Maybe BMX riders are always kids

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - One of the first British BMX riders

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – BMX is still seeings its first generation ride their events.

“I am a semi-pro rider but a professional track builder. I rebuild and service tracks all around the UK. I was servicing a track yesterday. In this country, the people my age, we are still the ones who were doing it when we were kids. You get a lot of racers who are in their 50s. There is one guy in England who is 70 and he went out to America to race over the winter. I think he went out in the semi-finals, at the age of 70. He would have been in the over 50s class”

Photographer’s notes: I adore the idea of a seventy year old kicking ass on a BMX. It reiterates that you are only slow if you want to be. We tend to think of a loss of speed as being inevitable to age. Of course, the extreme does slip away. But too many of us are simply slow because we have stopped trying to be fast.

We stop training for speed. Stop doing intervals. Stop accelerating out of corners. We become people content to ride distances – and not worry as much about causing pain and suffering in our fellow riders. We make excuses about becoming endurance focused and our speed methodically slips away.

I am old enough, now, to think I have lost speed. But I know I have 15 kilograms more than a weight I need. I ride with slower people and enjoy their company.

I need to ride intervals, do speed work, get legs so I can cause pain and suffering.

This is not my first realisation. When I was at the Herne Hill Velodrome earlier this year, I was barely able to ride in the pack. My legs were gone all too quickly. Before I get back on the velodrome, I want to be a little more sure that I can cause pain, again.

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