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148 of 149 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You don't need to be fifty to enjoy this book!
While this book contains virtually the same information that is in Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible, the focus on the older athelete makes the information more accessable and practical. Good reviews of current knowledge of cycling physiology, nutrition, and various training strategies for different types of cycling goals. Very good discussion of self evaluation of...
Published on November 14, 1998

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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Plans, VERY Poorly Presented
Why "Train"?

I think improving my cycling will make it more enjoyable, so I've decided to experiment by following a training regimen. Last year I simply rode my bike as often, fast, and far as possible. I did get faster and able to ride longer, but it plateaued. The logic is obvious - specific steps designed by very, very experienced people for a specific goal...
Published on May 23, 2011 by GDH2


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148 of 149 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You don't need to be fifty to enjoy this book!, November 14, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
While this book contains virtually the same information that is in Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible, the focus on the older athelete makes the information more accessable and practical. Good reviews of current knowledge of cycling physiology, nutrition, and various training strategies for different types of cycling goals. Very good discussion of self evaluation of personal cycling strengths and weaknesses, along with guidance on how to set cycling goals, and develop abilties. Neither book is aimed at the casual cyclist, but rather those who want to develop and improve their skills. Where the Training Bible seems aimed at the elite athelete, Cycling Past Fifty provides reduced intensity trainig suggestions, and has more discusion on potential limitations, nad training problems. I highly recommend both books. Only four stars because of the poor title, and the level of repetition from The Cyclist's Training Bible.
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72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed, July 15, 2002
This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
I've been a casual cyclist for over a year now, and I was looking for information that would explain in everyday language a strategy for improving my conditioning. This book hit the mark right on the head. I didn't want a detailed plan. I wanted to understand the concepts of training so that I could easily tailor them for myself, and this book provides just that. As mentioned in other reviews, this book is not just for those over 50. It could easily apply to anyone who wants to get more out of cycling, whether it be for long distance riding, touring, racing, whatever. I've known for a long time that working out in different heart-rate zones can improve conditioning and performance, but I've never known how to apply these ideas. Now I do, thanks to this book.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the hard core cyclist, August 30, 2005
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This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
As a not-especially-athletic 50-something who rides to get in shape and lose a few pounds, I found the book a bit of a shock. Aimed at aging jocks, its main focus seems to be training for racing, centuries, and even LONGER rides! But once the shock wore off, I found a lot to help even me: ride often (3-4 times a week), vary the training regimen, and most of all -- learn how to use your heart rate meter. The book provides practical recipes for figuring out your "lactate threshold" (LT) heart rate (about 10% less than what my HRM calls my "maximum" heart rate) -- and then how to base your training program on time spent in various "zones" defined by percent of LT heart rate. It's helping!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This training information works!, June 22, 2010
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cb (Littleton, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
I'm a fit 51 year old that has worked out my entire life. Last year I did the Ride the Rockies, a grueling multi-day road bike tour through some of the most challenging terrain in Colorado. I followed the training recommended by tour and did fine, maybe in the top 30% of riders (passed 7 riders for every 3 that past me). A friend recommended this book which I used to modify my preparation for this year's ride... a much more difficult 535 mile ride with an average of 3,000 to 5,000 feet of climbing to do each of the 7 days. I had never followed a periodized training routine before, nor focused on several training techniques mentioned in the book like low heart rate training workouts to build pulmonary efficiency (or more accurately, low threshold workouts... read the book). In the months before the ride, my resting heart rate went from 62 to 48. The results during the ride were amazing. I blew past 99% of the riders and the same group of riders that did the ride with me last year, some on the same level some faster, could not even come close to keeping up with me. Everyone was asking what the heck I did. I pointed them all to this book which I followed closely. In fact, their is so much information in this book which includes other terrific advise on nutritional fueling, etc., that I read it a second time with pen and paper in hand.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, August 2, 2007
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Paul Mckenna (Montara, Ca USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
Despite the title, cyclists of all ages will find this book useful. There is a great deal of both general discussion as well as specific recommendations for effective training. The sections which are age specific generally are of the form "If you were 20 you would train like this, since you are 50 you need to modify the training like this... (usually allow more recovery)". Thus the discussion becomes relevant for everyone.

Some will probably find the specifics more detail than they are interested in. Fine, take the bigger message (intensity + adequate recovery = ageless perfomance) and you will be way ahead of the game. The discussion of heart rate training is the best I have seen.

