Old Geezer Speed Demons

Here in Georgia I’ve been getting in more cycling miles than I did in North Carolina. Partly, this is because all the roads are new. Partly because the roads are mainly rolling hills which is my favorite terrain to ride.

During my rides I’ve seen loads more riders than I did in North Carolina. There is rarely a day when I’m riding that I don’t see other riders. The riders here, the ones I’ve seen, are fast.

All of the riding and seeing other cyclists has sparked an old competitive cycling flame. That flame does not extend to criteriums or road races. Should I race a pure bicycle race it would be a time trial. The likelihood of a crash in lowest during a time trial compared to road races or crits. As a past triathlete I’m a pretty good time trial rider. As an archer I can’t afford a crash that could break a collarbone, arm, hand, or even having to deal with road rash. Heck, that simply applies to being alive. So, if I race it would be a time trial.

Having the cycling bug awakened I began looking for an individual time trial where I could race. I’m not ready to race. I could race but I am not in cycling race shape. If I entered a time trial right now I would not win even in my age group. I knew that before I started checking current race results. I check what the current race times are for riders in my age group for individual time trials.

The race results I read pretty much squashed any consideration I’d had of enrolling into a cycling time trial. The finish times were just too incredible. While it hasn’t been that long since I raced those races where triathlons and duathlons. In both I’d competed in world championships and had twice been selected to represent the USA as a Team athlete. As fast as I thought I was there is no way I could compete with the times I discovered.

The times I read for older riders were absolutely amazing. The top riders are faster than some Professional Triathletes! Some of them, over similar distances would have ranked with Professional men cyclists at races like the Tour of France and the Tour of Italy. It was truly incredible. It seems old guys have gotten really fast.

What’s more impressive is that as we age we lose lung volume. The means that older riders won’t have the same vital capacity, lung volume, or ability to flush CO2 from there bodies and bring in oxygen as well as younger riders. One older rider that caught my eye was able to complete a time trial (30K) nearly as fast as the winner of a Professional time trial (30K). In fact, this older rider would have beaten many of the professionals in the comparable event.

I then checked the times of some of my old racing buddies to see if they had found this fountain of youth that kept them fast as they were during their true glory days. A number of them had been on an Olympic Team and they never stopped racing. So, those fellows should be smashing the times of the older amateurs that picked up competitive cycling after they retired.

Nope! The newly minted old geezer cyclists would kick the ex-Olympians butts. I know the current old geezers would bet me – I was never as fast as these monster old guy cyclists.

I suppose this new breed of old guy time trialists are remarkable athletes. It would have been hard to imagine a guy in his mid-60’s cranking out speeds faster than professional triathletes and in some cases profession men cyclists had I not read the results.

The question comes to mind, “How is this possible?”

Under normal physiological processes I don’t believe the times represent the entire picture. For example, I know that human growth hormone can lead to improvement in lung volume among older mean. I know that testosterone can improve training and EPO can improve races results. Certainly, the old fellows racing for fun wouldn’t be using PEDs to win races against other old guys out for a fun day of bicycle races. Seriously, do all that (cheating) for a First Place the award is a $2.00 medal.

At some point I may still look for a bicycle time trial to race. But, it will be for fun.

Here me now, believe me later references:

https://www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959(17)30140-8/pdf

http://www.velonews.com/2016/06/feature/totally-amateur_408457

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4659343/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jun/01/dope-and-glory-the-rise-of-cheating-in-amateur-sport

2 thoughts on “Old Geezer Speed Demons”

  1. Great story, it certainly embodies the amateur cycling world. Seems our cycling back grounds parallel, each other. I am training again to get back into time trials. I had a hip replacement. Michael O’Conmor

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