Mountain biking makes the rest of life more enjoyable- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Mountain biking makes the rest of life more enjoyable

    This is an interesting week for me. I'm not big on adult birthdays. I agree with the comedian who once said "There comes an age when people should stop celebrating their birthday. And that age is about 16." I despise adults who make too big a deal out of their own birthdays.

    But this week I turn 50 and it's causing me a lot more introspection than I would have ever expected. Much of that introspective occurred during the 5 or so hours I spent in the saddle this weekend.

    At 50, I'm in better shape and lighter than I've been in the last 15 years. In those 15 years, I went from an amateur mountain bike racer, avid bump skier, and amateur triathlete to a morbidly obese, workaholic. I was too tired, too out of shape, and too fat to even think about doing any sort of physical activity. And I missed out on a lot of life.

    I was too fat and tired to go walking with my kids.

    I was too fat and tired to take my family skiing and introduce them to the sport that was my passion for decades.

    I was too fat and tired to join them on annual family camping trips with their aunts, uncles, and cousins.

    I was too fat and tired to go kayaking with my brother-in-law, skiing with my high school buddies (who still meet for annual ski trips), hiking, SUPing, or any other fun activity. What I COULD do was sit in front of a computer or TV...and I was very good at that.

    But returning to mountain biking changed all that. I cleaned up my old HT and went out on flat dirt path for 30 minutes at a time. 3 years later, I'm down 71 pounds and riding hard every weekend and any other chance I get. I'm probably going to race this year.

    But that alone doesn't describe what mountain biking has done for me. Saying that "mountain biking has made me a better mountain biker" is both obvious and unimpressive.

    But mountain biking has made me better at everything else. I can enjoy far more activities with far more people solely because I'm riding a lot.

    - I joined my son for a few days of skiing in Colorado having not been on skies for over 10 years...it was great. We skied from first chair to last on every bit of the mountain...including a grueling hike to the peak above the highest chair. No problem.

    - I've taken the kids to Costa Rica for a week and spent our time hiking, SUPing, climbing, and surfing...things I wouldn't have been able to even consider a few years ago.

    - We hike and walk as a family. Even turning beach vacations into an active vacation.

    - I raced the Spartan Race (obstacle course race) with a bit of running added into the mix. I wouldn't have made it past the first obstacle a few years ago but I finished the race with a large group of friends and felt great the whole time.

    - I look forward to camping trips, kayak trips, ski trips, and, of course, fun mountain bike getaways. It doesn't matter if it's for an hour, a day, a weekend, or a week. Life is VERY different.

    So, Fifty, you can kiss my ass. I'm coming at you like a spider monkey...on a mountain bike.

  2. #2
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    Absolutely amazing. I am starting on a similar journey, and this is EXACTLY what I needed to read right now. Thanks, and congrats!
    Living in the moment is always better on two wheels.

  3. #3
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    Just fantastic! I will add that biking has done the same to me! About a year ago I was a slightly pudgy 17 year old who didn't get out much. I had ridden a lot with my dad when I was younger but he began getting joint problems and stopped riding, so I did too. One spring day I took out his Specialized Rockhopper for a quick pedal down our local trail system. I fell in love all over again! A year later I am down 15 pounds, came in 3rd place at the New England Regional Championships (only cat 3, but still a very proud moment for me) and have been introduced to rock climbing, and surfing. I have never been happier. Even now, recovering from a broken ankle I try to find time to crutch around outdoors to take photos. All because of riding.

  4. #4
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    Congrats Kevin!!! I hear you on turning 50...
    I will be doing the same next month lol

  5. #5
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    I don't spend a lot of time here, but I am glad I logged on today Great post! I'm 46 with three kids who are 7, 8 and 10, and I know I need to keep active in order to make the most of the time I have with them, both while they are kids and as they become adults.

    Your post helped map a little of the future for me. Thanks for sharing.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for sharing. Very inspirational. I'm a 42 year old father who got back into mountain biking (after 20 years) a few months ago primarily to get back into shape.

  7. #7
    All bike, all the time
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    50 was a long time ago for me, otherwise everything else applies. Thanks for sharing KGT!
    All bike, all the time

  8. #8
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    Agree. I was a former 22-year smoker and meth addict. After rehab, I gained 90lbs and realized I need to begin a FUN exercise routine that does not involve a boring, stinky gym.

