Do you still have what it takes...mentally?

Had an interesting conversation with one of the guys I used to road cycle race with. He no longer does the racing, not only because age is a bastard, but also because he no longer has what it takes mentally to drive himself so hard. Is this hormones, testosterone levels, middle age spread. Tiredness after doing it for years or just chilling with age and ride for pleasure?




I remember when I was 18 I was in the TA & can remember the basic training course quote well. I look back at my 18 year old self & I was like the knight in ‘Life of Brian’, you could have chopped my arms & legs off & I would still have had a go. If I had to go up against my 18 year old self in a physical challenge I would just wave the white flag.
Don’t know if that really answers your question in any way but is’t something I have given some thought to & thought I would share.
A race against other 45 year olds on the other hand :grin:


Hee hee… yep none of this ‘careful ramp up’ nonsense…I used to go windsurfing for 8 or 10 straight hours in a howling gale, get up the next day and do it again… then a fortnight of no wind, and then back on it for 8 or 10 hour days, perhaps with a night of boozing thrown in for good measure… and didn’t even think about it, or feel sore… how life changes!


Oh I remember those days. Windsurf all day, beer, curry, nightclub, up at 8am howling gale, fantastic hangover cure


I think I am smarter in my training and tactically better equipped now. I have to remember when I race or train with the running club most are 15-20 years younger than me so I can push and give them a good run for their money but I now accept that age is a limiter. Like @Doka said give me a race with 45 year olds and i like to think it is still game on.
My last outright win at a race was a university hosted duathlon so I accepted that the 1st 5KM was going to hurt so stuck to my plan and let the youngsters smash out a16min run and I trundled in with a 17:30 and then treated the bike leg as 20km and caught them within 10km and came into T2 with a 5min lead. From there it was a matter of not getting lost and keeping the 5km sub 18.


I think that I have more Fire in my Belly to succeed now than I ever did when younger. I look back and think how much better I could have been if I had the same mental resilience and common sense that I have today. I hate to use age as an excuse, I know if I race smarter I can still beat many youngsters.


This is an interesting comment.

I’m not sure this would actually be the case. 18yo you might have recovered quicker, been more ‘brainwashable’ willing and puppy-like. But, are you sure the wily & experienced fortysomething ‘you’ wouldn’t still be able to cope, and have the mental fortitude to keep going when the youngsters have thrown in the towel?

I’m in the process of getting back in (as a Reservist this time); now yes I will be that ‘old sweat’. But I am still physically fit, and can hump weight around well enough to be a weekend-warrior… I would like to think. It remains to be seen what courses I have to do, as I’m changing role/cap badge; but by virtue of the rank I can go back in as (now commissioned and old enough for people to know there’s no mugging me off), it should be okay. No f*ing way would I go back in as a Private :rofl: :rofl:

Who knows probably different for everyone. I just don’t see the challenge in my career anymore so I have quite a lot of drive transferred to my hobbies. If there is such a thing as drive, I don’t think I have less than when I was younger.

How old is he anyway?


in my rugby playing days at Uni I was playing 3x a week (Sat and Wed for Uni, Sun for halls of residence or faculty), training 2x a week and drinking loads with a few spliffs thrown in - and still making lectures by 9am.

I retired from playing at 40 because it was taking me 3 days to recover from each game by then.

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TA seemed to be a pretty good split between young uns like I was & ex squadies either transitioning back to civilian life or just wating to keep their foot in.
I remember thinking most seemed pretty messed up psychologically in one way or another. Was the REME.

I don’t think I have ever had “what it takes” mentally to do well in sport.

Easily get distracted, lack self discipline, am not very competitive, and quite like beer. Motivation waxes and wanes, a good few weeks followed by a few weeks of meh.

And at the end of the day age 47/48 I’m not really in it to win it, just to have a bit of fun and offset the beer. Well, more honestly to keep in shape because thats important. And to be healthy, able and fit when I’m older- having seen how much difference this makes to quality of life at 60, 70, 80+

On the flip side, I tell/kid myself it’s possible that this means I haven’t necessarily peaked yet despite being middle aged. Who knows there may be some untapped depths if the finger ever gets pulled out :thinking::grinning:

It’s inspirational to see what people like Matt and Daz are doing, at I think similar age.


I think I can diagnose a case of sandbagging here :rofl:

Cat A on Zwift, some fast running times as well. I set PB’s on practically every running distance when I was 49 and not all were in Nike trainers, as well as a 100M TT PB, by a decent few minutes.

As long as you don’t have crazy PB’s from when you were 20 of course. And chickenboy is still smashing out great results.

I’m hoping your comments about healthspan into 60/70/80+ come true as well :slight_smile: there’s plenty of evidence for it.


I sometimes feel pretty bad for losing the hunger but then I remember what it took to come back from each surgery, over and over and now I’m in a good place.
TBH, I think I’ve been my hungriest when either racing motos, because I was broke and had to ride around problems, or when I surfing at comp level. because I was going up against Aussies and I was a late starter.

But there is absolutely no doubt that having kids later in life has dulled that blade considerably. I suppose you could say there is a hunger about wanting to ‘go long’ but it’s a different kind of animal IMO.


I was Signals and opted for that over the OTC as I had enough of those individuals on a daily basis. I met a lot of interesting people and found a respect for those transitioning out and those who wanted a way in to the army.

yeh - but they’ve been at the pointy end since their earlier days in tri so have kept it going. if you’ve had some decent talent and motiviation to start with, it’s easier to keep it going - as they say talent doesn’t disappear, only age dims it. if you look at what some of the ex-pro triathletes are doing as age groupers it’s startling how different they are to “everyday” triathletes - guys like Rob Barel of Belgium knocking out a sub-10 at Kona in the 65-69 age group.

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Matt is a late starter iirc.

I’ve been in it since I was 18; so there’s no chance I’m setting PBs at any of the normal distances or events!


I was a bum when I left school/education and the early part of my twenties.

I’m way more motivated and driven then I was 10/15 years ago


Yeah. This is me. :rofl::see_no_evil:
So no, I don’t have it.

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Yep this. I’m in my 38th year now I think and I’m bloody tired!