In the dark, grey months of winter in Squamish I’ve begun to train on Corsa Cycles’ computrainers.
For those unfamiliar it’s essentially a computer hooked up to a stationary trainer where you can load different courses and the trainer adjust resistance for the hills etc. You can race someone next to you, ride by yourself or face the computer. It shows your wattage, rpm, speed, heart rate and all your averages. It also has a graph of your pedal stroke efficiency, or lack there of. It’s a lot of information.
I have all these displays flashing in front of me and I begin to focus on the numbers; maybe a bit too much. I aim to never drop below 150 watts and maintain an average RPM of 90. Then I look at my heart rate and think, “holy shit it’s too high I’m never going to last like this for another 30km!” I look at my pedal stroke and begin focusing on getting rid of that peanut shape and creating a perfect circle. I see my wattage has dropped and my heart rate has spiked. Damn it.
While all these numbers are useful and really cool to nerd out over, they can sometimes ruin a ride. Sometimes, and I mean sometimes ignorance is bliss. I’ve started to put my towel over my heart rate display so I only check it a few times a session. I focus on one thing for the ride like maintaining an average of 90 RPM’s and forgetting the rest. I’m not ignoring them, I’m aware but I’m not staring. I’m not trying to master every aspect of my ride. The next session I will forget about my avg RPM and focus on my pedal stroke, and then my wattage the session after that. I’ve found that I’ve been getting my best results this way. I don’t have these predetermined numbers in my mind to dictate how hard I can go. I believe in being aware but trying not to stare.