aging athlete

4 Training Myths for Cyclists 50 and Older


By Chris Carmichael,
CTS Founder and Chief Endurance Officer

I frequently hear senior cyclists repeating training myths that hold them back. In some cases, they are not doing something wrong in training. Rather, their beliefs about aging have narrowed their vision of what a cyclist over 50 can do.

Now that I’m in my 60’s with a hip replacement and a knee replacement, I have more experience in the difficulties Masters and Grand Masters cyclists face. It has taken me a long time to feel fully recovered from the surgeries and a few post-surgery setbacks. Still, cycling and hiking, and strength training are big parts of my lifestyle and I have nearly 50 years of cumulative mileage and experience as an athlete. I’m not alone. Many athletes who work with CTS Coaches and participate in CTS Camps and Bucket List Events are 50 or older. The 50+ and 60+ age groups at gran fondos, gravel races, and masters road races are often some of the bigger fields of the day.

Baby Boomer and Elder GenX Athletes

The generation that is now 50-70 years old is headed into uncharted territory, to some extent. There’s a lot of research on aging, and even on the consequences of being active vs. being sedentary as we age, but previous generations didn’t participate in nearly as much organized and lifelong exercise. The “Greatest Generation” was very active in terms of activities of daily living and led less sedentary careers, but a relatively low number of people ran, cycled, rowed, lifted weights, or exercised specifically to gain cardiovascular fitness well into their 50s and beyond.

The specific myths below all stem from a primary misconception that getting older means growing frail. That the body inevitably wears out and breaks down. That we’re fragile and should only do easy to moderate activities so we don’t over-exert ourselves, get hurt, or accelerate the degenerative effects of wear and tear. We are not frail, nor fragile. There are consequences of growing older that affect athletic performance, for sure, but senior athletes – particularly those with years of exercise experience behind them – can do more than most people expect.

If the following myths about exercise and aging are holding you back, it’s time to change your viewpoint and get back to a high-performance mindset.

Myth #1: All performance markers get worse after 50

This is a matter of perspective and your starting point. Your maximum aerobic capacity (VO2 max) will incrementally diminish, and you will gradually lose muscle mass (sarcopenia). Stroke volume (the volume of blood pumped per heartbeat) decreases. Compared to a sedentary person, these declines happen more slowly for athletes. Use it or lose it.

Use it or lose it are not the only options, however. The body does not stop adapting to training load as you get older. Stress a physiological system and it will still adapt and grow stronger. Older athletes can often improve VO2 max because they still have room to improve. You can gain muscle with focused training and sufficient nutritional support (enough calories, more protein). But the biggest place you can improve is your power at lactate threshold, as a percentage of your VO2 max. Even if your VO2 max declines 1-2% year over year, you may be able to improve your maximum sustainable power by 5-8%. Unless you are already as fast as you could possibly be, you have room to improve before being limited by the small declines in maximum performance capacity.

Myth #2: Older athlete can’t sprint

Older athletes can’t sprint because they don’t sprint, not because the body is incapable of producing the power. For athletes over 50, what I often see is a loss of training specificity, or perhaps more accurately, an increase in training specifically for endurance. The low-cadence, high-torque work gets forgotten. The repeated high-intensity intervals get dropped. The leg speed drills are tossed aside. We ride at a moderate tempo with a moderate cadence, and maybe throw in some lactate threshold work.

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If you train it you can do it, whether that’s a snappy, high-power sprint or a ripping time trial. Bring back the specificity and your body will adapt accordingly.

Myth #3: Older athletes can’t handle high training loads

The amount of training stress a person can tolerate is based on many factors, and this myth is more about ramping up training stress too quickly than it is about the training workload an athlete can handle. As coaches, what we often see is a senior athlete who has to step away from or dramatically diminish training for a significant portion of the year (2+ months). Their fitness drops, but they try to jump back into training right where they left off, and it’s too much too soon. Athletes who are more consistent, which ironically are often the 60+ athletes in retirement, can maintain or increase training workloads. This was particularly proven in 2020, when working from home and restricted travel led many athletes – including those over 50 – to increase training workload. Not only did they handle it just fine, they made incredible progress.

You can handle a lot of workload. You have to be smart about it and pay close attention to recovery, but don’t limit your goals because you think you’re too old for the workload.

Myth #4: Older athletes can’t recover between big back-to-back days

Senior athletes tell me all the time that they don’t recover as fast as they used to. That they used to be able to do a big ride and feel better after one day of rest, and now it takes two days or more. I feel it, too, and it is true that hard workouts can take more out of us as senior athletes (bigger recovery hole to fill), and that our abilities to repair tissues and adapt to stress are slower than before. So, how do senior athletes survive and thrive during multi-day cycling tours and CTS Camps and Bucket List events?

As with many other areas of our lives, senior athletes have to work smarter instead of harder. Chances are, your recovery habits during your younger years had a lot of room for improvement. You could have recovered better and adapted more. That’s what you need to do now. Sleep, nutrition, and hydration are the pillars of recovery. When my athletes and I do 500+ miles in 6 days, the focus is just: eat, sleep, ride, repeat. Even in your everyday life, do the work to enhance your recovery habits around sleeping, eating, and staying hydrated. You will see a significant improvement in your ability to recover from day to day.

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Comments 153

  1. I am 77 and I’m recovering from prostate cancer surgery 6 months ago. At age 75, I was riding strong in centuries, gran condos, and fast club rides. My resting HR was 45 and my FTHR was 165. Following the surgery, I took 4 months off the bike. I’ve been back on the trainer and on the road for 2 months now and fitness has come back better than I expected. I spent a lot of time initially working on long zone 2 rides and have then upped the game. I feel much better than expected, but I’m not sure I can get back to my pre-surgery level. However, it is nice to be back out there.

    1. Hi Denny
      I’m currently dealing with Acute Prostititis… I will be off the bike for a few weeks… just wondering if you have any experience with easier saddles?
      That can help this… apparently doing 200-400miles per month on my current saddle has caused “trauma” to the area

  2. Thanks for the article. I’m 77 and did my first marathon and triathlon at age 53. I did 3 Iron Man races and many shorter tris until I broke my femur in a bike crash. After 5 surgeries, I did 5 more IMs and many shorter tris. The injury permanently slowed me but I could still finish within the cut off time. I had to quit at age 73 because Covid cancelled the races and because my running is just too slow. It was a great ride. I’m still on the bike and in the water. I’ve had to accept that age does diminish ability and injury compounds that.
    It would be a real thrill to do IM California but I no longer have the speed on either the bike or the run to complete it. Your article talks about 50s and 60s. Pushing 80?

    1. If you can figure out a way to get them, today’s top of the line, programable Pedelecs (ebikes that don’t have a throttle and only assist, for the uninitiated) can keep you going fast (speed is fun) while allowing you to experience your preferred maximum effort. True, today you can’t enter them in official races but they permit you do experience the speed you once easily had while still getting an effective workout (if that’s your aim).

  3. Nice article and great responses. 72 year old cyclist here, and generally have most of the 70+ Strava times in my local area. Having said that, some of the accomplishments mentioned make me feel like a slacker. 355 watts/hour easily, 1500 watt sprints etc. I NEED to get to work! Thanks everyone for chiming in and demonstrating what is possible as we age.

  4. Thank you for the wonderful, healthy perspective. As a pre-title 9 female, I’ve always wondered where all the older women were.
    I realize “comparison is the thief of joy” but when I turned 70 (1st of the year for USA cycling) and went into the Stack up, in Training Peaks, I was dismayed to see “no data for this age group”. I couldn’t compare, even if I wanted to. I sure do hope we can change this.

  5. I’m 71 in May. Can You be “better” than You were at 50, or 40 or 30 for that matter.
    I think it depends on how good you were at 50, 40, 30 and your current health, fitness and what activity.
    I can’t jump as well no matter how much plyo I do. I bike at least as well as 30 years ago. Running…….well I can’t sprint quite as fast

  6. As I read this, I can’t help but wonder to what degree Strava’s Freshness & Fitness scoring has misled older athletes in particular. Ultimately, Strava is measuring the continuous stress level your body is able to handle — for younger athletes that translates to the ability to perform better, for older athletes, I’m not so sure… Being in a constant state of stress isn’t optimal for the heart or the blood vessels. I have started to focus on a metric that highlights efficiency over ability to handle high stress. By focusing more on strength training, short-term power (still able to produce >1500 watts at age 68) and FTP, my F&F score is certainly lower than it was 5-10 years ago, but my power and FTP levels are as high as ever. The mental change needed has been to progress from “hammerfest” to “enjoy the ride” and “sprint with the best.”

