Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep calm and carry on

Needless to say, it has been another frustrating week when it comes to training. It isn’t just the weather and the lack of light. The primary issue is time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough of it. So, when I do get on the bike, I want to make the most of it.

Yesterday, that didn’t work out. I ran into some frustration ON the bike. However, I learned a lesson through it.

I rushed home in hopes of squeezing in my 1 x (3 min. PI with 3 min. RBI) workout before grabbing a quick bite to eat and heading out the door for an evening engagement. Things started out pretty well and the clock informed me that I would get in a solid hour of spinning. I settled in to get it done.

Keep Calm and Carry OnAs I neared the end of my 15 minute warmup, I started to ramp up the resistance. Then I shifted in a lower gear and moved the wattage up over 350 watts. At around 93 rpm I was feeling pretty good. Good vibes were starting to tingle my psyche.

The Garmin was showing a consistent pace of 93 to 94 rpm and I was watching it to keep it steady. Then suddenly the Garmin showed 0 on all the readouts. After about a second, which seemed much longer, the rpm and wattage appeared again. Hmmmmm, I wondered what caused that.

Then it happened again! I finished out that first interval with the readout coming and going. The only thing I could think of was that I was ruining my average wattage for the interval!

Once I started my Recover Between Interval section, I stopped the trainer and got off the check out the battery connections in my Quarq. It all seemed to be fine. Perhaps the rest of the session would okay.

Time now for the second Power Interval. The good vibes were gone. It wasn’t that I was finding the interval overly hard. It was that my mind was now distracted by the Garmin readout.

Sure enough, the glitch appeared again. It seemed to happen anytime I was pedaling for any consistent period of time above 350 watts. If I stayed below that, it didn’t seem to flake out on me.

I felt the frustration welling up in me. It isn’t just that by itself that caused it. It was more of the straw that broke the camel’s back deal. It was hard enough to find the time to get on the bike. NOW, I had to deal with issue while I was on it. I couldn’t escape!

Then I paused to consider the stupidity of my reaction. Just because my Garmin wasn’t recording my wattage doesn’t mean I wasn’t producing it. Just because my TrainingPeaks would record 235 watts for that first 3 minutes doesn’t mean that I wasn’t averaging over 350.

Why was I don’t this? Was it so I could record it somewhere or because I was wanting to improve my stamina in those hard efforts that come in a race? If it was the former, then I had reason to be frustrated. If it was the later (as it should be) then I was right on target.

So, going into the third interval, I put the Garmin out of my mind. Now it was just about the workout. I was still getting enough of a reading to know whether I was in the proper zone. Who cares if it didn’t record accurately in the database.

Interestingly, I started to have to pace myself a bit more in the fourth interval. The average wattage began to drop below 350 and, sure enough, the glitch disappeared. Most of the third and the final three intervals recorded just fine.

What was my lesson learned? Chill out, man! In a world of check lists, to do items and schedules, sometimes you need to remind yourself why you have the scheduling and management tools that you use. You have to be sure that you are using them and not the other way around.

Powermeters, cycling computers, heart rate monitors, etc., etc. are cool tools. They can be very helpful. However, if your ride is frustrating to you because your computer battery went dead and now you won’t know how many miles you rode… that computer just became more important than the bike to which it is connected.

Next time that happens to me I’m going to look at it as an opportunity and a reminder to focus even more on the enjoyment and love of the activity. If you ride your bike and your cycling computer doesn’t record it, did you ride? What a silly question.