Saturday, January 14, 2006

Heart Rate Monitor

(Pulled from the archives of the Monocog log)

Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 6:28 AM
From: "Kent Peterson"
To: "Michael Rasmussen"
Subject: Re: Advice from other randos

On Sun, 10 Apr 2005 17:22:02 -0700, "Michael Rasmussen" said:

> This is something I think you'll appreciate.
> For the first time ever I"ve received unsolicited advice about riding
> with a heart rate monitor.
> Dave said "You should use one. You'll know when you're slacking and can
> ride faster. If you're riding along and your heart is only at 120 you
> know you can speed up."
> Susan said "Use one to control yourself. Set a max and don't exceed it.
> When I do this I finish the ride with plenty of energy left."
> Seemingly at odds. But I know there's a central truth. Both use the
> tool to meet their goals. Dave, though I've only met him this once,
> seems to be in it for the challenge of performance. Besides, he's pretty
> fast, in a native talent sense. Susan is a slow, extremely steady, ride
> on and on and on type.
> --
> Michael Rasmussen, Portland Oregon
> Be appropriate && Follow your curiosity

Probably both valid points. I haven't used a heart monitor in years and I've often said that it either is telling me info I already know or telling me things I don't want to know. But then as near as I can tell I'm much more driven by internal cues than external devices. For example, alarm clocks always struck me as an awful assault on the body, so I trained myself to wake via internal cues. Thoreau wrote "We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep." That always made sense to me. And the late Marco Pantani once said, while speaking of heart monitors, "I can think of no device which has done more to remove the poetry from our sport."

Heart monitors can be valuable devices, but I've seen many, many people become slaves to the numbers. The heart monitor can tell you how fast your heart is beating, but it knows nothing of the desire that is in your heart. And that desire is what sends you out to train in the rain, to continue when you feel down, to ride the ride that ultimately is yours alone.

Kent Peterson
Issaquah WA USA
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