Before I moved to Colorado, the Roswell Crue had five members. Today, these four friends juggle that delicate balance of friendship between their respective families, jobs and hobbies – with cycling being the primary glue that both formed the Crue, and keeps that circle unbroken. Everyone in the group is 50+, and everyone is exceptionally healthy and active. Spend a day riding in the North Georgia Mountains with these men, and you’ll quickly agree that Age Is No Barrier for the Roswell Crue.
My passion for cycling starts here, in Roswell, GA. Almost 10 years ago, I was riding an older bike purely for fun & fitness, (tee-shirt, running shoes and poorly fitting helmet) when a group of spandex covered guys and gals flew past me and I raced to join them. I hung on – just barely – for a few miles, then limped home. During those few wonderful miles, I made a friend for life – Glenn Bingham. Glenn will not allow anyone to feel like an outsider in any group, specifically a cycling group ride. He introduced himself and a few others and welcomed me to the Bike Roswell “Over 40” ride. (age, not miles)
I came back again and again until I could complete the Saturday morning ride without cramps or getting dropped, and became hopelessly addicted to everything about cycling. Glenn is my cycling origin-story and the reason my wife now refers to my bike as “the mistress”.
I rode with this group for several years and met other lifelong friends on these rides – Al, David and Morten. Together, we have ridden hundreds of miles and enjoyed many many burgers together. We’ve ridden in the sweltering Georgia humidity, the rain and fog of the North Georgia Gaps, and days too cold for any of us. We’ve quarreled about everything from religion, politics and gluten free bread. We laughed at jokes that make David blush and each of these guys have patiently taken turns, waiting for my cramps to subside so we could finish a ride.
This is the Roswell Crue. The descriptions of each individual below is a conglomeration of the opinions from the rest of the Crue.
Glenn Bingham: the ring-leader and heart of the Crue. The rock. The anchor. The glue that keeps the Crue on their bikes, even in bad weather. There would be no Roswell Crue without Glenn. He’s also our cycling historian who remembers insane details about the last 40+ years of the Tour. Always encouraging, and always willing to leave his house at 5am to pick us up one by one in his Chevy Astro van to head to the North Georgia Gaps. (may the Astro rest in peace)
David Linebaugh: impossible to anger, easy to embarrass. (especially with sexual innuendos) He’s just….happy. And humble. David is very kind and will go to extremes for his friends & neighbors. Will sometimes underestimate what he can accomplish, but one of the more fearless descenders I know. (might have changed after last accident?)
Morten Jensen: The silent assassin. Often quiet, but speaks loudly with a burst of speed when needed. Ridiculous power to weight ratio. I’ve consistently said I have to ride twice the miles to stay ahead of Morten. If we put in the same training miles, I would not be able to stay with him.
Al Murner: Finally old enough to be interesting! Al just turned 50 so I can now include his information. At any age, Al will always be the pot-stirring prankster of the Crue. The Crue’s funny guy. He’s also an incredible natural cycling talent. Before reducing his miles for career and family, he regularly toyed with the rest of us. However, he has a nasty reputation for being a “wheel suck” until the very last moment when he blows by you for the win.
And now….the rest of the story.
50+ years in 50 seconds
David Linebaugh, age 60
Glenn Bingham, age 58 (born ’62)
Morten Jensen, age 56
Al Murner, age 50
Home residences: Roswell & Marietta, GA
David: 5’ 10”, 155 lbs
Glenn: 5’10”, 170 lbs
Morten: 5’6”, 145 Ibs
Al: 5’9″, 147
Occupation when not participating in your sport:
David: Engineering Manager for Delta Air Lines
Glenn: Software security architect
Morten: B2B electronic integrations developer
Sports/activities in order of time and preference:
David: Road cycling, walking (formerly running), weightlifting
Glenn: Road cycling, that’s it. Occasional dalliance with moderate resistance training, and I do a 20-minute yoga routine 2-3X per week to maintain flexibility.
