Too Old for This

11.28.2011 | 10:19 am

A Book-Related Note from Fatty: Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the first third of the pre-ordered books arrived from the printer; those are now on their way to people who pre-ordered. Over the next few week, the balance of the pre-orders will be shipped out. After that, I’ll see how many I have left over and –if I have enough books–will open up ordering again. Thanks!

I have had a serious concern on my mind lately, and it came to a head shortly before — as well as during — this year’s Fall Moab.

Let’s start with the “shortly before” part. My friend and core team member Ricky M sent out an email, announcing his regret that he would not be attending this year’s riding trip, since he was in the hospital with a mysterious and undiagnosed condition leading to a dangerously low blood platelet count. And by “dangerously low,” I mean “any time he even walked near a sharp object, he began to bleed profusely and pretty much endlessly.”

Of course, as any concerned friend with a blog would do, I hurried on over and got a photo of me with Ricky. Here it is:


What is disturbing about this image is not that Ricky is using oxygen. Or that he clearly doesn’t look like he feels good.

What’s disturbing is that Ricky’s hair has gone almost entirely gray.

That freaked me out.

But you know what freaked me out even more? It was that — as I rode with my friends during Fall Moab that weekend, I discovered everyone’s respective ages:


It’s possible that, due to some unavoidable constraints on my research process (i.e., I didn’t bother contacting the the guys in the riding group to verify my memory was correct), some of these ages are not precisely accurate, but you get the picture.

Specifically, it’s become clear that I am riding with a bunch of old farts and clearly need to find a younger, hipper riding group — one that more closely matches my own personal youthful vibrance.

In any case, during a quiet moment during the weekend, I turned to my good friend bob (age 48), and asked: “How many more years have we got before we’re too old to do this?”

Bob laughed dismissively, then adjusted his goiter so that it didn’t loll so far to one side.

I then asked Kenny a similar question. Kenny replied, “I am still at the riding prime of my life. I feel young.” And then he went back to rubbing liniment into his bad hip.

I–unlike my friends–choose not to take the issue of being an aging cyclist so frivolously. Hence, I have compiled the following list of common cycling activities and traits, along with guidance on how to detect that you are perhaps too old for them.

Shaving Your Legs

I start with issue of shaving one’s legs because — I confess — it is an issue of real concern for me. Over the past several years, I have become so accustomed to shaving my legs that I can no longer easily remember what they looked like when they were hairy (but here’s a hint).

The thing is, though, I have a hard time imagining myself being eighty years old and still shaving my legs. It just doesn’t seem to fit the image I have of myself as an older gentleman (i.e., a full, silver head of hair with a matching goatee, a white suit, and twinkling eyes. More or less, I somehow imagine myself evolving into Colonel Sanders sometime during the next 35 years.).

Distinguished, wise old men (for I intend to gain wisdom sometime during the next 35 years, not to mention a modicum of distinguishment) shouldn’t be lathering up and shaving their legs. They should be sitting in rocking chairs, discussing the finer points of government under Teddy Roosevelt and exhorting all around them to shape up and respect their elders.

So, anyway, the question arises: between now and when I buy my first white suit (and when my hair starts coming in thick and silver), when should I stop shaving my legs?

I think there are three threshold events:

  1. When it becomes impossible for me to shave below my knees. As I get older and stiffer, I expect it’s going to get more and more difficult to do the bending, lifting, and twisting combinations required to shave my legs. At some point, I will no longer be able to reach behind my knees without throwing out my back, nor will I be able to bend over far enough to shave my (admittedly) hairy toes.
  2. When I can no longer tell what I’ve shaved and what I have not. As my eyesight becomes poorer, my leg shaving will become less and less even. I will miss patches of leg hair, which will then grow out thick and silver, much like the hair on my head. I hope that some younger rider will take me aside and say, “Old Timer, it’s time to stop shaving your legs.”
  3. When I have to pull my skin taut in order to shave it. I already have to pull my facial skin taut in a couple of places in order to shave. As gravity has its way with me, I expect my legs — while still exquisitely muscular and powerful — to become wrinkly. Frankly, it seems dangerous and frightening to try to shave legs with complicated topography like that.

My projected age for reaching any (or all) of these events is 68, partially because I have a hard time imagining any 70 year old shaving his legs. Although, if you’re 70+ and shave your legs (and you’re a guy), please let me know.

