Here in Southern California, we love our technology and our arsenal of gadgets. We have apps for everything. Garmins for the handlebars, the Apple watch, the ANT+ heart rate monitors, Strava, and ways to collect myriad of data for every mile we ride.
Recently, I’ve noticed that at the conclusion of my weekly night ride, my buddies and I stand around the trailhead, and rather than bask in the afterglow of a good ride with friends, we’re uploading data to the cloud. We dork around with our smart phones, comparing our new segment times.
Now, I love getting my very infrequent KOM (King of the Mountain, for you non-Strava riders), a PR (personal record), or beating my last time as much as the next guy. But I have to ask myself: Do these gadgets, and their ability to measure my performance, enhance or detract from the ride?
Last night, I had the chance to unplug and just ride. Of course, it was unintentional. I forgot to charge my iPhone. I did however, remember to charge my NiteRider. So, I grabbed my low-tech steed (a titanium XC rig), and set out on a dusk ride through the desert. Without concern for beating my last sprint to the summit, I enjoyed a brisk but not brutal pace. The aroma of sagebrush and wildflowers wafted into my nose. The beautiful, if not eerie, lighting of the sun setting behind the mountains made the colors of cactus blooms and goldenrod pop before my eyes. The sounds of the tire tread ripping around corners and flying over rocks was only punctuated by the distant howl of coyotes out for their evening hunt. Every sense was heightened and my only goal was to enjoy the moment. No data to quantify the grateful smile on my face.
So, in the week’s blog, I want to encourage you to unplug for one ride this week. Don’t measure. Just observe. And enjoy. Treasure your friends, thank God for your health, and savor every mile.