Heart Rate Monitors are the best piece of training equipment that I will never use again... This has been a difficult season in which to train, what with the odd, ever shifting weather, much craziness at the office and just the usual stuff that life throws at you. Until this point my training has been fitting in between things. It hasn't been the best. But, what they say is true, "A bad day in the saddle is a better then a good day just about anywhere else".
So, it's officially summer now and I feel like I am about to start my Spring training, somewhere in front of, or under, the eight ball. Today is Friday, and it's a glorious day outside. The air is cool and dry. The sun is rising. There is a fresh Spring like scent on the breeze. I had planned on riding, hence I am geared up and ready. It is 5:50am. I decide that I'd like to gauge where I am fitness wise. So, I wrap the chest strap of my heart rate monitor around my rib cage, apply a little electrode gel, place the monitor on my wrist and throw a leg over my reliable steed. I've never used the HRM on the bike before, just in the gym on stationary equipment. This will be novel, using it on a real ride.
I roll out. Things are going well. The road is quiet (as it should be at 6am), traffic is minimal. I decide upon a route and pedal on,turning onto my route, the HRM begins beeping wildly. I think to myself, "Ok, that's just a Zone alarm, it'll go away once i get moving"
It doesn't. It beeps rapidly, as if keeping pace with my pulse. I switch modes. It continues to beep. There are arrows on the face that point up and down. It continues beeping. Numbers are flashing. My pulse is there, rapidly rising. It beeps louder. I am trying to pay attention to traffic lights, pedal my usual 90rpm cadence, and at the same time, figure out why this infernal device keeps beeping.
Suddenly, I am mentally transported to my work day... In my mind, I am standing in front of some printer that is flashing, "ERROR: PC Load LETTER." It is beeping. I am standing in front of someone's crashed PC... they are indignant that it's not working. Another printer beeps piercingly in the background. "Add Cyan toner..."
The tension of the chest strap of the HRM, constricting my ribs drags me back. I squeeze the buttons on the HRM randomly until it shuts off. The beeping stops. I breathe deeply. I wrench off the monitor and strap, throwing them in my jersey pocket. I hammer on until I leave the beeps echoing in my mind behind. They fade.
It occurs to me that riding is my daily vacation. The notion of Zone Alarms and pulse monitoring becomes ludicrous. I laugh out loud, digging into the pedals for the joy of muscles moving and blood thumping - deeply, softly drumming in my ears drowning the shrill memory of the jarring electronic beeps.
When I started riding, I did it just for fun. Now, I do it as a form of escapism. It has become a way to get away from my everyday, to extinguish tension and stress, to find myself when I am metaphorically lost. And when I get away, I don't need technology to measure where I am at, because I know that every ride will be a good ride. Before I know it, 30 miles have passed... I am nearly found...