  7. Just wondering if you had work with any rider’s with a pace makers? I’m 70 and I ride gravel, MTB, and Road cycling

    1. David,
      I have had a pacemaker for three years and it has presented several unanticipated challenges. Let me know if you get this message and want to discuss further

      Mike Morschauser

  8. This coming weekend, I’m about to start my 33rd consecutive year of racing. What I can tell you while participating in last years US Pro CX series and other “local” cyclocross races in the northeast, is that, without question, the 50+ Masters fields were the second fastest fields of the day behind only the Elite Men’s fields. (Of course select juniors were/are of course blazingly fast as well, but as far as average field speed, 50+ were 2nd fastest almost always. They are also among the largest fields as well.) A few years ago it was the 40+ masters fields that held those titles. But now that ex-pros and national champs like Adam Myerson, David Hildebrand and Jean-Francois Blais have “aged up” and are driving the pace in 50+? Forget about it. Similarly on the road at the Intelligentsia Criterium Cup in Chicagoland last year, it was the 50+ racers who were dominating. It’s bonkers frankly. I’m still working my way back into fitness, but thanks to WKO’s segments feature, it makes it easy to track my times/power numbers over certain climbs over the years and I’m still setting records at age 51 that stood since almost 10 years ago when I started using GPS enabled cycling computers. I also surprised myself when at the end of a 100 mile spirited group ride to Bear Mountain and back, that I still cranked out a 1,000-watt sprint! I lost that sprint, but still–1,000 watts after 6 hours? I’m pretty pleased with that result. I think your point about not a lot being known about Gen X athletes who have spend a lifetime SERIOUSLY training is spot on.

    1. And the front of the Elite Women’s fields at US Pro CX…they were also blazingly fast…so I should say the 50+ers were third or fourth fastest on the day. Still I think my point stands.

    2. Marc,
      I’m undecided if many Master 40-50+ athletes might be on some type of supplement. For example, even if your levels of testosterone are low and you replenish them with supplemental testosterone while still being in what is considered the normal range, it’s still supplemental testosterone. I wish they would test more 50+ athletes for supplement usage (i.e. doping). “Holistic” or “Wellness” medicine is still considered doping if you use performance enhancing products. I’d be curious how many Intelligencia Cup racers are clean.

  9. Last year, with 71 years, I wenn from the north of Switzerland (over Lenzerheide, Albula, Maloja near Como(304 km, 4148 HM), than to Varese and surroundings (200 km, 2300 HM) and than via Gotthard to my Home on third day (224 km, 3529 HM). On my arrival I felt tired but still good. I hope that I can keep going similar also in 2024! Pura Vide. Let live our life

  10. Chris, I want to thank you for introducing me to the term Grand Master, which I now describe myself almost as a mantra. It has served me well in recent years as it gets harder to hang with the club rides as the youngsters start hammering and regularly dropping me. I go off the back, if I’m lucky with another Grand Master, and we ride a bit more reasonably. In fact, occasionally we will even organize a separate Grand Master group which you have to be 60 or over to qualify for. We have also redefined FTP (frequency to pee). Lower is better!

  11. I’m a 70 year old road and gravel cyclist who lives in Garret County, MD., which is in the Allegheny Mountains. There is a grand fondo held here in June which draws cyclists from all over the world. Road cycling here is amazing, especially May through October. One of my favorite loops is just 32 miles, but has more than 3,100 ft of climbing! My main point is that I only average around 12.5 mph, but guess what? I don’t really care! Whether it’s road (my favorite) gravel, or MTB, I love cycling! And I plan to keep at it as long as I can. Btw, during the winter months I’m either on my trainer (boring!), or I grab my cold weather gear, drive down out of the highlands, and enjoy riding where there are warmer temps and usually very little snow and ice. My advice? Whatever you do, keep riding!

  12. I’m not sure am I boasting or asking a genuine question, I’m 49 and gave up construction to go easier on my body, since mid July I have cycled over 2500 k, last week the battery went on the EV, which meant I had to cycle the full weight of over 250kg for 3 kilometres before getting a fresh battery to complete the day at 99.7 k, had I known the distance, I would have done the xtra .3 to round it off, problem is, 6 days later with the weekend off and I’m still feeling tired!
    Has anyone got any tips on recovery supplements, I take creatine, bcaas and use beetroot powder for my recovery?

  13. Chris I’m 74. In grad school a Senior I and II racer. My max HR is 178. I can do 355 watts for an hour easily. I rode 9000 miles last year and climbed over 300,000 feet at ave of 20 mph.

    How ??? Never smoked no drugs no alcohol vegetarian. I’m a psychologist and a meditator.

    It can be done!

    1. Holy Smokes, that’s incredible! I’m your age and cycle regularly, but not even close to your output. Congratulations on this inspiring achievement.

    2. 355? That’s incredible! I’m recovering from a serious accident and having trouble holding 195 for 3 minutes! I’m also vegan, no alcohol, no smoking, but I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to generate that kind of power. You rock!

    3. 355 Watts?! That’s awesome I think. I’m 70 years old. 5’10” 171lbs. I do my high intensity intervals on Spin bike. My Tempo gets me 200-250 watts, heart rate max is 155(bike) but 170 on treadmill.
      I think I’ve hit over 600 watts during 30 second all outs I cannot maintain 300 for an hour. Always wondering if my lower meter accurate
      You’re badass

    4. You can’t believe everything that’s posted here. In this case there’s no Bernard Shaw listed as a racer on road-results, with this kind of power he’d certainly be racer, you’d think. There’s only one Bernard Shaw in the USA Cycling database, a 69 year old who finished 43rd out of 50 in a CAT 5 race a couple years ago. Also, the highest 60 min power recorded on intervals dot icu for a 70 plus rider is about 260 watts. Now “Bernard” might not be uploading his files to intervalsicu but with 322 enthusiast 70+ riders posting there it represents a statistically significant sample of the over 70 riding population. Being 90 watts above the highest is, well, a children’s story. Sorry mate, you’ve been busted.

  14. Good article
    Over the last 7 years I have had two back surgeries and found out I had 2AV nodes in my heart had to have one removed, so I have been on and off the bike, my latest issue is I have mild Asbestosis of the lungs so more problems.
    I am almost 73 years old been cycling for 30 years I can still do a 16+ average for a 25 mile ride my goal would be 17+ av. What do I need to do to try and meet my goal.

    1. I’m 75 and want to average 16 mph for a century. 16+mph For 25 miles is no problem for me,been cycling regularly for 35 years.

      1. I’m 75 and have recently done 2 centuries at just over 15 mph average moving speed. If you can do 25 @ 16 mph, a century will be no problem. Just get to where 3 hours in the saddle is no problem (increasing time / mileage) and teh rest amounts to 1. the confidence that you can do this, 2. Learn to hydrate and get sufficient fuel (and the right fuel) on board during the ride, 3. the discipline to ride at YOUR pace and comfort level, without regard to what anyone else is dong.

        For the confidence part, just ride 40 miles once, a week later do 50, then up to 70 or so. The fueling — lots of literature on that

  15. I am happy to see so many older riders putting it out there enjoying such a great activity.
    I`m 64 years old. Last July I signed up to ride for children`s cancer research sponsored by the Great Cycle Challenge being held in September 2022.
    I typically ride 20~25 miles a day. I had never ridden over 30 miles before. My first 6 rides for the event were all 60+ miles ( more than I could imagine) that were easy which surprised me. I felt great and wanted to do something extraordinary with the remaining 2 weeks. I heard a century ride is a great accomplishment for an avid rider so i planned 100 miles. It was a great feeling to see the odometer hit triple digits. After a day of rest I didn`t hesitate to attempt another 100 mile venture. After that I then rode 3 more centuries 2 being 120 miles each. I reached 927 miles total. THIS YEAR I HOPE TO BREAK 1000 MILES AND 140 MILES THE LAST RIDE TO FINISH BIG.

