|Huka Challenge 2013 (Photo: Bernard Fletcher)
To give you an idea of my improvements of recent months, the rider who easily beat me at the NZ Masters Games in February, was almost 30 minutes behind, while the person who beat me by a few minutes for the 60+ title in the 83 km Taniwha, a few weeks ago, was about 20 minutes behind this time (bearing in mind that he suffered a puncture, so lost a lot with doing repairs).
I put this latest gain in performance mostly down to getting the iodine and related factors under better control. Athletes appear to be the worst performers on the iodine test. Swimmers and triathletes are shockers (which means they have the most "performance potential").
The new Thyroidine test for assessing one's iodine status and the possible involvement of exposure to toxic halides (fluorine, chlorine and bromine) is proving to be a great hit. You will note, in the articles I have written, of its importance for healthy, strong cardiac function and any ailments to do with "lumps, bumps and hard things" - tendons and bones that don't heal, for example.
This begs the question:
"How much of the slowing down which we attribute to uncontrollable ageing is really due to controllable factors, such as nutrition?"
My plan was to celebrate turning 60 years by feeling healthier and fitter than I was when I depressingly turned 50. My 60th was October this year and it was a celebration indeed!
The morning of my 60th year was celebrated with winning the 50+ age group in the Wellington mountain bike series, elevating me to overall leader in the points series. Furthermore it had me on the top of the vet 3 age group rankings for the NZ Mountain Bike Crown. A few weeks earlier, I competed in my first roadie duathlon in almost 30 years and managed to finish in 3rd place.
This weekend, my partner, Alofa, and I competed in the 83 Km Taniwha which is a mountain bike race the length of the Waikato River Trail. I came 6th overall which was an astonishing delight. It was a tough race. Highlights, other than the exciting nature of the trail (no time for sight-seeing though!) were:
- My average for the 83km of mostly gravel and single track was more than 19km/hr.
- I was hoping to break 5hr 20 min but ended up doing it an hour faster.
- My race tactics worked perfectly: I managed to get in with the chasing bunch and we worked well over the road section. At the end of the road I timed it perfectly to get to the front just as we entered the longest and most technical of the downhills. I got a good break on the bunch which broke up from there. I then concentrated on riding my own race - trying to settle into a rhythm, hydrating and getting lots of energy into me for later. Several riders passed me over the next 10 or so km. At about 60km my patience paid off as I found a second wind and several riders were passed. Although I was tired by the last 5km, I finished strongly.
- My bike (Canondale Scalpel) took a hammering; but never missed a beat. Thanks to James Duncan of Dirt Merchants for the top quality servicing.
- Only problem was feeling a little too loose on the gravel and the many off-camber hairpins. I lost time slowing right down going into corners I would normally hammer. Maybe need a more grippy front tyre?
- I had no cramping. The nutrition balancing (aided by testing) and deep tissue massage continue to work their magic.
- Although I have sore knees, a raw bottom and bruised hands the day after, I am delighted with the recovery. Hardly a single sore muscle!
- Alofa finished in 3rd place for her age group - Congratulations for taking on such a tough challenge and doing so well!
One of the surprises was the performance of vet rider, Rob Garden, who is around 63. Gosh was he good! He got away from me at about the 30km mark, although it appears I made up some of the ground lost later on. He was only a couple of minutes in front by the finish. It is good to have some competition in the 60+ group which is looking very depleted right now. Secretly, I reckon I have the edge over him on the more technical stuff, but who knows for now? What I do know is I am still getting faster.
Since I turned 50 years of age, I estimate that my physical work output has increased by about 25%. That's a huge gain as one gets older because the natural course of events is to get slower with age - not faster - and definitely not 25% faster! And that gain has been 100% without performance enhancing drugs.
Now that's better than Lance, if you ask me!
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