VQ & You: John Larson

During a summit attempt on Mt. Rainier at age 64, I fell. I broke my right fibula and tore the ligaments of my ankle. After surgery and a little rehab I decided that riding a bike would help me regain some strength and help me prepare for another attempt at the mountain the following summer.

Up to that point I occasionally rode an old mountain bike with twelve miles cause for celebration. I found VQ online and decided to try a “Taste” for eight weeks. After Robbie’s initial assessment, I was told I had a “V8 engine in a moped frame”. I didn’t care for the moped comparison, but the V8 part intrigued me. I have never been good at any sport and hearing that I might have some inherent ability to build on was real news to me.

I became obsessed with finding out what a 64-year-old body could do. I joined VQ, bought a road bike and began riding regularly. The following summer I successfully summited Mt. Rainier and completed my first triathlon. I was hooked!

Thoughts of power meters, watts, threshold testing, VO2 intervals, longer races, swimming, running, finding my name in the USAT rankings and even daring to think that I could survive bike camp without dishonoring the VQ uniform filled almost every waking moment. Inspired by Robbie’s shouts of encouragement, Dave’s infectious enthusiasm, the coaches and instructors and the inclusive friendliness of fellow VQ athletes, I have actually begun to think of myself as an athlete.

Now I’m 68. I’m able to do more than I could when I was 30. In the morning, every aging joint in my moped body hurts, but I know that a ride, run or swim will put me right. My racing distances are getting greater and my times are getting shorter…and my goals are getting loftier. I want to be ready for my first full distance Ironman at age 70, not to mention keeping up with the grandkids, adventure travel, climbing mountains with my sons and wearing spandex as long as I can. Perhaps, most importantly, I’m enjoying life in ways I never thought possible. Thank you, VQ.


Karen Quinn
Karen Quinn
I experienced just about the same injury on both legs the same day with a ton of Rehab I am back on track but not a runner anymore but I think in time that will improve - I had the pins removed so my gait is off. Reading your article has inspired me to join VQ. I too find riding the key to my Cardio - Thanks - KQ