1 2
Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
3/14/22 3:21 p.m.

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

I started wrenching well before I was 10 years old. Like most of us, my time in the garage has given me my share of bumps and bruises, skinned knuckles and the like. It’s also left me with more than a couple of scars.

I remember my …

Read the rest of the story

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
3/14/22 4:21 p.m.

Having just lost a friend (he was only 62) who really didn't take care of himself this really hits home.

I'd like to really emphasize on the letting the tools do the job i.e. not trying to be a gorilla.  As a 145lb guy I don't have the option of hoisting engine blocks because I can...............seen more big guys wound themselves being the Samsonite Gorilla.

Take good care of yourself and you'll be able to do this hobby for years.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/14/22 4:30 p.m.

The one thing that I wish I was more attentive to was my hearing.  The constant ringing and the lack of some hearing in one ear I attribute to not using hearing protection while working on cars and at the track.  The docs say I am SOL in terms of getting it back or stopping the ringing.

Tim has greatly understated the importance of taking care of yourself when racing or working on cars in that article.  I am much closer to 60 than 50 at this point and everything Tim said in the article hits close to home.  The other thing that I have concerns about is we never used gloves to protect ourselves from solvents and we did not use masks to protect ourselves from fumes or dust.  I don't seem to have any side effects from it but I do worry.  I actually wonder if the ringing of my ears is related to chemical exposure as some of the things we messed with could have an effect on the nervous system.   

I saw an interview with Ed China about why he wears the orange gloves when working on cars and he said that years back he had a blood test and they found high levels of hydrocarbons in his blood.  They attributed to him working without gloves and it was being absorbed through his skin.  I never wore gloves but after seeing that I am much more careful.

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
3/14/22 4:49 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

Having just lost a friend (he was only 62) who really didn't take care of himself this really hits home.

I'd like to really emphasize on the letting the tools do the job i.e. not trying to be a gorilla.  As a 145lb guy I don't have the option of hoisting engine blocks because I can...............scene more big guys wound themselves being the Samsonite Gorilla.

Take good care of yourself on you'll be able to do this hobby for years.

I can remember lifting a 1275 out of an MG Midget with one other guy without an engine hoist MANY years ago. Those things were not exactly big blocks. laugh

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
3/14/22 10:57 p.m.

In reply to dean1484 :

I screwed up my hearing by not wearing ear plugs while riding motorcycles.

I mostly wear gloves while working on stuff after reading that it will be full time.

I turn 60 this year.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/14/22 11:25 p.m.

Getting old is tough even when you're relatively healthy. Sixty is slowly fading out of sight in the rear view mirror, I'll be halfway to 67 tomorrow.

I'm planning (as in got no choice) to work for several more years, so I'm pretty careful about how I take care of myself. I stopped playing volleyball by the time I was 31, as I had decided to try for vet school and didn't want to risk a hand injury.

I'm with you on the hearing loss and tinnitis. I'm also getting early cararacts, from UV radiation (can't wear sunglasses when surfing), and from scatter radiation when taking xrays. My mildly gimpy knee does okay if I keep up a routine of frequent walks, and my job is physically active enough that I hardly sit at all.

There's good advice in this column, but I predict that those that need to heed it are going to have to learn the hard way. It's the way of the world.

 

 

Patrick
Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/22 8:45 a.m.

I'm 41.  I've got 26 years of hard labor on my body on top of car stuff.  I remember bench pressing a cast iron powerglide into place when I was 16.  I didn't always remember to wear my hearing protection, especially using power tools constantly.  
 

for anybody younger reading this, you're not superman.  Take care of your body.  I'm doing that now, but I waited till 40 to start.  I feel way better than I did at 39, but have a long way to go and certain things like the back pain and tinnitus can only be kept in check, they're not going away

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
3/15/22 8:50 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

The way of the world is that doctors are expensive and health insurance deductibles are high. 

All of the above.  As someone who is knocking on 70, I paraphrase what the great Mickey Mantle once said.  "If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself".   How true.

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/22 10:42 a.m.

I'm nearing 74 hard, interesting work has kept me healthier than most my age.
OK noisy radial engines  damaged my mid range hearing made worse by unmuffled with megaphones Jaguar. 
     Construction of my own timber frame home (13,000 hrs  ) with seldom worn hearing protection. Gives me tinnitus.  

