I’m turning 50 this year. At first, I brushed it off and thought it didn’t matter. But of course it does.
5…0…! It really hit me when I entered a local race and found out I was in the 50-59 category. And it got me to reflect on what it means. Like, on where I come from…
My love affair with cycling started so long ago; I was 12. I joined the local club and riding became my life. Racing taught me discipline and self-reliance. It gave me the confidence needed that I needed as a shy teenager to develop into the man that I am.
Through the many places I have visited by bike, I now truly appreciate the beauty of nature. On my saddle I have had the privilege of meeting amazing people, many of whom became great friends. I met my wife on a velodrome and our 5 year old son will soon outskill me on his mountain bike.
Cycling is my tribe and my lifestyle.
It’s also my job. I love my work as a photographer, storyteller and bike guide, it’s a dream come true.
But I am also aware that I won’t be doing this forever. There’s still so much I want to do and time is ticking.
Am I scared? No, I’m stoked.
Now is the time to live and make things happen, to follow my guts, to get off my screen and to spend time outside. This sense of urgency is great; it’s my biggest incentive to get out there and just tick things off the list.
Like climbing new mountains with my buddies. Ride and shoot photos from sunrise to sunset. Go bikepacking. Spend family holidays on the bike. Put a number on my back and smash my legs like I was 20 again.
But alas…I’m not 20 anymore. I’m 50.
Gone are the days when my learning curve was steep and I was making big progress season after season. I’m still learning and will always do but now is about optimising. Using my experience and preserving my physical abilities as long as I can. More than before, I respect and understand my body, and I focus on nutrition and recovery. To be able to push hard when I can.
As the saying goes:
You don’t stop cycling when you get old, you get old when you stop cycling.
Project 50 is about sharing my experience as I age, as a cyclist and as a human being. On this blog, I will look back at my life so far and look ahead at what drives me and what I want to achieve.
But I do not wish to be a role model: some super-human who is capable of doing more than others. No, I wish to share my life experience with others so we can all find joy, health, nature, and a truly amazing quality of life through cycling. Project 50 is a community journey.
I’m curious to see what happens… At worst, no one will give a damn but I will get a better understanding of where I’m at and where I want to go. At best, I will connect with fellow humans and we will inspire each other to get out there and do things we love, on or off our bikes.
Let’s do this!
Thanks to the great people at Time-Line for supporting Project 50 and backing this awesome video:
Photos by Jered and Ashley Gruber – you guys rock.