and for days afterwards, even though I've not yet broken the magic 100k barrier. This is what age does to me!
I know that this is a training / conditioning thing, and I will work through it, but it goes to show that the body ain't what it used to be.

I've also been doing some strength and WattBike sessions at the gym when the weather has been rubbish. The info by Lee is very interesting and might well help me be a bit more focussed on how I use the WattBike.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2016, 09:25:23 am »
I am surprised at how often it seems that gyms have Wattbikes, but no qualified Wattbike instructors. However, good, structured workouts are on the Wattbike website, free to use. There are programmes for most objectives.
At my local leisure centre there are two Wattbike higher qualified instructors, and a number of other Wattbike qualified instructors. Each "term" of 11 or 12 weeks has different programmes each week, working on different aspects. Therefore the sessions are never boring, or samey. Each "term starts with a review/ test of maximum minute power, to set training zones for the individual.
Newer cyclists gain power significantly. Obviously, as people get nearer their potential genetically and for age, increases get slower, but maintaining power is still vital.
Working on a Wattbike will usually be beneficial, working to a programme will always give greater benefits.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2016, 10:16:00 am »

Riding first Pop 50 this year. Aiming for 17 kmh average on a 1966 Moulton Mini ( 50th anniversary ). 49" singlespeed. ;)


Ooooo.... I used to ride to (junior) school with a mate who had one of those and we would occasionally swap, now I'm not a great fan of Moultons but that thing seemed to go like the wind compared to my crappy Raleigh.  I had gears as well.   14" wheels IIRC - getting tyres must be a problem these days?

Nope. SJS have Raleigh Record 14 x 1 3/8", £6.99

Dunlop Junior is a different matter, but the Raleigh Record have the same tread pattern. I have whitewall.  ;D

Its a single speed with a Torpedo rear brake. 5 1/2" cranks with 52T ring. 15 sprocket. Does 11 mph at 75 rpm. Can spin it up nice with short-throw cranks to 14 mph at 96ish rpm.

Shall I wear my school blazer and cap?

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2016, 11:00:25 am »
I am surprised at how often it seems that gyms have Wattbikes, but no qualified Wattbike instructors.

I'd agree that a Wattbike without a qualified instructor (or a well-informed user) is basically a Spin Bike. There are Wattbike Apps and information out there in the absence of an instructor.

https://wattbike.com/uk/train

Our sessions at the bike shop are structured.  One session will focus on low-cadence, high-power, long duration and another may focus on high-cadence, short, maximal efforts (Sprints).  I have a Turbo trainer and a Spin Bike at home but I find it MUCH more challenging (and frankly more interesting) to maintain a power-output zone than to maintain a heart rate zone (where your power is most likely dropping away gradually).

Watts/Kg seems to me a good measure though.  It tells you where you are regardless of age and gender. 

I expect it's nearly time for my next MMP test (Maximum Minute Power).  It's where I get to see my improvements (or not) and what I'll use to estimate my power:weight @ FTP.  I'm not looking forward to it.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2016, 12:11:51 pm »
I am surprised at how often it seems that gyms have Wattbikes, but no qualified Wattbike instructors.

I'd agree that a Wattbike without a qualified instructor (or a well-informed user) is basically a Spin Bike. There are Wattbike Apps and information out there in the absence of an instructor.

https://wattbike.com/uk/train

Our sessions at the bike shop are structured.  One session will focus on low-cadence, high-power, long duration and another may focus on high-cadence, short, maximal efforts (Sprints).  I have a Turbo trainer and a Spin Bike at home but I find it MUCH more challenging (and frankly more interesting) to maintain a power-output zone than to maintain a heart rate zone (where your power is most likely dropping away gradually).

Watts/Kg seems to me a good measure though.  It tells you where you are regardless of age and gender. 

I expect it's nearly time for my next MMP test (Maximum Minute Power).  It's where I get to see my improvements (or not) and what I'll use to estimate my power:weight @ FTP.  I'm not looking forward to it.

It tells you how fast you will climb a gradient !!  :thumbsup:

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2016, 05:08:34 pm »
Over last couple weeks have been doing short hard pushes on hills etc I`d normally have just `plodded up` ; ie been doing random intervals getting HR up and feeling working hard. It`s actually made some of the riding more enjoyable and made me feel in better general shape. And got several PR on Strava segments too  :facepalm:

Change in weather from continually battling wind and rain has helped me to try harder as it`s me on bike v road so to speak, more manageable. So maybe this is my way forwards for this year, just trying a bit harder on short sections might yield overall dividends  :thumbsup:
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2016, 01:05:00 pm »
Interesting thread... my experience: in mid-50s, getting faster was distinctly possible, in some respects anyway. Better get on with it though, because in mid-70s it feels much less possible!