  Overworking, takes me a couple of days to recover from.  As do accidents. Like falling from a 3story to the basement. But I was in my 60's then.  Falling in my tower in my 70's hurt more and longer. 
      That and I'm fat. A good 100 pounds overweight.  
  But I've realized ain't one of us gonna get out alive.   The one thing I don't want is to be bored to death. Out of control, sliding sideways, on fire,  into my grave is how I'd like to go. Life is too precious to waste living a boring life or settling down to calmly wait your turn.  

kaybat
kaybat
3/15/22 11:55 a.m.

Look at those guns!

I'm about the same age, and yeah, getting old isn't for the weak.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
3/15/22 12:18 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

I think most people here fell the same way about leading a boring life BUT not taking care of oneself makes it more likely you'll be sitting on the sofa waiting for the end.

My friend who just past was an excellent off road rider and avid cyclist. He once was on a 200 mile weekend bike ride, at the 75 mile mark he was pedaling through a small town, saw the local brothel (legal in Nevada) and decided what the heck, afterwards he got back on his bike and pedaled another 25 miles to the camp ground he was spending the night at. Pretty sure it doesn't get more alive than that.

Flash forward 30 years and his obesity lead to his diabetes, which lead to his Peripheral Artery Disease, which in turn lead to his putting on more weight. He hadn't been able to go dirt bike riding in at least a decade. Not being able to do what you love in your 50s sucks, especially when it's a direct result of things you did in your 30s. The last 5 years of his life consisted of many doctors visits and almost none of activities he loved.

My friend's in an extreme case but doing things like hoisting 150-200lb objects, because you can, may see one missing a whole season of racing thanks to back surgery. This stuff creeps up on you.

My 92 year old aunt travels the world............she takes good care of herself. I want to give myself every chance I can to do that or something similar.    

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/15/22 2:11 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

There's good advice in this column, but I predict that those that need to heed it are going to have to learn the hard way. It's the way of the world.

I'm not even 30 yet, and I'm slowly starting to become aware that I need to start taking better care of myself yesterday. I'm finding it hard to make significant lifestyle changes, but I always feel better when I'm able to talk a walk around the neighborhood every once and while.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
3/15/22 4:30 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

It's much like the 30 minute rule for keeping projects moving or cleaning up the garage;

Start with 5-10 minutes of excercise a couple of times a day. Doesn't matter what it is, when the weather's nice I take the bicycle out, if not I use the Nordic track.

Depsite being 145lbs I have to watch what I eat. I grew up eating lots of pasta & rice (living in NYC & Hawaii), I wont gain weight from the carbs but it will result in my being a diabetic............I just make the portions smaller and make sure to have something green on the plate. I bring fruit to fill the void as well. Note I pack my lunch everyday.............fast food is hard on a body.

Take that second to be kind to your body, in the shop and in general.  I've just recently got back into bike riding. I'm only doing 6-8 miles at a go and on the steeper hills I just keep a decent pace rather than charging up (motorcycle racing / crashing wasn't nice to my knees).

There are a couple of guys I vintage race with that are in their 80s.................I'm doing what I can to make that happen.

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/22 4:58 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to frenchyd :

I think most people here fell the same way about leading a boring life BUT not taking care of oneself makes it more likely you'll be sitting on the sofa waiting for the end.

My friend who just past was an excellent off road rider and avid cyclist. He once was on a 200 mile weekend bike ride, at the 75 mile mark he was pedaling through a small town, saw the local brothel (legal in Nevada) and decided what the heck, afterwards he got back on his bike and pedaled another 25 miles to the camp ground he was spending the night at. Pretty sure it doesn't get more alive than that.

Flash forward 30 years and his obesity lead to his diabetes, which lead to his Peripheral Artery Disease, which in turn lead to his putting on more weight. He hadn't been able to go dirt bike riding in at least a decade. Not being able to do what you love in your 50s sucks, especially when it's a direct result of things you did in your 30s. The last 5 years of his life consisted of many doctors visits and almost none of activities he loved.

My friend's in an extreme case but doing things like hoisting 150-200lb objects, because you can, may see one missing a whole season of racing thanks to back surgery. This stuff creeps up on you.

My 92 year old aunt travels the world............she takes good care of herself. I want to give myself every chance I can to do that or something similar.    

