Freeman Cebu Sports

Cycling as You Get Older

ALLEZ - JV Araneta - The Freeman

As the pundits say, no one has beat Father Time.

For a pro cyclist, the best years generally would be from 27-32yo. The GOAT, Eddy Merckx won his 5th Tour de France when he was 30yo and he retired at 33. Bernard Hinault gave up at 32, winning his last TdF a year earlier. Although Lance Armstrong won his last TdF at 34 and promptly retired, he came back three years later but his age showed. It just goes to show how hard it is to compete in cycling at the highest level.

But when you train and race for fun, folks have raced until they are in their 70’s. A good friend of mine, Capt Frank Kangleon, can still beat kids half his age. And if there is a 60yo+ category, Frank would win every time. Then there’s a Finn named Keijo (forgot his last name), who lived for a time in Leyte, who used to race in my cat when he was in his 60’s, but is still racing in his native Finland in his mid 70’s.

I’ll be 58 this April and I have to admit that my appetite for going to races has dimmed just a bit. I was so addicted to this Saturday crits at the Mandaue Recla back then that I’d have a bad day if a race is canceled. I have been stranded after a race in Leyte and Bohol because of bad weather while some friends have spent nights at the pier area hoping that a boat would be given clearance in spite of a coming typhoon. That’s how crazy it was back then.

These days, when I join a race, it should be sandwiched by sightseeing, or I bring my family with me. I still love to race and I love the atmosphere before, during and post race. It’s not not the same 15 years ago but it’s a feeling that I don’t want to lose just yet.

As you get older, priorities change and most of your friends tone down their cycling and even quit the sport. There are only a few legitimate 50yo+ riders nowadays and in most cases, that racing category will have to be canceled for lack of participants.

The past ten years, I have liked to do longer rides and enjoy the scenery. My bike position has also changed dramatically. My existing back problems reared its ugly head the past three years that I moved my saddle about two inches forward. That’s really huge considering that saddles are adjusted by millimeters. I also find it difficult to rotate my neck, and turning left safely makes me panicky. It’s hard to accept but I am obviously slower now. Shedding weight is difficult, but it’s not as big a deal as having fun, which is strange considering I still want to be competitive.

I ride solo like 99% of the time, I like to be in command of my time and I find it calm and peaceful. I know it would be a good idea to have a buddy when you do long rides, but I guess not a lot of folks my age find my long rides fun anymore and not a lot of kids like to train slower than their usual pace.

Father Time is unbeatable but I’m still hangin in there.

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