(But the bursts of high HR happen more automatically - no other method of getting up the chevrons is available.)

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2016, 01:36:15 pm »
Interesting thread... my experience: in mid-50s, getting faster was distinctly possible, in some respects anyway. Better get on with it though, because in mid-70s it feels much less possible!

(But the bursts of high HR happen more automatically - no other method of getting up the chevrons is available.)

Thanks for encouraging words Tony, however I can assure you that even as a youngster in mid 50s  bursts of high HR also happen automatically on the chevrons  ;D ---- of which this area has more than its fair share !!
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

billplumtree

  • Plumbing the well of gitness
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2016, 01:55:15 pm »
I find riding fixed helps even more in that regard.

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
  • 3x Brimstone ancien 3x Pendle/Tan Hill DNF
    • CET Ride Reports and Blogs
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2016, 06:45:38 pm »
I've read that a few (not very large) studies - plus anecdotal evidence from coaches of "mature" athletes - suggest that most folks who take things seriously see improvement for about 10 years (with Yr1 being the biggest, of course). Then they plateau and/or start declining.

If you start at 16, the improvements may continue for longer, but for us older folk the effects of aging at some point start to defeat the effects of all the training, nutrition yada yada ...

The 10 Year Effect seems to work equally for 40yos and 60yos.

I guess I'd fit in that pattern.  I started cycling more seriously the year I took up Audax in 2002 and also started riding regularly with a club (Age 38),  I probably reached a peak between 2009 and 2011 when I set my PB for 100 miles and was regularly at the pointy end of the harder Audax events.  Since then I've not dropped much but am definitely less sharp, probably about 5% off my 100 mile pace from those peak years.  There may be some improvement if I could up my annual mileage but that isn't likely.
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 168 (metric) 518 (furlongs)  111 (nautical miles)

dim

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2016, 08:24:55 pm »
I'm 57, smoke and have only been cycling for 8 months

what has helped me is Strava and a bike computer with cadence... I commute daily on my bike

I cycle at 80 RPM +, and do lots of high intesity sections .... I have lost over 40 pounds in 8 months and have several strava records for my age group. I have cycled 4864 km since new years day and am getting fitter and faster

I still need to cut down on the beers though and need to eat healthier. I will never quit smoking  >:(

I'm hoping to do some audex rides soon

I have bought the Friel books but have not read them yet .... this is what has worked for me (so far)

I need a carbon bike though as I ride a cheap carrera  :-\

so bottom line in my opinion is that you need to do the miles with lots of high intesity segments
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” - Aristotle

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2016, 08:51:23 pm »
Agree with you on every point except:

I need a carbon bike though as I ride a cheap carrera 

If your goal is to lose weight and/or ride audaxes, your current bike is as good as any other. We have seen people (older than you are) successfully finishing audaxes on early 20th century steel bikes.

dim

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #41 on: June 09, 2016, 09:08:30 pm »
Agree with you on every point except:

I need a carbon bike though as I ride a cheap carrera 

If your goal is to lose weight and/or ride audaxes, your current bike is as good as any other. We have seen people (older than you are) successfully finishing audaxes on early 20th century steel bikes.

LOL ... I know, but I always want to go faster. I have a Surly LHT that I will use for a few audex rides, very comfy for long rides and it's not too shabby on speed, even though it has wide 26 inch tyres

and I've also have just bought an old Trek 1000 which I collect on the weekend and which will replace my Carrera TDF (my neighbour is buying the Carrera) .

I will use the trek for my daily commutes .... it's a lot lighter and fits me well, has mudguards and a back rack, carbon forks, carbon handlebar and seat post ... I had a ride on it for a few km and it's a lot faster than the carrera.

in 2 months time, I'm hoping to buy a used Giant TCR Pro which will be my bike for fast rides.

have to get a shed aswell .... my wife is getting pissed off with the bikes in the laundy room  ;D

I'd also like to get a good racing tricycle and would attempt an audex with it. Seen some really good old ones for approx £350 on ebay ...

something like this:
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” - Aristotle

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2016, 05:47:26 am »
For someone who have been cycling for only 8 months, you have a very nice collection  :thumbsup:

When you will build your shed, don't forget, build it twice as large as you think you need!

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2016, 07:18:28 pm »
To the original question, yes. I suspect the 52 year me could give the 20 year old me a serious challenge if not even beat. I suspect that the younger me did a lot of rides based simply based on youthful energy and enthusiasm. However, in the past decade, the older me has discovered the benefits of regular training, rollers and cycle computer analysis to the point of obsessive cadence and heart rate monitoring during rides - all with still improving results. It gets me wondering what I could have done if I'd taken a similar approach when younger (though Garmin and Strava didn't exist back then so it would have taken a lot of paper records or a coach).

