Older rider starting out - advice on what is realistic and safe?

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Older rider starting out - advice on what is realistic and safe?
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Posted: Apr 9, 2021 at 21:59 Quote
I am turning 49 later this year and bought a Norco Fluid FS1 and a Trance X E bike last year so our family could ride together. My tween son is a keen rider and hits big jumps and some very steep slopes on his Trance Jr. This year we have been to a few mountain bike parks and despite having zero experience I have followed my son down some Blue/intermediate DH trails and have to admit to being pretty scared on some sections. My son meanwhile flies over the jumps with great skill and comfort...

I want to support my son in his riding and he is too young to be left riding at MTB parks by himself so I feel like I need to ride down the trails with him. As a complete beginner at nearly 50 have I left it too late to ride on DH trails at this level? Has anyone else started this late in life with no prior riding experience? I really can't afford a serious injury workwise so I need to stay safe (within reason) but want to support my kid.

Any tips or advice?

Posted: Apr 10, 2021 at 0:33 Quote
o4Msf7 wrote:
I am turning 49 later this year and bought a Norco Fluid FS1 and a Trance X E bike last year so our family could ride together. My tween son is a keen rider and hits big jumps and some very steep slopes on his Trance Jr. This year we have been to a few mountain bike parks and despite having zero experience I have followed my son down some Blue/intermediate DH trails and have to admit to being pretty scared on some sections. My son meanwhile flies over the jumps with great skill and comfort...

I want to support my son in his riding and he is too young to be left riding at MTB parks by himself so I feel like I need to ride down the trails with him. As a complete beginner at nearly 50 have I left it too late to ride on DH trails at this level? Has anyone else started this late in life with no prior riding experience? I really can't afford a serious injury workwise so I need to stay safe (within reason) but want to support my kid.

Any tips or advice?
Have kid join local MTB club or group. That way he will not ride alone, will make new friends, will learn proper technique and you will not end on Friday Fails videos (full of "corona" and simmilar types of dads going waaay over their skills Big Grin

Plus you are not really "supporting" him with skills you currently have, you are more of slowing him down. Your support will be needed more if he decides to go some racing in form of driving him, paying for the whole racing thing etc. You have to let them go onetime... Smile

Posted: Apr 10, 2021 at 15:56 Quote
Lessons! Coaching! Have you ever done anything like ride motorcycles, skate, ski/snowboard, etc. that would give you an idea whether or not you have a apptitude for doing the thing when you're moving faster than people were designed to? In my opinion a reasonably healthy and fit 50 year old who has reason to believe that they're not a hopeless case could learn to ride intermediate runs.

Anyway, if your kid is that fast already, don't try to keep up. Go your own pace and agree to meet up at the next trail junction or at the bottom or wherever makes sense.

Posted: Apr 10, 2021 at 20:37 Quote
lancemountainbike wrote:
Lessons! Coaching! Have you ever done anything like ride motorcycles, skate, ski/snowboard, etc. that would give you an idea whether or not you have a apptitude for doing the thing when you're moving faster than people were designed to?

My very few experiences on trailbikes and skiiing were when I was a teenager and I did not have any aptitude. I have rockclimbed for more than a decade now so I'm not afraid of heights or adrenalin, but climbing goes at a much slower pace than MTB.

We just got a lesson last week so I have some basics to work on now - learning to pump, bunnyhop, etc...

And yeah - meeting him at the trail junctions is about my only option now.

Posted: Apr 10, 2021 at 20:47 Quote
onyxss wrote:
Have kid join local MTB club or group. That way he will not ride alone, will make new friends, will learn proper technique and you will not end on Friday Fails videos (full of "corona" and simmilar types of dads going waaay over their skills Big Grin

Plus you are not really "supporting" him with skills you currently have, you are more of slowing him down. Your support will be needed more if he decides to go some racing in form of driving him, paying for the whole racing thing etc. You have to let them go onetime... Smile

We have been looking into clubs but most of the local ones are more XC style which he is less interested in. The DH/Enduro focussed clubs are nearer the mountains about 3hrs away.

My son loves those Friday Fails vids - they scare the crap out of me though!

Posted: Apr 10, 2021 at 20:49 Quote
lancemountainbike wrote:
In my opinion a reasonably healthy and fit 50 year old who has reason to believe that they're not a hopeless case could learn to ride intermediate runs.

This is what I was hoping but everyone I see out riding seems to either be much younger or my age and been riding since they were kids... So was hoping there might be some riders out there who started in middle age and managed to progress ok without ending up in hospital....

