I’m nearly 65 (next week if you must know) I have a Senior Pass which allows free entry into National Parks, free parking at NW Forest Pass locations, I’m on Medicare, and next year I will start getting my Social Security. Even saying that seems unreal because I don’t feel old nor even middle aged. I still love riding my mountain bike, skiing etc. I do go to bed early, but then I always have.
I do try to act my age somewhat. Fifteen years ago, after a pretty scary accident at Lookout Mtn, was when I started to act my age. I didn’t get hurt but I realized I could have. I told myself, it’s time to learn how to walk. When I get to a technical section that could leave me hurt I now walk. I would like to say I’ve never crashed since then, but I can’t. I still try to ride difficult sections and sometimes I fail, but I don’t ride sections that if I fall I will be seriously hurt. This has not been an easy transition, but it was a necessary one. I seem to have collected friends who ride pretty crazy stuff. Most are younger than I am and are just better than I am. I’m not afraid of trying stuff, and that is the issue. I just have to draw an imaginary line and not cross it.
When I was in Switzerland this fall there were lots of those moments. I was strict and I had no crashes, and I still rode plenty of technical single track. My ego has survived and I’m still riding strong at 65.
Now, I am asking my friends and fellow Mountain Bikers to Learn to Walk, but with a slightly different purpose. In Bend we have hundreds of miles of trails, 95% of are quite easy. Let’s leave the other 5% alone. Keep them more difficult, someone is riding them, just not us. If you can’t ride a section please don’t come back and “fix” it. Just walk, like I do. Believe me if you continue to ride as you enter your sixties you will have to do as I do or you will end up seriously injured or worse.
Take your ego out of the equation and walk those bits. It’s no big deal, if you learn now you will avoid that serious “wake up call” accident.
Age sneaks up on us day by day. We can keep our fitness, our strength our muscle memory, but we can’t keep our reflexes, our eyesight and our balance. Don’t be tricked by your fitness into thinking you can still shred like you did 10 years ago. So learn to walk, don’t get injured and please don’t dumb down the trails, our trails are too easy as they are.
Thanks for reading