Morten: Cycling, hiking, tennis, and some snow skiing.
Al: cycling, fishing
Exactly how much do you love coffee?
David: Enough to drink one cup a day
Glenn: Not at all, I never drink coffee. Diet Coke is my caffeine jam.
Morten: More then almost anything.
Al: On a scale of 1-10, an 11.
Did you play sports when younger?
David: Baseball, football, basketball, track
Glenn: Tennis in high school. One miserable season in track.
Morten: Soccer, football (kicker), some tennis.
Al: Soccer and football
“Have to” or Want to”?
David: Except for baseball, wanted to! I was terrible at baseball. Football was my favorite for learning how to be part of a team, track was my favorite for individual accomplishment.
Glenn: Wanted to play tennis. Still miss it, but don’t have the time.
Morten: Soccer was always a want-to sport. Football was a have-to but I learned to enjoy it a little.
Al: Always “wanted to”.
David: L5S1 herniation/pinching nerves, 10 years ongoing, various treatments
Morten: weak lower back.
Past injuries, fully recovered:
David: Cycling wreck 4 years ago, broken teeth and thumb, concussion; Shoulder surgery 3 years ago; Hip replacement 2 years ago (hence, combined with the L5S1, no more running)
Glenn: Left knee meniscus tear, 15 years ago, outpatient surgery, recovered. Detached retina, 2 years ago, surgery, recovered.
Al: Full ACL tear with flipped meniscus
Past injuries that effect today:
David: Lower back, all the time, except when cycling. Also, frequent headaches, not sure the source – maybe the concussion from 4 years ago, or maybe the meningitis/pneumonia 1.5 years ago. I don’t know. The meningitis+pneumonia hit me in late July, 2019, two weeks after returning from a trip to Korea and Taiwan, I spent a week in the hospital, then another week recovering at home. I think it was Covid-19, my doc says it was too early to be that. My symptoms were very similar to those I’m hearing about now, high fever, severe headaches, shortness of breath. The source of my illness was never determined, in spite of many tests.
Glenn: Had heart surgery in 2015 to repair my mitral valve. Surgery was technically successful, but reduced my power on the bike by about 30%, and also limited my endurance.
Al: Still the ACL
Age when I stopped recovering quickly from injuries:
David: early 40’s. Took two months for a jammed finger, longer for a sprained ankle.
Glenn: late 40’s was when I started noticing recovery took longer. Through mid-40’s I could do long/hard rides on back to back days and feel that I had recovered. After that, not so much.
Morten: Check back with me in another 5-10 years.
Al: Not there yet
Medications I currently use:
Glenn: Baby aspirin once daily for heart. No other medications.
Morten: Allergy medication.
Medications I was able to stop using once I started training:
Supplements I currently use:
David: One a day vitamin and vitamin C for general health, Turmeric and Flaxseed oil for cholesterol. Metamucil, since hemorrhoid surgery in 2001. (makes life more pleasant)
Glenn: None. (do bagels count?)
Morten: Magnesium and Vitamin D.
Dietary choices or restrictions:
David: I’m trying to cut down on my sugar intake and limit my red meat. But it’s killing me! I CRAVE sugar.
Glenn: I do not drink alcohol (never have I ever). Other than that, none. I like sweets and eat something sweet pretty much every day. I find that I have naturally been eating smaller portions as I’ve gotten older, and I now prefer meat in smaller quantities. I would rather have chicken pieces in a stir fry than a big steak for example.
Morten: limiting daily sugar amounts, coffee with oat-milk only. Very limited red meat, only a few times a year. Mostly chicken as meat of choice. No food between 8pm and 12pm (goal).
Al: Try to avoid fast food but it’s not always possible
Average hours of sleep:
David: 7.5 during the work from home pandemic, 6.5 before that when I was commuting an hour each way.
Glenn: 7.0 is my minimum. If I don’t get 7, the next day is not great.
Morten: 7 to 8 hours. Don’t use an alarm clock.
