Skip Stowe: Lifelong Athlete
When it comes to fitness and cycling performance, it is easy to get caught up in what’s happening right now. What’s my FTP? How many watts per kilogram was my last ride? Did I beat my personal best? All those things are important and valuable, but it’s also important to look towards the future and what training and cycling will look like down the road.
Skip Stowe recently competed in his first bike race since the 1980s and has found success as a lifelong athlete. Stowe, (who is also father and grandfather to the Stages Cycling graphic design team, Michael Stowe and Ilin Graves) will turn 81 this month and recently qualified for the Senior Olympics in cycling. He placed first in his age group in the 20k road race, finishing in 45:11.
Michael and Skip were out for a ride together last year when Michael suggested that his dad enter some races. One suggestion was all it took for Skip to set his sights on the Senior Olympic Games in 2021. Skip used a Stages power meter and the Stages Dash in his training for the first time.
“My training goal was just trying to get to easily averaging 19-20 miles per hour, which I can do most of the time,” Stowe said. “I didn’t quite make it that quick for this last race. That’s my goal, to average over 20, because if I go to nationals that’s what I’m going to have to do.”
Stowe isn’t new to cycling or training. He won a Tennessee master’s state championship in the 1980s. “My cycling started when I bought Cumberland Transit Bicycle shop in Nashville, Tennessee back in 1980,” Stowe said. “Before that I was a runner. So when I bought the shop I started riding. I’m more of a distance rider than I am a racer, but I’ve been riding ever since I bought the shop.”
The Senior Olympics qualifying race in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee had rolling hills and some long, steady climbs. Stowe said it was fun getting back into racing again with a mass start of all athletes 50 and over. “There was one guy I was trying to catch up to for about 5 miles and finally wore him out.”
In preparation for the National Senior Games, Stowe will train throughout the winter with a Stages Link training plan and continue to ride consistently with appropriate recovery.
“At my age I don’t recover as quickly as a younger person would, so I have to watch that,” Stowe said. “Some days if I do a long ride, 50-60 miles it may take me a couple of days to feel like I’ve recovered entirely. Generally, I give myself a day or two to recover.”
Stowe’s first tip for staying active on the bike, is to make sure you have a proper bike that fits you well and to ride often.
“I try to ride at least 3 times a week, anywhere from 25-50 miles every time. My average distance for a week is usually around 150 miles.” Stowe said. But his best perspective on riding for decades to come, “Some years I get many many miles in, some years I don’t.”