  16. I am a 60 , 13 years ago I had an organ transplant that saved my life ( kidney transplant ) I took up cycling during my recovery and have cycled ever since .
    As I am a transplant survivor I take immunity suppression medication everyday and have lower haemoglobin levels than a normal person
    I cycle about 5500 kilometres a year
    I average 15 mph on my road bike and have cycled to Paris several times
    As a 60 year old classed as CEV during covid , I can say I cycle faster and harder than I ever have
    I love my bikes !
    I intend to get faster during my 60s too
    My bike helps to keep me fit amd well
    I am love it 👍👍👍

  17. Hi just been reading about all those senior cyclists.
    I am 68 always into fitness most of my life , marathons & subsequently Duathlons. I am retired for 4 years. Now due to knee cartilage issues I took up cycling 4 years ago and I am addicted. Cycle twice a week if not more ; yesterday 89miles in under 5.hours and 27 mins . Done two 100 mile sportives back to back 6.42 hours last year . Everyone asks me how do I do it? To me it’s all about mental attitude and pre prep understanding the nutrition needed , sleep and understanding ur body re hydration on the ride . I also do twice a week weight trainings . I think it’s essential to a senior rider. You need strong upper body muscle strength to come through 6 hours of solid riding on a bike . My Vo max is 29 . How can I increase that ?

  18. A fantastic article and even better comments. I intend to retire this summer at 57 , been cycling for last 15 years , mainly mtb, but last year got into longer distance multi day rides, reading this fills me with excitement for the comming years, thanks to everyone for your inspiration, I am looking forward to European and uk 500Mile + rides.

  19. Just turned 75 and have gone from holding most of the area 70+ age group Strava leaderboards to taking over many of the 75+ so far. Been riding and racing for 61 years. I, personally have found that cutting back to riding every other day, has been very beneficial. I am pretty lightweight and find the extra recovery time has helped and has not diminished performance. Before I was in a state of perpetual low grade tiredness and I didn’t realize it. Now I can train harder and have more enthusiasm. Just saying

  20. I retired at 70 on May 1, 2020. I began cycling in May of that year. I started at 205 lbs. and by at the end of the season, the end of Sept for me I was under 180 lbs. This was during the peak of the COVID shut down. I also did my forst 50 mi ride that summer. The summer of 2021 I was doing a dead-end road about 7/8 of a mile long. On the return trip out, I was able to top 23 mph. So better fit and able to sprint.
    The summer of 2022 I did a 75-mile ride. Attempted a century but it got shortened to 65 mi due to high winds.
    It’s not always easy but the gains are great.
    I meet people all the time that say you need to slow down as you get older. You can’t do what a young kid can. Their right. When I was 50 I could do more than them.
    The nay sayers just want other people to slow down because they aren’t willing to extend themselves.

    I’d rather be riding! 😀

  21. I am 61. I haven’t trained on a road bike for a decade while recovering from back surgery and nerve damage. I’ve been riding a Schwinn Collegiate all this time, but when I get on a road bike, no matter what saddle and how much cutout, the tissue I sit on suffers a split that then makes urinating excruciating. I’ve already reorganized the bike for a less aggressive geometry. At my age, will the skin I’m siiting on ever become more resiliant or just continue more fragile? I have a whole collection of expensive saddles.

    1. Hi Diane. I’m 66 & have had same problem in the past. Found a local bike fit who set me up with 3 test saddles to trial in real life following an indoor 30 min physical review. Turned out the 1st saddle was just right for me & following 1 month / 300 miles challenging winter riding, no problems.

      1. Hi Kierry, I hope you’ve resolved your discomfort issues by now, but just in case you haven’t I can share a few personal experiences.

        Bike fit is perhaps the most important. Get a professional evaluation.

        Flexibility. Could it be that your back problem has left you I little inflexible which may be causing you to sit on your pereiteneum? If so I suggest you find a specialist to help you with exercises and stretching.

        I have long spells off the bike, mainly due to work pressures. When I return to cycling, the first three weeks cause me saddle pain. I guess it’s the muscle atrophy causing soft tissue to take the load.. it improves over time.

        Clothing. Invest in the best bib shorts you can afford.

        Chamois cream. I find that rides over 2 hrs I need to apply some to the skin not the shorts. All day rides, I’ll take a little tube and reapply.

        Saddles are a very personal thing. I find the longer I’m in the saddle, the harder to saddle needs to be. Width needs to match your sit bones.

        Have you tried tilting the saddle a little? Either down or up? Some folks tilt down if they experience issues that you describe.

        I have 3 road bikes fitted with the same saddle, an SDG Bell Air. You just have to keep trying different setups til you find one that works.

        Hope that helps.

        Chris, aged 68, just retired and looking forward to getting back on my bike.

    2. Hi Diane,not sure how old this post is but if you’re still suffering from this issue have you been to a pelvic pain specialist and wondered if you had researched pudendal neuralgia. It’s common in cyclists and I suffered for about 5 years. I’m back on the bike now but it may be an avenue to explore if you are still in pain. Hope this helps.

  22. I am 61 and have been off the bike for 12 years. In that 12 years I have lost a spouse, become diabetic which rapidly progressed to insulin dependent diabetes, become a cancer survivor. I have gone from being relatively fit to obese, then losing that weight through health problems, thus significant muscle mass loss. I recently started riding again. And I’ll confess, I ride an e-bike. My workout control comes from a power meter and heart rate , so yes I really am working. But I’ll be honest with you, it’s a lot more fun to do my workouts at 20 mph than at 12 mph!

    1. I recently bought a used 24″ mountain bike. I am 66 yo and to my surprise, I am having a hard time lifting my leg high enough to go over the bike to get on! I know my muscles have lost elasticity, but it also feels like my bones are also stopping me! What stretches do you suggest?

      1. Hi Brenda,
        I am 67 and i tilt the bike over toward me and step over and then stand the bike up.
        Do make sure that you have at least stand over height and if you have about an inch over that, that is better. I do tai chi and that helps with flexibility. Did do yoga but a crash with shoulder injury stopped that for a while. shoulder blade flexure – 3 sets of ten reps helps with minimizing shoulder pain. For the legs maybe gentle lunge positions and for inner thighs I sit on floor with soles of feet together and gently move knees up and down. also standing with legs apart a little wider than shoulders shift weight back and forth flexing knee on side shifting to and slightly rotate body to face side shifting from. loosening leg by stepping out slightly with one foot 45 degrees lightly touch toe to ground and rotate counter clockwise 10 times, then clockwise 10 times. then do same with other foot. relax during all these and never push more than a very little bit beyond where it starts to feel the pull.

    2. hello rand
      take one ride at the time and you will get better again
      i am 69 years and still ride about 100 to 140 miles a week people tell me i am a beat at my age
      never think you old you ate wiser now and keep on riding and you will see the results in no time
      cheers hans

  23. I just turned 83 and have been riding off and on for about 40 years. Most of my riding these days is done solo on city streets. I prefer to ride alone so that I can concentrate on riding and not get distracted in conversation. I also like to set my own pace. I typically ride 10 to 12 miles a day on weekdays and 15 to 20 on weekends. I usually set an objective before each ride such as stopping at one of a number of favorite coffee shops or nice spots on the beach to view the ocean. I try to ride every day. I recently began riding a ‘step-thru’ hybrid. The step-thru is easier to mount and dismount and doesn’t require swinging my leg over the back rack (which sometimes carries a pack.) I now ride in a more upright position that takes some of the pressure off my arthritic wrists. I live in Florida where the terrain is flat but the temperatures are quite high for about 5 months each year so I try to get my riding in as early in the day as possible while it’s still relatively cool and the typical afternoon thunderstorms haven’t fired up. I wear a “third eye” on my glasses to see what’s behind me. I’ve been doing it for decades and hate to ride without it. At 83, my memory’s not as good as it was so I keep a checklist next to the bike in my garage listing all the things I want to bring on the ride… water, money, snacks, dog tag ID, phone etc. etc. I wear high visibility clothing and have a red strobe light on the back of my bike. Riding east into the low early morning sun can make it quite difficult for motorists behind me to see me so I do what I can to increase my visibility. I use electric bike tires. They ‘re beefier, weigh more and cost more but have fewer punctures. My dislike for changing flats has steadily increased with age a my willingness to trade speed for convenience has also increased. I typically ride at a very casual 8 to 10 MPH and crank it up to 13-15 MPH if the situation warrants.

    At my age, I no longer “train.” I just try to do things that are enjoyable and good for me.

