I'm at it again!
I've decided to defend my UCI Masters 65+ Mountain Bike World Championships title to be contested at Mount Saint Anne, in Quebec, Canada this August. The flights have been booked and the accommodation is confirmed.
The final decision to go was made after completing New Zealand's most intensely challenging mountain bike race last Saturday - The Karapoti Classic.
Why? Because the race confirmed that I'm in the best shape of my life. I know I'm going to be hard to beat. I had a bad start to the race but still managed to knock a minute off my course record for 60+ years, finishing strongly.
Here's my race report along with a few comments about ageing and nutrition:
Photo: A few kilometres into the race and making good ground
My goal was to reduce my age group record of 2:46 down to 2:40 or 2:42. But I was too slow off the start and through the river with the result that I was never in contact with the riders who were on the pace I had to be at. I was back with the 2:50's.
Don't get me wrong: anybody who can ride this course under three hours is damn good!
Photo: Climbing the infamous Karapoti Gorge
The race was going well, I was with a good bunch and making good time to the base of the first big climb. Lost time was being made up and more was to be clawed back with the hill climbs which I knew I was good at. Then disaster really struck. The air was cold and my eyes were watering. My tactic was to be first to hit a rocky downhill into a small stream, grab a quick drink then be first to settle into the steep climb.
I got the lead, took my drink then leaned down to replace the bottle in the frame. As I leaned forward the tears in my eyes lifted my contact lenses - I could not see a thing and I could not change gears or get my bottle back into the cage! I wobbled about and ground to a complete standstill almost taking out the riders behind me.
Eyesight back, I got underway but the wind was truly out of my sails and I was out of breath and all the riders I was with were well ahead up the hill. It took the best part of the next hour to regather my composure and catch the riders I was with. A sub-3 hour time was still well on the cards but not the record of 2:46.
Photo: Entering the Rock Garden, the most technically challenging and potentially most dangerous section of the race.
Photo: Descending the most notorious drop of the Rock Garden that only half a dozen riders attempted on the day. This drop is wet and very slippery. "Dropping" is the best description. Most riders will slide down on their padded bottoms.
Photo: Well I "dropped" and lived. Not pretty, but I'm in one piece. One elbow skinned and bent handlebars, but nothing to stop me!
Photo: the final river crossing with just 200 meters to go. The wounds look worse than they were.
I'm 66 later on in the year, yet I'm riding as good as ever. Actually, I'm in the best shape of my life. What really encouraged me was, for the first time in the many years that I have done this race, I got stronger as the race proceeded. On all previous occasions, I was dying by the last 10 kilometres, hanging on for dear life! Not this time.
During most post-race conversation, genetics come up as the reason I'm defying my age. This is completely untrue and a little insulting. My good health has nothing to do with my genetics. My good health, as demonstrated in these athletic events, is the result of an enormous amount of research and even more hard work. Every heart beat and every second gained over the last 15 years is the result of some serious smarts and a heap of dedication to the cause.
I regularly test my health and nutrient status using the Interclinical Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis then adjust my nutrition and nutraceutical supplements accordingly. I also do some smart physical training. I have some very good roles models with a ton of experience to guide me. The simple fact is this works.
Over the last 15 years my physical work output has improved by at least 30% which is much better than Lance Armstrong ever managed and he cheated.
My age-related maximum heart rate should be about 155 beats per minute. My actual maximum is increasing after years of slowing and is currently at 178. Not 155.
This has nothing to do with genetics. It has to do with nutritional strategies that very, very gradually do beneficial things like reverse the process of cardiovascular and muscle stiffening that happens with ageing and excessive exercise. The benefits are very subtle and may take years to become obvious, but benefits there sure are!
People do parrot the mantra that supplements do not work, that they are just expensive urine. I tend to agree: supplements are a waste of time. They are a waste of time if they are taken without first testing to determine their need and to guide how to carefully balance what is deep within the cells. I test then I prescribe. When I do that, supplements really do work. Just read my blog to see how this can change people's lives.
As they say, Rome was not built in a day, it was built one brick at a time, day after day and over a Century or two. The same is with getting back to good health after it has been lost. Good health does not come overnight. Good health is the result of years of daily attention to detail, one brick at a time.
The people who fail, for whom natural therapies and supplements do not work, are the ones that do not test and who end up dabbling. Blind dabbling, chasing the latest and the greatest health miracle, is the recipe for failure. If a person is going to dabble or keep changing plan, they are better off not starting in the first place. They are better off taking drugs to manage their symptoms.
I could retire now but that won't happen because I love my job. Why?
Yesterday a woman in her early 50's came to see me. She had come to see me last November to review her hair tissue test. She was overweight back then with thyroid issues and she was very tired. I had explained to her what to do and off she went. Well, she looked great yesterday: she has lost the equivalent of at least 30 blocks of butter! Wow! Why did she come back to see me? She had signed up to run a marathon and wanted some more advice!
People like her make my day.