Author Topic: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility  (Read 18943 times)

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #50 on: June 17, 2016, 06:06:27 pm »
I`m realising / thinking now it is indeed possible  :thumbsup: Today got my PB on local 1.1 km 8% average hill which was pleasing but more so was fact that my time was just 25% slower than Tour Britain riders did it---considering they are 30 years younger, quite happy with my performance  ;D
....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 #51 on: July 01, 2016, 02:06:49 pm »
Quick update from my previous post of a few months ago and after a good few TTs I can report that my speed is increasing significantly after a full winter and early summer of TT-specific training, not to mention losing the best part of a stone (now 10.5 stone, my weight of 25 years ago).

I'm doing PBs almost every other time I do a TT.  I'm 52 and this is year 2 of TT-ing for me.  I'm a few seconds off doing a sub 24 ten on our local non-flat course and going great in our various "Sporting Course" hilly TTs, beating all last-year PBs by huge margins.

This is less about me bragging and more about my own amazement (and a very intense feeling of satisfaction) that it's very doable to build strength and speed in one's mid-50s and perhaps it may serve to inspire others who may be wondering if they can just "go for it" and get results.



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 #52 on: July 08, 2016, 11:36:12 am »
I took up TT'ing in 2006, partly out of curiosity and partly as I found my speed/concentration on the flat tended to dwindle on long rides, without hills to liven things up.  My times improved steadily over the next 3 years, but then started to plateau.  In retrospect I think that focus on the discipline, and a training regime structured to support riding fast gave some specific gains.  Another thing was finding my limits - that it could hurt that much and I could still survive.....  In my case the age range was 42 - 46, but I suspect the performance gains would have been similar whether I had started at 42 or 52. 

But I am looking at improving my speed again for next year, and will probably do something similar - more cross-training, with some work on strength, and riding for speed over a shorter period rather than just pure endurance.
Eddington Numbers 124 (imperial), 168 (metric) 517 (furlongs)  111 (nautical miles)

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #53 on: July 08, 2016, 04:17:33 pm »
I have my Wattbike "Retest" tomorrow morning.  This will give me some indication of how beneficial structure power training is.

I haven't done a great deal on a bike this year but I have done 17 Wattbike sessions.  The sessions have included a wide mix of programs.

At 54 years old I find the multiple sprint sessions very tough, tougher than the endurance sessions. 
However it is quite clear that my recovery time has improved a lot.

My heart-rate comes down, and I get my breath back, very quickly now.  Initially I would say that the morning Wattbike session impacted my entire day, it went so deep.  Now I feel pretty good just 10 minutes afterwards, even though I'm producing more power.

Tomorrow will tell for sure though.

I am absolutely dreading the 3 minute max test... it is surely the longest 3 minutes imaginable.
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 #54 on: July 13, 2016, 11:27:00 pm »
The inevitable fact is that at some point in advancing years our respective average cycling speeds will start to diminish.  I'm looking to reduce my average voluntarily and seek accomplishment in other riding goals before I see my segment placings on Strava slowly go south.  I'd turn to Grant Petersen's philosophies in preference to Friel's, but realise that I've probably just committed blasphemy amongst members of this particular parish ???
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #55 on: July 14, 2016, 08:02:14 am »
The inevitable fact is that at some point in advancing years our respective average cycling speeds will start to diminish.  I'm looking to reduce my average voluntarily and seek accomplishment in other riding goals before I see my segment placings on Strava slowly go south.  I'd turn to Grant Petersen's philosophies in preference to Friel's, but realise that I've probably just committed blasphemy amongst members of this particular parish ???

Look at the VTTA ( Veteran Time Trial Assoc. ) charts.

http://www.vtta.org.uk/information/standardstables.php

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #56 on: July 15, 2016, 09:36:56 pm »
I'm looking to reduce my average voluntarily

Each to their own, but like many other fifty-somethings I'm looking to increase my average speed voluntarily and it seems to be working a treat so far.

The problem with believing those sorts of articles that tell you that if you're aged "x" then you will have to accept that "y" or "z" will already be diminished, such predictions of your decline are bound to come true.