Posted: Apr 11, 2021 at 9:16 Quote
o4Msf7 wrote:

This is what I was hoping but everyone I see out riding seems to either be much younger or my age and been riding since they were kids... So was hoping there might be some riders out there who started in middle age and managed to progress ok without ending up in hospital....

Well, that's easy. Obviously you should quit your job, uproot your family and move some place where the median level of riding isn't too intimidating. :-)

Seriously though, find a one day private or small group lesson somewhere. You're what they are there for. It will give you much better information than this in order to decide on whether or not mountain biking is for you or not.

For what it's worth, I'm 47 and for all intents and purposes didn't start until I was 42. When I started, it was pretty common for fast riders to catch me. Now, that doesn't happen very often, but it's pretty common for me to catch slower riders. I had dabbled a bit in my late teens and early twenties, but the riding back then (at least the riding that I knew about) was completely non-technical. I stopped after I got rid of my car in 2001 (it's not realistic to ride much of anything beyond fire roads or very non-technical single track where I'm from if you don't have access to a car). Obviously, injuries can happen and you don't bounce back as quickly as you used to, but, for what it's worth, when I crash, it's usually on a easy run because I'm tired and not really physically or mentally with it any more. On hard (for me) runs, it might not be pretty, but I don't really "crash". If you're aware of your limits and can exercise good judgment about pushing them, I don't think this sport is as dangerous as perhaps you're perceiving it to be. You should be old enough now not to worry about how "cool" you look to a bunch of 14 year olds throwing wicked tabletops and tail whips off of 10 meter jumps.

If your kid is the kind of kid who has the drive and focus to really want to succeed in things, I wouldn't dismiss more XC ish clubs completely. Supposedly, Loic Bruni, (arguably the top downhill racer of the past few years) spent his teenage years at some sort of bike racing school where everyone had to race everything, downhillers did XC, XC'ers did downhill. Also, supposedly Mathieu van der Poel (probably the world's top XC/cycloross/one day road racer if road racing was an individual sport) likes to ride dirt jumpers on his rest days. If he is interested in really being good, not just good among his friends, it might be worth his while. Plus, it's almost certain that other kids there will be just as into going fast downhill as he is.

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 at 0:41 Quote
lancemountainbike wrote:

For what it's worth, I'm 47 and for all intents and purposes didn't start until I was 42. When I started, it was pretty common for fast riders to catch me. Now, that doesn't happen very often, but it's pretty common for me to catch slower riders.

Cool - well that does make me feel more confident. I was kinda like this with rock climbing - started when I was 38 and while I'm never going to out-climb the top climbers I am pretty solid now.

lancemountainbike wrote:
If you're aware of your limits and can exercise good judgment about pushing them, I don't think this sport is as dangerous as perhaps you're perceiving it to be. You should be old enough now not to worry about how "cool" you look to a bunch of 14 year olds throwing wicked tabletops and tail whips off of 10 meter jumps.

There is zero chance of me looking "cool" even if I tried. And my son reinforces this for me in case I forget! Smile

lancemountainbike wrote:
If your kid is the kind of kid who has the drive and focus to really want to succeed in things, I wouldn't dismiss more XC ish clubs completely. Supposedly, Loic Bruni, (arguably the top downhill racer of the past few years) spent his teenage years at some sort of bike racing school where everyone had to race everything, downhillers did XC, XC'ers did downhill. Also, supposedly Mathieu van der Poel (probably the world's top XC/cycloross/one day road racer if road racing was an individual sport) likes to ride dirt jumpers on his rest days. If he is interested in really being good, not just good among his friends, it might be worth his while. Plus, it's almost certain that other kids there will be just as into going fast downhill as he is.

Appreciate this good advice. Will talk him into going along to one of the local clubs and hopefully he can at least meet a few like-minded friends.

Posted: Jun 11, 2021 at 23:37 Quote
Hi all,

If you come to Revelstoke mountain resort look for Learning Cycle located at the base. They offer mountain bike lessons

Here is their last blog post

https://www.learningcycle.how/post/mountain-bike-lessons

Posted: Oct 16, 2021 at 7:55 Quote
I'm 54 5'6 184lbs, and started xc now doing table tops on my Ripmo and enduro races yearly. Keep consistent,stretch often,eat decent and your body will thank you for it in the long run! You will soon feel blood rushing more often in your body if u know what I mean

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