There’s so much out there. Tools, gadgets, computers of both weird and wonderful in nature, that all profess to be able to help a cyclist’s performance. But what are the best tech-support options we can utilise? What should we prioritise? Josh Page from GMC Coaching has some thoughts, and it’s not what you’re probably thinking.
#justaskGMC: with so much technology out there that can help us train and race better, what are the most useful tech-support gadgets to get our hands on?
Without blowing our own trumpet, the best tech support gadget a rider wanting to improve can get is a coach and a good training programme. Technology is only as good as the person who knows how to use it. There are plenty of people out there with power meters and they upload religiously but they have no idea how to use them and as a result just have a bunch of numbers on their screen.
Strava is great for tracking fast times over sections of riding, but it’s all relative. If you want to win a Strava segment wait for a warm day with a tail wind. Chances are the person with the KOM Strava segment isn’t the fastest rider just the one who knows how to best work the conditions to their advantage.
Programmes like What’s Today’s Plan and Training Peaks are only as good as the person driving it. A good training plan written on A4 paper with a pencil will beat a poor plan on a fancy cloud based programme any day. The problem with technology is it’s only as good as the person using it, and like computers most of us are only using that technology at 10% of its capacity. However technology only really tells us what we are doing or what we have done, and I think we all know how we are doing realistically, and we certainly know what we did. Did you get dropped? Well you just aren’t good enough. Buy a Powermeter……..you’ll still get dropped, it’ll just tell you how you’re not good enough. But what do you do with that information? That is what makes the difference.
Dave Brailsford coined the term ‘marginal gains’, and then with Team GB and Team Sky went on to conquer the world of cycling. So we all jumped on the band wagon. Marginal gains this marginal gains that. Which is fine, when you’re at the top of your game and looking for gains that are less than a single %. If you look at how much Chris Froome won this year’s Tour by in time you’ll find its less than 0.5%. What about when you have huge room for improvement if you look at the fundamentals?
A $20,000 ultra light bike is awesome, with the latest and greatest carbon this that and the other thing. But it means nothing when you could loose 3 x the bikes weight off your belly. The advantage with a coach is they are a tech-support gadget with your best interest at heart. If you’re motivated to succeed they will move heaven and earth to help you. That is what coaches do, sometimes you may hate them and think nothing they do is helping you, but just like an army drill sergeant, they are not there to be your friend 100% of the time. Sometimes they need to bully you and prepare you for the worst so when that happens you can tackle it head on and come out on top and not crumble.
Buying a Garmin, bolting it to your handle bar and opening a Strava account won’t make you a better rider, employing a coach and listening to and following their advice will.
Photo: Mark Sowry