Earlier this summer, a cancer survivor cycled past the competition and finished high on the podium. No, not Lance Armstrong. This cyclist was Mountain View resident David Trousdale, and his podium finish was not at the Tour de France, but the California Senior Games.
Though Armstrong's third place finish enthralled many, Trousdale placed much higher on his podium. He placed first in the 5-kilometer time trial and in the 20K and 40K races, and second in the 10K time trial.
Now Trousdale, 65, is bringing those medals to Palo Alto to compete in the 2009 Summer National Senior Games.
Despite the obvious comparison to another winning cyclist who survived cancer, Trousdale said Armstrong is not his idol.
"Everybody knows about Lance, but I like to follow other riders," he said.
Trousdale said Fabian Cancellara was a rider he admired and studied. Still, Trousdale's wife, Sherry Symington, is fond of calling her husband "The Lance Armstrong of Mountain View."
Trousdale said he has been riding bicycles his whole life, but it was not until three years ago that he began cycling competitively. In fact, competitive cycling was not even Trousdale's first choice. He initially was going to train to be a sprinter, but his knees began hurting. A sports physician suggested he try cycling, and that was the launch of his cycling career.
Since switching to cycling, Trousdale has been a dedicated competitor. He has competed in the California Senior Games for the past three years and has also participated in the Nevada Senior Games and the Huntsman World Senior Games.
Trousdale trains for 10 to 12 hours each week on his bike, in addition to stretching and strength training. He also combines his physical training with a technological approach, using computers and experimentation to improve his times.
"I have a very sophisticated bicycle computer that collects all kinds of data from my bike, and then I use that and study it to develop my training where my weaknesses are, where my strengths are," Trousdale said.
Trousdale uses his bicycle's computer to measure the amount of force he applies against the wind, which he analyzes to improve his aerodynamics. He said that 85 percent of a cyclist's effort is fighting wind resistance. Thus, slight improvements to his aerodynamics can greatly decrease his energy exertion.
The 2009 National Senior Games will be Trousdale's first, so he enters it with two simple goals: "to have a good time" and "to do my best." Trousdale said he has spent most of his time training and has made his top priority the 5K time trial.
"I'm hoping I do really well in the 5K. That's where I'm really going to go all-out," he said.
Despite being 65 years old, Trousdale insists he has not reached his prime in cycling yet.
"I'm improving," he said. "I'm told for this type of sport, endurance sports, that it takes five years to reach your prime."
With three years of competitive cycling under his belt, that would put Trousdale at his prime in the 2011 National Senior Games.
"I seem to do personal bests each time," Trousdale said. "When I do the same course, my times continue to get better, so I don't think I've reached my prime yet."