    1. Great Tim, I am 74 and my main claim to fame is I a paddled a rescue mal surfboard from Sydney to Newcastle 140 kilometres in the open ocean to raise money for charities I have numerous injuries but every second day I do a 5min plank, 100 push ups non stop then 20 weighted squats followed by 10 overhead press. I then progress to a 1. 30 min side plank and anywhere between 20 -28 chins non stop, then the above weights I complete the circuit with another 1.30 side plank then the squats and 10 snatch and grab. I did my first marathon paddle when I was 62 and the last one this year just before my 74 birthday. I feel I have to keep doing this to compensate for my injuries. I am a former pro boxer and cyclist and have just returned to cycling. I love stories like yours as they give me hope I can still keep going

    2. Great article Tim. I’m working on a 90 mile ride for my 90th birthday in June 2023. Mostly on the stationary bike at the fitness center, supplemented by mtb pedaling on the bike trails around Roseville, Ca. I find that my courage fails before my legs and lungs as I push to my limit. But hope spring eternal as I start another day of training.

    3. This is great Tim. I ride an E-bike upright and cover about 15-20 miles each time. I find about 70% of my anxiety is about traffic. I ride alone. But little by little, I’m more confident about tackling the hills … uphill is the best because the cars are also struggling. I’ve been a cyclist (mainly road bike) for 40 years. There’s nothing better! The endorphins are great for a 73 year-old. One day I’ll get a step-thru with a mid-drive. I go slow as there’s no hurry and I don’t tote up the speed etc. Time in the saddle is all. Best regards, Brian

    4. Oh my gosh Tim…I would love to meet you. I am the same age as you and recently had a fall in which I am healing. I am “dying” to get back into cycling but have been afraid I am too old to take on that challenge. I am working with an indoor recumbent bike in an attempt to build up strength to get outside and walk again with good balance. I have a hybrid bike right now but would like to purchase a recumbent trike for cycling outside. I live in southern AZ where the terrain is quite flat so good for recycled newbies like myself. Sure wish I had someone with which to bike. Too bad you are so far away.

  24. I’m 61 and race XC mountain bikes. I switched how I train two years ago and am in the best shape I’ve ever been! (I added a weekly Z2 ride and upped the intensity of my HIIT days) As a result, I went from chronic bottom-5 finishes in Sport/Cat 2 to consistent top 5 with many top 3s and even some wins! I then moved up to Expert/Cat 1 and am getting the same high race results I achieved in the previous class! I’m obviously doing something right–the other guys seem to be stagnating or even regressing.

  25. I’m a 60 year old man and I’ve never been fitter! At the age of 50, after a lifetime of being mediocre but keen at sundry sports and with arthritic knees (7 operations), I took up cycling. It’s addictive and not too bad on the knees. My longest ride is 260 miles in a day, I’ve entered the Coast to Coast (Open Cycling) in a day in July 2022 (150 miles and 5000m of climbing and in June 2022 I hope to complete Lands End to John O’Groats in 10 days. I’m a hopelessly average specimen with a worn out body but I’m fitter now than I was when I was 20. It does help to be slightly mad though.

    1. Andrew, you might be my inspiration! I’ll turn 60 in October. I used to run, having done a marathon. But I have needed to adjust, having a bad meniscus in my right knee. I’m in S. Africa but will return to the US in August. I intend to buy a great road bike and do some serious miles, to lose weight and do some gran fondos! I really want to know more about training and getting involved in events. Thanks for sharing your comment above!

    2. I was in the best shape of my life at 64; and I played D-I college soccer. Run run run! But my friends and family want me to be a sedentary grandad. How do I stay hyper fit but not be a jerk?

      1. I am 62 and I have been fit all my life. I am cyclist now, but I have ran marathons and participated in sports throughout my life. I am who I am and my family, my wife and children understand and support who I am; they could never or for that matter, I could never be any different. I am there for them now just like I have been there for them all my life, but sedentary can’t ever fit in my life as long as I am healthy and have life. Keep moving, your family will eventually understand!

  26. Pingback: Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes - Cardio Capital

  27. Hi folks
    I’ll be 65 this coming January I lost 50 lbs by walking and hiking I was 235. I discovered cycling because my two brothers are very good cyclist so I dug out my hybrid and hit the road. My first ride was a big 5 mile trek I felt great after the ride ( who needs Xanax). I’m pushing my body every day now I’m averaging 38 miles a day and never felt better, and I look great and by far a nicer guy. So now I would love to up my game I bought a Specialized Diverge bike and its time to train. I’m competitive against myself all time. Would love to hear what folks have to say on the subject of training. I’m on Strava Jody Grenier.

    1. At age 57 I recovered from quad reattachment surgery. Two months later, I rode my bike 80 miles from Rochester, NY to Watkins Glen, NY, up the “walls” near Gorham, Rushville, and Penn Yan, NY. Two years later, I rode 6300 miles. At age 61, I rode 7,400 miles. My riding season is from April to mid-December, so I had many back to back to back 60+ mile rides.

      Point is: age is no limit in general. At 68 I still ride this way. I will keep doing it until my body fails.

      Just push forward.

    2. Hi Jody,

      Read this article, and thought I would add you to my “following” on Strava. Not sure how to complete the process, if you are interested.

      I just turned 63. I am also looking at upping my cycling training. I’ve been riding for about 5 years, only this past year, doing it “seriously”.

  28. I didn’t start cycling till I was 54. I have done six double centuries (one day), five double centuries (2 day rides), 50 centuries and logged over 46000 miles.

    I am now almost 70 and not slowing down. I have a great passion for cycling have no desire to stop. Being an old combat Marine helps. Just do it

    1. Thanks 🙏🏾 for sharing. You are now my inspiration. I was a cyclist in my younger years, covering anywhere from 12-20+ miles in one stretch a day, 3x-4x a week, in the spring-fall seasons. Now 56 and After a-more-than-20-year hiatus, I’ve returned to the sport this spring-fall 2021 season.

      In the beginning, it was brutal. Never before did I feel so much ache and fatigue after a ride. But, the exhilaration I got kept me in. Well, after a bike fit for a new bike purchase (whose exorbitant price I still cannot believe I paid) I am committed to “go the distance” for as long as I can.

      Your post confirms I made the right decision!

    2. That’s just plain insane! I’m happy for you. At age 62 I feel as good as I ever have on my road bike, though, my numbers can’t compare to yours. I occasionally ride with an 80-year-old who can match my speed.

  29. this is very useful post for all beginners who do not now about the all features of bike. i really enjoy the lovely and useful reading of this article.
    thanks for sharing the informational piece of content

  30. Interested to hear from folks 60+ (I’m 66) re: how long it takes to recover from hard climbing (to exhaustion) intervals. I usually figure two days rest after, but thinking that may not be enough?

    1. Hello there. I’ll be 71 this year. Used to road race as a veteran. Then joined my son downhilling on the circuit when I was 50. Thanks to those years I still like to ride, and feel comfortable on, the downhill trails. Got out of biking because of chronic back pain. I had back surgery, which was like a miracle. No more pain and cleared to ride. So guess what. I bought a well fitting bike and am at it again on our local trails. Because of my spine problem I have severe atrophy in my left leg. I’m working hard to regain some muscle and hopefully get a balanced pedalstroke again. I ride up to the trails on a paved road, 6.5 km of climbing, about 200 m. Nicely warmed up by then I climb up on the trails, another 4 km of climbing, also 200 m.
      My reward then is riding downhill on mostly blue and black single track trails. I then have completed a 21 km ride, total climb 400 m. I try to do this 4 times a week till the snow flies. I invested in a cycle computer and put in my age etc. Max heart rate suggested is 150. Here comes my dilemma.
      My max heart rate is 184 and I feel best and do best to ride around 150 bpm and on steeper sections fluctuating between 180 and 150. So I mostly ride in the higher zones. On a rest day I take an easy trail along a creek. Try to keep an average bpm of 135 and seems to work. The distance is about 35k.
      After 15 years of not being on my bike I started 8 weeks ago after clearance from the spine surgeon. I have been looking for a training plan for my type of riding and my age group.
      Hard to find riding buddies my age unless I get an electric bike😜.
      If any one can relate to my story please let me know. Getting muscle back after 70 is not easy but doable? I’m in BC, Canada.

