Thursday, May 5, 2011

gone with the wind

often I get home from a ride exhilarated and joyful.
sometimes I'm frozen, sometimes I'm crusted with dried sweat and tears.
I'm always glad to be home, and I'm usually grateful for the great ride I've had.

and then there are those times I say, wow, that was a great training ride.

"training ride," in my vernacular, means yucch, sure didn't enjoy that one.

yesterday's ride was a great training ride.
often, as was the case yesterday, it's due to the wind. it was wicked, and only fun when it was directly behind my rear wheel.

if you've been following me for a while, you know I have a thing with the wind: it messes with my mind. here's why: unless it's a recovery day, I work hard when I ride. and I gauge where my heartrate is based on my perceived exertion, and I'm almost always right on, within a few beats. unless I have a significant headwind. then I can work like crazy, certain that my heart is beating like mad, look down at my monitor and see some wimpy mid-work-zone rate and I just crumble.
I go through a "how can this be?" process, and fall apart. I think, I can't work any harder, and yet my monitor is telling me I can.
I've been trying to figure this out for years.
some have suggested it's psychological.

today I had a break-through: I think I've figured it out, and I'm floating on a cloud of either understanding or denial, hoping for the former.

I've always noticed a tendency for my heartrate monitor to show numbers much higher than possibly true when I have a strong headwind: they can jump 20 or 30 beats, and I know they're incorrect. when I press the chest strap in more closely it will sometimes go back to normal. well, today, I had two monitors reading the message from my strap, and they were all over the board, from 125 to 223. normal work zones for me on the downhill range from about 150-174.
the lightbulb?
the fact that I was seeing artificially low numbers as well as impossibly high numbers: ah ha! for some reason, my strap is sending undependable messages to my monitors when it's aggressively windy, and therefore, it's likely that when I see low numbers when my perceived exertion is high, the monitor isn't accurate.

I am tough!
I'm not a wind wimp!
I don't have psychological problems!
well, at least not related to my performance on a bicycle on windy days.

this may not seem like a big deal, or you might not agree with my possible explanation, but it sure feels right to me, and helps explain what has been inexplicable to me for a long time.

all that being said, it doesn't change the fact that yesterday's ride was a great training ride.
it just makes me feel like I trained a little better than I'd thought.

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