Can I Really Mountain Bike 60 Miles at Age 60?
We’ll soon find out. Here’s my plan to survive… and inspire.
UPDATE 5/13/22: I made it! It was a heckuva challenge, especially the last 15 miles, and especially mentally. My 21-year-old son joined me for the last 30 miles, and having a riding buddy along helped a lot. Anyway, the article below remains as originally written. And now, I encourage you: Go find your “mountain” and climb it!
The original article:
Tomorrow—May 12—I’ll be attempting to mountain bike 60 miles for my 60th birthday, a 60@60 fitness challenge I announced 10 weeks ago as I began training for it. This is going to hurt me a lot more than it’ll hurt you, but I’m doing it for the both of us. Here’s finalized plan:
Why: To prove something to myself, but also to motivate you and others to embrace aging, acknowledge that many things are possible if we work at them, and to encourage you to muster the motivation to push boundaries in the interest of improved physical and mental well-being. As I write this on the last day of my 50s, I feel freaking amazing, and my hope is that you can experience something similar.
What: The aim is to ride 60 miles in one go, with stops only to check the map, eat, pee, massage the occasional cramp out of my left foot, and recover from any falls. Am not expecting to fall, but I’m pretty good at it.
Where: Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve (web site), starting in the parking lot of the Pima Dynamite Trailhead.
How: I’ve mapped out three separate loops, of 30, 20 and 10 miles. Each avoids the steepest long climbs, but the general slope of the land and all the hilly stuff will result in about 2,000 of climbing — modest by mountain biker standards. Most of the course is solid dirt with few challenging obstacles, so I should be able to average 9 or 10 mph (ranging from 1 pm on the toughest ups to 20 mph on fastest downs). The 10-mile loop includes the most technical bits — tricky rocks to maneuver over or around and some challenging, short ups and tricky downs. I haven’t decided whether I’ll…