How to Stay in the Game

Saltlick-20130109-00082IMGP1925IMG00375-20110730-0915 Age and Treachery will beat Youth and Skill- true or false? As the 58 year old kid, I would like to believe that statement but in most instances, this is not the case. You have to rely on other things to stay in the game and enjoy the activities that you have been enjoying for a long time. Chris Crowley in his excellent book “Younger Next Year” states with conviction that if you keep doing the things that you are doing in your 50s and 60s, there is no reason, barring catastrophic disease, that you can’t keep doing it well into your 70s and 80s. I believe this and have seen evidence of this with active people on the ski slopes and on the trails. I am not an exercise physiologist, certified trainer, coach or anything close, but I can tell you what has worked for me and I hope that these following little tips can keep you in the game as well.

Equipment- Chris Crowley screams from his book to buy the best equipment that you can really afford. Why not? We could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Spend the money because if you are dedicated to pursuing your sport, you will use the equipment almost every day. Skis are shaped, well constructed, and shorter these days allowing less fatigue as the day wears on. The new ski equipment definitely improve most skiers one full ability level. Beginners become intermediates, intermediates become advanced, and advanced skiers become…well …. really experts. Mountain bikes and road bikes are made with lightweight carbon fiber and utilize lightweight componetry allowing quicker ascending on the roads and trails. Larger diameter wheels like the 29ers make riding more efficient with rolling resistance lowered and climbing more effiicient with more tire patch on the trail. Full suspension technology allows a more comfortable ride which is especially important on technical trails as an older rider.

Clothing- with the advances of Gore Tex and similar wind and water resistant fabrics, exercise becomes more comfortable allowing more time on the trails and slopes. Again, spend the money and get good riding, running and ski clothing. Compression socks are another plus to promote blood flow while running and giving the legs some support. Technical clothing is well worth the investment

Nutrition- I am not a dietician but I can tell you that if you stay away from high fat foods, fried foods, desserts, and eat within reason, you will feel and perform better. When I moved out of my parents house in my twenties, I started to run on a daily basis and I started to eat more chicken,fish, fruits and vegetables. I ate my big meal at noon and hardly anything at night and lost 15 pounds in two weeks. I was not intentionally wanting to lose weight, but my improved fitness coupled with a sensible diet and correct eating times, helped me lose the weight and gain efficiency.

Water- I had a blood clot years back because I was injured and dehydrated. I am still paying for that today because I take Coumadin. I don’t have any side effects but had I hydrated properly at the time, I may not have had the DVT. I also had a kidney stone this year and the doc said that I don’t take enough fluids in while I exercise. I wouldnt wish that experience on my worst enemy. So I drink plenty of water these days and you should too. You almost have to consciously drink more that you think you should not only while you are exercising but before and after and on the days when you are inactive.

Attitude- take a look at the pictures above. The one picture is of my buddy Heff and me in the bowels of West Virginia in the rain. We had the gear and enjoyed the mountains and the ride immensely despite the horrid conditions. We never let weather spoil our fun. Another picture above is of me and 3 time Tour De France champion Greg Lemond. Here is a guy who loves to ride a bike despite his age and he will talk cycling and sign autographs for as long as anyone want him to be there. The last picture is of my lovely wife riding a chairlift in the freezing rain. She was having such a good day skiing that day that she didn’t want to quit. She has a great attitude and she rides a bike and is into hot yoga of all things. These individuals are older athletes but their attitude, nutritional habits, good equipment and fitness keep them in the game. Chuck Swindoll the great preacher says that “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” Even if you have been away from it for a while or you want to start a new exercies and fitness/nutritional program, it is never too late. Get with a physician to determine your baseline fitness and just do it as the Nike ads proclaim.

I was out with a bunch of guys the other day on the mountain bike and it was really hot. I made sure I was drinking a lot, I pounded the energy gels to keep the energy levels high, I rode the hills at 60% so as to keep something in the tank for the three hour slog with some younger guys.Because I was leading the ride, I did not have the luxury of sitting in with the group and allowing someone else to set the pace and take all the pulls. On a road bike, you can get away with this by sucking wheel more than you are out front taking pulls. I was good at this back in the day when I got an award from the ACA. It was a little plunger and the nameplate said Wheel Sucker of the Year. In short, I pulled out most of my treachery and skulduggery just to stay with the ride. My age and treachery did not beat the youth and the skill the other day, but I sure had fun on the ride and want to continue that high for many rides to come. Stay in the game my friend. Thanks for reading.

7 thoughts on “How to Stay in the Game

  1. Pete hilton says:

    Good stuff Pat – sounds like we’ll be out on the trails for quite a few years us old farts – hope that’s the case!

  2. J.R. says:

    Such an encouraging post Pat. Your attitude and perspective are contagious and greatly appreciated. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Bill Day says:

    Good equipment, sort of like that pair of shoes you wrote about! Great piece, keep them coming.

  4. Chrissy says:

    There are some really good articles in this months “Womens Health” about hydration and nutrition. Did you all know that sugar and high fat foods causes the brain to have a form of diabetes which they believe is linked to Alzheimer’s and dimentia? It’s a good read. As well as the hydration article. Pat is right and I have just recently begun to up my fluids intake and cut back on caffeine. I think it just makes the body run better.

  5. Mark Hutch says:

    Truely enjoy your upbeat commentary Pat. Think i will go out and ride a few miles! Maybe buy some new golf clubs! Certainly then i will keep up with the long knockers!

  6. Art Bonn says:

    Reading your blog is keeping me motivated to stay at the healthy life style. Rode 67 miles yesterday, still fun,just not as fast. Love that picture of Janet. I’m sure Greg can still turn it over. Thanks

  7. Chris Clark says:

    I still remember riding with you Pat at Hartwood a few years ago and you had a small pump, tube and no water. Even though it was a short ride after work I thought how does he do it? I had a camel back with a gallon of water and a cliff bar and was worried I would run out.

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