A few weeks ago my Uncle told me: “You know what your problem is?” “This thing!” He replied holding up my Garmin unit that had been sitting on the table in front between us. “You’re paying too much attention to this thing and not enough to how you’re actually feeling. ” I countered with something about how all the data I had just spent the last five minutes talking about came from analysis after the fact, but deep down I knew that was a half truth. I’ve talked about it before, and the truth remains. I’m not just a data whore, but a slave to that little machine that sits on my stem.
I was replaying this conversation over in my head as I swapped out yet another test stem last Friday. In a rare moment of clarity I decided that I would go the weekend without it, well without it on the stem at least. The plan was to ride the weekend without constantly looking down to check my heart rate, or how long I’d been out.
Saturday morning I rolled away from the house at six in the morning to meet up with a teammate and few others for a longish ride in the West Hills. Still a data slave (“For my records” I told myself) I pressed the start button, slipped the unit into the pocket of my vest and headed off to the meet spot. The ride was fun. I meet new people, people I wish I’d known before the season started and I had an opportunity to work on my very weak descending skills. This was all well and good, but through out the ride (mostly on th hills) I kept looking down at my stem to “see how I was feeling” How absurd! Like I couldn’t tell?
I’m not going to claim that I’ve been training long enough to know when I’m hitting my targeted heart rate. I haven’t. Knowing that data, especially when you’re trying to do your intervals, is important. It’s what will lead to progress, eventually.
Still, I pay too much attention to the damn thing. I’ve backed up off it at the races a bit, but I’m sure that I’ve used to to sink my share my break a way attempts. After a good session last Tuesday I have a better idea of how long I can hold above my LT, now its time to put that to practice. Now I just have to learn that feelings, so I don’t have to look down. Eyes forward Grunau, Eyes forward.
Sunday’s experiment went a bit better. I didn’t feel the impulse to look down, and I rode based on how I was really feeling, and not by what the HR monitor was telling me. One thing I learned during the Eugene Roubaix is that if you’ve got the legs it doesn’t really matter what the HR monitor shows. When you’re on form it doesn’t feel the same. Based on what little knowledge I have of course.
This is definitely an experiment that needs to continue. There has to be a middle ground somewhere and I’m determined to find it.