      1. Awesome- I’ve been trying to ride harder using Zwift / group training. Last night my HR was around 170 during max effort 7 min on: 90 sec off drills. I do wonder why at 61 it’s high? I gained 20 lbs over past 10 years and BP and cholesterol started going up – on meds, and trying to keep riding . I was a cat 3 road racer for 15 years, been racing/ riding and teaching spin over past 40 years. I met you Chris the year lance did tour DuPont (1996?) listened to you speak. You’re awesome. “Kristibike”

      2. Hi Gary,
        As a 72 year old Physician who is an avid rider, I was quite frightened at the 184 heart rate you posted. As we age, the compliance (stiffness and inflexibility) of our heart and blood vessels like the aorta worsens. To this end the jet of blood exiting the left ventricle can cause undo shear to the aortic wall resulting in dissection. Keeping your heart rate to 70-80% of your maximum (roughly 210- your age = mphr max predicted heart rate) and you will lower your risk of shear damage.

          1. I agree, that’s way too low. That said, unless you are a genetic outlier 180 seems a bit much.
            I’m 70, my max hr is 170 but I don’t really train above 164. Over 150 I’m working hard, and I can maintain that level for an hour or more.
            Also, that age based formula is not really accurate for everyone. Your max seems closer to 180 than 150. The targets should be set as a % of that level.

    2. I returned to cycling after 55 years at age 70 last summer. I did a 75km solo ride on my 71st birthday four months later. I have not beem as fit sinmce my sertious sailing days in my teens and 20s.

      I made the mistake of switching to running when it get too windy (and wet) to be comfortable cycling, especialy as I ride for pleasure and fitness, physical and mental. I tore my achilles and then we had Christmas. So I am now building back up to riding (achilles not an issue) 100-150km a week mostly in tempo or threshold zones.

      My aim is to get to Easter stronger and fitter than I ended my 2021 cycling. As a scientist/ data person I have just bought a power meter so I can get VO2max for my cycling. I’m notbothered about absolute values, just my personal improvements, as they say ‘the trend is your friend’.

      My aim is to ride frequently and as my doctor said don’t worry about numbers such as heart rate but listen to your body. So I don’t work to a programme, I just have a ride in mind but if it is not feeling good I adjust cut it short, or slow it down. The important thing for me (especially for mental health) is just to get out, even if I am not feeling keen. I will see how it goes and if I feel like it I might try a time trial in the summer, main aim is to do a km century or two, if I stay injury free I shoul dget there early in the summer.

      I am fortunate, apart from sore achilles, I don’t have any physical health issues, heart rate and blood pressure are comfortably in the normal range, as is my wieght which has come down by 22lb/10kg since I started cycling. Just need to shed the Christmas kgs. Unlike most of my contemporaries I am not any medication.

      So my advice for theolder athlete is just enjoy it, set personal goals that keep you progressing and motivated.

      1. I used to run marathons, but biking is certainly easier on the Achilles. I will be 74 in May and mountain bike on mostly green and blue trails, plus ride roads on my hybrid.

      2. Awesome- I’ve been trying to ride harder using Zwift / group training. Last night my HR was around 170 during max effort 7 min on: 90 sec off drills. I do wonder why at 61 it’s high? I gained 20 lbs over past 10 years and BP and cholesterol started going up – on meds, and trying to keep riding . I was a cat 3 road racer for 15 years, been racing/ riding and teaching spin over past 40 years. I met you Chris the year lance did tour DuPont (1996?) listened to you speak. You’re awesome. “Kristibike”

    3. yup- revovery about 2 days…( i am
      a 66 year old female )- the more i hit the hills , the shorter the recovery…
      even 5 days between cycling
      makes the ride/recovery tough

    4. yup- revovery about 2 days…( i am
      a 66 year old female )- the more i hit the hills , the shorter the recovery…
      even 5 days between cycling
      makes the ride/recovery tough

  31. Age 63, started mountain and gravel biking and mountain unicycle, 1.5 years ago, after a 47 year break from riding (I was an accomplished road racer as a young teen). Entered my first race (a gravel race) in 47 years and finished in the lead pack of 22 riders for overall win at the finish line sprint. I was the oldest rider in that pack by almost 20 years, won my age group by 3.5 minutes and set a new all time course record by 5 minutes (85 minute race) for my age group. I never thought it was possible to feel this strong and in such good shape at this age…..and getting stronger!!! But you do have to watch out for injures more.

  32. I am the same vintage as you Don (72) and I agree, not enough training information for the 70+ athletic population. It is hard to know just how hard you can push yourself safely.
    I am in a track cycling club for seniors and was shocked recently when I was well out in front of my grade in a 20 lap event (8km) and was pipped at the post by a seasoned rider. I found out he was 86 yo and had been competitive his whole life. The conclusion from that; Never give up on life…. or the race, especially you think you have it in the bag.
    I do weight training, HIIT on my indoor cycling trainer and work out on my rowing machine.
    I also do intermittent fasting and eat a low carb, high (good) fat diet.
    On race day mornings I have a bulletproof coffee 1 hour prior to my event.
    I feel that I am in better shape now than I was during my working life.

    1. Push yourself safely? I am an overweight (208 lb, 6’ 2”) 76 year old who regularly ascends a 900’ mountain up a greenway which reaches a 12% grade. I wear an ID bracelet so someone can alert my wife that I died with my other love, biking.
      At the country club playing doubles tennis, several players are doctors, so I don’t even think about it.
      The unsafe part of hill climbing is descending down the road at +30 mph. Should I hit an animal or blow a tire, now that is dangerous.

  33. In summer of 1969 I did 1000 miles, just after high school. Kept riding for the next five years, in college and grad school. Then took up a job, got a motorbike and didn’t notice when an uncle donated the bike to a needy person to get in to rice transportation business. Yes, the bike was strong, Philips of UK, probably made in the 1950’s.

    At the age of 69 I restarted cycling, a month back. Using my daughter’s14 year old single speed bike. My area is a little undulating and I was finding it very difficult to climb the steeper parts. Got the freewheel changed to 24, it was 18, and raised the saddle a little with a new rod. It is a little easier now.

    Now, I am hoping that someday I will also be able to do a ‘Century’.

    Thanks to the encouraging post in this site, I will stay motivated.

    Thank you, all the seniors.

    With best regards,

  34. If you are a perimenopausal/menopausal woman there is a new podcast called “Press Play not Pause” and associated face group that is aiming to help female athletes. Some really motivating and helpful info. Of course does not take place of medical or coaching advice from your doc or coach, but very supportive group.

    1. Thank you Avery for the podcast referral – not enough information out there for post-meno woman who want to remain active and healthy!

  35. Will be 74 next month. Retired at end of 2014. Broke hip on ride in 2018 [rod & 2 screws inserted]. I did a lot more stretching this year before, during and after rides. Got a lighter bike in mid-May. Finished with 7500 miles & still have my goal to get in a 10,000 mile year.Best so far are a couple of 8,100 years and an 8,300 year. Learned this year that I can still expand my boundaries. After poor start January-March end, I determined to do 1000 miles in April. Had to do a Century on last ride to make it. In probably more than 13 years of riding I had reached 1100 miles [just barely] in a month just once. After April I decided that every ride in May would be a Century. 14 Centuries, 1600 miles. A couple I struggled to inch over 100 miles but mid-month I also did my two longest rides ever, 124 and then 137 [new bike]. Rest of year was only fair. New bike in shop 3 times in October with freehub issue. I have found that I like to go out at 2:20-3:30 am in the summer and do a Century and be home mid-morning. I have also found that once it turns cold, dark & windy I find reasons not to ride & I no longer do Centuries. For me, aging and riding have become about adapting. I stopped going to the gym because of the pandemic and only slowly getting much home weight work done. Am working to fight off the Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD] & force myself to get out there. Live in southern Arizona & temps have been very mild late all and early winter so I can go out later and ride and trying to take advantage of that. I read as much as I can and am always trying to learn something new that will help with my riding, whether it is about what I do on the bike, my diet, stretching, changing things on the bike itself, or whatever. It always makes me feel good to think I am moving myself in a good direction. I continue to believe that attitude and determination [will power] help so much. Stay safe out there.

    1. Awesome! You are inspiring! I am a 66 year old female just retired and am now focusing on myself. That definitely includes a consistent cycling routine.

