It’s Just a Number


Jens Voigt ended stage three of the Tour Down Under wearing the most aggressive rider jersey.

01_voigt-portraitBy professional cycling standards, Jens is an “old” man at 42. Yet his drive and determination keep him competitive and a joy for fans to watch. There’s nothing like Jens in the break. Whenever he decides to go – and he does often – cycling fans collectively sit on the edge of their seats willing him forward. Not only is he one of the most charismatic riders in the peloton, but also the fact that he’s an elder statesman makes fans feel just plain giddy when he makes his move.

I turned 55 this week. I’m not exactly sure what that’s supposed to feel like but I’m sure my younger self thought I would feel much different at this point in my life.

There was a time when I looked at 55 as ancient. Surely, life would be winding down by the time I hit mid-50s. Nothing could be further from the truth. I could never imagine that I would feel as great as I do.

I didn’t always take good care of myself. When you’re younger, you don’t really think about the long-term effects of poor eating, late nights, and one-too-many-cocktails. Luckily, I found out how good exercise and eating well make me feel. I attribute much of that to riding a bike, and I hope to be riding well into my old age.

During the post-race interview, the reporter asked Jens why he decided to bridge across. Among other things, he responded, “I still have high expectations of myself. I hate to be someone just filling the field…I want to show my face and put up a fight.”

Me too, Jens. Me too.

– Suzanne

Photo: Couldn’t find exactly who to credit, but Suzanne wanted you to know that it’s not an original of hers.

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8 Responses to “ It’s Just a Number ”

  1. Eric Hutchins on February 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Love love love this post. Hitting 50 for me was tough in the sense that I felt that I had so much more I had wanted to do that age will not longer really allow me to do, and that was a tough thing to wrestle with for a while. However I am happy to report that that demon has been vanquished and I have decided to let it be ok to do the very best that I can at whatever age I happen to be at the time.

    • suzanne deveney on March 13, 2014 at 11:20 am

      exactly! but we’re different “50s” than previous generations. ride on, my friend

  2. gswbike on January 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Firstly, let me wish you a belated Happy Birthday. I hope you had a great day and were able to enjoy every minute. Jens is truly an inspirational person and rider. I love to watch him ride,race and to hear his thoughts on cycling. I agree with you chronological age is just a number or label. I too am in much better condition now than when I was younger, riding more miles annually and enjoying it even more. However, age does have a great way of getting one to become better at managing personal expectations. You have once again done a great job with this post.

    • suzanne deveney on January 26, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Thanks! It was wonderful to spend the day with good friends. I’m going to miss Jens when he retires. He’s always fun to watch and listen to.

  3. Darryl is Loving the Bike on January 24, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Who doesn’t love Jensie, right? Happy belated birthday to you….and you’re totally right about it just being a number. Like you, I am in better shape and health now that I’m in my forties than when I was in my twenties. I could definitely kick that ass of my younger self on a bike…..and that feels great.

    • Paul Kirby on January 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Ditto, Darryl. While there are days I feel all of my 42 years (like today), I usually feel and “act” younger. So many of my peers are so serious, it seems. Relax and enjoy life! Ride your bike, have a Nerf battle with your kids, and be young at heart.

      • suzanne deveney on January 26, 2014 at 4:28 pm

        This is so true, Paul. FEELING young is key to remaining healthy.

    • suzanne deveney on January 26, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      Thanks Darryl. The years certainly fly by as one gets older, so enjoying life is what it’s all about.

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