Camping as a Group

The next “when are you too old” bike-related question is, “When are you too old to camp as a group on your mountain biking trips?

I propose that the age is 45.

I’m glad that question could be answered so simply. Let’s move on to the next.

Renegade Facial Hair and Music

If you look at the pictures earlier in this post, you will note that Ricky (in the hospital bed), Cori, Kenny, and Jud all have somewhat similar facial hair, which — with the exception of Jud’s — I would categorize as “the type of facial hair that was popular eleven years ago.”

When are you too old to have a flavor-saver lip scruff? Well, I’d say if you’re old enough to grow one, you’re too old to have one.

Which is a rich irony, I agree. But still: new beards or no beards, guys.

I do, however, have a related question. One that applies to me: at what age am I too old to listen to Rage Against the Machine’s “Renegades of Funk?” I ask this question because I have the following concerns:

  • I like machines in general
  • I don’t rage against much of anything. I’m pretty much rage-free.
  • The last time I could legitimately consider myself a “renegade” would have been when I was in high school. And that was mostly because I sometimes wore a Devo “energy dome” to school. Yeah, I was that kid.

So, should I start filling my riding playlist with Oak Ridge Boys? Merle Haggard? Muzak?

Single Speed

After a year of mountain biking with gears, I am back to single speeding. I can’t help it. But I’ve noticed something: when I ride SS now, I find my elbows (yes, elbows!) hurt for days afterward, maybe from the intense rowing action required from climbing.

And people do say that at some point my knees will pay the price for my single speeding ways.

So, when will I be too old to ride SS? Well, I’d say not until at least one (and more probably, two) out of the three following items are true:

  • I have replaced my knees
  • I have replaced my elbows
  • I have found a more awesome way to ride

Of course, that could be next year. Or this one for that matter.

Technical Moves in Mountain Biking

During Fall Moab, I was astonished at how good everyone was at the technical moves we were doing — and I say that without the obvious qualification, “for our age.”

Also, by “we,” I pretty much mean “they.”

But I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to Kenny if he fell — his bones are not quite as dense as balsa wood. And then there was Paul, who’s a judge. How much respect would he command in his courtroom if he showed up with a scraped-up face?

And of course there’s the general decline in testosterone levels, which could easily cause one of us to chicken out at an inopportune moment.

The simple fact is, as riders get older, it becomes less and less advisable to do big mountain bike moves.

And, at some point, it’s probably going to stop being a great idea to go mountain biking at all. That said, that time could be pretty far away, considering every year at the Leadville 100 there are at least a few guys in their 70’s finishing the race.

I take comfort in that, figuring I have a chance of being one of those guys. I don’t know, maybe I already am.

Still, at some point, I’ve got to assume that I won’t be able to mountain bike anymore. Though I think that might have more to do with the way the body heals slower when you’re older. Suppose, for example, you’re 21 and break your collarbone. You’re back on the bike in a few weeks, at least if you’re not a sissy.

If you break your collarbone when you’re eighty, though, it’s going to take longer to heal. Long enough, in fact, that by the time your bone’s better it’s going to be hard to get back on the bike for other reasons.

So my intention is to never fall. I think you’ll agree this is an excellent plan, and I am happy to report that since coming up with this plan (ten minutes ago) I have a perfect record of not falling.

And the good thing is, not being able to mountain bike isn’t exactly the end of the world for the cyclist. Because, as near as I can tell, there is no age limit to road biking.

And even if, at some point, regular road biking becomes a problem, there’s always recumbent riding. Although I’ll have to evaluate, if and when the time comes, whether I’d rather ride a recumbent than not ride at all.


  1. Comment by Nick | 11.28.2011 | 10:58 am

    Man, i’ll be 33 in two weeks and i still can’t grow facial hair. So i guess i get to keep riding for ever right?

  2. Comment by owen | 11.28.2011 | 11:11 am

    Hope your friend Ricky gets well soon. I am old enough to ride with you guys and can relate – reminds me of Old Dogs movie.