If, on the other hand, you refuse to subscribe to the "facts" about age related decline stated in such articles or to accept the "fate" that they predict for you, you may just realise the ambitions that they tell you are not possible.

This week in wind and rain I did a 1:01 on our club (not very flat) 25, my first ever 25, ambition this season is a 59:59.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2016, 10:20:32 pm »
This week in wind and rain I did a 1:01 on our club (not very flat) 25, my first ever 25, ambition this season is a 59:59.

Of course, for people taking up cycling later in life or for those who were previously less fit(myself the latter) there are still significant improvements in speed to be gained.  At 54 I sense that I've reached the peak in what I can reasonably expect my body to achieve without adopting a regime of diet and training that could really take the fun out of cycling... and life.
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Phil W

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #58 on: July 17, 2016, 07:08:03 pm »
Your maximum potential will be reduced but if you never hit your maximum potential when younger it is still quite possible to exceed your best younger efforts.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2016, 06:58:49 am »
I think for each person there is a trade off between hard work and reward. I have decided to train properly this year with a coach. I am 58 in 2 weeks. I never expect to be a medal winner but I hope to achieve my age targets with VTTA and to enjoy my riding more at whatever speed I can achieve

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #60 on: August 10, 2016, 03:49:32 pm »
I`ve just started doing some 40-50 km rides on a Singlespeed, rides have roughly 500 m climbing too so they`re not flat spin outs.

My average speed on each and every one of the 4 rides has exceeded that of my geared bike by 1- 2 kph, and I`ve also now reduced my PR for several hills including a 2.4 km @ 5% average which I found very hard going. Looks as if having options of changing down when going gets tough could limit my fitness gains !
....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

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #61 on: August 10, 2016, 04:10:01 pm »
i've have plenty of data from riding the same 75km loop on various bikes, ss bike is just as quick as the geared one (sometimes even quicker as the drivetrain is more efficient and it's easier to keep the momentum up the gradient), it only lags behind going really fast* and climbing very steep* hills. no faff with changing gears and good training too, both for the cadence and power.

*insert appropriate values

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #62 on: August 10, 2016, 04:52:21 pm »
i've have plenty of data from riding the same 75km loop on various bikes, ss bike is just as quick as the geared one (sometimes even quicker as the drivetrain is more efficient and it's easier to keep the momentum up the gradient), it only lags behind going really fast* and climbing very steep* hills. no faff with changing gears and good training too, both for the cadence and power.

*insert appropriate values

The loops I`ve done have been fairly standard ones for me over last two years and I`ve used three different geared bikes and now SS. the SS average  speeds have exceeded any of the geared bikes over the different loops, and on a long hill the SS bike has been quicker. A hill I normally ride on 34 x 23 / 26 I`m forced to muscle up in 46 x 18 and consequently was fastest time ever for me.

I feel that the SS is just making me work a lot harder as I don`t have option of reducing gear ratio, which may be a good thing. As for `very steep hills` I`m OK on up to 75 above 10% (short couple hundred metre ramps)  it`s really hard and I almost stall.
....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 #63 on: October 16, 2016, 07:44:40 pm »
It now looks as if answer is `yes I can` :)

cf same period my average speed has increased from 22.82 kph to 23.17 kph which I feel is significant, in 2015 my average speed had decreased by about 0.2 kph cf 2014 so an increase bucks the trend.

What has changed? I think pushing harder up hills and recently riding single speed have increased speed. I`ve not done an Alps etc trip which knocks speeds down but HGW (well the 750 km I did) dropped average similarly to an Alpine trip.

comments welcome !
....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

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #64 on: October 16, 2016, 07:59:24 pm »
I have my Wattbike "Retest" tomorrow morning.  This will give me some indication of how beneficial structure power training is.

I haven't done a great deal on a bike this year but I have done 17 Wattbike sessions.  The sessions have included a wide mix of programs.

At 54 years old I find the multiple sprint sessions very tough, tougher than the endurance sessions. 
However it is quite clear that my recovery time has improved a lot.

