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Old Man Strength

In 2019, after a 30-year hiatus, I found myself back in the thrilling world of bike racing, reigniting a passion that had lain dormant for too long. However, as I eagerly embraced the sport once again, I soon discovered that my once-potent sprint had vanished. Determined to reclaim find some speed, I took a bold step in August of 2020 by venturing to the Burnaby Velodrome for a Learn to Ride session. Little did I know, this decision would mark the beginning of a transformative journey.

Under the guidance of my coach and high school friend, Keith Bruneau, I embarked on the challenging path of re-learning how to sprint. Yet, an undeniable truth surfaced – my strength was lacking, hindering my effectiveness on the track. So, I decided to bring the gym to my basement, investing in weights and diving headfirst into the world of strength training.

As a mid-50s athlete, I quickly found myself grappling with frequent injuries. The reality of an

aging body became all too apparent, prompting Keith to recommend a shift in my approach. Enter Khyl Orser, the owner of Speed Mechanics in Victoria, BC, and the architect behind the velocity-based lifting program that would prove to be a game-changer.

Khyl's programming introduced me to the concept of velocity-based lifting, where a small electronic device attached to the barbell measured the speed of my lifts in real-time. Armed with a prescribed bar speed from Khyl, I loaded the barbell and focused on moving the bar as quickly as possible. The philosophy behind this approach was simple – lifting lighter weights with speed could yield impressive strength gains without the need to load the bar excessively

Several years into this transformative journey, I'm astounded by the results. I've attached a couple embarassing photos which, at the time, weren't intended for public consuption, but just look at the difference! I put on 50 pounds, and my results at track events are a testament to the efficacy of velocity-based lifting. Equally important, I've managed to steer clear of serious injuries throughout this process ... There was that time I destroyed my shin doing box jumps, but that was my fault!

The takeaway from my experience is clear – taking care of your body, prioritizing strength, and embracing innovative training methods can redefine your athletic journey. As I continue to navigate the world of masters track sprinting, I urge fellow athletes, especially those in their mid-50s like myself, to explore alternative approaches, challenge the norms, and most importantly, stay injury-free.


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