One of the joys of aging is trying to not fall apart. Each and every year I find something new that isn’t working right. This is making my return to fitness challenging and frustrating. I’ve got some big cycling goals this year and a new bike made by yours truly. I certainly can’t let my body get in the way!
A few broken bones and some knee issues were the worst things I’d done to myself in my youth. And I’ve been lucky with very low blood pressure and stable body weight throughout my life. Riding my bike in my 30s was just a fun thing to do that happened to be good for me as well.
I didn’t entirely notice sliding into middle age until I began to get hurt. I don’t bounce back from minor injuries. Crashing less would help but it’s just part of the sport. I’ve had bursitis several times. A torn ligament in my hand took 18 months to heal. And my health issues are definitely age related. A decade back I developed a retina problem in my right eye. I also had a prostate cancer scare. My enlarged prostate is likely benign but I’m not risk free either.
More recently I got tendonitis in my left shoulder and right knee. I also had IT band syndrome. These injuries were entirely my fault. I’d come off several years of sedentary life and pushed too hard too soon at the gym. My 54 year old body is delicate now!
However, being I’m a veteran cyclist diagnosing my knee was relatively easy. Overuse injuries are common in the sport. A change in my routine got things sorted out but I am super careful about warming up now.
My shoulder is another matter but I’ve finally got a diagnosis after 6 months of pain. My rotator cuff isn’t torn. I’ve got arthritis and tendonitis but don’t need surgery. I’m looking forward to getting my first cortisone shot. That and some physio should have me pain free soon enough.
I’m going to knock off some century rides this year, a big distance I haven’t done since my 30s. I’ve been working myself back into riding shape since mid December, doing several different GCN High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts 2 or 3 times a week.
For most of the years I’ve done HIIT workouts I’ve monitored my heart rate (HR). This is a great way to train but HR can bounce around a bit if you’re unwell or overheated. HR also lags behind effort and I often see my HR max out 10 or 15 seconds after an interval is over.
This year I’m training with power for the first time. A stationary trainer has an RPM dependent power curve. The faster it spins the harder the effort. With power I can measure my work perfectly. I haven’t bothered measuring HR since the fall. A max effort is painful no matter how you measure it. The HIIT workouts are making me faster. Not only do I feel stronger but I can see my average speed rising each week.
It’s going to be a great year! I’m not letting the joys of aging slow me down. The basement sessions will pay off big time when the weather warms up. The RPM chart on my stem will really help on the road too. Knowing how fast I’m spinning my legs should keep my knee issues at bay! Getting older sometimes means getting smarter too. Old dog, new tricks, new bike…..