måndag 3 december 2012

The joy of tech, part one - going for a ride.

What could be simpler than getting on your bike and pedalling around a few back roads for a couple of hours of exercise?

Well, as it turns out, in this day and age we can make it as convoluted as we wish. This week CX Sweden's Stuffmeister pops out the door for a spot of riding, eventually, after everything is charged, connected, configured, and calculated.

OK, so you're heading out the door for a ride, however remember it's winter, it's cold, and there are icy puddles everywhere, what does the traditional cyclist do? Dons overshoes, or for extreme conditions full winter boots. However the tech savvy cyclist will first plug their inner soles into their computer to warm them up, thus enabling them to continue wearing their summer racing shoes well into winter for additional style points.

So whilst their shoes are warming its time to plan a route. Simple right? The traditional cyclist knows their territory like the back of their hand, if not then they'll pull a map out and string together a route taking in the terrain he feels like riding that day. The tech savvy cyclist? Well, as the computer is already on then he can check the area out on Strava and search for King of the Mountain segments that are within his reach and plan the easiest route to the base so he's fresh for the challenge. Don't forget to check the weather online for wind direction and strength, nothing says amateur mistake like riding to a hill then having to put up with the indecency of a headwind.

Basic cx training coming up...

So twenty minutes later with a route planned, maybe even loaded on to his head unit of choice so he'll know when to turn, he's ready for the off. Except he's not, first he needs a GPS connection accurate enough for the US military, then he'll need to configure his power meter of choice so he'll know the exact effort he's putting out.

Now he is ready to roll and take back the KoM from the club mate who stole it last week, expect he's riding solo today, so what’s to say that he hasn't just strapped his Garmin to the car and driven up the damn hill just quick enough to take it back without suspicion. No, what the tech savvy cyclist does is strap on the GoPro instead, it'll make great content for his blog. So now he's recording the ride, (providing its charged), and he's off.

Rolling along quiet country roads enjoying the scenery and slowing erasing the stress of the work week, that's our traditional cyclist. However the tech savvy cyclist has a constant irritation buzzing around his head, "when's the last time I charged my DI2?", "What happens if I'm stuck in 53x12 for the rest of the ride". EPS users can worry three times as frequently here.

When Strava has taken over...

So he made it back home, gears working or not. Our traditional friend throws his bike in the garage, (steel is real don't you know), whilst the tech savvy busies himself with loading up his stats and playing with the numbers, (whilst wearing compression tights, of course). Average speed and total ascent, old news, he needs normalized power outputs and training stress scores. Not to mention the much anticipated moment when Strava tells him if he's re-claimed his KoM and sends out that mail to his club mate saying "Uh oh! CX Sweden's Stuffmeister just stole your KOM!" Ooh let that kudos roll in.

Right, time to write, the traditionalist will keep a nice paper based training log, whilst the tech savvy will blog it, document it on FunBeat, start a thread on the forum of choice, (double points for doing this in multiple languages on different forums), and then publish the film.

So that's one 2 hour ride, and roughly the equal amount of time consumed in pre and post rituals.

Next time Stuffmeister goes training, and things get technical very quickly......