Is 70 the new 100?

Years ago, early on in my bike industry career, I worked for a large mountain bike company and each of us that worked there, seemed to have way too much on our plates.

I am a competitive guy, and my Dad taught me to never do anything halfway, so I worked extra hard, I put in long hours, and I actually ran through the office trying to get everything done on time … and done right.

After a year of this, and a few near collisions in the hallway with the admin staff, my boss sat me down for a chat.

“James, you can’t run around the office, you’re going to put someone in the hospital. You need to realize that with so much on our plates, sometimes 70 per cent will have to do. You can’t realistically maintain 100 per cent performance. Not even pro athletes manage 100 per cent every day.”

So with that, I tried to look relaxed, and I figured out how to walk as fast as possible so I wouldn’t get busted for running in the halls again. I still managed to outperform my colleagues most days and I never missed a deadline. I probably could have qualified for the Olympic speed walking team.

If you put a deadline in front of me, or give me a challenge, It’s my nature to try as hard as possible.

As I’ve aged, and injuries have taken their toll on my body, I am starting to realize that 100 per cent is no longer possible when it comes to physical activity. My shoulders don’t flex like they used to, my ankles no longer have cartilage between the bones, and no matter how hard I train, fitness is harder to achieve.

Last week a friend asked how my shoulder was feeling after my latest injury, and I caught myself thinking “100 per cent.” Shortly thereafter, I realized I meant 100 per cent for me, which is really only 70 per cent of what it used to be.

After so many injuries, and continuous nagging pains, I just can’t function at the same levels. As I did all those years ago at work, I figure out ways to squeak out a few more percent by overcoming obstacles and changing my habits, but even with a strategic approach, I can maybe get to 80 per cent.

All those years ago, I was disgusted with the notion of going at 70 per cent. Why would you not try as hard as possible in every situation, every day? But, now my boss’s words are ringing truer than ever. Ironically, back then, he was my current age. Perhaps he had some wisdom I was lacking.

I’ll still give it everything when I ride and push as hard as possible, but I am going to have to accept that 100 per cent just isn’t what it used to be.

In hindsight, maybe I should have crashed a little less over the years. Hmm, maybe my boss should have told me that 20 years ago.

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Ridin’…

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