Synchronizing, data tracking, and the things that are supposed to make my life easier…

I ride a bicycle. I ride in an “athletic” manner, whereas I think of myself as an athlete, on a bicycle. When I was younger I raced somewhat seriously, and I felt that there might be a future in it for me. As is true for most folks, it didn’t pan out for a number of reasons, and I gave up riding pretty much completely for ten years. Somewhere in the span of time in which I joined the military, and when I became a father for the first time, I found my passion for cycling renewed, and I slowly weighed back in. It was a perfect time for it, as I had slowly begun to pack on the pounds, working as a consultant in the civilian world, having a few kids, doing a lot of sitting… So I bought a bike and I started riding. I lost a bunch of weight and I got fast again, easily the fastest among my group of riding friends, and often the fastest among folks I didn’t know. When I was young and raced, I didn’t use any sort of data tracking tools, I just rode. I rode all the time, everywhere I went, my bike represented freedom, and  I loved it.

When I started to get more serious in my cycling rebirth I discovered some folks like Joe Friel, who advocated the use of data driven training, and Chris Carmichael who advocated a very expedited training program, which also required data to compare in order to prove or disprove progress. I bought a Polar HRM because Power Meters were 3000 dollar devices that required some dedication that I didn’t have yet. I trained with that thing and ultimately developed a sort of obsession with the data it produced. I actually wrote software that would parse my ride data and track my performance for me. Perhaps another missed opportunity in that I didn’t develop and sell it, I just wanted to ride. But the point is, I was so taken with the data that if I forgot to charge my computer, or forgot to bring my Heart Rate monitor, I didn’t even WANT to ride. I would sometime cancel workouts because I couldn’t track the data. I was pretty meticulously storing everything on Training Peaks, a very nice performance and training tracking application.  It took a while to realize that I was letting data collection drive my training and for whatever reason it bothered me. So I sort of back lashed, and gave up tracking them altogether other than with a stop watch. I would start it at the beginning, and stop it at the end, SWAG the distance and then manually enter it into Training Peaks. I did it that way for a few years, I mean I’m thinking “I’m not racing these days, so why do I need to be so detail oriented?”

So fast forward to today, I’ve been using the Wahoo App on my phone for about two years to track my rides, dead set against buying a dedicated GPS for a few reasons that I had convinced myself of, but I was still saving everything to Training Peaks. The convenience of autosyncing my workouts cant be overstated, and I ended up with my current solution, where I sync to Training Peaks for real performance tracking, and Strava for mostly social reasons. ANNNYWAY, last week I bought a GPS (Wahoo ELEMNT).

More to follow…

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