  3. Comment by Rob W | 11.28.2011 | 11:13 am

    Great write up! What does modicum even mean? Lol

  4. Comment by KM | 11.28.2011 | 11:21 am

    First, I hope and trust your friend is doing ok and they figure out what’s going on with him. Now, jsut wait a minute, too old to camp? What kind of camping are you doing? I’m on the lower/middle age range of your group and still enjoy camping. You just have to get the right gear. Yes that’s right the siren song beckons, just get online with a decent credit limit and acquire more gear, better gear, more comfortable sleeping/camping gear. It’s all you need to turn that camping frown upside down! Just tell the Hammer it’s research for the blog and heck you might even get some product sponsors, after all you’re a pretty powerful, big-shot in the blogging universe. I’ll send you websites with great cyber-Monday deals. I got your back.

  5. Comment by NYCCarlos | 11.28.2011 | 11:34 am

    move to nyc… I’ll join your hipper, younger core group.

  6. Comment by Dan O | 11.28.2011 | 11:57 am

    For me “camping” is a three star hotel. I agree no age limit to road biking, I haven’t been on a Mtn Bike in three years. I’m not much older than you are!

  7. Comment by Mary | 11.28.2011 | 12:14 pm

    I’m with KM…why is 45 too old to group camp?

  8. Comment by roan | 11.28.2011 | 12:14 pm

    SHEESH ! You guys ARE old. I’m thinking of starting a new company, Stem (the sands of time) Cells. Need something new, inject a few stem cells. Break a collarbone, inject some stem cells. Need a new identity, you get to pick who you want to ‘look’ like. Sorry Fatty all the Justin Bieber stem cells are already on reserve.
    The good news for your group of cyclists…60 is the new 40.

  9. Comment by nh_joe | 11.28.2011 | 12:21 pm

    Definite NO on the recumbent.

  10. Comment by dvhansen | 11.28.2011 | 12:26 pm

    while i’m getting close to joining the age group, my real question is when do my books hit mailbox?? totally excited to get them!

  11. Comment by Joe Jacobs | 11.28.2011 | 12:29 pm

    I’m 51 and just watched my first cyclocross race yesterday. I must try that! I don’t think I’ll ever be to old to ride…to ride well is a different story, I gave that up a few years ago.

  12. Comment by Mark in Ottawa | 11.28.2011 | 12:32 pm

    I’m in my early 30’s and contemplated this exact question when I was in the midst of purchasing a time trial bike…how old do I have to be before riding this bike makes me look stupid…and then I realized that because I’m an average, slightly overweight, weekend warrior, I look stupid on it now!

    Enjoy it until your body can’t do it any more!

    Mark (in Ottawa, Canada)

  13. Comment by Ripkenfan | 11.28.2011 | 12:33 pm

    As you (when I say you Fatty, I mean we) age, don’t forget about the tricycle. They come with these great baskets on the back, perfect for tanks of oxygen. You’ll never be too old for that.

  14. Comment by Charlie | 11.28.2011 | 12:43 pm

    You’ll never be too old. Conditioning, on the other hand, starts to become more of an effort.

  15. Comment by Liz | 11.28.2011 | 12:45 pm

    Fatty, Ricky’s hair is not gray, that is salt and pepper! Very distinguished. I send him wishes for a speedy recovery.

    I read an article within the last year about a guy in southern California who is over 100 and still riding. At age 100, he had to make concessions to age and switch to a tricycle. But he was still out there riding. The article didn’t mention anything about shaving.

    Speaking of collar bones, how is IT Guy doing?

  16. Comment by MtlDan | 11.28.2011 | 12:49 pm

    I think you’re only as old as the people you hang out with. I spend a lot of time with my kids. Sorry, Mom, maybe we’ll do Thanksgiving with you next year.

  17. Comment by centurion | 11.28.2011 | 1:12 pm

    You shave you legs? why?
    And who ever said “mountian biking” has to have bone breaking potential stunts to be mountian biking? Smooth, twisty single track is still mountian biking, is it not? With much less chance of falling of a cliff.

  18. Comment by SFC_MattB | 11.28.2011 | 1:40 pm

    Got the books on Wednesday, and they’re beautiful!
    I live just an hour North of you, am 45 and opted for the DEVO white paper jumpsuit, so I can relate to many of your dilemmas.
    I agree, NO camping! Hotels are much simpler; handy amenities, jacuzzis, clean water (depending on the hotel).
    As for the rest, case by case basis at best. I say “tweeches”…you know, “tweeches own”?

