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Strava age demographics and age-related performance drop-off

neebneeb Posts: 4,361
So after years of resisting Strava Premium I forgot to cancel the free trial and am stuck with it.. ;-)

One thing that really jumps out when you look at the leader boards for respectable climb segments by age category is how there is a sudden drop-off in both number of attempts and fastest times as soon as you hit the 55-64 group.. Usually the category with the most attempts is the 35-44 one, with 25-44 and 45-54 near joint second with perhaps 60-70% of the number attempts in the 35-44 group. The fastest times in all of these age categories are usually pretty close, with perhaps a slight drop-off on average in the 45-54 category as you might expect (although sometimes the KOM is still in this age category!). The 24 and under category usually has much fewer attempts, but with the fastest times very comparable with the other younger categories.

With the 55-64 group however, suddenly the number of attempts drops to about 15% of the number in the 35-44 group, and the fastest times plummet... As a 50 year old I find this a little frightening - does this mean that as soon as people hit their 55th birthday most get dodgy knees, atrial fibrillation and/or experience a sudden decline in their willingness and ability to cycle competitively? Or does it simply mean that far fewer cyclists aged 55 or over are on Strava?
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  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Are you talking about alpine climb segments etc or segments in this country
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,361
    reacher wrote:
    Are you talking about alpine climb segments etc or segments in this country
    Mainly short or shortish climbs in the UK, and my local ones in particular. KOM times ranging from 3 or 4 minutes up to 20 or 25 minutes.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    If you compete after 55 you still have choices..
    timetrialling with VTTA standards
    road racing etc with LVRC or TLI age related.
    A 60 year old slower than a 20 year old? are you that bothered?

    If you want to carry on cycling at more than tourist pace as you get older, then the training aspect becomes vital.... a lot of riders who have had a lifetime of competitive riding do 'retire' having had a belly full of it and basically nothing more to prove... a few idiots however carry on.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Ok, I'm not a strava user myself but I have looked at some times, alpe d'huez in particular as I'm going their next year and it seems to me that would make sense as you get older you would probably expect to see less competition regionally but for something like alpe d'huez where it's a world wide segment it would be pretty competitive at the top end still. However I would say that age related performance requires a differant approach to training as you get older if you want to remain competitive, excluding natural ability which mostly means you can just rely on that alone.
  • PalladiumPalladium Posts: 81
    I think this is just a case of 'new technology'. Both my parents fall in the 55-64 catagory, and even though they commute about 30km every day they almost never use strava. It was already a pain trying to get them to use a mobile phone, in fact I once tried calling them, nobody picks up and later it turns out they didn't realise you had to 'swipe' to pick up the phone. They were furiously tapping away at the screen, probably in a bit of a panic.
    Furthermore, at 55-64 you may have passed your peak in terms of fitness which makes it very much more difficult to get a KOM, or even get a cup for that matter which makes it less incentivising to really go for a segment! In fact when I go segment hunting and there is a segment done by a TTT group, at 55kph+ I just don't bother, I'll just cruise through at 30kph.
    Strava tried the 'yearly KOM' thing which didn't work because the only thing people cared about was the fastest time, ever, period. I expect the same to be for age groups.

    As for arthritis etc? Nah, cycling is a very low impact sport, even my dutch grandparents 80+ still cycle a couple of miles every day!
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    jgsi wrote:
    If you compete after 55 you still have choices..
    timetrialling with VTTA standards
    road racing etc with LVRC or TLI age related.
    A 60 year old slower than a 20 year old? are you that bothered?

    If you want to carry on cycling at more than tourist pace as you get older, then the training aspect becomes vital.... a lot of riders who have had a lifetime of competitive riding do 'retire' having had a belly full of it and basically nothing more to prove... a few idiots however carry on.

    Why would you say they are idiots ? Just because your competitive at 60, I didn't realise their was a cut off age to being competitive, I must have missed that birthday
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,232
    Or could be there are many 40-somethings like me that suddenly, get concerned about their weight and health, turning to cycling as part of their mid-life crisis?

