Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oblivious and loving it.

Strava just makes me shake my head in wonder.  Map My Ride?  Seriously, who really wants to know all the details of your ride though town or how fast you got up the local hill compared  to whoever?

I am not sure how it all  started, this fascination with KOMs and stats and PBRs, etc.  I want to blame the triathletes.  How can you trust someone that never wears sleeves on their jerseys?  It is mostly two wheeled navel gazing if you ask me, perhaps a natural outgrowth of our fascination with all things relating to ourselves.  "Enough of me talking about me...tell me what YOU think about me!", etc.

I actually have, at one time or another, used a heart rate monitor, bike computer, and a GPS.  I have long since forgotten about HRMs...I figure that at this age, if my heart is still beating then that is good enough for me because one day it will cease to do so.  I do not need a HRM to tell me when that happens.  Bike computers can be handy, especially on road bikes if you are doing organized centuries, etc.  Less so on a mountain bike.  Carry your bike or push it for a while and see what that does for your computer's accuracy.  Now GPS, that is handy.  That is a great tool, although you can rely on it too much, but it can keep you on a predetermined course even in the dark, etc.

I guess that some of my disinterest in all this micro-managing of my ride experiences is due to the fact that I have no use for a real training plan and I have no illusions of podium appearances anywhere.  Could care less.  I just want to ride my bike.  And if I am slow at it, I will ride more, ride harder, ride less to rest, or just enjoy the day anyway despite my speed or lack thereof.

So if you are a contender or a serious, serious competitor, I get it.  But that is so few and far between, this whole game of stats and numbers seems to be just another phase of this generation's addiction to information.  Gimme' more info, give it to me faster, etc, like somehow that brings meaning to the experience.  I think it just brings increased anxiety, if the truth be known, and we as a society have enough of that already, along with a decreased ability to separate the truly important from the merely transient.

So when I do a new route, I typically figure it out in hours.  And from then on, Route A is a 3 hour ride, Route B is a 5 hour ride, etc, based on my average pace.  I will grab the GPS every so often and run the miles the first time I ride something new, but even then that is rare.  Usually I know how long something is in miles from someone else telling me.  Cool enough.

But the biggest reason that I care little for how many gigawatts I generated or my average endorphin level over the .5 Miles of Hell KOM route or my heart rate adjusted for altitude and bran muffins over the last 24 hours is that none of that enriches my basic experience of just riding a bike across the surface of the earth.

And that is something that I never tire of doing, and while it may not be my reason for is not, by the is a wonderful, hard, freeing, sweaty, adventurous, child-like pursuit of the horizon and what it promises.

Not a Strava run.
Image courtesy of gnat.


Fonk said...

Agreed. I used to use the HR monitor religiously, track my average speed on a given course, etc. back in my racing days, but since I don't really race much anymore, I just don't give a f---. I use the GPS to simply track my time, course, etc., but that's about it.

Geoffrey said...

I dissent. I use Strava, and I love it. Here are some reasons why:

* I'm always looking for folks to ride with. It becomes easier if they are (a) close to my speed and (b) ride in the same area I do. I have found several riding friends this way.

* I like to track myself. I understand not caring about the ride. I have ridden without Strava recently, because I didn't care. However, I like to know if I really did go faster on a technical descent than I did three months ago, or if I'm deceiving myself.

* I'm a two-time cancer survivor. I've had a number of times where I thought "Wow, that felt really tiring. Maybe it's back." Then I see the Strava results, and can see that I don't have to worry; it was just a fast ride.

Interestingly, I have no feedback mid-ride, except a clock. My actual speed at a given time doesn't concern me.

Enjoy riding. If something helps you enjoy your rides, stick with it. If it doesn't, don't.

grannygear said...

There is always room for dissent.

Guitar Ted said...

Had a laugh the other day when someone was distressed that "their KOM" was "stolen" by another local rider and they were wondering how soon they could get out to "take it back". They were seriously expending a lot of feeling and worry over this. Weird.

I think that this is the main reason Strava and the like is not a good thing. I get Geoffrey's point, and there are probably more out there like him.

But he's the only one I've heard tell of that is. Most are like my acquaintance.