On Consuming the Right Amount of Technology, and Beer
Two things that can add to a ride, or take away from it
Iwas shocked. Just shocked when I had read what Andrew Randell and Steve Neal had written. Were they contradicting themselves? In Randell and Neal’s article in this issue (‘How to Stay Fresh All Summer,’ p.37), they write, “Put aside your head unit and just enjoy riding. Don’t worry about heart rate, power numbers or Strava. These can often be detrimental to your enjoyment of a beautiful summer’s day.” It’s great advice, sure. But these guys, just two issues ago, had written about the importance of collecting data, as much data as possible, to help you improve your fitness. So, were they changing their minds about getting b.p.m., r.p.m. and watts? No, of course not. I’m sure both Randell and Neal would say grab those numbers if you can. But if those numbers are hindering your enjoyment, well then leave out the data collection for a bit. More important than getting ride data is just riding. That might seem a bit obvious, but sometimes a ride can seem…cluttered.
I definitely take “tech breaks,” which may sound a bit blasphemous coming from someone who tests so much gear. I’d say, however, that those breaks are no different than the time you might take away from your bike, to rest and recharge, so you can then get back on with renewed enthusiasm. A lot of the tech I spent time with for this issue has features that can make it less obtrusive. For example, before your ride, you can set the Shimano sport camera (p.82) so that it starts recording only when your power meter reads a certain amount of wattage. The camera will film when you drop watt bombs because it will trigger when you launch. You can focus on riding. Afterwards, you can fuss with the video. Even features that are much more humble can make for a less cluttered ride when you use them well. With the Garmin Edge 820, the judicious use of its battery save mode can keep its screen off for most of your ride. You’ll record all the data you want and get navigation instructions when you need them. Otherwise, you can keep your eyes on the surrounding countryside. You can strike the right balance.
In this issue’s look at beer and bikes (p.40), there’s another balancing act that comes up. Writer Cheryl Madliger speaks with Nanci Guest, a dietician who studies the connections between nutrition and genes. I wasn’t surprised when Guest said that if you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start. If you are serious about performance, then the best thing to do is to avoid beer, wine and cocktails. But, even Guest admits, there’s more to the post-ride beer than calories, carbs and alcohol. There’s the social aspect of grabbing a drink, which is beneficial. Beer, like tech, is best consumed in appropriate amounts at the appropriate times.
I’ll drink – occasionally – to that.
The most decorated DH rider in history, Greg Minnaar, enjoys a cold one after finals in Mont-sainte-anne