All Great Cyclists Used to be Fifty-Nine

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01/12/2006| 0 comments
by Paul Rogen
Grinding past Tom Simpson's resting spot. Photo copyright
Grinding past Tom Simpson's resting spot. Photo copyright

All Great Cyclists Used to be Fifty-Nine

It has been a year since I concluded that all great cyclists are fifty-nine.

It has been a year now since I concluded that all great cyclists are fifty-nine .  In December 2004, I wrote an article for in which I got carried away by the coincidence that many of my good cycling friends were fifty nine years old.  I found it had such meaning that it shed a glimmer of light on what life was really about: staying healthy, aging gracefully, and enjoying hardy companions.   Now, I was referring to the fact that, not only were some of my best friends this particular age, but also, they were some of the best cyclists on the road.  Typically, I ride three to four thousand miles a year and get out with a wide range of roadies around the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>US and in
Europe.   Then, I found out that Eddy Merckx was also the magic age and that confirmed it for me.   I had an untested theory, a theorem that needed to be tested.   All great riders were fifty nine years old in 2005, hoping to stay alive to turn sixty some time during the year.   <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>


In reviewing my 2005 cycling year, at that time, I concluded that I had a better year on the bike than Eddy did based on what little I knew.  I let my Walter Mitty cycling mind roam.   Now, the point can be made that the critical element is how little I know.  I can swallow that, but I still put out the challenge to the Cannibal to meet me on Ventoux on Bastille Day, July 14, 2005 and we would take a ride up the vaunted Giant of Provence.   Now, as 2005 comes to a close, it is the appropriate time to report back on just how my cycling season played out and just what did happen on Ventoux this past July 14, 2005.


By this time of winter there is snow on the ground here in
and I just completed my first spinning class this morning with little chance of road cycling the remainder of the year.   I also put in a run in the woods with my dog to balance things out and get a little out door time, but it is most certainly not open road cycling.   I struggle with the off season indoor stuff.   I cheat like crazy when I spin on the Cycleops and yearn for dry roads.   I did some checking and found I did a bit over 4,000 miles outdoors this year and might reasonably be able to conclude that it was my best ever year on the bike.



Here is the highlight summary of my past year on the road:   In May I won the Connecticut Senior Games road cycling championship for my age category.   I won a silver medal in the state time trial.   In July I spent the entire month in
and rode for 28 days straight averaging 80- 90 kilometers a day.  


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