SHIT! It seems like yesterday was my first experience with age-group racing and at that time I was about to move from 40-44 to 45-49. I thought how cool it will be to be the young gal amongst the late 40-somethings. That was 2005 and it turned to be just as I planned - a great year for Xterra racing and the young gal in the age group did-in-fact finish faster than the older gals (its scientifically proven that there's slowing with age -- even with the same level of training). This year is another milestone. It didn't really hit me until they asked my racing age for 2008 - as of December 31, 2008. Let's see, born in 1959 and my birthday is in October...that's 49! My final year in this age group -- and my turn to be one of those late-40 somethings the younger gals are hoping to whoop up on. I've been seeing some trends in the competitive biking world as the years go by and I'm right there with the aging trendy. The fast, XC no-age group racing is left for the fast folks and the maturing athletes that can't stay with the competition gravitate to the longer, slower-paced endurance stuff, or age-specific competition. I'm no different. The last two years of finishing last in most XC mountain bike races were mentally devestating, but definitely physically beneficial. But throw me in a race of women in my age-group in a multi-sport race, and its a whole new, fresh ball game. I imagine most other aging athletes feel the same way. What can lift your competitive spirits more than stepping on the podium. But this year may be different being the "old" gal in the last year of my group. But it IS the last year amongst the 40-somethings....next year is a whole new age group -- again! Geez. 50-55. Ouch.