My heart-rate comes down, and I get my breath back, very quickly now.  Initially I would say that the morning Wattbike session impacted my entire day, it went so deep.  Now I feel pretty good just 10 minutes afterwards, even though I'm producing more power.

Tomorrow will tell for sure though.

I am absolutely dreading the 3 minute max test... it is surely the longest 3 minutes imaginable.

What a fool I was, thinking the 3 minute max test is the longest 3 minutes imaginable!

I have since done the Wattbike 20 minute Threshold test.  Pah! to those 3 minutes.

My power and my recovery from maximum exertion continue to improve week by week.
Clearly it will plateau at some point. I'm 54.

One day it will plateau and then my battle will be hanging on to my power numbers.  However, in the meantime, from a fairly fit base leading up to Paris Brest Paris, I have continued to improve.

It DOES take me a few days to get over the impact of some of the classes.  That's the advantage of being young, like Laura Trott. She can subject her body to a Wattbike regime 2-3 times a day.  At 54 you really can't, it goes too deep and needs time to repair.  Tangible benefits though.  It's all about properly targeted efforts though.

EDIT.  My Power numbers, for various retests, have been improving in the order of 10-15% over the length of the 2 month courses/sessions.  That's going once a week.

I reckon I could deal, physically and mentally (just) with 2-3 sessions a week, not one (if I had a Race target to aim for).  If I subjected myself to that regime I honestly think I could go from 237W FTP to 337W FTP in 3-6 months.  I just don't have a race target and I'm not willing to go through the pain as an experiment. I already semi-dread Monday evenings.

You see the problem is that your latest numbers are entered into the Wattbike as a basis for that day's sessions. 
No matter how much you improve the Wattbike ensures you go through the same pain.
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 #65 on: November 18, 2016, 09:03:53 am »
I found my old handwritten cycling logs the other day, dating back to mid 1980s. Looking thro` I found that in 1991 / 92 I rode a 200km Audax out of Brecon (IIRC it was the old Crossing Desert Mid Wales, around Llyn Brianne, Tregaron Mtn Rd so not flat) and my records show that I completed in 7 1/2 hr riding time.  :thumbsup:

 By comparison my recent 200s I`ve taken 9 to 10  hr riding so that nearly balances up with a 1% reduction in speed per year older since then. Absolute unequivocal evidence I`m slower now than then  :( Can`t put back time, although this year thro` riding harder / trying push harder I have upped my speed by 2% over 2015
....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

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #66 on: October 10, 2017, 11:51:01 am »
I reckon I could deal, physically and mentally (just) with 2-3 sessions a week, not one (if I had a Race target to aim for).  If I subjected myself to that regime I honestly think I could go from 237W FTP to 337W FTP in 3-6 months.  I just don't have a race target and I'm not willing to go through the pain as an experiment. I already semi-dread Monday evenings.

You see the problem is that your latest numbers are entered into the Wattbike as a basis for that day's sessions. 
No matter how much you improve the Wattbike ensures you go through the same pain.

I've been going to Wattbike classes once a week since Feb 2016 and my numbers continue to climb.

There's most definitely hope for us 50+ types.  My FTP is now at 278Watts and it was around 220Watts when I started.  I'm down about 7Kilos since I started which has given me a 35% increase in Power:Weight.  (2.47W/Kg to 3.36W/Kg).

35% increase in P:W in 18 months, in your 50s, is not insignificant.  That's taken 53 Wattbike classes, so 53 hours, or about the same time as 2 x 300km Audax rides.  It demonstrates the power of structured training.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #67 on: October 10, 2017, 02:07:54 pm »
Thats an impressive gain from a single structured session per week...  :thumbsup: I seemed to have been having to do 3-4 hour long sessions per week for similar gains! (via Trainer Road)
Regards,

Joergen

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #68 on: October 10, 2017, 03:28:17 pm »
Thats an impressive gain from a single structured session per week...  :thumbsup: I seemed to have been having to do 3-4 hour long sessions per week for similar gains! (via Trainer Road)

It's in a class environment.  I have a turbo trainer at home but I can't come close to the efforts I manage under peer-pressure it seems.