Do you track your quality of sleep?
Morten: Not really tracking it but I do notice the next day if the quality of sleep was not good.
Greatest achievement of being a 50+ athlete:
David: Conquering Stelvio and Gavia in the Italian Alps at age 58.
Glenn: Conquering Stelvio and Gavia in the Italian Alps at age 56. Closing in on 100,000 miles of lifetime riding.
Morten: Being able to cycle once or twice every week. 2018 Italian cycling trip. Climbing Motorola and Gavia on the same day.
Al: Balance with Family
Specific to the sport of Cycling
Why cycling, specifically?
David: Well, running is out, I have an artificial hip. Riding since I was 15, when I purchased my first real road bike. Hooked since. The sense of freedom, wind in your face.
Morten: I grew up in Denmark, and played a lot of soccer. I was good. And really enjoyed being a part of a team. But other than soccer, you rode your bike everywhere for everything. We were always on a bike. Running was just hard on my body and swimming wore me out too quickly. It’s hard for me to exercise for exercise’s sake. I just don’t enjoy it enough. But Cycling…? Cycling is just fun. It feels good.
Glenn: Started riding pretty seriously before I could drive – at age 14. Even then I just loved the freedom of cycling. Never really liked running. Ever. I did like tennis, but it took too much time. Cycling just works for me – both mentally and physically. I can think clearly, put things in perspective.
Why cycling? “the sense of freedom, wind in your face”. “Cycling is just fun. It feels good”. “Cycling just works for me – both mentally & physically. I can think clearly…”
When you started riding:
David: Got my first road bike when I was 15, a blue Peugeot 10 speed. Helmets? Nahhh. I felt the wind in my hair. I do miss that. But hey, I hit the pavement 4 years ago and cracked my helmet, not my skull, so I’m okay with helmets.
Glenn: Bought my first decent bike (green Fuji 10-speed) when I was 14. Rode quite a bit until I started driving, then not again until my mid-20’s.
Morten: Started group cycling rides in my mid 40’s.
Al: I’ve ridden pretty consistently my entire life, but started road cycling in 2008
Average miles per year:
Glenn: 3000. I’ve always been good about keeping track of my annual miles – and should hit 100k miles of cycling this year.
Al: Varies too widely
Target miles for this year:
David: none Next year? Same
Glenn: 3000 Next year? 3000
Morten: 3000 Next year? 3500
Al: N/A Next year? Same
How do you fuel your rides? (in the bottle / in the pocket)
David: Black Cherry Clif Bloks, Gu’s, fig newtons on shorter rides; Bananas and PBJ sandwiches on longer rides.
Glenn: McDonalds milk shakes and crack cocaine.
Morten: Bananas, Bananas, and more Bananas.
Al: Skratch and homemade rice cakes
NEW QUESTION: How long is too long to wear the same bibs / shorts? (for proper color of bike shorts, see rule #14 of the velomanati)
David: Well, you have to get some decent life out of them, but eventually that chamois pad just doesn’t feel as good.
Glenn: I keep my shorts until they are getting ratty, even with holes. Can’t throw them away once they break in! Or, I just wear them under tights for winter riding.
Morten: I normally buy a new pair each year. After a year, they just need to go. After so many rides in the Georgia humdity, you just can’t get the stink out.
Al: when they become transparent!
Interviewer edit: over time, bike shorts thin out – similar to a thin pair of yoga tights. Several years back, we had to gently confront a fellow cyclist to let him know: “dude, if we know you have a mole on your left butt cheek – it’s time for new shorts”.
Aero bike or climbing bike?
Al: Climbing of course, what is this Aero thing you speak of?
David: The one I own, 2007 Lemond Zurich (fully carbon), with updated components
Glenn: I’m fortunate enough to own all my dream bikes. I used to want a Pegoretti, and if the right one came available I might buy it.
Morten: S-Works Tarmac or Aethos.
Your next bike?
