The PowerUp Tri Podcast is hosted by former pro triathletes Matt Lieto and Jordan Rapp, who lend their in-depth knowledge of the multisport to the Zwift Tri audience.
In recent years more elite endurance athletes seem to be performing at the highest level as they age, and in many cases late into their 40s. We thought there was no one better to chat with about this with than the multi-time Ironman champ and Kona top 10 finisher Dede Griesbauer. With an athletic career that will reach its 4th decade this January, Dede has some great insight into this topic, and we take the opportunity to get her valued opinions on it.
We have great examples of excellence in an aging athlete in triathlon: Dede, Craig Alexander, Cameron Brown, Karen Smyers, Dave Scott, and more. Dede is 49 years old, and just last summer placed 4th place at Ironman Canada. She is now training for her first Ultraman. Dede explains that a change in perspective as she ages is an advantage over her peers. “I’m 49. What do you expect? But if I go into a race and I get on the podium, I’m looking at the 25 to 37-year-olds. I’m like, ‘Shame on you ladies.’ So there’s a lower expectation.” She also shrugs off any inference that an aging athlete should retire and let the ‘youngins’ take over. “If you love what you’re doing, why should you stop? I can’t help it. I love that. I love the heck out of it. I just love what I do.”
Cameron Brown and Craig Alexander are still winning professional races and they are 47 and 46 years old, respectively. Talking to both of these men recently, they explained to me that it just comes down to the fact that they truly love the sport and they wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I feel that the mental side is a big enough advantage that it could compensate for the strength and speed of youth in what can be a very tactical sport at times. What this means is: if you truly love being out there, and have more experience in race situations, that has to be an advantage.
There are many factors that may contribute to these older athletes having success later in their careers. Is it science and innovation that helps aid in recovery and, in turn, longevity? Is it the fact that experience is more valuable than it used to be for race scenarios? Do relationships with sponsors allow these older athletes to choose their schedules more freely and in turn have better performances as a result?
We look at all these possible factors helping aging athletes have more success. As an aging athlete myself, I really enjoyed this conversation and was inspired to get my old self out the door for training because of it.
In this episode, we also chatted about recent race results including Super League, and Jordan tells us how he really feels about the somewhat recent trend of CBD use in triathlon.
Matt and Jordan want to hear from you! Add your questions and topic ideas to the forum and they could be featured in an upcoming episode.