I could feel the power in my body as I breathed in the warm Spring air and pulled lightly on the handlebars; strength flowed from my lungs and shoulders into my chest, through my hips and down to my legs which churned over with alarming ease. With every change of gradient, I either stood on the pedals to maintain the rhythm or shifted into a bigger gear to gain speed, depending on whether the slope increased or decreased.
This was Gibralter in Santa Barbara County, California; the climb had put me to shame some fifteen months before, causing me to suffer much more than I was prepared to do but on this occasion she repaid my training with nothing but total grace. The Man with the Hammer was clearly on a mission on some far away slope, leaving only his wife, La Volupté to watch over me. It was one of the best rides I’ve had on a bike, feeling The V flow through me so elegantly despite the difficulty of the climb.
The question came up after the ride as to how quickly I had completed the climb, but since I rode the climb using only a V Meter and nothing that tracked any trackable sort of data, there was no tangible evidence to indicate how quickly I’d ridden to the summit. Yet, the sensations I felt during the climb were all I needed to know; the experience was mine alone to experience, a secret held in confidence between rider, road, and mountain.
Riding without data is the equivalent of Luke Skywalker putting away his targeting computer and using The Force instead to aim his proton torpedoes at the Death Star exhaust port. Data and Strava are useful and enjoyable tools by which to quantify our efforts, but we should never allow them to obscure the beauty of our labors.
Vive la Vie Velominatus.
Thanks to @blackpooltower for this inspired idea.