David: N/A, see above
Glenn: I’m currently riding an Orbea Gain electric assist bike, which enables me to match my riding from before heart surgery. It is a superb piece of engineering, but I’d be open to a ‘next gen’ e-bike if improvements are made in range or weight.
Morten: S-Works Tarmac or Aethos.
Al: Maybe a Tarmac if they reduce the weight
More than one bike? (for non-cyclists: the correct number of bikes to own is N+1)
David: Nope! Just one.
Morten: Just one.
Types of riding you most enjoy: (road, gravel, mountain, etc)
David: Road only
Glenn: Road only.
Morten: Road only
Al: Road, followed by mountain
Any huge bucket list goals or adventures planned?
David: Would like to do a French cycling trip with my buddies that includes Mt Ventoux and Alpe D’Huez. Was originally planned for 2020.
Glenn: France with friends including Alpe d’Huez.
Morten: Riding out west.
Al: France 2022
Who most inspires you in your sport?
David: Peter Sagan – competes hard, but with life perspective and a sense of humor. Greg Lemond – won the Tour de France twice with lead pellets stuck in his body!
Glenn: Greg Lemond was the first. Then Lance, until that collapsed. Andy Hampsten, after I rode with him and understood his story.
Morten: It depends. Who’s the current underdog?
Al: Christian Parrett, ex-pro turned coach; moved from Tallahassee to southern France and now rides for pleasure in the greatest cycling venue in the world
Do you prefer training solo or with a group? Why?
David: Group, for sure. Camaraderie, friendship, suffering together.
Glenn: I’m split, I like them both. I like the mental peace and Zen rhythm of solo riding, and I like the camaraderie and motivation of group rides.
Morten: Group rides mostly.
Al: Solo, it’s hard to find someone with the same training schedule
Favorite training / tracking app?
Glenn: Garmin or Strava
Al: Training Peaks
Strava: just enjoy the ride, or go “PR hunting”?
David: Would love to say “enjoy the ride”, but I’m hooked – always wanting to get a PR on one or more segments.
Glenn: Just enjoy the ride.
Morten: I’m a little competitive, so…
Al: Embarrassingly, PR hunting; anyone that says otherwise is lying
David: No way. I enjoy the sun, the wind, and the sights. None of that can be found indoors.
Glenn: Rarely if ever. Fewer than 5 times per year. I’ll ride outside down to 35 degrees.
Morten: Not recently, hard to get motivated.
Al: Not anymore
Great irritant related to cycling:
David: Numbness in feet. And red lights.
Glenn: Yahoos in pickup trucks.
Morten: Cramps on long rides.
Al: Egos; it’s fine between friends of your same level, but chill out with the new riders – they already know you’re stronger than them.
Something non-cyclists should know about cyclists:
David: Our disposition is much better if we ride regularly.
Glenn: We prefer gluten free bread. (heehee)
Morten: We are people too.
Al: Some of us are riding to avoid an early death, please consider that before honking or dusting.
Why? What motivates you to put yourself through this suffering?
David: That’s hard to say – I definitely enjoy “turning myself inside out” when climbing. It hurts, but I have always enjoyed pushing myself physically.
Glenn: I used to run because I liked the way I felt when I wasn’t running, and I liked being in good shape generally. But I hated the actual running. Once I started riding, I found I got all the benefits of running, plus I actually like to ride. I enjoy the speed, the greater distance covered, and the smoothness of it, and the frenzy and motivation and camaraderie of group rides.
Morten: I love to cycle and I’m a little competitive, so its easy.
Al: My children. With a history of male heart disease in my family, I don’t want to leave this world too early. My goal is to spend quality time with grandchildren so that they can one day look back and say my grandfather was crazy.
What singular achievements are you most proud of?
David: Besides my wife and 2 daughters, the three women I admire the most? Professionally – being honored with the Chairman’s Club award at Delta. Personally – the trip to the Dolomites and Alps in Italy in 2018 with my friends. On that trip, I was pushed harder mentally and physically than ever before in my life. And I was thrilled with the results. Couldn’t complete two of the climbs, but was overjoyed, brought to tears, at what I COULD do. Left fulfilled.