    50+ being more oblivious to the existence of Strava?
    ================
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  • PalladiumPalladium Posts: 81
    reacher wrote:
    jgsi wrote:
    If you compete after 55 you still have choices..
    timetrialling with VTTA standards
    road racing etc with LVRC or TLI age related.
    A 60 year old slower than a 20 year old? are you that bothered?

    If you want to carry on cycling at more than tourist pace as you get older, then the training aspect becomes vital.... a lot of riders who have had a lifetime of competitive riding do 'retire' having had a belly full of it and basically nothing more to prove... a few idiots however carry on.

    Why would you say they are idiots ? Just because your competitive at 60, I didn't realise their was a cut off age to being competitive, I must have missed that birthday

    He's a troll, don't worry about it.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    depends, if you want to see how you compare to other people in your age group then its a good way to do so, on something such as the alpe d'huez its the only way you are able to compare efforts and performance if that's what you want to do, but calling people idiots because they wish to compete after a certain age is a pretty idiotic comment, if your competitive by nature that just doesn't disappear because you hit age 60 nor should it at any age if the desire is still their to train hard, what they should do though is define the age groups closer theirs a lot of differance between some one age 55 and someone age 65, 55 to 60 and 60 to 65 would be more appropriate
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Palladium wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    jgsi wrote:
    If you compete after 55 you still have choices..
    timetrialling with VTTA standards
    road racing etc with LVRC or TLI age related.
    A 60 year old slower than a 20 year old? are you that bothered?

    If you want to carry on cycling at more than tourist pace as you get older, then the training aspect becomes vital.... a lot of riders who have had a lifetime of competitive riding do 'retire' having had a belly full of it and basically nothing more to prove... a few idiots however carry on.

    Why would you say they are idiots ? Just because your competitive at 60, I didn't realise their was a cut off age to being competitive, I must have missed that birthday

    He's a troll, don't worry about it.

    jesus dont you lot get fed up of saying that when someone disagrees with the censored you post, man up ffs
  • PalladiumPalladium Posts: 81
    reacher wrote:
    Palladium wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    jgsi wrote:
    If you compete after 55 you still have choices..
    timetrialling with VTTA standards
    road racing etc with LVRC or TLI age related.
    A 60 year old slower than a 20 year old? are you that bothered?

    If you want to carry on cycling at more than tourist pace as you get older, then the training aspect becomes vital.... a lot of riders who have had a lifetime of competitive riding do 'retire' having had a belly full of it and basically nothing more to prove... a few idiots however carry on.

    Why would you say they are idiots ? Just because your competitive at 60, I didn't realise their was a cut off age to being competitive, I must have missed that birthday

    He's a troll, don't worry about it.

    jesus dont you lot get fed up of saying that when someone disagrees with the censored you post, man up ffs

    Uhrm lol what?

    What censored did I post? AFAIK nobody disagreed with anything I posted on this thread so far
    All I said was that the poster which you replied to said something, obviously trying to provoke people and you took the bait like a hungry fish
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    What censored did I post? AFAIK nobody disagreed with anything I posted on this thread so far
    What, like people in their fifties unable to cope with technology that was probably around before you were even born?

    Back to my oriiginal point.. riders as they age still have choices to be pretty damned good.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    If it's a drop off in numbers of attempts then either cycling is more popular for younger people or the older ones aren't on Strava. Really don't think you can make much sense from the data. Sure people generally slow down with age but don't bank on it.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    edited July 2017
    My guess is that it's a Strava (tech) thing, though a friend of mine thinks he started to fall to bits at 50. I'm nearly 53 and no sign of that yet and a hatful of KoMs (still) to my name.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • hdowhdow Posts: 146
    Maybe most over 55s have got a life!
  • dabberdabber Posts: 1,620
    Well some of us use Strava... I'm in the "65 and over" category and wish they would introduce a 70+ category as I reckon the old legs need a bit of encouragement :D
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

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  • joe2008joe2008 Posts: 1,919
    I'm 53 this year and I seem to have 400 KOM's.
  • PalladiumPalladium Posts: 81
    jgsi wrote:
    What censored did I post? AFAIK nobody disagreed with anything I posted on this thread so far
    What, like people in their fifties unable to cope with technology that was probably around before you were even born?