It also helps when everyone's Power, Training Zone, Heart-rate and RPM are displayed on a big screen at the front of class.  No hiding like there was in the Spin class I used to use.

The instructor know if you're in Z5 or shirking in Z3....as does everyone else.

At the end of class I feel I'm on the borderline between euphoria and fainting.  I just can't dig that deep at home.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

dim

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #69 on: October 10, 2017, 03:50:45 pm »
I'm 57 in 2 weeks, and have been cycling/commuting for 2 years and a bit. I was a heavy smoker, drink beer everyninght and very fat and unfit.

I really struggled at first and started on a £40 Ridgeback Hybrid.But it's going ok now, and I've lost 29Kg (4 1/2 stone). I have cycled 11450km this year with 62 000 meters of elevation.

I'm trying to cycle longer distances now I am hoping to be ok for Audax rides. I've entered my 1st Audax on Oct 21st. (Cambridge Autumnal 100). I really wanted to try the 200, but it ends in the dark, and I don't have dynamo or decent lights)

I'm busy building a 1981 Koga Miyata with dynamo lights etc and am hoping to use this for long Audax rides. (it will be weigh approx 8 1/2kg when I'm done)

Based on my own experience, the 4 most important things that helped me is cadence (get the average to the 80's), Do lots of sprints, cycle longer routes and most importantly, do the hills.
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” - Aristotle

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #70 on: October 10, 2017, 04:13:30 pm »
Thats an impressive gain from a single structured session per week...  :thumbsup: I seemed to have been having to do 3-4 hour long sessions per week for similar gains! (via Trainer Road)

It's in a class environment.  I have a turbo trainer at home but I can't come close to the efforts I manage under peer-pressure it seems.

It also helps when everyone's Power, Training Zone, Heart-rate and RPM are displayed on a big screen at the front of class.  No hiding like there was in the Spin class I used to use.

The instructor know if you're in Z5 or shirking in Z3....as does everyone else.

At the end of class I feel I'm on the borderline between euphoria and fainting.  I just can't dig that deep at home.

But you must be doing some cycling around that as well?  Is the session over an hour long? - even on my ERG controlled trainer and looking at the metrics in Training Peaks I wouldn't be able to match that gain from a single session per week... there's no doubting structured training gives the best bang for time invested - if I could do it with just one session in the pain cave that would be a great breakthrough.


I'm 57 in 2 weeks, and have been cycling/commuting for 2 years and a bit. I was a heavy smoker, drink beer everyninght and very fat and unfit.

I really struggled at first and started on a £40 Ridgeback Hybrid.But it's going ok now, and I've lost 29Kg (4 1/2 stone). I have cycled 11450km this year with 62 000 meters of elevation.

I'm trying to cycle longer distances now I am hoping to be ok for Audax rides. I've entered my 1st Audax on Oct 21st. (Cambridge Autumnal 100). I really wanted to try the 200, but it ends in the dark, and I don't have dynamo or decent lights)

I'm busy building a 1981 Koga Miyata with dynamo lights etc and am hoping to use this for long Audax rides. (it will be weigh approx 8 1/2kg when I'm done)

Based on my own experience, the 4 most important things that helped me is cadence (get the average to the 80's), Do lots of sprints, cycle longer routes and most importantly, do the hills.

Thats great Dim, please leave some cake for us late finishers  ;D :thumbsup:  Perhaps we could tempt you on to some of the ACME rides this winter?
Regards,

Joergen

dim

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #71 on: October 10, 2017, 08:17:05 pm »

[/quote]

Thats great Dim, please leave some cake for us late finishers  ;D :thumbsup:  Perhaps we could tempt you on to some of the ACME rides this winter?
[/quote]

It's my first Audax and I need to learn lots, especially with the controls etc, what guys are carrying with them, tyres (especially tubeless, as that's what I'm trying now, what bikes they are using, what food they eat etc etc . I have lots to learn, so will follow, ask and try and learn ....

I googled ACME and I would love to do some of their rides. I will also see what permanent Audax Rides are close to me for the next few months.
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” - Aristotle

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #72 on: October 10, 2017, 08:28:59 pm »
I'm 53, and have been riding recreational / utility / audax for some years, and would typically average about 25 - 27 kph moving average if left to myself, depending on distance.