Glenn: Being happily married for 37+ years and raising three children who have grown up to be outstanding adults.
Morten: Pride is deadly.
Al: Blue Ridge Parkway Camp twice; 6 days totaling 495 miles and 60,277 ft of climbing with the last day at 90 miles and 13,587 ft of climbing. Still can’t believe I finished.
Let’s discuss injuries or medical conditions that effect your training and/or goals:
David: In spite of my injuries and surgeries, riding my bike is the only thing I do that doesn’t hurt anywhere. Except my lungs and heart, of course.
Glenn: Heart surgery, as mentioned above. I still get in the miles, but I’m not the rider I used to be. But I’m still riding, and will continue to as long as I enjoy it and can do it.
Al: I tore my ACL and meniscus in 2017. The ACL was a common injury but during the operation, they found a pit in my bone caused by an old soccer injury from my teens. They had to drill the pit to create a scab which required me to be off my feet for 6 weeks. After recovery, my cardio was nonexistent, I would huff and puff simply walking to the bathroom, and lost significant strength in my dominant leg. In time, my cardio returned and I’m actually stronger now than I was before surgery but my quickness still eludes me. Not sure if it’s the injury or age.
Outside of your sport, how do you prepare your body for the stressors of that sport?
David: By eating right, hydrating, and getting enough sleep.
Glenn: I don’t really think of it that way. Riding is just something I do. If I know I’m going to ride later in the day, sure, I’ll eat chicken and rice for lunch and not a hamburger. But I try to live a balanced life for everything I do, including riding. Even before heart surgery, I didn’t think of riding as “training”.
Morten: I wing it 😊
Al: Pre-Covid was the gym; not so much today
Nutrition / diet: has training changed anything about how you eat or drink?
David: I always hydrate, but I have to hydrate much more on days when I ride, before, during and after. No changes to diet.
Morten: No, but my wife is a master chef and I attribute her balanced cooking to our heathy lifestyle.
Al: While actively training I reward myself by eating anything and everything within reason. While in a riding slump, I try to avoid sugar and pay closer attention to my portions.
Recovery? (not post-exercise, but throughout the year):
David: Occasional breaks, when my body just doesn’t feel up to it.
Glenn: I ride year ‘round, and never take time off the bike unless I’m on vacation. In 30+ years of riding, I’ve never taken more than three weeks off (and that was for surgery). I will still ride 3 or 4 days in a row if I’ve got the time.
Morten: Riding 2 times a week provides for a natural recovery between rides.
Al: Absolutely, 30 min recovery rides around 80 watts are a must
Any “non-exercise” forms of preventative care? (massage, chiro, personal trainer, blood work, etc)
David: Massage every couple of months, once a year physical with all of the blood work. Watching my diet to control my cholesterol.
Glenn: No, other than annual checkups including blood work and annual heart checkup.
Morten: Annual checkup.
Al: Yoga works for me, but I haven’t been very consistent. Spending time outside is crucial.
How healthy were your parents at your age?
David: Mom – healthy as a horse. Dad – blood pressure medicine, otherwise healthy
Glenn: Dad – very healthy but with the same mitral valve problem I have. Mom has always had weight and overall health issues.
Morten: Mom was very healthy. Dad not so healthy (smoking, drinking, no physical activities).
Al: My mother is in great shape today at age 74 but my father passed away in his mid 40’s from heart disease.
Any family history you’ve been able to avoid?
David: Alcoholism, depression, anxiety. And I thank God for that. I think the enjoyment I get from riding my bike has helped me avoid those.
Glenn: Alcoholism, bipolar syndrome, murder.
Morten: Pass, Next.
Al: Heart disease…fingers crossed.
The health benefits of training / competing: is that a focus? Or just a happy and beneficial outcome?