    I never said they were unable to, all I meant was that they are more unlikely to compared with a younger age group. As for the technology being around before I was born, depends what we are talking about? Strava? That wasn't even around until 2009.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370300/
    Fig6. 0=never used, 1=occasionally used, 2=frequently used
    Young adults had a score of 1.96, whereas older adults had a score of 1.27, which suggests that younger adults use smartphones much more frequently, and in general get on better with technology?

    And well if you want to disagree with facts, I might as well disagree that your forum-name is 'JGSI'. Sad.
    As for people in the 54-65 catagory, unlike other sports (running/football/tennis/hockey/rugby....), are very much able to compete for KOM's if they put the effort in.. Last week there someone overtook me on my commute to work, and pretty much dropped me at the end of the segment. He was also in the 54-65 age-group.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,361
    cougie wrote:
    If it's a drop off in numbers of attempts then either cycling is more popular for younger people or the older ones aren't on Strava. Really don't think you can make much sense from the data. Sure people generally slow down with age but don't bank on it.
    Yup, it does appear as if the biggest difference between the age groups is number of attempts - the significantly lower fastest times could just be a reflection of that. The more attempts, the better the fastest times.

    Probably just a much smaller percentage of older cyclists are on Strava - the other option, that people over 55 just end up giving up cycling altogether doesn't seem so credible. That said, personally I find pushing myself physically on the bike is one of the main things I enjoy most about it and a big reason I do it - if I suddenly discovered I couldn't do that for whatever reason I might be tempted to take up some other low intensity exercise instead (hiking or whatever), rather than potter about slowly on a bike..
    jgsi wrote:
    A 60 year old slower than a 20 year old? are you that bothered?
    No, but the possibility that 55 year olds might, in general, be dramatically slower than 50 year olds is mildly bothering for a 50 year old.. ;-)

    I'm very much tending towards the tech-related culture explanation. Even at my age, and despite being fairly tech savvy, I'm noticing it's increasingly easier to get stuck in my ways unless I deliberately make an effort to keep up with the social media habits of younger folk. Resisting WhatsApp and Messenger because email and Skype are more familiar and seem to do the job.. Gotta keep mixing things up or you become culturally arthritic.. :D
  • Oh my, what a thread. What a time to be alive.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Palladium wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    Palladium wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    jgsi wrote:
    If you compete after 55 you still have choices..
    timetrialling with VTTA standards
    road racing etc with LVRC or TLI age related.
    A 60 year old slower than a 20 year old? are you that bothered?

    If you want to carry on cycling at more than tourist pace as you get older, then the training aspect becomes vital.... a lot of riders who have had a lifetime of competitive riding do 'retire' having had a belly full of it and basically nothing more to prove... a few idiots however carry on.

    Why would you say they are idiots ? Just because your competitive at 60, I didn't realise their was a cut off age to being competitive, I must have missed that birthday

    He's a troll, don't worry about it.

    jesus dont you lot get fed up of saying that when someone disagrees with the censored you post, man up ffs

    Uhrm lol what?

    What censored did I post? AFAIK nobody disagreed with anything I posted on this thread so far
    All I said was that the poster which you replied to said something, obviously trying to provoke people and you took the bait like a hungry fish

    ffs you lot must have a different language on here that i don't understand, sorry about that, i'l go do some more training
  • I'm 58, use Strava (not premium so far), and I don't have any KOMs but several top tens. I'm "competing" against riders half my age so all things being equal I'm at a big disadvantage but I like the challenge and it gives me satisfaction to be up near the top at my advanced age. Obviously as time goes on my times will suffer but hey ho....
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    In the 65 plus group here. Never even had a sniff of a KOM in all my years of cycling but I'm top of the heap around here in my age category. Unfortunately most of my friends are too tight to invest in premium so they never get to notice how brilliant i am for my age...
  • bflkbflk Posts: 240
    Don't think its technophobia as it pretty much matches what I see in competitive running. If I'm still going next year when I reach the M55 division the competition drops off quite a lot. If you make M60 you can pretty much turn up and get a medal :-)
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,353
    neeb wrote:
    No, but the possibility that 55 year olds might, in general, be dramatically slower than 50 year olds is mildly bothering for a 50 year old.. ;-)