    The MTB fixed my heart and gave me a lean set of abs I never knew I had....after years of being hidden by a massive layer of abdominal fat. I do realize Mountain Biking has its own set of life-threatening risks....but I love the culture, nature, gear fascination and fitness much more than worry about being sedentary while suffering from the collateral damage of obesity.
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  9. #9
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    Nice testamonial KevinGT how mtb transforms lives. It which also supports the notion that "life begins at 50"

    I can't image what my life would be like if I hadn't been introduced to mtb in 2007 (I'm 50+ now)

    Thanks for sharing your positive post
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    Nice testamonial KevinGT how mtb transforms lives. It which also supports the notion that "life begins at 50"

    I can't image what my life would be like if I hadn't been introduced to mtb in 2007 (I'm 50+ now)

    Thanks for sharing your positive post
    If the smile in your avatar is yours and you are really over 50, you are definitely doing something right!

  11. #11
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    THAT is passion, what a great read!

    I'm 31 and weigh 5lbs less than what I did in high school 100% because of MTBing. I was 25lbs over my high school weight before I started riding 6 years ago. I dropped that weight in 2 years and maintained it for the last 4. Not quite as dramatic as some but I'm positive that if I didn't start riding my weight would have kept creeping up. If I hadn't dropped the weight my wife probably wouldn't have given me the time of day. She's not superficial but does take care of herself and I doubt she would have been as receptive to my smooth pick up lines (yeah right) with an extra 30lbs+ on my gut.

    I'm convinced that because of MTB I got to marry my best friend, can't say much more than that...

  12. #12
    El Gato Malo
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    Way to rock it KevinGT!!!

  13. #13
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Love it. 50 -Coming at you like a spider monkey on a mountain bike.

    I'm closer to 60 than 50 now, but in better aerobic shape than ever. Upper body strength has started to wane so I need to work on that.

    Great Thread - Keep on Riding

  14. #14
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    Double thumbs up! Agree with every word. MTB'n has started a domino effect in my life, all for the better. Better health, diet, friends, life, etc. Reconnected me with who I was/am.

  15. #15
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    I just turned 61. I started riding on the bike path in 2013. An 8 mile round trip was a tough trip for me. I rode up some nasty hills today(for some reason people have decided that an undevelopable mountain is a great place to put up a few hundred houses at the value of a million+). I cannot believe how strong my legs are. I have lost twenty pounds, but unfortunatly, I am still ovewieght, glad it is working for you.
    Last edited by misterbill; 03-11-2015 at 04:36 AM.

  16. #16
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    42 here... mtb-ing helped me loose 15kg's... might be doing first race in a few weeks... absolutely love riding.

    Only problem is, now I don't have enough time to do something else!?

    Slowly getting kids into it... hopefully they catch the bug soon ^^

    PS - unfortunately it hasn't made me better at my job... I wish

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  17. #17
    Reluctant Tree Hugger
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    Happy 50th, dude!
    Live like there's no tomorrow. But pay your bills just in case there is.

  18. #18
    650b me
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    GREAT post for the passion forum, Kevin! Hellz yeah!!!

  19. #19
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    Life begins when - one gets into mountain biking.

    At times I struggle with life; mountain biking helps me cope and live.

  20. #20
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    Yeah, it's fun being in the Masters Class now. LOL
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  21. #21
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mopartodd View Post
    Yeah, it's fun being in the Masters Class now. LOL
    Ha! That's kinda why I didn't start racing last year. I know I'm not going to win any races (the group of singlespeed addicts I'm riding periodically with now have proven that to me!) but I'd rather be 50 racing other 50s than 49 racing 40s!

    Another add I want to make is around weight loss. I did mention that mountain biking helped me make a significant drop in body weight. But that's a VERY small part of the equation. Honestly, mountain biking is probably only 20% or less of the total weight loss picture. The key to weight loss, for me, is diet. The bottom line is that it's FAR easier to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500-1000 than it is to exercise away those same 500-1000.

