Gary's new website

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

An Ageing cyclist seeking to remain fit and healthy -and strong!

Gary: PNP club race 1978, Aotea Lagoon, Wellington
"I am a keen cyclist but an an older rider, now 44 years old, Have already reached and past my best years. I raced in Europe as a younger rider,but still like to compete in the masters category hence my interest in keeping fit and healthy.
I'm not sure where to start, but I would be really interested in any advice you can offer, to help me be healthier and become stronger as a cyclist as I get older."

Gary Responds:
Last weekend I competed in the Karapoti MTB race over 48km.  This is the most intensely challenging MTB race in New Zealand, testing both riders and bikes to their limits.  I have done this race several times over about 20 years, breaking my bike in about 50% each year entered.  

Now in my 57th year, I should be well past my best and the organisers wrongfully assume this by placing us Oldies at the rear of the 1,000 strong field, 50 minutes behind the front runners. This year, despite the wet course and the disaster of blowing my front shocks in the first 3rd of the race and then blowing the front tyre at the half way mark, I finished in 3hr 12 minute, 134th place overall.  That means I managed to manoeuvre past several hundred riders over a narrow, muddy rock-strewn course.  What was so delightful was not suffering any cramp and back in training after just one rest day.  My time for the course was a PB by several minutes and I know I would have been as much as 10 minutes faster had I not suffered the mechanical failures.  It was satisfying to know that while I was at the older end of the field, I was still faster than 85% of the entire field - even with the disadvantages of starting last and suffering mechanicals along the way.

At my age I should be getting slower; so what am I doing now that has me riding much faster than I was more than 20 years ago?  The difference is down to four things (if we exclude bike technology):
  • I am doing less training than 20 years ago; but working smarter and placing more emphasis on the following:
  • Deep tissue massage of all the muscles - Legs back arms.  This is painful massage to say the least.  Weekly year in and year out.  Muscles without knots and inflammation work efficiently and tirelessly.
  • Dietary changes driven mostly by the information supplied by annual Hair Tissue Mineral Analyses (HTMA).  I have been using the HTMA with my clients and on myself for longer than three years.  It is the most powerful forensic tool a nutritionist and exercise physiologist has in his bag.  Nutrition is tailored specifically to individual needs.
  • With the basics of nutrition in place, I have layered on top best of the best in terms of the nutrients that I need most of all at my age to crank out huge work loads over long periods of time.

You can pick up on much of the nutrition advice by perusing the 1,000 or so articles and e-pubs on this site.  The massage, you will have to organise locally of course!  The HTMA, you can order through me.  Here is the link to learn more.

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