David: I don’t “train” or “compete”, I just ride my bike. I love riding my bike, and I love pushing myself to my limits, physically. So I do what I love, and I find it keeps me pretty fit.
Glenn: Just “happy and beneficial outcome”. I like being able to do what I want to do and not have to think “can I tackle that?”.
Morten: Happy and beneficial outcome.
Al: Originally the health benefits were the catalyst. Eventually, this led to competing and that became the focus. Today riding is simply a pleasure with a beneficial outcome.
How do you feel – physically and emotionally – when you miss several days of training?
David: Grumpy. Blue.
Glenn: I get edgy and grumpy.
Morten: I don’t train. I enjoy cycling and walking with my wife. I always get out to do one or the other every few days.
Al: If I miss too many days, my wife will casually suggest that I should probably go for a ride. I’m guessing that I get grumpy.
Do you find a supportive community in your sport / activity?
David: My local cycling community is very supportive. I also have a tight group of 5 friends, we all love riding, we enjoy each other’s company, and they are just really great guys to be around – incredibly supportive. I’m clearly the slowest, but they have me convinced that they really don’t mind waiting at the tops of hills for me.
Glenn: Yes, both in the community generally, and specifically with the friends I ride with.
Morten: Yes, Atlanta offers lots of opportunities for group rides.
Al: Pre-Covid was great. Looking forward to those days again.
Other than cycling, where else do you find community?
David: Work, and the gym at work. (which is still closed right now) My church – very involved with several friends at our church. Great friendships in our immediate neighborhood. And of course – family. I’ve really leaned into family a lot more over this last year.
Morten: Besides cycling, my primary community is my family. I greatly value our family walks, and when there’s time, we love to hike. And work. I work for myself, but have maintained strong relationships with several clients.
Glenn: Outside of cycling, its mainly my family. We have two girls and a son. We’re all scattered across multiple states, so time together is precious when we can get it.
Al: Family, Church, and my profession
Is your family supportive?
David: Absolutely. My wife doesn’t understand why I love cycling so much, she just knows I do. I think she also knows that I’m more pleasant to be around if I’m exercising regularly, haha.
Glenn: Yes, 100%. My wife bought me my first good bike after we were married, and has been incredibly supportive throughout my (now very long) obsession.
Morten: Yes, we support each other in our activities.
Al: yes, 100%
Putting on your coaching hat…
What advice would you give your younger self?
David: Enjoy life. It’s all about relationships.
Glenn: No advice – I’ve been incredibly fortunate and have no regrets.
Morten: Good equipment is essential to enjoying your sport. Have fun.
Al: Don’t change a thing, you only live once
Advice? “Be kind, laugh and make others laugh, share your wisdom and wealth with others, and be useful”
What advice would you give any 50+ individual that believes their athletic days are better left in the past?
David: Your times may not equal your younger days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve on where you are now. Keep pushing, but don’t be completely driven by numbers, make sure you enjoy the ride.
Glenn: Find an athletic endeavor you like (or love) doing, then it won’t be a chore and you won’t have start/stop periods. And keep trying!
Morten: Never stop, I plan on cycling into my 90’s.
Al: Whenever you start a new exercise routine, it really sucks, but give it 2 weeks and then see how you feel. It really is worth it. Plus, if you ride enough, you can literally eat anything you want.
Any final hard-earned wisdom you’d like to share to the 50+ crowd?
David: Be thankful every day you wake up, remember to nurture your relationships, and always try to be a “net positive” – bring people up, not down.
Glenn: Be kind, laugh and make others laugh, share your wisdom and wealth with others, and be useful.
Morten: Life is a continuous learning process, there’s no such thing as failure.
Al: Find what makes you happy and be honest with yourself. If you want to be the fastest in the group, then work to get it. If you’re happy coasting along at the back of the group, then do it. But do something!
Questions for any member of the Crue?
Include any questions in the comment section below and I’ll forward their reply.