    2. Amazing Dwight and inspirational. I’m 72 next March. I’m living at low speeds (around 12-15 mph) but high climbing. Where I live (Exmoor England) it’s almost impossible to avoid 1000 ft of climbing per 10 miles over 50-100 plus mile rides and it’s pretty easy to find roads that give 1500 ft over 10 miles. I love it, and can still do it but Father Time is making it harder each year and sometimes I just wish there was a way to regain some of that strength I had even just 5 years ago. I really am noticing how I’m reaching for those lower gears more and more (34-34 is my lowest), and on long tiring rides, like today’s, 75 miles 7500 ft, 12.3 mph, l the first 6 miles way over 1000 ft. I really don’t know much at all about nutrition, training. I don’t race, only maybe a couple of enduros a year. So I’m just wondering if these long climbing rides, fun though they are, might be grinding me down and wasting me away instead of building me up. Any advice appreciated. I’ve always been a strong and respectfully fast rider, and can still compare reasonably well with a good few 60 year olds. So I wondered if some focussed faster rides on flatter terrain might be good for me. Or weights, more protein? These hills aren’t going to go away so it’s time to up my game!🙂 Any advice really appreciated. Because of the miles and the hills I’m lighter than I was, but slower 😕🤔 Keep up with the riding everyone 👍

  36. Love this article! I’m in the best shape of my life except for needing to spend more time lifting like I used to as swim, bike, run now takes a lot of my time and yet I realize how import maintaining my muscle and strength are for a variety of reasons. As a lifelong exerciser, when I had cancer in 2011 and was able, I started cycling as a new sport and very quickly was doing centuries and loving it! My doc said “you’re stressing your body!” I said, then why do I feel sooooo good! Then I took up triathlons two years ago and now am training for a 70.3 Ironman! I’ll be 62 next month and I I tend to continue being active until I take my last breath! Thank you so much for sharing your videos for free! Now that the weather puts me on the trainer and treadmill most days I did one of them and it was amazing! I look forward to doing them all! Thanks again! Hope to do one of your camps someday like my friend Paula Zucker Stone!

  37. As a ‘non-athlete’ entering my mid-60s (though Ironman at age 55) – One thing have noticed is how much faster I seem to lose fitness with detraining. Taking 2-3 weeks off around the Holidays and it’s a month’s work to even approach where I was just weeks before. Ten years ago I would bounce off the couch to join my buddies for a spur-of-the-moment early Spring century. Now I better have a few weeks of good riding in first.

  38. Good points,
    I’m pushing 69 years, and still train somewhat hard. The difference for me is that I have limited the endurance events. No more 4-6 hour, 6 day stage races. Several of my older riding friends that pushed, on what appears too long, have developed heart behaviour abnormalities. They are devastated by the sudden limitations experienced. To try and avoid this, I do short hard (1 to 2 hours) events that allow some recovery (hilly but rolling). I still go for the sprints, regardless of the riders around me.

  39. I am 56 and ride year long. Winter do indoor rides at a training facility and in the spring/summer/fall outside. I rode 8400 miles in 2020. Did 3 back to back centuries. Do not plan on slowing down. I love being on my bike. Have plans for a climbing camp in 2021 and hoping for 5+ centuries.

    1. Congrats Emily on another fantastic year! I miss riding with you and knew you would keep on working it! You’re an amazing rider!

    2. Wow Emily,
      I am totally fine in awe of you. That is absolutely amazing what you are doing. I have just turned 65 and cycle 20 miles every day sometimes twice a day. I have been road cycling for 15 years and absolutely love being out on my road bike. I enjoy the freedom and the fresh air and doing things at my own pace. I can manage to do my 20 minutes in around 80 minutes which I am told is a reasonably good time. Going forward Emily enjoy all you do. You truly are an inspiration to all. God bless you young lady. All the best for the future. 😊👍👍

  40. As so many of the comments above have noted, age isn’t the limiter many think. I’ve always been competitive but have been told I “can’t” because of my age. Last year I posted tons of PR as well as club and age cat KOM on the two biggest climbs in Vancouver.

    I had a coach that told me that I was riding too much and my CTL was way too high (85), even though I have recent years of history of carrying more load than that and I felt good with no signs of chronic fatigue. Their solution for me was I should back off and my power will increase. It didn’t, I lost power and form. I ditched them.

    The take away for me is that being 68 years old (or any age for that matter) shouldn’t be viewed as an absolute for training load and performance. I’d say, as with just about everything in life, we are all unique and our potential and ability is determined by genetic, part experience and part work determine our training outcome.

    1. Hi Bruce,
      I always believe that age is just a number unless you are a bottle of wine. 🤣🤣 Age should never ever be a barrier for us to do anything we want to do. For me it is all about positive mental attitude. Never say you cannot do anything unless you give it your best shot. I truly believe you do not stop playing because you get old you get old BECAUSE you stop playing. More power to you my friend.

  41. The problem is not getting older its that some of us think we are the only ones training hard and that other “baby boomers” don’t train as intense as we do. Then you participate in an event seeing yourself on the podium , arms lifted in glory, to find out you placed 30 something against people you thought were just old-timers getting a bit of fresh air.

    1. Actually, I ride just to ride. If I had to train, it would seem like work to me. So I go where I will, wherever the moment takes me, and quit for lunch. Afternoon riding is hard for me, but it is fine for playing tennis. I keep my brain active with computer shooter games (wonderful for tennis as playing video war games against 12 year olds greatly increases reaction time), word puzzles and jigsaw puzzles. My evenings are at the baseball game (low A farm team) or in Fall hockey. Then at home lying back, eating chips and watching various sports, highlighting EPL games if available, or watching English murder mysteries.

  42. Great article! So true, in every aspect. At 73 yrs and compromising health issues; I use your articles and adjust to what I know I’m capable of and then push a little more. Always a firm believer in ‘Yes I can’. Tomorrow is always another chance at getting to a better level. Thanks for the encouraging articles!

  43. This article is GREAT. At 62 years of age, I started with CTS training. I used to be scared at high cadence intervals, and higher power zones. CTS, and my coach from “CTS”, Knows how to push me correctly to the “higher levels”. I am getting FASTER & STRONGER,🚴🏋️

  44. Great Article,
    I will be 60 this year, Put in 570 hrs in the saddle last year over 11.000 km with 2200km in august
    Started with a new coach last year and have a quite an aggressive training program getting ready for some big events 2021 , ( multi day )
    have seen great improvements both weight loss and power increase ( FTP up W/kg up) , We are focusing more on increasing 1-5 min power levels at the moment,

  45. 51 year old here who joined Sufferfest during the pandemic and have loved the specific training rides focusing on 4d profile. I’ve improved in ways that I never imagined possible. “What gets measured gets managed.” I found my weaknesses and have dramatically improved in those areas. One such area is leg speed/turnover. I have always been a big gear, grind it out kind of cyclist and thought that as a 50+ year old, that was just who I was. Thanks to workouts, geared up to gearing down and improving RPM, I can now sit still/no bounce at 110-120 rpms comfortably. Improving is AWESOME at every age!

  46. Thanks for the inspiring information. At age 60 I cranked it up a notch and moved from 2.0 TP/kg to 2.97. Ignoring the naysayers along the way. I see many age 70 plus commentors that I desire to be like.

  47. Very interesting article and my experience supports those principles. I am 71 – 72 in April. Did 10,000 kms in 2020 and still race when Covid allows. I lift modest weights and do core strength exercises. Its the intense interval training I have to be smart about the frequency of and recovering from – which I have learnt from sheer experience.
    There is now a huge need for a “Fast after 70” book (like the Joe “Friel Fast after 50” book). I would be happy to contribute. I note there is now a specific world wide Group on FB for active cyclists who are over 80. 287 members I think. Chapeau.

    1. I am the same vintage as you Don (72) and I agree, not enough training information for the 70+ athletic population. It is hard to know just how hard you can push yourself safely.
      I am in a track cycling club for seniors and was shocked recently when I was well out in front of my grade in a 20 lap event (8km) and was pipped at the post by a seasoned rider. I found out he was 86 yo and had been competitive his whole life. The conclusion from that; Never give up on life…. or the race, especially you think you have it in the bag.
      I do weight training, HIIT on my indoor cycling trainer and work out on my rowing machine.
      I also do intermittent fasting and eat a low carb, high (good) fat diet.
      On race day mornings I have a bulletproof coffee 1 hour prior to my event.
      I feel that I am in better shape now than I was during my working life.

