The Age Thing, Physically

All my training is paying off, but slowly. I’m really starting to feel fit again with all my riding. The only problem I feel is knowing how fit I once was. It wasn’t so long ago that I was training as a serious athlete with a goal of winning a medals at Masters’ Track Nationals. Ahhh, but life happens as they say. So now I’m working at getting fit again with a goal of earning Level III at PSIA certifications. Last year during exams my back hurt and I guess you could say I was feeling my age. Then there was this guy taking the exam in his late 70’s or early 80’s! He did not pass at that particular event, but apparently it wasn’t his first attempt and he keeps trying.

Yesterday I finally got up the courage and felt fit enough to join the local group ride. These are a bunch of young guys, in their 20’s and 30’s mostly, who race regularly on the weekends in this region. They’re pretty fast, and I would say, very fit. It was great to get to ride with these guys and test myself, but again the only problem was remembering how fast I once was, when I was their age. On the positive side, I was able to keep up pretty good. I think with a few adjustments to my equipment and my diet (read, no more beer), I could actually compete with these guys and give ’em a run for their money. That feels good. I just need to remember that my new goal does not really mean “beating” competitors, it is more like becoming the very best I can personally be (reminds me of a joke I used to say about I was already in the Army).

I’m pretty sure that I’m not too old yet to physically meet the demands of Level III if I make the effort to be fit for the event. It makes me wonder though, is there a point where one must finally admit that one’s time is past? Riding with this young group of very fit men sort of puts things in perspective. Seeing the older gentleman still trying to attain Level III in PSIA puts things in a different perspective for me as well. It’s looking at two extremes in the aging process of an athlete. So what’s the moral of the story? I may come back and edit this, but I think the moral for me is to just do the best I can while trying to balance my expectations with reality.

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