Again highly recommended for everyone.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Plans, VERY Poorly Presented, May 23, 2011
By 
This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
Why "Train"?

I think improving my cycling will make it more enjoyable, so I've decided to experiment by following a training regimen. Last year I simply rode my bike as often, fast, and far as possible. I did get faster and able to ride longer, but it plateaued. The logic is obvious - specific steps designed by very, very experienced people for a specific goal are more likely to achieve that goal than random effort. Will it be too much or a PITA? Time will tell.
My First 12 Months

From past experience I knew I needed some days to rest, so I started off mostly following a riding one day with a rest or gym day - I had started my "get back into shape" effort by joining a gym two months before I started riding. I also joined two cycling clubs in my first month cycling, the Charles River Wheelmen and Nashoba Valley Pedalers and discovered that they had rides every week on weekends, most of which had very well-designed routes. Immediately I started doing club rides every Saturday and Sunday - scratch the ride/rest idea. After two months of riding, I added Wednesday Wheelers, a group within CRW. Then I had regular rides on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday every week. Most of these club rides had options for two or three routes of different length. Naturally [in my mind, anyway], I would always opt for the longest ride option. Add in a couple of solo rides and there weren't many rest days in the week. By the end of six months, I was riding 5-6 days a week.

Find a Plan

The two most prolific authors on training for cycling seem to be Joe Friel and Chris Carmichael. Shortly after I started riding I read Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible (skimmed), Cycling Past 50, and Carmichael's The Time-Crunched Cyclist. Too much detail, a lot of it too difficult for me to grasp, and generally it just seemed too complicated to try an implement. Of course, I was still working out cycling basics. As the months passed, I did a lot of internet research, including BikeForums.org (lots of knowledge and a willingness to share). I read most of Friel's web pages - he's very technically oriented, very competition oriented, but his conclusions seemed sound.

I decided to re-examine Friel's Cycling Past 50 . This time the lessons made a lot more sense but I found I had to really dig to extract the nitty-gritty details. No wonder it was so hard to comprehend a year ago. Examples:

* His "Weekly Training" plan broke the weeks into Buildup weeks and Recovery weeks with detailed instructions for each day of the week. But he doesn't identify what weeks are Buildup or Recovery. Unless you figure it out yourself from a "Weekly Progression" chart two pages later.
* The "Weekly Progression" is broken into 4 Periods, each 3 weeks long. Each week shows 2 lines of info - e.g., "4 x 6 min (2 min. RI), flat" and "2:30 tempo ride"[more on these below]
* But the "Weekly Training" specifies "Cruise Intervals" on Tuesday for both Buildup and Recovery weeks, but "Tempo ride" only occur (Saturday) on Buildup weeks - Saturday is a "long ride in 2 and 3 zones only."
* It turns out the Cruise Intervals and Tempo ride are easier every third week in the second chart. Ah, so it's two Buildup weeks and then one Recovery week. And I infer Friel simply calls the Recovery week Saturday ride a "Long ride" in one chart and a "Tempo ride" in the second chart.
* "Cruise Intervals." "Tempo Rides." and "Threshold Rides" are key elements. You will need to refer to the detailed descriptions when you try to implement any of the training programs. But they don't get headings - each of the three terms is highlighted by being italicized at or near the start of paragraphs under "Muscular Endurance."
* Hills - Every Thursday in Buildup weeks calls for "60-90 min on a hilly course in all zones." What kind of hills? A 5-mile grind or 1-mile at 10%? There is a page labeled "Climbing Workouts" that identifies three types -
*** Moderate - "a course with several climbs of up to a 6% grade... Go no higher than heart rate 5a zone." [I need details! Are 3 climbs on a 20-mile ride OK? What if one of the climbs lasts 5 miles?]
*** Long - "a long hill with a 4- to 6% grade that takes 4-8 minutes to climb. Repeat this hill several times until you've accumulated 20-30 minutes of climbing with coast-down recoveries after each....Raise heart rate into the 5a zone on each climb."[Now that is specific - I know exactly what he wants]
*** Steep - "Do repeats on a short, steep hill of 8% or more that takes 90 seconds to 2 minutes to climb. ... Climb in and out of the saddle, alternating positions and experimenting with technique." [How long between climbs? What zone? How many repeats?]
*** So which of these should I do for the Thursday ride? Or do each of them on different weeks? Or does he mean something else?
* Why "Tempo ride in 2 to 4 zones if riding with a group, 3 zone if riding alone"? What type of "group" does he mean? Most of my group rides string out so far that I often can't even see another rider for most of the ride - the closest riders are too far ahead or too far behind. How would they affect me? Or is a group a pack of similar level cyclists following the training program?
* Heart zones are basis for every type of training in this book. The exact percentages supposedly matter, according to Friel. But I couldn't find "Heart Zone" or "Zone" in the index. After finding it by thumbing through the pages, I realized he calls it "Training Zone" - and there it is in the index, the last entry under "Training."
* Friel also seemed to present various subjects in inappropriate places. Chapter 3, Basic Training, starts off with Cardinal Rules of Training (ride consistently, ride moderately, rest frequently), F.I.T. for Riding (Frequency, Intensity, Time), and then Periodization (5 pages on training so you can peak at a particular time - Olympic Trials, anyone!) before he concludes the chapter with The Heart of Training (his core tenet about heart beat zones). Few people over 50 reading an introductory book are going to be concerned about "Periodization."
* And then he goes into racing, multi-day rides, injury, eating, psychology, and socialization.