  48. Hi, absolutely loved this article, has completely inspired me!
    I’m a 54 year old woman who has recently taken up cycling. I have never done anything sporty my whole life but recently met my partner who is sports crazy and a very keen cyclist. I really wanted to be able to get out there on the road with him, otherwise I doubt I’d see much of him!!!
    We bought a road bike and I have only been out a few times but I absolutely love it and my confidence is growing. I really want to do well at it and hopefully be at a good enough level to enter into events like my partner but was worried perhaps I had left it ‘too late’!
    This article has inspired me, along with all the replys. Thank you, there is hope for me yet!!

    1. Go Laura Go!!! Sooooo awesome. I did not start riding until I was 50. Am now 63 and riding is one of my top passions, along with skiing. There is nothing like the wind in your hair riding through the countryside. It took consistency to get to where I wanted to be (and still does) but it was and is always a rush just to get on the bike and ride out of the driveway. You can smell things and feel the air in ways you never knew. The world looks so amazing on a bike. You make many friends. You feel great even when you are tired. You learn the bike lingo and bike life. I am stoked for you!

    2. I’m a U.K. female pushing 74 and thinking of going for a charity bike event which crosses France from West shore to the Alps and then up many of the Alpine climbs .
      Some days will be back to back 250 or so km. The climbing will be hard.
      I have just almost recovered from a knee hemi arthroplasty and the knee feels fine . I have done similar events before but not such long distances day after day.
      I am back to short but high intensity indoor rides . In the past I have been a marathon runner and GB age group well placed triathlete.
      I think I will go for it and see if I can!
      Any tips on training for someone like me would be great. I also work full time as a radiologist so limited time. I trained with my charity group last time I did a similar event in 2018 .

  49. Am 72 years old, cyclist off and on over the years, plantar fasciitis this summer, a number of reasons I could not hike or walk. I borrowed a bik E from a friend of mine. The regular Diamond bikes make my back hurt, my bottom hurt and my neck hurt. I have extensive arthritis through my entire spine etcetera. Am injury-prone as well. Am I retired physician and I’m wanting to get into it so I’m going to do a trike noting that the bike E recumbent produces absolutely no discomfort when I get off of it after like a moderate hr 120-130 – 2-hour ride. Some experience with exercise physiology in the past. I’ve been a cardiac rehab physician. Loved your article thought it was some good common sense and not too much towards the elite cyclist. IMHO benefits of moderate exercise especially outside cannit even be measured but during this covid. Could be life-saving.

  50. I like your article. I’m a women 74 who’s trying to keep going in cycling to do a half ironman as part of a ten in 2021.
    It was cancelled because of COVID this year.
    I work with a coach and she pushes me I think to my max effort but it’s hard to know if I’m average or above for power or time on the bike. Through the summer I average 80- 100 miles per week with climbing around 2000 feet.
    I like biking but sure wish I knew some women athletes around my age,
    I’ve survived a stent, a stroke, and TIA plus various joint problems that come with bone on bone.
    I’m just happy to be able to compete in triathlons yet even though I can’t do the long distance any more.

    1. Wow, another older lady cyclist!! I’m 65 and trying to find older gals to ride with as well. You are inspiring to me. I used to swim Masters and ride quite a bit (40-60 miles a week) but now I’m just trying to get back into cycling. With Covid I can’t swim but I’m hiking and lifting weights.
      Best wishes to you!

      1. Jen
        I agree . I love our bike groups but I just feel deflated after some rides because of the majority of the group being under the age of 45 especially women.
        I love to ride. Solo riding I just don’t enjoy. I like the comradere and team work of Group rides

      1. I mostly ride solo these days. Not as many women my age wanting to ride . I do ride with some of my married male friends and am stronger than some of them. I just keep moving, doing several activities and remaining active!

      2. Hi Debra, Jen and Shirley,

        I applaud you so much and want to encourage you to keep looking for women (and men) to ride with. I am 63 yr old male, ride on 2 teams. Both our teams have women and when we ride together there is a natural and courteous self selection of mixed groups based on ability and desire that day. As a guy, I love riding with the women and yes, sometimes I act like a guy and charge off without them. But most of my best times are riding with the women and if I still really want to ride hard, just have them tuck in behind me and off we go making sure they are having fun and don’t get dropped. They love the “free ride” of someone pulling and together it is so fun. I find men often behave better when there are women riding with them, and we tend to be a bit more chatty! Easy for me to say, but check with all your local bike shops to see if they know about women riding groups. I wish you the very best and hope to see you on the road.

  51. Greetings Trainright, I’m 61 years old, 5’ 9” and weigh 143#. I have been cycling since Chris Carmichael rode in the Tour de France. I recently moved to Colorado Springs from a low altitude, flat desert environment. Since I moved here, I seem to be having trouble with the altitude change and of course the climbing required to ride here. How long will it take me to acclimatize and gain strength to climb better? Many thanks in advance.

    1. Post

      Typically, athletes adapt to the altitude in Colorado Springs (about 6,200 feet above sea level) over a period of 3-4 weeks. There can be a lot of personal variability, however. While you are adapting to living and training at altitude, it is best to focus on aerobic endurance intensity and plenty of recovery between rides. A lot of riders make the mistake of overdoing it when they first get to altitude. Rides take more out of you, as do activities of daily living, and maintaining normal training intensity and volume from lower altitudes can skew the work/recovery balance. If you continue having trouble or feel you’re just not adapting well, call us at 866-355-0645 and we can bring you in for some physiological testing. – Jim Rutberg, CTS Pro Coach

  52. Great article and thanks Cris. I am a 77 yrs.old cyclist. Raced bikes since i was 19 yrs.old, crits, road and track. So been in cycling for well over 50 yrs. Would pretty much say i have seen a lot and experienced a lot pertaining to racing and training. Things change dramatically over the years. #1 i would say is nutrition, then equipment, clothing, training methods and just about everything. So many people over the years told me to slow down, You are getting old. Yes i slowed up a bit but i am still strong at my age compare to even some riders 20 yrs. younger. I pay attention to my body and adapt as i go along. This past 2019 my total mileage was 7565 miles and i could have done more. I can easily ride 100 miles at a good average and i does lots of climbing, over 400,000. ft. with gradient up to 20%. I ride 3 to 4 times per week. I take daily naps when i feel like and i sleep at least 8 hrs. each night. Watch my diet, lot of fruits and try to stay well hydrated. I have never use a HRM or a power meter. I feel my body and i know when i am in the red on a really steep climb so i sometimes back off and in a couple minutes i am good to go. My resting HR is 48 BPM. When i ride i always choose a gear which i can feel, not a high cadence rider as i use the gear resistance to help maintain my strength. I do not lift weights but i do core exercises and i do chin ups on a bar i have install in my door frame at home. Over the years i develop my own training methods. to suit my body type. Each of us is different so we need to be smart about our training and learn as we go along. Just my two cents. Ride safe everyone.

    1. I turned 62 in 2016 and rode 7,120 miles. I actually was in the best shape of my life, weighing as little as I did in high school. Of course friends and family were not supportive, and told me to slow down. I didn’t. So I ride alone and basically have opted to be alone. It’s tough being fit after 60.

    2. I don’t see a direct answer on the question-Can or should I ride everyday at 68.
      I love biking but I also love Track and try to run the other days . On My Biking days when I get home I do slow and proper pushups about 100 or more and then upper body workouts and when I run —I do leg exercises- I am not trading for bike races but 100 and 200 meter runs and the high Jump .

    3. Impressive. At ate 60 I increased my FTP/KG from 2.0 to 3.0. Rode 5000 plus miles last two years. Right on your heals

  53. Very inspiring article. I have found vast improvements are happening with organized, coached training. However, I think one of the biggest and quickest losses we confront while aging is the loss of flexibility!
    Yoga addresses all those little balance and micro-control muscles that are the first to go. I have added 3 yoga workouts a week to my Cardio (cycling) & strength training (i hate lifting, its awful). Yoga makes a huge difference in my performance and recovery as well as in my general well being.
    Granted, no one wants to see ‘old men’ doing yoga, its NOT pretty. Never-the-less, one of the best things I can do and, if I had to choose, the last exercise I would give up! Try it! I use an app in the privacy of my own home and it is amazing!!

    1. I am 109 years old and I have an FTP of 7 W/kg. I still produce 2200 watts in an elbows out sprint. I climb 5000m in the big dog most days before breakfast. I do intermittent fasting eating 1 day out of every 5 and I feel amazing.

