aging athlete

4 Training Myths for Cyclists 50 and Older

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By Chris Carmichael,
Founder and Head Coach of CTS

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

When I recently looked back at my Strava and TrainingPeaks data for all of 2020, it showed I rode and hiked 8071 miles (+499 from 2019), and spent 643 hours (+75 hours from 2019) exercising (mostly riding) over 368 activities. Granted, riding is a big part of my job and I have nearly 50 years of cumulative mileage and experience on the bike, but before COVID cancelled so many events and camps, a lot of the athletes who come with me on the longest and toughest CTS Camps and Bucket List Events are 50 or older and ride similar hours per year. 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.

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.

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 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 74

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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,
    kk

  8. 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.

  9. 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.
      Cheers

    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 👍

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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,🚴🏋️

  18. 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,

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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
      Author

      Chuck,
      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

  26. 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 .

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. 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!

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

    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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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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