Riding, Fatigue, and Age

I have improved and declined in riding over the last couple of years. I noticed my first decline around the age of 40 riding bicycles. I blamed this on getting older. I have become somewhat stronger and better at climbing hills since unicycling for the last two years. I do, however, struggle with fatigue and recovering from what I consider a hard ride. I know that my age is messing with my ability but does anyone have any advice on getting rid of this stupid fatigue? I should be able to ride longer that 2-3 hours.

I’ve never been a big believer of supplements but I’m willing to try something if it will help. Yesterday I had to end a ride early because I was just too tired. This irritates me. It’s climbing that wears me out and climbing is my favorite thing to do. Today’s ride went much better using my 26 guni rather than the 36". I was reading about how women age much faster than men especially once menopause hits. Well, that’s where I am :angry: . I find this to be unfair. :angry: :angry: . So any of you geezers or medical people have any words of wisdom to share?

(I did contact my doctor to ask the same question but he’ll be out of town until mid-August.)

Hello mbalmer!

Thank you for this post!

I don’t have any words of wisdom, but I can certainly relate to what you are saying, possibly more than most of our colleagues! The thing that I am up against is that I have NOT been athletic or even very active for the last 30 to 35 years. Now I think I’m going to be Miss Athlete of the Year and, and it isn’t happening. I’m tired before I even get started good.

I thought I was going to put in hours and hours of practice time this summer, but I am now disappointed that the summer is over, and I haven’t progressed all that much. I am blaming a lot of it on the heat. I know that sounds like a cop out, but that’s been a big part of my situation… rightly or wrongly.

You are such an inspiration to me!

When I hear about you climbing hills and… What?!.. your saying “I should be able to ride longer that 2-3 hours.”
No way! That sounds like a marathon to me!
I would like to be able to ride for a steady 20 minutes!.. on a FLAT road!

I would consider it a honor and a privilege to meet you one of these days!

You say you have become stronger. I’m working on that, but I have a LONG way to go!
Other than climbing hills on a unicycle, have you done anything else to help with improved muscle strength?

Have you been keeping up with AnimalCage? He is a bit younger, and a guy of course, but he is hitting the inclines like crazy. He might have some thoughts. I’m thinking he will likely have some helpful comments and opinions. (Haven’t seen you in a few days AnimalCage. You’re probably out on that big, steep HILL!)

At any rate, mbalmer, thanks again for this post!
I think you are something else!

You know your own body best. If you’re more tired than you think you should be, then a visit to your doctor is in order. There are so many things that can cause fatigue (besides just age), that I doubt any of the medical folks here are going to attempt a diagnosis without seeing blood tests.

Eat lots. Drink lots. Before, during and after riding. Especially if you’re out for 2 hours or more.

And give your body adequate recovery time. This might be anywhere from 1 day to 1 week. Eat and drink lots on the day after a big ride, as your metabolism is still raging.

I have noticed, particularly as I get older, that the food I eat makes a huge difference to my stamina and general health. I am not a great believer in sports drinks and I avoid fast food. I believe simple nutricious food is what your body needs.

I am 53, and I would generally get 1-2 hours of unicycling, or some other aerobic exercise, ever day. It’s actually a problem for me when I have more than one day without exercise.

Here is just one site, which might give you some ideas regarding good food. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/

Thanks for this thread. I actually went totally inactive from my mid 20s to mid 30s, and just now decided to get back into it. One thing that I’ve definitely been made aware of is that I’m not in the shape I was and that the clock is ticking. I was never the athletic type, but I feel like I wasted what should have been my prime years. Though I probably got in a good 2K miles back in the day. :smiley:

So here I am, and I have an endurance problem. I get rubber legged after about 2 hours, less if there are lots of hills. I could keep pressing on on flats, but the wear after 2 hours really affects my free mounts. I’m hoping that I can work on my endurance, but it’s hard to tell what will happen.