    a few % per year after 50... but that depends whether you reached your potential at 50 but yeah, basically, the end is nigh.
  • LookyhereLookyhere Posts: 987
    neeb wrote:
    No, but the possibility that 55 year olds might, in general, be dramatically slower than 50 year olds is mildly bothering for a 50 year old.. ;-)

    From the results of a Pyrenean sportive, 5 Cols, 4000m over a 160km

    45 Julien GONZALEZ 266 5h48m59s 27,51 km/h M9 over 70's
    or
    108 Roland SMET 216 6h08m10s 26,08 km/h M8 65 to 69


    a RR down here 54yo, regularly mixes it up in BC 2/3/4 races and gets top 10s. not age related either.

    My theory is that as we age we also get lazy, stop doing the really hard efforts and are content with longer easier rides

    Of course we all slow down with age but have a read of Joe Friels Fast over Fifty
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Lookyhere wrote:
    neeb wrote:
    No, but the possibility that 55 year olds might, in general, be dramatically slower than 50 year olds is mildly bothering for a 50 year old.. ;-)

    From the results of a Pyrenean sportive, 5 Cols, 4000m over a 160km

    45 Julien GONZALEZ 266 5h48m59s 27,51 km/h M9 over 70's
    or
    108 Roland SMET 216 6h08m10s 26,08 km/h M8 65 to 69


    a RR down here 54yo, regularly mixes it up in BC 2/3/4 races and gets top 10s. not age related either.

    My theory is that as we age we also get lazy, stop doing the really hard efforts and are content with longer easier rides

    Of course we all slow down with age but have a read of Joe Friels Fast over Fifty

    No, not lazy...just slower...hits us all
    Eventually
  • LookyhereLookyhere Posts: 987
    jgsi wrote:
    Lookyhere wrote:
    neeb wrote:
    No, but the possibility that 55 year olds might, in general, be dramatically slower than 50 year olds is mildly bothering for a 50 year old.. ;-)

    From the results of a Pyrenean sportive, 5 Cols, 4000m over a 160km

    45 Julien GONZALEZ 266 5h48m59s 27,51 km/h M9 over 70's
    or
    108 Roland SMET 216 6h08m10s 26,08 km/h M8 65 to 69


    a RR down here 54yo, regularly mixes it up in BC 2/3/4 races and gets top 10s. not age related either.

    My theory is that as we age we also get lazy, stop doing the really hard efforts and are content with longer easier rides

    Of course we all slow down with age but have a read of Joe Friels Fast over Fifty

    No, not lazy...just slower...hits us all
    Eventually

    An odd response, given i did say ALSO and that we slow down with age.... :roll:

    the point here is that age is just a number and you can slow down the performance drop off, if a guy in his 70th year can knock out a sub 6hr 100mile 4000m ride then there is hope for all of us, dont be so down.

    TBH my biggest fear isnt slowing down but being hit by some xxxx in a car/van, as has happened to 2 friends in their 50's both suffering some very serious injuries, one thing there is nothing you can do about is that with age the healing process drops right off.
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    Maybe the fast oldies keep their rides private as they arent interested in bragging?
  • PalladiumPalladium Posts: 81
    bflk wrote:
    Don't think its technophobia as it pretty much matches what I see in competitive running. If I'm still going next year when I reach the M55 division the competition drops off quite a lot. If you make M60 you can pretty much turn up and get a medal :-)

    You can't compare running and cycling, really.
    Cycling is a low impact sport whereas running is a high impact sport. Therefore the 'retirement age' for running is much lower than cycling.
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