I know where the 100 pounds came from.  When I was selling I put in 16-18 hour days.  Much of it staring out the windshield.  Leaving at 4:00am  getting home at 10:00pm +  was lonesome work.  Only break was the few minutes at a drive through typically McDonalds. Because they were fast. 3 meals a day 5+ days a week  doing little else but sitting. 
     Over the decades the pounds got added on.   With the recession of 2008 physical work became more common as I rushed to finish the house.   During that period I lost more than 50 pounds.    I'm still putting in 12 hour days and probably will for the next couple of years. 
     But I won't ever stop working and racing vintage sports cars. 

ShiftLess
ShiftLess
3/15/22 10:22 p.m.

Those few extra calories creep up on ya... ez enough to put on 2 lbs per year which turns in to 40 lbs in 20 years... and it's always easier to take it off than to keep it off.  

You do all you can to get some extra weight out of your car, think of your diet as free horsepower :)

 

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/22 1:03 a.m.

In reply to ShiftLess :

Plus as you gain weight it tends to snowball. That is some weight adds more weight and that adds even more weight. 
  The worst thing to do is diet away that weight.  Your body reluctantly will provide fat to keep you from Dying but it remembers the loss. So once the diet is over. It gets a little extra for the next time.  Physical work where that fat is turned into muscle  is the best approach to excess weight. 

Nicole Suddard
Nicole Suddard GRM+ Memberand Marketing Coordinator
3/16/22 9:51 a.m.

Worth noting that since this column was published, pretty much the whole Suddard family has started going to the gym regularly and working with personal trainers, Tim included.

On top of the other health benefits, strength training improves coordination and makes injury doing regular activities (including garage work) a lot less likely. Tom has noted that he's faster in the race car now, too. I personally have always been a bit of a gym rat, but even I have stepped up my game along with the rest of the family. Getting weaker with age is not something I'm looking forward to, so I plan on putting it off as long as I possibly can.

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/22 10:05 a.m.

In reply to Nicole Suddard :

I'm sorry but I must respectfully disagree .  Not with your statement, it's valid.  But I've always felt the best workout is actual physical work. 

Nicole Suddard
Nicole Suddard GRM+ Memberand Marketing Coordinator
3/16/22 10:22 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

That's fine, I wasn't stating an opinion. I was simply stating the known benefits of strength training. Physical work is good, too, and I enjoy the workout I get from it when I'm able to do it. Unfortunately, I am desk-bound 5 days of the week, so I have to strength train in my free time to make sure I'm not so weak that I hurt myself when I do yard/house/car work on the weekends.

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/22 10:27 a.m.

In reply to Nicole Suddard :

I do apologize, I want to avoid seeming Elitist.  My common folk alarm goes off when I hear the word Gym. 

Nicole Suddard
Nicole Suddard GRM+ Memberand Marketing Coordinator
3/16/22 10:32 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

We live in an area where a pretty large percentage of the population goes to some sort of gym, whether it's a boutique personal training setup or something like the YMCA or Gold's. I'm a Planet Fitness member, lol. Hardly considered "elite".

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
3/16/22 10:35 a.m.

Chicks dig scars, not horrific disfigurement.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
3/16/22 10:35 a.m.

Yeah, the money I spend on a trainer and gym is cheap compared to the money I spend on race car parts, and seems to be more helpful.  Until I started working out, I didn't have the strength/stamina to be a better driver. I'd be out of energy and start to make mistakes after about 10 laps, which always limited my progression. Now, though, my body doesn't hold me back anymore. I guess there's a reason F1 drivers are always in the gym on Drive to Survive.

outasite
outasite HalfDork
3/16/22 11:38 a.m.

I was also wrenching before I was 10 years old. I am still wrenching at 75. Just preventive maintenance and seasonal winter tire/wheels on DDs. I have been biking since the mid 80s and cross country skiing/snow shoeing for 20 winters. Just joined Silver Sneakers for walking indoors during long winters.  At 6' 1" 200 lbs I am in fairly good condition. About 3 years ago my wife suggested getting a deep tissue massage for chronic aches/pains. The massage therapist located and corrected injury sites I had accrued over the years. It is not a feel good message and it is worth every dollar if you find a good therapist. Have fun.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
SSO55kQE6COllyxg2sobKsbIBdmhvDmjoChQJB5zLtpKZq6uMxKsgx1DUEIGgyF8