I’m hoping to get a bit more output when the weather cools. I live for the fall (no, not a UPD, the season). I think the heat seeps the energy right out of me.

I take a day off where I don’t do anything after those “to the edge of my endurance” rides. I kind of know that the only direction from here on is likely downhill. Enjoy your youth!

Now I’ve gone and depressed myself - mid-life crisis time.


Oh, one more challenge I face. If I eat or drink during a ride I often get nauseous. Maybe due to the heat. Maybe due to the sugar in Gatorade. I can’t figure it out.

Hey, i actually have spent quite some time playing with this, being I am a Body Builder, Cyclist, street boarder, snow boarding, musician, i work 50 + hours a week, and am now a unicyclist, i have been able to adapt a routine that keeps up performance and helps you get strong.


YOU MUST GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP! I get 8 hours every night! it is 100% curtail to have a rested body.

1 1/2 -2 hours prior to my exercise, be it gym, biking, what ever i take a protein shake. These are the other half of the energy. Your body gets drained of energy because you are not giving it enough to re supply your muscles and improve your oxygenation rate.

The shake -

1/2-3/4 cup of mil
2-3 frozen strawberry’s (or desired fruit)
1-2 scoops of vanilla protein powder.
Blend it in a food processor or magic bullet and you have a nice frothy strawberry milkshake.

This will digest in about 1 - 1 1/2 hours and allow you to ride as though you ate a perfectly balanced meal but your not full so you won’t cramp. It will last for about 5 hours before you’ll get hungry.

I personally cannot eat within 3 hours of exercising because i cramp up really badly, but taking this allows me to just blast through my workouts.

The other advantage is the post recovery, take another one of these shakes after your ride as well, the problem 99% of people run into with any exercise and the reason they seem to make no gains is that they do not give there body any nutrients to rebuild the muscle they just tore apart, and they do not retain the muscle/endurance gains.

This took me over a year to perfect but it really does work.

For woman, do the exact same thing! Your body operates under the exact same principal as a male except you lack the testosterone to build muscle so you will get a no calorie (your body identifies and digests 100% of the shake so there is nothing stored and no calories to burn) meal that will keep you on your game for hours.

The powder, i use Perfect Nutritions - Perfect whey, it is 100% new zealand whey, with 28 grams of protein per 35 gram scoop. It has 90 calories per scoop and it taste excellent (in comparison to other powders) and mixes flawlessly.

I spent 2 hours tonight on my uni learning, and 1 hour working out, heres a picture of what i have achieved

heres a link to the powder.


for any questions give me a haller. (i am a partially sponsored body builder)

Apart from training, and that’s a slightly different issue, the above is about right I think.
But don’t forget that the heat does have a direct affect on the muscles. So what you can’t do on a hot day you may be able to do the next day in cooler conditions! Frustrating I know but you can’t avoid it in summer. And I don’t think you can gain anything by trying to increase your riding time in hot conditions.

The rest of the year, one very long ride a month will do the trick assuming you are riding regularly. And of course the defintion of long changes as you get fitter as well :wink:

My mother had problems with tiredness that the doctor fixed with iron tablets. But she was in her 70’s when that became a problem, she’s in her 80’s now :slight_smile:



You’re probably doing it wrong. I get it, it’s happened to me before too… but you seem to experience it regularly.

For the drinking (yes, it’s cliche) you HAVE to drink BEFORE you get thirsty. I cannot stress this enough. I am particularly prone to dehydration, and if I don’t sip my water at least once every 10 minutes I get dizzy, nauseous, a headache and I end up stopping.

For eating, you have to eat only the items that are easily digestible. It will help if you post here what you typically eat on a ride. When I was younger my father would stress that I eat a disgusting hard granola bar at least once every 2 hours of riding. It didn’t taste bad, but in riding conditions with a drier mouth and a delicate system, it just didn’t work. It made me feel absolutely terrible. I could not digest it.

Anyway, now I drink a protein shake a few hours before the ride, and I eat light fruit (bananas are always good) and the occasional gel during. If I keep my hydration level up and eat properly, I have no digestive problems.

