Powerless, and loving it!

The season has begun.

I am now on the new 2012 Specialized S-works Amira.  Best bike ever.  I have tried a lot of different bikes over the years, I have as they say “been around the block”  (a few times), so I think my opinion counts for something.

However, this time switching over to the new bike I decided to let the ol’ Powertap (PT) stay on the “old” bike. It’s kinda outdated already anyhow. It’s the wired version from 2006, and even though it works plenty well, it just seems too antiquated to use anymore.  Much too archaic to muck up my new, pristine machine. Who wants all those ugly wires ruining the beautiful job Specialized did this year to eliminate such cable unsightliness (they made most cables and housing internal). In a world where image is everything, how can I possibly add that outdated piece of technology to my gorgeous S-Works?

Well, I can’t.

Face it, my PT is an eyesore.  It has gotta go.

So what this means for me is I am riding powerless.  Yep that is correct: I am training without watts. No heart rate either, that went out the window in the 90’s.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

You can’t do that, can you? How will you know that you are training right? Hitting the correct “numbers”?  When will you know that you made good training, or that you sucked, that you’re tired?  How, oh how will you ever know if you are improving? Or over-trained? And for heaven’s sake, what will your coach think?

My coach?  Ha ha.  She likes the idea.

You see, I have coached myself for quite a few years now.  So, no worries there. In fact, quite the opposite as I am really looking forward to returning to ground zero, so to speak, and train again how we all used to train when I first started. Back to training by (gasp) feel. Yep, I look forward to going back to my early days and training with visualization and trying to mimic the same effort that I would do and feel in a race. It can be done. Seriously. You see once upon a time there was not this thing called power training. Watts? What’s that?  Yes, once there was cycling without knowing one’s personal wattage and we all did okay with that.

Today when I train with watts I am not really sure what benefit I am getting anymore.  I have not really used the PT for anything more then confirming what I already knew after I have completed my intervals. Did I nail that set of 5 minute hill climbs?  Well my PT says the first was good, the second better, the third the best and then I struggled in the last two.  But I already knew that.

I do not look at my PT when I do intervals. Never have.  I have always, and still do, train by feel.  So I am sad to say that training with power serves me no purpose.  And my PT is old; I am not going to fork out the big bucks to update it.  Plus, it is my last season racing and there just is no need at this point to have the latest version of the PT, or any power meter.  But honestly, I think it will be fun to train and race again like I did when I began all those years ago, way back in the early 90’s.

Just me, my brain and my bike.

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4 responses

  1. Denise Dykstra | Reply

    Hey Anne, does “going back to my early days” mean resurrecting the old stationary bike from our white house on 102 street? :)

    1. Anne Samplonius | Reply

      Ha ha…. hell yes that was my simple start to my careeer, and perhaps I need to go back to that in my training!

  2. Patrick Van de Wille | Reply

    Anne, this is inspirational! I have said for many, many years that cycling began to suffer as a sport when riders began paying attention only to the readout in front of them rather than to the race around them. I would have no objection to banning wireless, banning monitors of any kind, and just letting people compete the way they used to: as humans, not as machines. I have no doubt races back then were slower, less “perfect”, less optimally trained. But they were certainly more inspiring.

    1. Anne Samplonius | Reply

      Thank-you Patrick.
      We are racing without radios in the USA these past 2 years and I tell you the teams with savvy riders and leadership are the only teams able to race. It is exposing the faults the “wired” racing has created and personally, I love it. I am not a hardcore, “old school” cyclist by any means, and I write this post to try and get some riders to think beyond the technology and perhaps bring some balance back to the sport (if it’s at all possible anymore).

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