  19. Comment by Jeff Bike | 11.28.2011 | 1:41 pm

    Don’t make me feel old I’m only 53!
    I ride because I’m falling apart.
    3 Knee sugery’s
    3 partly crushed disc
    3 time broken arm
    lost count of the brokens and stiches.
    I do find as the years go by the doing the hard tricky stuff is much less fun. The long single track keeps calling, when you don’t hear it don’t ride.

  20. Comment by rich | 11.28.2011 | 1:43 pm

    I was actually having this exact same discussion on Friday. We do an annual dayafterthanksgivingmtbikeadventure (DATMBA) and one of our riders crashed.
    He’s 68 this year and got a little banged up….but said that he’d see us Thursday for our regular night ride….
    Obviously 68 is still young enough to mt bike….

  21. Comment by TomInCO | 11.28.2011 | 2:20 pm

    I am a few miles north of your age, and I pondered that question this spring as I looked at buying my first DH bike. That’s right, I took up lift-served, full-body-armor, DH riding at 51. I was having so much fun with this I decided to go to DH mecca and took a roadtrip to Whistler with my girl friend (she started this whole DH thing). There we rode the lift with a guy of Italian lineage (we dubed him Super Mario) who was riding the same trails as we were (B-line, Crank-it-up)with his 10yr old son. He was 63. I have stopped worrying about the age thing and started pondering an upgrade to my DH rig. Though, the fact that he is 63 and has a 10 year old son makes me question his sanity. And this trip to Whistler was a scant 6 weeks after I separated my shoulder going OTB on an XC trail that I ride 3-4x a week (don’t ask).

    We also saw a grey haired woman in the lift line at Whistler that looked to be at least the same age as Super Mario. My girl friend no longer worries about the age thing either. 40ish+ people seemed to be a dime a dozen in the lift line.

    At home I ride with a group of guys every Tuesday night that has a median age approaching 50. We are are known at the LBS as the old fast guys (I am the notable exception speed-wise). One of these guys turned 50 while pedaling from Prudhoe Bay, AK to Ushuaia, Argentina. The fast guys regularly school the youngsters that conme to ride with us.

    I have a full head of grey hair and I shave my legs more than my face. For some reason my legs are much better at defying age than my face.

    I plan on riding until I can’t. Then I expect them to shove the casket into fire…

    This all may sound like a humblebrag, and it is, but it is also meant to point out that age is not the determining factor in how long you can ride.

  22. Comment by Jim | 11.28.2011 | 2:28 pm

    Holy crap. That looked like a nice article Elden, but all this night mountain biking is really taking it out of my eyes. Couldn’t read a durned thing.

    Where’s the little doo-dad that lets me click for the larger text size?

  23. Comment by MikeL | 11.28.2011 | 2:40 pm

    I am 59 going on 30 or 6 if you ask my wife. My surgery list is a page and a half single spaced (Don’t ask) coupled with a few other issues. Who cares about the other stuff as long as you are still getting out and doing it in some fashion.
    To quote a Jimmy Buffett song “I would rather die while I am living than live while I am dead”.

  24. Comment by TimD | 11.28.2011 | 3:24 pm

    At 48 I want to give up. I broke my elbow in July and its still not healed properly. I can’t give up though until my friend Ian who is 10 years older than me gives up. Ian, please please stop, for both of our sakes!

  25. Comment by Paul Guyot | 11.28.2011 | 3:25 pm

    One thing you and the CaBammerHammer are NOT too old to do is…


    Please, please, please do it.

  26. Comment by Trailer Park Cyclist | 11.28.2011 | 3:53 pm

    Hey Fatty! Old Is As Old Does:

    Tim Joe

  27. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 11.28.2011 | 3:54 pm

    Dude, I’m 41 and just got INTO this whole cycling thing, don’t tell me I’m almost too old already!!! :)

  28. Comment by Troutdreams | 11.28.2011 | 4:15 pm

    May not have to worry about shaving once you loose your reach Just as my father before me, the Gold Toes are worn up over my calves (age appropriate) and one by one those leg hairs have been ripped out by their roots.