The times when I get nauseous are also the times that I happen to stop drinking my water. My throat gets really dry, tingly, itchy, uncomfortable, it always feels like there’s something at the bottom of my throat just waiting to come up… and then it does.

I have noticed that they move the university where I work a little farther away every year. They also have installed some additional hills and made the existing ones steeper. If that wasn’t enough, they put big, reversible fans at both ends of my commute and they always seem to blow gale force winds into my face.

One thing you can do to improve your general health and self-image is to lie about how far and how much you ride. I would write more, but I’m tired after my ride across Asia from which I just returned. I still have to get out to do my 200 training miles tonight.

well I am not going to complain about all the things that are declining. :o
So I just take it easy. that’s why I prefer Muni: ride, have fun, puf-puff, stop, look at the woods, talk to the squirrels, and ride again at my own pace and be happy without being worried about, food, drink, body and so on…
The only thing that really worries me is that I can’t keep pace with those “youngsters” and I end up riding alone :frowning: too bad!

Hey sorry to hear of your experience but menopause, or whatever, you are still ‘young’ aren’t you. Not be it for me to repeat the advice offered already - but do you ever compare what you are doing (unicycling) to that of your friends of a similar age? You are probably a virtual athlete compared to the average woman of your age! :astonished:

Without sounding chauvinistic men are usually physically stronger than women aren’t they? Yet I know the tiredness you refer to and interpret it as age related – but I don’t think of myself as ‘old’, I just think of myself as not being as physically strong as I used to be. Apart from what’s been said already, to cope with the physical I do yoga and use a home gym. I ‘repair’ myself with a wholefood diet, and I try to sleep enough.

I would be keen to hear what Mr Peterson aka Unigeezer has to say on this topic. Age related doesn’t seem to be slowing him up too much. Mind you…he is still a spring chicken :stuck_out_tongue:

Hey Harper

And the drop off get bigger as well. I don’t like them :slight_smile:

Excellent! I respect physical culture at any age. This is why I relate to this guy more, who I’m sure you have heard of. Clarence Bass at 70 years old. I’ve got 7 years to make myself look like that :roll_eyes:

I’m a relative youngster, but FWIW I have noticed slower recovery from big rides in the last year or two. While I’m certainly not quite as fast as I was 20 years ago, I’m not slow, and my endurance is still pretty good (probably as good as ever). But after a long hard ride or event I do find my legs ache for much longer than they used to, even with the usual hydration, electrolytes, etc. Tried some protein recovery drink at the last endurance race I did, after each of my stints, but I’m not convinced it really made any difference. I just put it down to “not being as young as I used to be”.

The sleep thing somebody mentioned is probably relevant - since my daughter started school a couple of years ago I haven’t been sleeping as much as I would like, which can’t be helping (I’d naturally sleep for 9+ hours if I had nothing else to do, probably down to about 7 1/2 now - I really envy people who feel fine on 4 or 5 hours).

BTW - the extreme low fat of competitive body builders isn’t healthy - they just do it for aesthetics. Don’t do it Geoff :slight_smile: There’s a difference between being fit and looking good smeared in oil as an art exhibit.


For me I’m constantly drinking, just about all day. I have kidney issues that will surface if I don’t keep hydrated. I’ve never got thirsty during a ride, but I always force myself to drink when I feel like I’ve sweated enough to merit it.

The other day was the first time (in a long time) that I’ve felt nauseous, and it was early in the ride. I had a banana and a 20 oz gatorade, then felt sick. The variables were:

Heat - it seems like it has been and will be 100 degrees every day of this miserable summer :angry:

Rest - ok, so if I eat a banana mid ride, how much time should I give myself before mounting back up? I take breaks - mostly to make sure I still have feeling in my seat, and to shake my… legs… out a bit, but often get bored with the rest and mount back up within a few minutes. Maybe longer breaks are on order.