    The main thing that mountain biking has done to change my life is fitness and -- here's a term you don't hear often -- toughness. Mountain biking makes you physically and mentally tough. Halfway up a brutal climb, when you're riding along and no one on the planet will ever know if you stopped, put a foot down, mental and physical toughness makes you turn that crank over again and again at walking speeds.

    That carries over into the rest of life. It makes you look forward to physical and mental challenges because you know you can kill it.

  22. #22
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    Good post Kevin. Congrats on the milestone birthday.

    I am a 56 year old desk worker and only started biking a few years ago. I've lost 25# and feel great. Gotta say that the older I get the more and more perverse pleasure I get from the occasional 30-something I manage to pass.

    I want to encourage you to race again this year.

    I did my first race at Yargo which is near my house, just to get it off my bucket list, but really enjoyed it. I was amazed at how much faster merely being in a race makes you. I have since been doing Conyers (coming soon BTW), Ft. Yargo, and Unicoi every year.

    That said, I suck at it. I've never finished in the top half of the pack. Never come in last either, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time . I was afraid that age was catching up with me, but my times improve a little each year and I don't feel as beat up afterwards.

    Anyway, you don't have to win to have fun. NO ONE has more fun than I do.

    If you pass an old guy on a gray aluminum Trek Superfly with white forks, say "hi".

  23. #23
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    Just turned 42 yesterday, and I'm so happy to have read this. Congrats & thanks for sharing!

  24. #24
    the half breed devil
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    when i turned fifty, i had just gotten laid off. i ended up buying a new bike with part of my severance and taking the whole year off.

    you only turn fifty once...

  25. #25
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    Wow, Kevin...your story is a powerful one. A big salute to you 👏 And to everyone with his own story of how a bike facilitated a big change.

    These damn things continue to amaze me. BYK4LYF

  26. #26
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    Some really great stories here. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

  27. #27
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    Mountain biking makes the rest of life more enjoyable

    Great post, just one question, what's SUPing? I've got a feeling I should know, but I'm drawing a blank.


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  28. #28
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    turning 46 here. thanks for the post.

  29. #29
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    Great post OP. Bikes are tools, treasures, support staff, therapists, objects of desires and best of all they are time machines. Being on my bike takes me to places in my soul as well as places on the planet. Next time someone raises an eyebrow about how much bikes are costing try adding up the cost of what all the things the bike does for you; a mountain bike is a life changing bargain in my book. Kick 50 in the teeth and i'll be right behind you.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by icecreamjay View Post
    Great post, just one question, what's SUPing? I've got a feeling I should know, but I'm drawing a blank.


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  31. #31
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    I turn 50 in a couple of weeks and I am closing in on having lost 55 lbs since I got back onto my bikes. Like the OP, I am in better shape than I have been in many years. About 17 years ago I broke my neck, stress fracture, and that lead to losing the usage of my left arm and diminished use of both hands. After surgery I got most of the usage back. That really slowed me down for a bit and really messed with my mind. Given the lingering affects, I might not get to where I was 20 years ago, but I feel good and I am having a great time.

  32. #32
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    Nice post!

    I turn 50 in May. Started riding again 3 years ago and am obsessed! Each year my strength and endurance seems to get better, and now I'm to the point that I'm no longer at the end of the line during our Tues/Thurs club rides. Even in the top 3 with the intermediate group...Still almost always last in the advance group, but those guy's are ANIMALS! Considering one of the legs of an enduro series here in New Mexico. Should be a hoot!

    I will say I never let myself go. But I NEVER really did consistent aerobic exercise. I was a consummate gym rat...Lifting, eating, cutting (loosing body fat to single digits)...Repeat. Then my joints started giving me fits. I was on a crash course to middle age sedentary lifestyle. Eat, work, eat, TV, eat, sleep...Repeat. Then I got a hankerin' for mountain biking.

    Often times when I'm in the mountains after a big climb, and staring 3000' of singletrack down, I pause and reflect on the blessing this sport is. To be able to experience the mountains that are in my back yard...Really EXPERIENCE them. There is no price to put on that..It's priceless. I also feel a little sad that I let 15 years go by in a gym when I could have been communing with nature, machine and body, but then I point down and rip for 10 miles and forget that little detail!
    Santa Fe, NM

  33. #33
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    Over 60 here and I got back to biking last December of all times on the accursed dept. Store bike. If a person can deal with moderate traffic I live in a good place to bike. After I get thru with income tax I look forward to doing a little real mt biking at the San Angelo State Park this next week. I normally bike a little over 7 miles a day and really look forward to it.

