Cycling is a gear oriented sport. Or at least, it attractions gear oriented folks. For the most part, I think it is a good thing. Nothing keeps motivation going like a new power meter, bike, pair of shoes, etc.
There are some challenges. A rider still needs to be able to understand their body and pay attention to the feeling as much as some number on a computer. I’ve gone “clean cockpit” for years and enjoyed just focusing on the sensations of training. One drawback to the lack of information has been in the early season training. If you have taken any time off in the winter/fall, there is a bit of sensitivity lost. Your body can be telling you 350 watts, but the reality is more like 175 watts. Another draw back is that I can be late for stuff since I really have no idea what time it is as a ride….
Most recently I was given a V800 Polar watch for Christmas. I’ve been running and swimming more this off season and it was a good way to keep track of more than bike specific activities. Additionally, it has allowed me to ease back into training with tech. I am still without a power meter (I own one, just not using it) and am just focusing on HR. The V800 allows me to monitor a ton on the bike, total effort on my body over time for all activities and recovery. It is pretty slick and can do more than I have the time to put into it. I’ll do a write up on it at some point to share more since there isn’t too much out there from someone using it as a primary tool for training.
I know that I am faster earlier in the season with using this new piece of tech. I also know that it is a good reminder to get out there more often than not, or to take a break when I should. As I get older, it seems that really being careful with my training load is critical to improving. I think the V800 will help. So far I’ve been able to use it to increase my speed running. (cadence and HR tolerance) and to increase my efficiency swimming (comparing fast stroke rate and HR to longer strokes and HR). I’m not sure if it can have that kind of affect on the bike since I have so much more experience there. I do think it will help in the sense of how I track recovery. I also know that there will be times that I will still get out on the bike and not look at the watch. Just for the sake of getting in a soul cleansing ride without any pressure of knowing if I am at the right HR to sustain my threshold for a 50 min. climb.