  29. Comment by ChipGeek | 11.28.2011 | 4:20 pm

    I am thirty-something and recently came to realize I am in fact, an old fart. (Actually if you must know, I’m thirty-nineteen) These two events really happened to me:

    1) I have never ridden the bus here in 15 years but I finally did a few months ago. When I got on, the bus was nearly empty but after a few more stops, it began to fill up. As I began to decide when would be the appropriate moment to stand up and allow an old lady to sit down, I realized that I was the oldest person on the bus. I kept my seat the entire ride.

    2) When I got tired of listening to my usual radio station, I searched around the dial and found a new one I liked. That’s right, it was the “Oldies” station. BTW – that’s Classic Rock, not 40’s Swing.

    I have never shaved my legs nor have been able to grow appreciable facial hair nor ridden a single speed so I can’t help you with any of those. Sorry. (Remember I’m already an old fart!) Technical moves? Well – in 2008, I spent an afternoon in the Moab Emergency Room with a broken ankle. That was the FIRST day of a week long MTB trip there. ‘Nuff said.

  30. Comment by Clydesteve | 11.28.2011 | 4:25 pm

    Easy on the age jokes, youngster. You and your crew are barely even qualified to make them yet.

    You are too old to do (such & such) when you can’t heal fast enough from the hurt of the old-age joke to recover with a snappy comment.

    One thing about the recumbent trike tact: You could then justify the long white beard! It would be mandatory. Along with the prescription sunglasses-mounted rear-view mirror.

    Steve, 58

  31. Comment by don mueller | 11.28.2011 | 4:27 pm

    Well, at 65 I’m starting to feel a bit old for this.

    First it was the pacemaker and defibrillator that got added a few years ago after nearly going into sudden cardiac arrest twice.

    Then, it was the two times the defib went off while climbing our hills here in Levi country.

    The last was a month ago when I did my first OTB while descending on my MTB. The fact that I didn’t break a collar bone, separate a shoulder, or crack a helmet, still defies explanation, especially considering the hard landing on rocks.

    But, as long as the heart keeps pumping, there’s no damn reason to quit.

  32. Comment by VeloMoze | 11.28.2011 | 4:43 pm

    I’m 43 and will ride with you any time. That will lower the overall average of your gang, if only by a small amount. And only until my birthday.
    As for the music, you don’t change what you listen to. Your favorite radio station will just start calling itself Classic Thrash.

  33. Comment by Dave T | 11.28.2011 | 5:13 pm

    A few years ago my back was hurting a bit more than usual on long mountain bike rides with the hard tail so I bought a full suspension problem solved. At 52 and only one minor knee surgery I think I can keep going for a few more decades. I wouldn’t be so quick to knock a recumbent; I have great memories of riding fully fared version in collage at high speeds. Not well suited for climbing but I could go all day at 30+ on the flats.

  34. Comment by She | 11.28.2011 | 6:07 pm

    You are going to be old anyway. Would you rather be old and ride, or merely be old?

  35. Comment by aussie kev | 11.28.2011 | 6:29 pm

    the answer is “not ride at all” !!!!

  36. Comment by Jimbo | 11.28.2011 | 8:26 pm

    Shaving your legs will become a moot (or mute, as so many would have it) point. Remember how Holden Caulfield remarked on his teacher’s legs being white and hairless? I can assure you from experience that he wasn’t making it up.

  37. Comment by Bill H-D | 11.28.2011 | 8:31 pm

    This post lacks but one thing to make it perfect: a “lolling goiter” callback somewhere in the penultimate paragraph.

    Still laughing about that one.

  38. Comment by BamaJim | 11.28.2011 | 9:28 pm

    Funny. I’m somewhat older than any in your group, and have been thinking a switch to a geared MTB might be a reasonable idea, though my knees are currently trashed by a bad fall while running rather than the SS. (And yes, crashing while you’re running is as silly as it sounds.)

  39. Comment by VA Biker | 11.28.2011 | 10:12 pm

    Hey, Elden, thanks for making me think about my “countdown timer” for cycling. Ugh. Not bad thing necessarily, but I just never thought of it. Funny post.

    Steps for cycling longevity: 1. Don’t ride mountain bikes. (Crashing and injury are inevitable – ask your shoulder how that’s going.) 2. Limit running to winter months. (Hmmm, we need impact exercise, but too much and joints get worn out.) I write this as a new job has kept me off my bike, but the need to exercise has turned me into a runner for the last 2mos….

    On a different subject, did your bouncing away mountain bike wheel ever show up on eBay or craigslist?