  34. #34
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Things I didn't expect, the hidden benefits of mountain biking

    Great story Kev. :P

    I got In shape, still some room for Improvement but I'm happy.

    My hand eye coordination got better.
    My balance is vastly better.
    My sleep is better, I no longer need afternoon naps,,EVER !

    The bike and the need for power made me eat differently and this
    ended my blood pressure and cholesterol worries.

    My doctor said the magic words to me on my last visit,
    " I see no need to check your cholesterol any more, It's pointless"

    Made my day I tell ya.
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  35. #35
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    Good for you and congratulations. Biking of any sort is just plain good for you.

    I turned 65 last June and life continues to be a fun adventure. Earlier this week I skied three new (to me) areas in Maine and now have skied 104 different mountains. I used to have a goal of 100 but think I'll bump that up to 125. By the way, at 65, I still love to ski bumps, ride technical trails, SUP and will soon start my 50th year surfing.

  36. #36
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    Kevin, thanks for this post brother. Love it. I'm 30, always been active and busy outside, but also always been overweight, sometimes a LOT overweight, other times just overweight. Your post is awesome and speaks directly in to what I want to do, and what I need to do.
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  37. #37
    Tossin the salad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    This is an interesting week for me. I'm not big on adult birthdays. I agree with the comedian who once said "There comes an age when people should stop celebrating their birthday. And that age is about 16." I despise adults who make too big a deal out of their own birthdays.

    But this week I turn 50 and it's causing me a lot more introspection than I would have ever expected. Much of that introspective occurred during the 5 or so hours I spent in the saddle this weekend.

    At 50, I'm in better shape and lighter than I've been in the last 15 years. In those 15 years, I went from an amateur mountain bike racer, avid bump skier, and amateur triathlete to a morbidly obese, workaholic. I was too tired, too out of shape, and too fat to even think about doing any sort of physical activity. And I missed out on a lot of life.

    I was too fat and tired to go walking with my kids.

    I was too fat and tired to take my family skiing and introduce them to the sport that was my passion for decades.

    I was too fat and tired to join them on annual family camping trips with their aunts, uncles, and cousins.

    I was too fat and tired to go kayaking with my brother-in-law, skiing with my high school buddies (who still meet for annual ski trips), hiking, SUPing, or any other fun activity. What I COULD do was sit in front of a computer or TV...and I was very good at that.

    But returning to mountain biking changed all that. I cleaned up my old HT and went out on flat dirt path for 30 minutes at a time. 3 years later, I'm down 71 pounds and riding hard every weekend and any other chance I get. I'm probably going to race this year.

    But that alone doesn't describe what mountain biking has done for me. Saying that "mountain biking has made me a better mountain biker" is both obvious and unimpressive.

    But mountain biking has made me better at everything else. I can enjoy far more activities with far more people solely because I'm riding a lot.

    - I joined my son for a few days of skiing in Colorado having not been on skies for over 10 years...it was great. We skied from first chair to last on every bit of the mountain...including a grueling hike to the peak above the highest chair. No problem.

    - I've taken the kids to Costa Rica for a week and spent our time hiking, SUPing, climbing, and surfing...things I wouldn't have been able to even consider a few years ago.

    - We hike and walk as a family. Even turning beach vacations into an active vacation.

    - I raced the Spartan Race (obstacle course race) with a bit of running added into the mix. I wouldn't have made it past the first obstacle a few years ago but I finished the race with a large group of friends and felt great the whole time.

    - I look forward to camping trips, kayak trips, ski trips, and, of course, fun mountain bike getaways. It doesn't matter if it's for an hour, a day, a weekend, or a week. Life is VERY different.

    So, Fifty, you can kiss my ass. I'm coming at you like a spider monkey...on a mountain bike.
    Awesome motivation points right there!! 50 is the new 20 brother!! Rock on!!
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