I keep climbing …

I have been remiss.

I haven’t posted for over two months. In fact, I haven’t posted much this past year. I’m not sure why. I enjoy writing. And, now that I’m retired, I have more time than ever. I simply lost inspiration. It’s not the cycling. I train, and cycle more than ever. Then why?

The Writer’s Caravan suggested to start slowly with one post a week. That’s doable. Right? 😀

So, where do you start when you have lost inspiration, and a blank screen stares you in the face? Good question. Well, I began by reviewing my blog statistics to see what subjects have been of most interest. I may get some inspiration there. Three posts have been read more often than all of the rest, and by a very large margin. During the past 3 years they were viewed over 5,000 times. In August 2013, I wrote “I climbed Cypress Mountain“, and “I climbed Mount Seymour“, personal accounts of climbing two local mountains popular with dedicated road cyclists, and then in April 2014 I posted “What does retirement look like?“, an introspective look at what retirement might look like for me.

What is it about long, steep, mountain climbs, and the road cyclist?

It is straight forward. Long climbs test your metal. Everyone can pedal on the level. Everyone can coast downhill. Not everyone can climb, particularly longer, steeper hills. A long climb is a measure of your fitness, stamina, and dedication to the sport.

These posts, more than any, describe what this blog has been about – how to become a better, stronger, faster cyclist. I have consistently written about training methods, cycling techniques, commuting, racing, bike maintenance, nutrition, and a host of cycling related subjects. I have been cycling for 40 years, and only now call myself a road cyclist. Yes. I’m an enthusiastic, recreational, senior cyclist. And, that’s the thing. I’m a senior. And, I’m retired. And yet, I want to cycle even more.

Several years ago, as I approached retirement, I began questioning how hard I could train. How far was too far? How hard was too hard? What risks, if any, did I face? I didn’t feel my age. I really didn’t think about it. I liked to train. To sweat. And yes, climb. I rode with cyclist half my age, and I simply liked the way cycling made me feel. Strong. Free. And yes, young.

I began asking doctors and trainers what, if anything, I should be doing differently. They really couldn’t give me an adequate answer. They said “take it easy.”, “relax.”, and “you are not as young as you once were”.

This was not what I wanted to hear.

This Christmas, I was given a copy of “Fast After 50” by Joe Friel. Finally, I had answers. Joe Friel coaches elite athletes (runners, cyclists, triathletes), and he is also a senior cyclist himself. He too began asking similar questions. Why do some athletes continue to perform at a high level as they age and others don’t? What is aging, and can it be slowed, or even reversed? What must you do differently as you get older?

He said what I wanted to hear. Older athletes that continue to train hard, recover adequately, and fuel their bodies correctly continue to remain competitive well into their 70’s and 80’s. His books detail how to train, recover and fuel the aging body. He argues convincingly that exercise is an anti-aging agent, and that lifestyle determines one’s future.

So, there is no need to stop climbing. Climbing is a path to a longer, healthier, and more optimistic future. PedalWORKS will continue to search out new climbs, and ways to summit faster, and more easily.

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”                   Nelson Mandela

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6 thoughts on “I keep climbing …

  1. Welcome back! I am a regular follower of your blog. Even if I don’t make my posts regularly, I’ll make it a point to read yours. So please write. 🙂

    This writer’s block was the same for me when I returned with my post after about 6 months. I can understand your situation. Wish you more miles and smiles in 2017! 🙂

  2. I agree with Manu. It’s been too long so please keep writing (or at least trying to). You’ve given this 21 yr old with 28 years experience plenty of food for thought for his retirement although this is a loooong way off and probably won’t involve that much hill climbing

    • Thanks for the encouragement biking2work. When I was your age, I didn’t think much about retirement. I was advised to lose some weight, and I began cycling regularly. I started with a borrowed 5-speed with flat bars, and has evolved into a stabled of 4+ bikes that I ride throughout the year – road bikes, a commuter, and mountain bikes. Cycling took over and continues to be an integral part of my life.

  3. Great post Gary. The idea of cycling being an anti-ageing agent is very appealing.
    I think that faced with more hills to climb as mentioned in the Nelson Mandela quote (which I think is great!), we can approach them differently as older people because of experience, intuition, wisdom or all of the above. So rather than walk away from the hills, I agree, keep climbing 🙂

    • Thanks Gail 😎Yes, I liked Joe Friel’s research. He makes an compelling argument to stay active and eat unprocessed food if you want to live a longer, healthier, and engaged life. I recommend the book even if you are not an athlete – his recommendations apply to everyone.

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