  40. Comment by Ian | 11.28.2011 | 10:47 pm

    Hypothetically, if you were faced with a choice, recumbent, or full-size tricycle, which would you choose?

  41. Comment by Jolene | 11.28.2011 | 11:06 pm

    I like the “never fall” plan. Happy riding!

  42. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 11.28.2011 | 11:13 pm

    Kenny is 49 ?!?!?!?!? That’s just not fair.

    As for too old. I was thinking about that on Thanksgiving doing the Appetite Ride here in Marin, Ca. 23 miles around Pine Mountain, not knowing who you might see… Gary Fisher, Otis Guy, Charlie Kelley, Tim Breeze. A few hundred people of all ages working up to a good meal later that day. This year it was a mudfest!! A deep rut had me performing a classic bike exit maneuver OTB (head, shoulder, roll) Another rider complimented my style gave me the impetus to finish, 13 more miles.

    Now 4 days later the ribs still hurt, I can almost get out of bed by myself, and I am wondering how soon I can ride again!

    Or maybe it was that 70 year old guy who chatted us up the whole way around the mountain a couple of weeks earlier. (John dropped back, he doesn’t ‘talk’ and ride.)

    BTW I’m 58

    Ride on Red Rider, Ride On!!!

  43. Comment by ricky | 11.29.2011 | 12:41 am

    liz et al, thanks for the positive thoughts. i’m doing fine.
    fatty, 1: when i get a few more platelets, i will find you on the trail and, well, try to catch up so i can shout at you. 2: “So my intention is to never fall.” did you seriously write that or did a non-cyclist commandeer your atari and sneak that in?

  44. Comment by Meredith S | 11.29.2011 | 12:45 am

    I am in bed trying to sleep, but my husband who is always asleep first is giggling like a schoolgirl reading your book… Thanks Fatty… Seriously, thought, congrats on a job well done with the book!

  45. Comment by Kari | 11.29.2011 | 2:53 am

    Two points: #1 is that when I volunteered in the Marin Marathon and Triathlon to help out they set me to work writing numbers on people, their age on one arm and race number went on the other. I “tagged” people of every age, the youngest competing that day was a 14 year old boy that was even shorter than I am (and thats saying a lot since I’m only 5′3″!) and the oldest was 79, he said he was giving himself his birthday present a week early to complete his first triathlon, although he had gone on to tell me he had been competing in each of the sports separately since he was younger than his grandson, the 14 year old I had tagged moments before.

    Point number two is anyone who has every had a major crash on a bike (or read It’s Not About The Bike by Lance Armstrong) will tell you that aside from looks and aerodynamics the final and probably most important reason to shave is its easier to clean mud/dirt/thorns/gravel out of what was formerly your skin. With hair, it retains all that crud as if it was put there solely for the purpose of slowing your healing to near impossibility and insuring infection.

    It also is much easier when it comes time to bandage said wounds if the bandages aren’t pulling out hairs when they are removed for cleaning or re-bandaging. When its severe enough to require medical intervention, you will be thankful the hair cannot tangle in the stitches and pull on it with each infinitesimal move you even think of making.

    The alternative is accepting an offer from a nurse in the E.R. to wash it for me since the condition the rest of me was in did not permit me to do it myself. (I should have known better to agree to that as I soon figured out she was pure evil.) She decided almost immediately the usual, soft sponge or washcloth didn’t do the job well enough and began to use increasingly more rough, painful scrubbing tools and eventually gave up and (without warning me) began to use the steel wool. I think it was around that point my language became so foul my mother (who had driven me there since broken scapulas tend to prevent one from driving oneself) fled the room so I wouldn’t see her laughing hysterically, I could never tell which, and passing doctors began offering to nurse to bring me a sedative.

    If for no other reason than to avoid the steel wool wielding nurse next time I crash, I shave religiously the day before or the day of every ride.

  46. Comment by Jan BB | 11.29.2011 | 3:16 am

    The men I’m riding with are 58, 63, 64 and 65 years old. We ride twice a week, road bike in summer, mountainbike in winter. One of them rides with artificial hips and knee. Some days we are joined by a 77 year old who rides over 100 kms at least once a week.

