I had to go to a shopping centre on the other side of the Gorge today. While I often cross over when cycling, it is different when interacting with the locals. It seemed I was a bit out of place at the shops. Being one of the very few people who wasn't wearing a blue tooth ear piece for my mobile phone, it was clear I wasn't in with the latest. One guy was ordering a coffee, and the girl serving him was never sure if he was talking to her or someone else in his ear piece. To get an ear piece, you definitely need one with a little flashing blue light, just in case it is too dark for others to notice you're wearing one.
So many gadgets. So much technology. More knowledge. More data. More blogs. Over load of forums. Every nutritional product or supplement able to be conceived available. With all that, you would think everyone would be traveling faster in races. There are some faster amateur times across endurance sports, but for the most part we aren't really traveling quicker as a whole. The reasons can be varied. More people doing the sport just to have a go or spreading the talent pool across races. I'm not going to think too hard about it. Instead I will offer that the extra technology doesn't make you faster, training does.
Power meter, heart rate monitor, GPS, iphone with training app, compression garments, analysis software, pedometer for stride rate and plenty of other goodies can take away from truly being able to listen to your body. It is regurgitated through so many coaches, athletes and articles that we need to listen to our so we train and recover properly. If we are constantly training to fit everything we do in training to a set of numbers, then how can we just feel what it is like to get into ride or run. I have caught myself being over taken by the technology. I've found myself looking up the weather on the iphone, while outside to see how hot it is. There is something wrong with that.
A component of my training is trying to ensure I relearn how my body responds to efforts I put in. That means I use some technology. A stopwatch, a bike computer and a heart rate monitor with some measured courses. However, there will be plenty of training sessions performed without any of these, and plenty where the numbers will only be looked at after the session is over.
When racing, your competitors don't know what's on your heart rate monitor or power meter. If they surge and you need to respond, does it really matter that you have moved outside your designated zone? Who says you got that zone right in the first place? Train, get good at the basics and go hard when it counts.