Sip liquid vs “drink” - I guess it’s a better idea to sip on the drinks I bring instead of taking 10 oz gulps?

Time of day - I got out earlier than I have ever exercised. I typically go out in the afternoon, and lately around 7:00PM. I went out at 7:00AM to beat the heat that morning. Didn’t beat it. I should have gotten out by at least April if I wanted to beat this heat.


This is the mind set I need to get into. Set enjoyable goals for myself and not pay attention to what other people can/can’t do.

You’re Getting older:

You’re becoming less agile, muscles weaken, joints stiffen, it takes more to do the same, some things come harder like getting a good night sleep, it can take longer to recover from exercise, injuries are more common and heal slower, chronic pain is common.

There’s no supplement, there’s no magic pill, it’s just the way we play the game.

I have this ongoing “discussion” with a younger co-worker (29) who is convinced that he’ll never have a sleep problem as an older adult. All I can do is smile, I had the same conviction ten years ago, slept like a baby every night, could sleep through a train wreck. Nowadays it’s hit and miss, slept good last night, but the night before was terrible.

I hurt every day, can’t remmeber getting out of bed and not feeling rough, numerous injuries over the years play havoc with my fitness lifestyle. All you can do is tay active, give yourself a break now and then, be willing to adjust your training for weather, how you feel, motivation, etc… you don’t need to kill it every time you work out, maintenance is a lot easier on your body and more sustainable.

Also be willing to accept that some days are not exercise days, so be will to cross train or simply go for a walk/hike. I used to run ultramarathons, then had some chronic injuries related to excessive running, so I cut back on my running. Then I started riding, only used running for cross training, niticed that the weeks when I ran were the same weeks when I had pinched nerves in my back. Have since cut way back on my running and lo and behold the pinched nerves are mostly resolved :o

And if you’re under forty (TopHat), you should not be posting to this thread, cuz you have no clue at all what it’s like to work out when your older :roll_eyes:

Some of these responses are cracking me up. Some make me mad because they are true :angry: (thanks Nurse Ben). I’m not living in denial, but while I was not thinking of a magic fix, I was hoping for a suggestion to get increased power and/or lessen fatigue. Part of the problem last Sunday was that it was quite warm (not hot) and I was hungry. All I had in my bag was some Cheezits.

You men folk sure do have it made. You have stronger muscles and you can pee on the fly:D. I’d almost trade genders for those two luxuries :roll_eyes: . I wish I could ride stronger so that I could join one of the local group rides. At least I am not a full time couch potato.

I am kind of disappointed in this second part… Being i spend absorbent amounts of time in the gym i see a HUGE variety of people. My mother for instance who is 45 years old, had 6 kids, numerous health issues, and the list goes on has gotten in there and in 2 months she is moving and shaking harder then the 20 year olds are… This is a mental state… I was born practically crippled but i was not going to settle, you need to provide more nutrients for your body and do more strength related exercise. I am a firm believer in gender equality. (although i do not expect the same lifting strength i expect the same dedication)

Hey Mbalmer,

Take it easy on yourself. Go out and have fun. I do not know of any magic potions to give you more energy,* but I find electrolyte drinks helpful on a long ride to avoid cramping, and some modest food before and during long rides. Most of the rides I go on are two hours or less, but I try to stop and have a cliff bar after an hour. I drink regularly throughout the exercise. Some days I have lots of energy and some days I am feeling a bit slow.

All that being said, I am still getting old. My son does not do much (any?) regular exercise, while I try to work out every day. Last month we were walking up six flights of stairs briskly, and I was very irritated to notice that he was less out-of-breath than I was at the top. :angry:

Lifting weights will make a difference. I do not do it much, but even a little bit still puts on muscle. Since you are not likely to be in international competition, you could always start using anabolic steroids to bulk up. :astonished:

*OK, I lied. Cocaine, speed, and even caffeine will give you more energy. Unfortunately, I do not think they will get you up that hill much faster.