If Tom Matlack could get back into shape, you definitely can.
I’m 46 with a background in swimming, rowing, marathon running, and kickboxing. I like to think I am a badass—that is, I did until I tried to ride a very steep seven-mile hill on a road bike, and stopped once half way up and then six miles up for good.
In road biking parlance, what happened to me is called “bonking.” The non-technical translation of that is falling off your bike in exhaustion, puking your guts out, being unable to move, and requiring a rescue helicopter to airlift your lardass off the mountain. In my case, the chopper never arrived, so I had to get on my bike and ride back down the hill about a mile from the top, babbling incoherently the whole way.
The site of this humiliation was on Mulholland Highway, which rises up from Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu. Further east, Mulholland Drive is famous for a really bad film of the same name and, more recently, the mysterious disappearance of one of Charlie Sheen’s vehicles over the cliff.
But I really didn’t give a crap about Charlie’s lost car. What I cared about was the fact that my college roommate Brian—a guy who I had been able to manhandle in pretty much any athletic event over the course of a quarter century—had just brought me to my knees. Literally.
This set me on a course to explore what could be done in the realm of fitness for a washed-up alpha male. Six months after my roadside meltdown, I traveled back to LA to test myself against not one but two of my college roommates—both very serious riders—over three climbs bigger than Mulholland, totaling nearly 9,000 feet of vertical ascent, over 65 miles of riding. The result was vindication.
Here’s how I did it, with some general thoughts on fitness for the alpha male, in 10 easy steps.