Wednesday, September 20

'17 Fool's Gold (not quite) 60: Rear View Mirror

That was my third third place in four tries at the Fool's Gold 60 (or 50).

Brad Cobb has occupied a step or two above me on all those occasions.

Anyhoo, I mighta figured out why I actually race my bike just slightly after I kicked the self-doubt feelings outta my head part. I need it somehow. The adrenaline, the excite, the ups, the downs, the what have yous. It's truly some sort of addiction. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's giving into my vices.

I also know why I tend to get burned out early on in the "season," give up on being a "trier," and then somehow get re-energized later in the year... when I've already lost a certain amount of fitness and put on an uncertain amount of weight. Those hard races in May stacked so close together followed up by the Trans-Sylvania Epic. It just kills me. I don't recover, and burnout settles into my core being. And it's not even June yet.

I don't recover for multiple reasons, to include sleep, beer, age, lack of desire to participate in "active recovery" the day after a big event, and also preparation. I've read/listened to multiple sources about how to stay fast as you get older. It requires "effort."

More to the point, concentrated effort. It's not so much about time in the saddle, especially when you have decades of base miles (I haven't been off a bike for more than four days in a row since Sep '96). You gotta go hard and recover harder. My greenway and bonus commute junk mile mornings just aren't gonna be enough anymore... if I wanna be fast, even though I still probably rack up ten to fifteen hours in the saddle every week during the "season." Meh.

So strangely enough, I probably need to ride less in the future but make that time count for something. Stop staring at the geese and deer and the cute old couple pushing their dog in a stroller and bleed outta my eyes a little bit every now and again. So...

Have you seen the Icarus documentary?

It was good. Real good.

And if you were mostly interested in where the original intent of this film was meant to go, this podcast on Cycling Tips delved way deeper into the topic of a doping amateur cyclist.

And this part really made me aware of the things I'm up against as a 48+ year old "athlete."

"BF: Exactly. And it’s never ending. And then what you see, which is so interesting… And again, not to be pro-doping or anti-doping, whatever you want to call doping… “Okay, so I’m a 44-year-old guy. And by the nature of me being a 44-year-old guy, my testosterone level is like 400. And if you’re a 21-year-old guy, your testosterone level is, let’s call it 900. Now you’re talking about a level playing field. Well, if you’re truly saying that you’re competing on a level playing field, shouldn’t I be allowed to bring my testosterone levels to 900 so that I can compete equally — if I have the athletic ability and the training and the prowess — with the 22 year old? Why, because my body has stopped making a hormone that I need to stay competitive, why am I not allowed to supplement that hormone to actually be on a level playing field if that is the concept of what a level playing field is?"*

I had a short conversation with Thomas Turned about this after the Fool's Gold race.  At times, he was looking at me like I was an alien, but I think he gets it... sorta.  My point was more that it's incredible how much the body changes with age.  Amazing to think that guys my age are going to the doctor and saying "I'm tired all the time" and "I don't feel as horny as I did when I was twenty years old" and walking out with a prescription.  And it's okay for them... but not if you race a bike... or run a 10k... or compete in tennis matches... or league bowling?


Pretty sure that if  I get faster by actually doing what I should be doing next year (intervals, recovery, sleeping, so forth) Thomas is gonna think I'm on the T.  He had that look on his face, you know?

Anyways, I had a "blast" racing my bike at the Fool's Gold 60.  My only disappoint was that without the NUE hundie going on, nobody wanted to stay the night and drink a few beers... which is the other reason I do these events.  Races like those put on by Pisgah Productions, the Shenandoah Mountain 100, and the Lula Lake Land Trust 5 Points 50 coming up soon (which I did last year and will sadly miss this time due to a schedule thing) really hit the mark so well, it's hard to settle for less.

If I wanted to be bored, I'd buy a road (or garvel or grass racing) bike.

I want it all.  Is that too much to ask?

Oh, and I also don't wanna suck at making great bike race either.

* Don't judge the whole thing on that one quote.  Give it a listen or a read when you have the time.  Is buenos.


Anonymous said...

You pose an interesting perspective about doping; one that I've not ever considered, that being the leveling of the playing field amongst age groups. However, I'd like to make a couple observations. First, the use of testosterone is not simply just a performance enhancing aid; although it certainly can have that "benefit". Testosterone supplementation, especially in older men, can increase risks of worsening an existing prostate cancer, raising the blood pressure, causing adverse effects on cholesterol levels, and cause harm to the liver; not to mention the mental/emotional effects. Second, and this is not going to be a popular suggestion, but look into the effects of ethanol consumption on testosterone levels. Usually, the best thing a person can do for themselves is stop doing things that are harmful to themselves.

Anonymous said...

"Pretty sure that if I get faster by actually doing what I should be doing next year (intervals, recovery, sleeping, so forth) Thomas is gonna think I'm on the T."

And he'd be reasonable to suspect it (perhaps not necessarily right that you are doing it, but definitely right to suspect it) because the entire way your statements come across here makes it sound (intentionally or not) like you're looking for a reason to make it okay to do it. Fogel's argument is bullshit on its face (and the interviewer kind of calls him on it): age is a deciding factor in performance and is already recognized by the folks who put on races in the form of age categories. If it's that important to stand on a box, compete against the people who are your real peers because thinking you have to do something unnatural to compete against 22 year olds means they're not your peers. It means your peers, athletically, are the older guys. Even if you know you can beat all of them, it doesn't change the fact that if you can't compete without doing something unnatural (and taking T is unnatural because it works to change a natural progression in your aging process) you don't belong with the younger guys anymore. Sucks to hear that, but look at it this way: a couple hundred years ago, you'd have already died of "old age" by now, so even being able to say you want to compete with the kids is a step up on history. Who knows if this will always be th ecase? Fogel makes a point in the podcast about how there is research going on to achieve genetically what doping achieves today and if we ever reach that level then perhaps people can be literally born to do well in this kind of stuff for a lot longer than they can now. But our generation is going to miss that and that's just too fucking bad for us. That doesn't mean we should get a pass to "level the playing field" unnaturally.

Ultimately, as Fogel says, people are going to dope no matter how much control is put in place. And they're going to get away with it. He speaks about "morals and ethics" and maybe that's where this argument needs to reside (although damned if I can define what that means.) Personally, I don't care if other people dope because if their ego is so pathetic that they need to stand on that box at any cost, then I hope it works out for them because they've got bigger issues to deal with than the actual performance. And don't take this the wrong way - I'm not trying to lecture or accuse anyone here. But don't you think it would be - I don't know - pretty unsatisfying to start seeing better results when you start taking PEDs? Isn't the point to do it on your own with the skills you have even if there is some erosion due to age? And if you can't see those results anymore because of natural factors like age, doesn't that seem like it's the way it ought to be?

dicky said...

Trust me. You don't have to worry about be taking T or anything else of that ilk. I'm getting old. I'm losing my hair. My skin is wrinkling. I'm slowing down.

And I'm okay with all that. I obviously don't take this sport seriously enough to do something that might damage my health to be "better" at it.

I just think he's making some interesting points, esp the Manning defense of HGH use (he's a pro athlete with a job) and hyperbaric chambers being okay etc.

I'm thinking about trying to put more quality in my rides next year. That will also allow me to get more sleep. Other than that, I'll be a normal 49 year old man.

Thanks for the candid and well-thought out comment tho. I'm not used to that.