Why Technology, Coaches and Athlete Support are More Important than Ever.
Another day, another report of a local cyclist being harassed, run off the road, injured, or even killed. This has become a new normal, and while the politics behind the issue rage on, athletes are unfortunately having to adjust to the current conditions. From professional endurance athletes that are putting their safety on the line everyday, to potential new athletes that are choosing not to get into the sport because of the “safety issue,” this is too big to ignore. The focus of this blog post is how to best deal with these current training conditions, assuming they are here to stay. More specifically, I am not going to dive into the politics behind the problem, nor I am I going to suggest a solution/measure, even though I have a long list of thoughtful ideas. My end point being – there are ways to have fun, get faster (win!), and stay safe while training – no matter where you reside.
Side Track – I am not sure I have ever known a cyclist who has not
been verbally or physically assaulted at one time or another. That’s pretty crazy to think about isn’t it? Every single cyclist, male and female, that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing has dealt with this problem first-hand, yet things continue to get worse. Is this because of more cars on the road? More cyclists? Bad behavior? Less respect? I’m not sure, and like I said, I’m staying away from the politics behind the issue. I was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, and have been lucky to have the opportunity to ride in 5 continents and more US States than I can recall. What I’ve learned is that there is not one place that sits above all others in the cycling safety conversation. Yes, some places are more dangerous than others, but not one place is immune to this issue. I live in Boulder, CO, the so-called “Mecca” for cycling and triathlon, and we are not immune to this problem.
Now is the Time to Embrace Training Technology
Just as our iPhones get brighter, faster, and more sophisticated, our training tools are becoming more advanced than ever. For both indoor and outdoor riding, there are tools you can use to maintain or even elevate your training level, while increasing your safety precautions. ICEdot will send a text message to your emergency contact when your helmet detects a crash, Garmin Varia warns cyclists of speeding cars coming from behind, Solos places your head unit’s screen inside of your sunglasses as a heads-up display so you don’t need to look down. The list goes on and on. The advances in indoor training technology are arguably even more advanced with smart trainers, training software, recovery tools, and more. Software like Zwift and The Sufferfest have evolved into dynamic coaching tools thatmonitor progress for athletes of all abilities. Coaches can use the tools provided by TrainingPeaks to create workout files that can be directly downloaded to smart trainers for their athletes to follow. Athletes can relay physiological information to their coaches via devices like Cercacorand Whoop. While the environment we train in seems to be “decaying,” the advancement in technology available to us can offset many of the training setbacks we’ve had as athletes. My advice is for athletes to try something new, and for coaches to embrace technology for the benefit and safety of their athletes. Coaches should be familiar with what tools and technology are out there so they may have a conversation with their athletes whom may have concerns about safety.
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