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2016, 08:17:18 pm »
You can keep going if you keep going.  Restarting after a lay-off gets harder. 

Training gets harder, partly because you get lazier (a trick is to do silly and interesting things – like the three old farts who were persuaded to enter the national team time-trial championship, despite a combined age of 184).

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #45 on: June 11, 2016, 05:28:58 pm »
I found that endurance increased with age.  I put this down to a couple of things: just having more miles in the legs and also learning to slow down a bit such that I wasn't expending all my energy in the first couple of hours.  These are both as much about headology as physical constraints.

Once endurance increases one has the basic stamina to do more 'speed' work with less danger of burning ones self out too early in the ride so speed should go up a bit.

But my cycling was complicated in my 40s as I changed from mainly countryside longer rides that had few stops and starts but plenty of rolling hills, to urban riding - lots of stops and starts, short sprints, not a lot of long  hills.  This had the obvious effect of making my flat cruising speed come down but my sprints a bit better (but not that much).  And reducing climbing ability.  Also the strange side effect: I'd do (miles wise) in a whole day of urban riding in what I used to do in a morning in the countryside....which meant that when I went back to the countryside riding I could go further but had to do it at a slower pace....refer back to the above I guess.  I could also do long rides with much less preparation than I used to need.

Then it all went pear shaped last October with a fractured knee cap and off the bike for four months....when I got out of the cast my left leg had virtually no muscle left.  I was surprised by how fast I got back to a usable fitness.  Indeed, the other week I did my first 50miler (having only got up to 30 since the off) with no real noticeable extra effort, not to mention finding myself doing 18mph into the head wind chasing down some roadies at one point!  Thus, not only does recovery at this age seem quicker than it used to (e.g. when I was off with a knackered shoulder for a month or two in the 1990s), but getting up to the 50mile ride milestone seemed easier despite the injury than when I used to get slack over Christmas and then start rebuilding in the spring 20 years back with no injury to overcome.  This would seem contra to Ian H's statement....but I again I think that Ian is correct in terms of the physical recovery, but what I am experiencing is the headology of age.....I now know more about cycling, I am more confident, I worry less about being unfit, and thus the recovery 'seems' easy and because it feels like progress is being made faster it does actually get made faster.

Of course, climbing is still a pain in the knee.  I was always the kind of climber (when fit) who did most of a climb out of the saddle and only sat down to accelerate. This is now much harder as the knee doesn't like taking the extra weight, thus to an extent I'm having to learn to climb again. Not even going to look at the fixed or the SS for another year!

Anyway that's my experience of fitness vs ageing:  physically you might be declining but you can make up for this with increased mental strength and confidence as you become more at ease in your own skin as it were.  New-age hairy fairy bunkum? Maybe, but I seem to be happier in my cycling now than 20 years ago, plus I can do stuff with far less preparation....so it works for me.


Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #46 on: June 11, 2016, 05:37:18 pm »
I`ve continued to try and push harder for short (but not interval type planned) hills , some flats and find that I do feel quite a bit quicker and am regularly turning in 25 / 26 kph avg rides of up to 80 km. My overall average speed compared to last year is also up fractionally, rather than following slight decline I mentioned in my original posting. So yes it does look possible, not dramatically so but certainly a bit compared to same period 2015.  :thumbsup:
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

TimC

  • Bike pilot
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #47 on: June 11, 2016, 06:05:17 pm »
With sporadic and random use of Sufferfest, TrainerRoads and Zwift, my average speed on my typical 30-40km rides in fairly flat Suffolk has increased from around 24kmh (15mph) to 29kmh (18mph) over the last four or five years. I don't ride huge amounts - about 3-4000km a year - and rarely more than 100km in any one ride. I don't race and rarely do a TT (cos I'm rubbish!), and usually ride on my own. I'm now 60. So, yes, I reckon you can get faster!

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2016, 04:07:02 pm »
at 57, what I have noticed the need for an increased length of warmup.  I cannot do fallen efforts without 15 minutes of real steady warmup.  i now build even into mySunday rides a 15 minute start before I even touch the hills.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2016, 05:58:46 pm »
I am now 55 and started riding again about three years ago after a 22 year layoff. When I started again I told Mrs PC I wouldn't race again but stick with my first love of touring. It wasn't long after my first tour (to Cuba) that I stumbled into audax, then last year I did a handful of TTs. On no speed training, only miles, I didn't embarrass myself but I wasn't as fast as I was in 1990.

I have now started training properly and my targets are PBs at all TT distances and the club 12h record. I am assuming that aging can be overcome by training, because I didn't take it that seriously when I was younger :-)


Third PB of the year yesterday when I did 2:05:04 in the VTTA 50 which followed last week's first sub hour 25. So far so good, riding the F11/10 next weekend so may crack my 1989 10 mile PB too 😀