Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cycling: A Numbers Game?

Over the last several decades, with the introduction of heart rate monitors and power meters, cycling prowess is becoming more and more quantifiable. Nowadays, it seems a cyclist's capacity for performance boils down to data points and stats, all neatly displayed on their handlebars.

As much as these tools have done for the advancement of the sport, they've also killed some of the mysticism and romance. I don't see anything inspirational about recounting a rider's wattage output on an epic break-a-way or a hors categorie climb. To me, it robs something from the accomplishment.

Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate all this data as a testament to the professional cyclist's incredible athletic abilities. But it doesn't take everything into account. There's heart, there's passion, there's unyielding discipline and dedication - none of these things can be measured but they can just as easily determine who stands on the podium and who does not.

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