Thursday, May 6, 2010

No Batteries Required - rhetorical thoughts on the insistent use of technology (with sport)

It appears that the majority of my friends engaged in a variety of sport - myself included - tend to gravitate towards gauging progress and process with an insistent use of technology, be it the latest GPS device or data-mining gizmo.  It makes logical sense to have a common language - data - with which we can measure our personal performance and communicate that with each other as well.  Unfortunately, when this is the only approach, it falls short of embracing the sport at its core and limits our own experience(s).

My question, then, is how much technology is truly necessary, and to what end?  Further, how often should we unplug and get back to the raw pleasure of "sport for sport's sake"?

For me, life is about balance - in all things.  To each one's own, but something that always brings a smile to my face is a cyclist zipping around on a classy cromoly steel bike frame, weight and gadgets be damned!  A purist that simply engages the sport at its fundamental level, where pleasure and pain come together and at the end of the ride s/he knows their success not because the numbers say so, but because they went out "just for a little ride" that just may possibly evolve into the best ride of their life.

Truly, it is romantic in the classical sense, as well it should be.  If  I go out to do 'x' number of sets at average 'y' ... well ... 'r'(omance) just doesn't fit into that equation.  We have all explored a new trail, a new path, a new course and remember the excitement and anticipation that comes from not knowing what is around the next turn or the view at the top of the hill or mountain.

I have an off-road duathlon this Saturday (run - mountain bike - run)  and I'm making it a point to not charge the 405 and leave it at the house, and my bike stem's computer mount will be empty and I no lesser for it.

I look forward knowing that the only true measure of my success will be the amount of pleasure derived from spending time with friends and fellow athletes and the euphoric release of endorphins amongst a cacophony of dirt, sweat and sunshine.  (Oh, and they having timing chips so I can satisfy my curiosity... later :)

Just so we're crystal, I reserve all judgment because believe me, data has its place in my life without equivocation.  It's just knowing when to use it, and arguably equally important to our personal growth, when not to.

Until next time.  Happy trails.


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