  54. Thanks for the article, it is time to dispel incorrect beliefs. As part of your article points out, everything we choose and do is cumulative and impacts our health, strength and performance, and specific to you as an individual. One point about all this is diet, specifically processed versus non-processed, organic versus non-organic. We are really starting to realize that the source of the food is very important, the ground it grows in or the food source of the animal protein.

    One thing that coach Craig (2004 US Paralympic Coach), you have to do everything perfectly to do your best. Now I understand to mean for me, eat a organic plant based diet and you will recover faster, injuries heal quicker, and your performance will improve over your previous diet preferences. Coach Craig was a CTS coach, CTS has valuable and great information.

    Cheers and ride hard-even at 64.

    1. Dave:
      Thanks for the comments…once correction, Craig Griffin is still a CTS Coach. He came back to CTS in the Fall of 2019 and we are excited to have him back!
      Chris Carmichael

  55. Well said.

    I turned 60 this year and that has not stopped me setting all time power PBs including holding 347W (4.96W/kg) for 20 minutes.

  56. Great article. I’ll be 66 next month. I was just thinking that there are not enough articles on cyclists in there 50’s and beyond.
    Most folks I ride with are often 10-25 years younger.
    Mentally I have a hard time reconciling that I’m older and not the same rider I was in my 50’s.
    Just started into gravel riding and entered steamboat springs, so anything you can offer in future articles would be appreciated.

  57. Tks Chris for inspiring the silver backs and helping us achieve what’s possible. Turning 60 this year. In 2019 I did 3600 mile on my bikes–lifetime PR, 500 miles running and over 85 miles swimming. While I like to race and do bucket list events, its really about a better quality of life as I age. I was more fit at 55 than when I was 45. I am shooting to be fitter at 65 than 55 (documented on Stava) and god willing and Jeana’s help (CTS coach shout out) I hope to be fitter at 75 than 65. Not sure about the next decade but I am looking forward to the years yet to come. #ctsatlete

    1. Thanks for the shoutout Glenn! No doubt that with your determination and drive you will reach your goals! Consistency is key and you’ve figured that out. Looking forward to smashing more goals in the future!! Best, Jeana Miller

  58. Thanks so much for this validating article! I wish everyone would read it and live it! I’ll be 61 next month and I CHOOSE to “ Shatter The Concept Of Aging and Age Energetically, One Mile At A Time!” I’ve ridden thousands of miles this year and run hundreds, having just taken up running and triathlons last year! Your articles are so helpful!

    1. Thanks for replying Jana it’s inspiring! I assume you are female by your name. It’s great to see a 50+ (and even better a 60+) female on here. I’m 57 & although I ride with a big group in a big city I don’t see many other women over 50 riding. Your running must be doing a good job of keeping your bones strong, something it seems us women have more issues with than the guys. Hats off to you!

  59. Awesome… getting excited. Nobody’s around riding much in rural Ga in late 60’s , but I used to get passed all the time By 70-80+ riders,,, Now there is a young whipper snapper, in early sixties who is tearing it up! Thanks for the Myth buster article!

  60. I’m 84 years old and still riding, but it is now inside because of a balance issure that caused a crash in 1918 and broke my humurase. I ride five days a week 60+ min. a day. In the past I raced in the senior Olympics and have 8 records in Michigan and 2 National.

  61. Super article – thank you. I am 78. Rode over 1000km in 2019 season. Planning on over 3000km for 2020. Have my road bike on an indoor trainer in the studio to help keep fit for start of season. I intend to enter 4 or 5 events this year: gran fondos and charity rides. Also going to attempt a few bike-packing trips. So good to read this article and know there are many in their 70’s and even 80’s still in the game. This article is much needed motivation; one of our biggest challenges as we age. As the article points out, and we all know, training smart is so important, including rest, diet and hydration. cheers to all from Southern Ontario, Canada.

  62. Just turned 50 and I feel that the one noticeable thing is every meal needs to count it seems, either towards recovery or energy stores for tomorrow.
    More specifically, I listen to my body even more now and when i get it right i feel amazing. If I don’t, well, I can tell immediately on the bike. Rotating between low-inflammatory foods for recovery with plantbased protein, and higer carb foods for fuel is the simplest way i can put it. My smoothies have become a sort of science project on their own.

    Love the training plans and blogs and really appreciate all the great info Chris.

  63. At 76 and 35 years of avid road riding I have adapted to age by doing what I feel my body and other obligation allow me to do. Frankly I have cut back in many areas and still feel I have maxed out my fitness with consistent shorter efforts.

  64. I am 60 years old and I worry about my heart rate being too high my last 5K my average heart rate was 173 I felt really good I noticed at one point my heart rate was 177 even though I felt fine I made myself slow down I guess I just worry about my heart exploding anybody else have that issue my resting heart rate is around 45And I’m in pretty good shape than a few extra pounds

    1. I’m 73 and my max HR is 175. Resting is 48. I can sustain 65 milers at around 155-160 if I choose. I have reached 174 on extreme hills and my body was naturally bringing me to nearly a stop at the crest prior to recovering so I think these things are natural assuming you have a healthy cardiac system, clear arteries, and do regular high intensity work. The speed of recovery after intervals is a good indicator of fitness. I make sure my Dr. (who is sports conscious) knows my activity levels and approves. I also did a cardiac calcium scan and my score was 0 – very happy about that.

    2. I gave up my heart rate monitor about 2 months ago at the advice of another cyclist. I had stopped on a group ride because my heart rate seemed unusually high. After 2 months of riding without a heart rate monitor I can say I enjoy cycling more and have had no issues.

      Give it a try!

      P.S. my cardiologist saw no issues.

      1. Like you my dr’s advice was ignore trhe numbers (I’m 71, I have no health issues/ medication)and listen to your body. I do ride w ith a monitor, as a scientist/ mathemetician I love nuimbers.! I have seen the max HR I achieve increase as I have got fitter and more able to push myself. Highest so far is 172. Agree about the max heart rate rules of thumb probably err on the side of caution.

        However I have seen odd momentary spikes to 188-191 from around 170. I suspect sensor issues such as a too dry/ too loose heart rate belt.

    3. Everyone’s different. see a cardio if you have specific concerns. I turn 55 this month, just started riding about 5 yrs ago and have done 5,000+ outdoor road miles each of the past 3 yrs. my resting HR is mid 60’s and max is 204; I routinely maintain 175+ bpm for more than an hour during “spirited” group rides and occasional crits.

    4. I am 72 and my resting heart rate is 57.
      Last week I was in a seniors sprint race (track bikes) and my max. HR over the line was 189 which scared me a bit, even though it was only for a couple of seconds.
      I asked other competitors if they were at their max hr and all agreed that they were.
      My recovery rate was quite rapid and I felt good soon after the race so I expect everything is OK.
      My average HR for the race was 159 (20 x 400m laps) which I seem to be able to maintain without difficulty.
      I think we are all different and it’s different strokes for different folks.
      I don’t agree with 220 minus your age as being a max HR guide for athletic people.

  65. Good article and very applicable to all healthy older athletes. What limits me in some aspects of training and recovery is a medical condition which wasn’t the case when I was younger. A restrictive (tight) aortic valve has me changing my workouts in ways that accommodate some limitations yet give me maximum training benefit. Lets say I agree in
    principle with the article’s content but add a few of my own training particulars. There are no restrictions to my lifestyle in all other aspects. I’m sure there are others out there with similar stories.

  66. I am 64. Over the last 10 years i have felt its taken more effort to maintain speed and strength. Part of this i think may be mental? Its takes time and commitment to stay with the “fast group”. How has your mental stamina fared over time?

    1. Firstly Thank you for these articles- they are inspirational.

      I have an ideal situation at age 72.
      My son an avid cyclist lives next door and we ride early mornings. He is very strong and I try to draft off him as often as possible.

      Of course he knows I won’t be able to sprint with him always- but the more effort I put in allows me to get stronger.

      At age 71 I was riding faster than ever- now I have to concentrate on this year.
      I look forward to the challenge.

      I do include 2 visits to the gym each week when possible.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I’m a CTS coach, and I work with a lady that has one lung. I’ve worked with her for several years in fact, and she’s made good progress with her fitness goals/accomplishments. She regularly runs, rides, swims, and plays tennis. As long as your doctor approves exercise, you can make fitness gains with consistent exercise. Reach out to our Athlete Services team if you want to sign up for coaching. Best, Jeana Miller

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