Since the Book is so Bad, Why Would I Choose a Plan from this Book?

The book has a training program, designed by a true expert, for old geezers (like me) for the specific goal I decided to focus on - improving my speed for a century (100-mile ride). Here are a few thoughts I reached as I extracted the training plan -

* Riding six days a week appeals to me. This is possible, despite the importance of rest, because those six days include:
*** Two days with recovery rides - zone 1 on a flat course
*** One day (day 1) with a medium effort - 60-90 minutes in zones 2-3
* The three hard days seem to offer a nice variety of hard effort:
*** Intervals - repeatedly (3-5 times) going as hard as possible for a specified duration (6, 8, 10 minutes) with a specified recovery after each hard effort (usually 3 minutes)
*** Hills - since he doesn't specify what he means, I am comfortable playing around with the options he discussed for moderate, long, and steep hills. Hills abound in my area.
*** Tempo run - hard 2-4.5 hour rides in zone 4 to end the week - zone 4 riding has me breathing very hard, regularly panting and gasping.
* I have only spent one week trying this so far, but it seems like I can should be able to (mostly) adapt my riding to conform [and adapt the plan slightly to accommodate my desires, like slightly longer rides].

My recollection is his Bible was presented much more professionally - this seemed really slapdash. WHY NOT 1 OR 2 STARS? Because I judged the actual content valuable, even if the presentation was terrible.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm Cycling Past 86, August 3, 2005
By 
Dynecourt Mahon (New Rochelle, New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
I would say that this book is excellent for any adult that wants to start or get back to riding a bike again, regardless of his or her age, as long as a physical examination says it's OK.

Now some people might think this book is too advanced, but keep reading and you will get to areas that fit right into your case like a glove. Joe Friel set this book up for everybody. He could of named it 'Cycling past Five', but then he would have to put in 'How to ride in traffic'.

Joe bought to my attention the importance of a Heart Rate Monitor. Of course if you just want to ride around the block, I don't think you'll need one. If you want to improve your cycling ability you better look into it. I'm going to get me one and learn how to use it.

Dynecourt Mahon.........Gods gift to the Daughters of the American Revolution.........
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent wisdom for over 50 cyclists, November 6, 2006
This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
I am only 51, have begun cycling at beginning of 2006, have read 3 other handbooks on the subject, but found a unique relevant source of information displaying great understanding. It is really worth taking note of. The author also demonstrates wisdom and thoughtful tips which go beyond the usual type of cycling handbook.

I am pleased to have read it, but also believe cyclists in their 40's should read it in preparation for this time period which will eventually come their way. I wish I knew this information when I was 40.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible Simplified, January 31, 2002
By 
Brian P. Lafferty (Longmeadow, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
This volume has the basic information of the Bible in a better organized format. When one needes more detailed training information, this volume makes finding the material in the Bible less time consuming. It also isn't just for cyclists past the age of 50. Any cyclist seeking sound training advice in a more usable format than the Bible will benefit from this volume.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, informative, timeless information, February 10, 2009
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This review is from: Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) (Paperback)
I'm a very inshape cyclist. I ride over 100 miles on a weekend and train indoors during the week. Great training tips, goal setting and measuring performance. The nutritional information really made a difference in my recovery. This guy is liget. Read it.
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Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series)
Cycling Past 50 (Ageless Athlete Series) by Joe Friel (Paperback - April 21, 1998)
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