All the Great Cyclists are Fifty Nine

News & Results

01/21/2005| 0 comments
by Paul Rogen
Fifty nine year old Don Anderson leads bunch up a long climb in Pyrenees. Photo by Thomson Bike Tours.
Fifty nine year old Don Anderson leads bunch up a long climb in Pyrenees. Photo by Thomson Bike Tours.

All the Great Cyclists are Fifty Nine

...or, how I had a better year on the Bike than Merckx.

more traffic, but not much as it only goes through one small
village with a single stop sign.   I know this home course intimately, every pot hole and dog.   I know exactly where to shift and where to stand.   I know where I can catch a break and where to watch for cars entering from the side.    This is the first course on which I managed to break 20 mile an hour average some years back.   I have another twenty mile time trial course which goes inland and has a bit more rise to it and is therefore more challenging.   Again, I can go right from my driveway and not go through any significant traffic.   I go early in the morning and really have just one traffic light to time at about the six mile mark.   Once again, the course is beautiful, out

Long Hill Road

, over

Flat Meadow Road

, out Scenic Route 77 and around
and back home.  The week I turned fifty nine I averaged 21.3 mph on this course.  Not bad; I broke my old record by over one mile an hour.   Wow, I was something at age fifty nine.    But now I had a problem.   I had set a biking goal to improve in a measurable way every year until I was sixty.    How was I going to beat this?   My biking business partner and coach, Peter Thomson, laughed and said I overdid it.   I should have held back and only did 20.8 mph and saved some improvement potential for next year.   But at fifty nine, I never save anything for next year.   I am a member of an elite group and want to make them all proud.



I tucked the achievement away as certain evidence that I had a very good year cycling in 2004.   Since then I have started my annual decline into winter.   I run more with my dog in the woods and ride less.   However, recently, I came across something about another fifty nine year old cyclist, Eddie Merckx.    The top cyclist of all time is our age exactly.   Don Anderson was right about this; the best cyclists are fifty nine.   Maybe we did not think about including The Cannibal because in all the pictures we had seen of him over the last decade he looked like a Belgian toad, fat and out of shape.   However, what I read recently, and set me thinking, was that he had been trimming down and riding again.   In fact, some of his times for 20-25 mile rides were posted and mine were better, considerably better.   I was way up on him, by maybe 10-12%.  


Which got me thinking even more? I could not really be a better cyclist than Eddie Merckx.   Merckx could say he did not realize that there was a competition and he would be right.


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