Since summer, I've taken up with a works cycling group who do lunchtime rides of about an hour.
Some of these are TT riders, and former racers.
The pace was rather more than I was used to.
It was all I could do to hang on.

But now, about 3 months in doing daily 25 - 30 k rides, we are now averaging close to 30kph for the hour, sometimes more.
I'm now able to take a turn at the front at 40+ kph for a reasonable distance, where I was previously just hingin on.
That's the quickest I've ever been.

So yes, in your mid 50s you can certainly get faster.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #73 on: October 10, 2017, 09:16:09 pm »
But you must be doing some cycling around that as well?  Is the session over an hour long? - even on my ERG controlled trainer and looking at the metrics in Training Peaks I wouldn't be able to match that gain from a single session per week... there's no doubting structured training gives the best bang for time invested - if I could do it with just one session in the pain cave that would be a great breakthrough.
I cycle, but not so much any more since PBP2015.  I was averaging about 5,000 miles a year until I finished PBP and my ability to cycle 600km type distances was undoubtedly better than it is right now.  However Wattbike classes have allowed me to keep in great shape without losing endless weekends to endless Audaxing (I may just exceed 2,000 miles this year).

If I was still Audaxing AND doing Wattbike classes then I have no doubts I'd be fitter, faster, stronger, at 55, than I have ever been in my life.  I reckon my local TT times would be the same now as they were 20 years ago.
Extreme endurance fitness plus power would be a wonderful combination and cycling would be so easy.  However my life is heading elsewhere and I can't be as selfish with my weekends now.

Just a word of warning though.  My Wattbike results haven't come easy.  It's bloody tough, as painful as anything I've put myself through, but the rewards come quickly.  I fully understand why people wouldn't want to do it.

To the OP and the original question.  It's a distinct possibility, actually unavoidable if you put the hard work in.

FYI.  My MMP (Maximum Minute Power) has gone from 312W to 393W when my starting position was off the back of PBP2015 and 2 years of prep/qualifying so I wasn't exactly starting from scratch.

The Michael Moseley BBC documentary (about HIIT training) discussed the genetic component of improving fitness.  The results of exercise/training do not impact everyone the same. 
There's a Bell-Curve of response to exercise.  On the extreme left are people who simply don't improve as a result of training (Michael Moseley is down there). 
On the extreme right of the curve are the elite athletes, the people who respond exceptionally well to training. 
You can find this out by recording your training results over time or (as Moseley did) having a genetic test.
Add a natural ability, like Chris Froome's (high altitude) lung capacity, to a super-responder's genetics and you have a Tour de France winner....if they train hard of course (The very best have all physical advantages PLUS the mental ability to put themselves though daily torture sessions for years on end).

I seem to improve quickly but I also seem to "lose it" very quickly. 
Some of my friends seem to be able to "store fitness", to jump on a bike after a long layoff and remain fast.  That's not me.  I lose it if I don't use it, and fairly quickly.

It may be depressing but some people just won't ever get faster.  They WILL get healthier though...just no Gold medals.
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 #74 on: November 01, 2017, 12:20:22 pm »
Lee,

Great to follow your story.

I posted earlier in the thread and have since made further progress in my TT times this season although the elusive sub minute 25 mile TT on our slightly hilly course still eludes me by a few seconds.

So I'm 53 and three quarters and whilst I've improved a lot in three years, like you, I'm planning to move to proper measured "smart training".

A club mate who is 49 has made such unbelievable gains (2016->2017) via a Tacx Neo, raw determination and lots of Sufferfest interval training, that cynics thought he might actually be doping, which he is not, by the way.  He's doing 25TTs in mid 57 now, faster by over three minutes vs 2016!!

So I'm getting a smart trainer and subscribing to Trainerroad for this winter.  I'm fully expecting significant FTP gains.  I've done plenty of winters of long dark miles but hour for hour, I have come to realise that the quality of training on a smart trainer with a structured plan is far superior to road training, if one's hours are limited.

Good luck to you and here's to a hard winter (of training, that is)!