February 07, 2017 0 Comments
I have a crisis on my hands! Well, an issue. OK, let's call it a First World Problem.
I've lost my Garmin. I'm convinced I put it in one of my jacket pockets when I was washing my bike, but after checking all my jackets (and my dad’s) I'm still no closer to finding it. I've been forced to accept that today and maybe for the pre-payday future I will be riding with no Garmin.
So without a Garmin to plan my route or to tell me how fast or far I'm going, I'll need to think outside the box and train slightly differently. But hang on a minute, am I really so reliant on that little digital box that sticks out of my handlebars? I guess so!
It's no secret that we are in the midst of a technological revolution. Everything in life is driven and directed by technology, and this technology has moved into the bike industry with great success. We now have power meters, heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, speedos and even hidden motors if you’re feeling particularly naughty. Our bikes are no longer humble mechanical workings: they are advanced machines capable of telling you exactly how you’re doing and where you are going.
Gone are the days of feeling good – that doesn't matter anymore. What matters are your stats. You simply have to get on your bike and pedal forwards until you are seeing the numbers you want.
Now I'm not saying technology is ruining cycling - on the contrary, I actually think it's helping progression and even safety in a huge way. But it is taking over some of our ability to think for ourselves.
Take my ride today, for example. I'm not afraid to admit I was a little lost getting ready this morning. My digital partner in crime was missing and I felt it!
So before I hit the road I needed to work out my route. I knew where I wanted to go, but with no average speed to look at, how was I going to know if I was in a good ride or not?
Out comes the map. My plan was to work out some checkpoints at four-mile intervals so that as I blasted through them I could check my watch and work out my average speed. Complicated I know, but I guess this is how the old boys had to do it. Maybe I should ring my granddad.
Then I remembered a section from Graeme Obree's book 'The Flying Scotsman'. He was talking about how when he trained for the hour record out on the road and felt a gear was too hard for his legs he would simply change into an even harder gear – a punishment for mental and psychological weakness! Now that's what I call training!
After remembering this I decided to ditch my checkpoint plan and just go big . . . with my gears at least!
So off I went on a route me and my dad call the 'TT' run. We call it that because it's relatively short with a really long and straight piece of road you can blast, perfect for my forced Garmin-less Obree training.
When I got to the straight I changed into my hardest gear, leant on my bars and pedalled. To my surprise I actually managed to keep the gear going for the whole straight. I wasn't exactly spinning, but I wasn't just grinding either!
I am usually so focused on my average speed and cadence that I don't go near that gear, so I was made up – so much so that instead of turning left at the end of the road I turned right and rode the long way home on pure adrenaline!
When I finally did get back I was shattered, my legs were cooked and I had to have a nap. I think the last point alone proves that I had made the most of my training session!
So I guess the moral of the story is that although this new cycling technology is awesome and certainly has its place in 2017 you can still ride without it. In fact, as my ride today proves, you can still train without it, you just have to go hard, harder than you think you can go!
Cycling is just as simple as it's always been, even with all the added extras. The harder you pedal the faster you go. Technology or no technology, you’re still cycling somewhere and that's what matters.
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