    This year we participated in a 24hrs team race and averaged 38 kms/hr, finishing 73rd in a field of over 200 teams. Each year we ride during 9 days in Italy, at least 80 kms and 1200 altitude meters a day. In 2012 we will be doing a mtb tour in South Africa, riding big parts of the Cape Epic. We all fall, get bruises and bleed, swear, laugh and try to beat each other on the top of the hills we climb. We all shave our legs.

    And we still drink lots of beer and wine, after each ride.

    No Fatty, you don’t have to worry. You still have many many years left on the bike.

  47. Comment by Cookster | 11.29.2011 | 3:26 am

    Fatty, when shaving becomes a problem you could resort to waxing or electrolysis.

    I myself haven’t even started shaving my legs. What are the pro’s and con’s of shaving ones arms and legs??

  48. Comment by Mike - Arlington VA | 11.29.2011 | 5:50 am

    I’m 45 and have started to wonder the same thing lately. But then I took my 10-year-old son mountain biking the other day, and he cleared his first log ramp. All of a sudden I felt 20 years younger.

    Too old? No way.

  49. Comment by Tes | 11.29.2011 | 8:29 am

    How about laser hair removal for your legs?

  50. Comment by FliesOnly | 11.29.2011 | 8:37 am

    Let’s see, at 51 I:

    1) Still shave my legs. Like you, I cannot imagine what my legs would be like with hair on them again…but I’m sure I wouldn’t like it (nor would my wife).

    2) Still try to do “mtn bike moves”, but only the easy ones, and only those that will result in a “soft landing” if I fail. And I definitely go downhill a lot slower than I use to.

    3). Broke my collar bone into four pieces (actually, I did that at 50) and missed all of the Winter and early Spring riding as a result. But eventually went right back at it and had my best racing season ever.

    So, I’m not really sure when I will stop riding because all I do know is that I am having waaaaaaaay to much fun right now to even consider getting off the bike

  51. Comment by GJ Jackie | 11.29.2011 | 9:45 am

    I’m a 49 yr old Grand Junction female, and I’ve cleared more tough technical stuff on my MTB here this year than ever in my past. The key is not to be stupid about how I attempt them.

    And we just camped in Utah with our kids for a week. There’s nothing like riding from the camper to the trail head without having to pack up the bikes and all the gear. Key to camping at our age? Camper with a comfy bed and a full fridge!

  52. Comment by Cycling Fiend | 11.29.2011 | 11:55 pm

    I second the laser hair removal… I had it done and not only does it save time, but will save you from a sore back trying to reach below the knees!

  53. Comment by AngieG | 11.30.2011 | 8:42 pm

    It continues to baffle me that male cyclists shave their legs. If you want to share our pain, wait in line for the bathroom every time you need to go.

    As for the facial hair, I think the soul patch is very sexy. Particularly on a man with a little salt and pepper.

  54. Comment by Augustus | 12.1.2011 | 7:26 am

    The day after my 55th birthday, last week, I went trail riding on our club trails. I was, of course, dressed in Fatty drag! You are beginning to become well known around here. I talked to one woman who actually heard of you! This was through your work with LIVESTRONG.

    “You are never too old to rock and roll, if you are too young to die”…Jethro Tull

  55. Comment by Augustus | 12.1.2011 | 7:28 am

    As to camping, I did a 25 mile ride to a local campground with 40 pounds of gear on my 2001 Cannondale T800.

  56. Comment by Augustus | 12.1.2011 | 7:33 am

    As to the music, my son turned me on to a lot of bands, RATM among them. I listen to some new stuff now and again to keep my library fresh, but I still listen to stuff I had back in the sixties!

  57. Comment by Geoffrey | 12.1.2011 | 12:54 pm

    First of all, I hate you. I cracked my pelvis last week, stumbled on your blig, and upon reading this entry, giggled myself into some real pain.

    Too old: let’s take a hypothetical example we’ll call “my dad”

    My dad started riding when he was 53. Full rigid and toe straps, because hat’s all he had, and he LIKED it! He started racing XC, had two bad accidents, involving broken faces and ribs and a lacerated liver. Came back, raced the 65+ xc nats, and won by a half a wheel! He bought a new mtb this year when he was 74.

    I will be old enough to stop riding when my dad stops riding, because I’d hate to be dropped by a 75 year old man.

    Of course, if I do another pelvis crack, I may be forced into retirement by my lovely wife.


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