When I bought my stages a chap that I speak with made a comment about how I’d end up riding like Froomey and I don’t think he was saying that I would suddenly become a world class cycling talent but more looking down at the numbers while I try and get my body to work in the way I want it to.
Why did I buy a Stages and not something else? Simple, the same reason I bought the Froome blue Sidi shoes, I’m an easily led idiot, the shoes aren’t as nice to ride in as my Sub-6 from Specialized but they match my jerseys and give variation with sockage.
What my friend failed to see is that I already stare at my stem while tolerating the leg pain of maintaining power levels up hills but at least now I have something to look at while I try not to eat my stem.
Power meters are great if you’re number nerd but I can’t help agreeing with Contador and Quintana when it comes to using them in the pro peloton. If you think about the hours that these elite riders put I can’t help but think that surely they know how their bodies are feeling.
But I’m a data nerd how can I possibly say that?
Quite simple really, as someone that’s spent 20 years doing the same job in varying forms I can take a design brief and even before the ink is dry on the contract I know how long it will take me from my end to satisfy the brief, I know this because 20 years of repetition have given me insight. Sometimes I do stuff it up and end up working longer days and more intensely to hit a deadline but that’s because insight isn’t perfect.
Ridding the peloton of the power meter for races would give that excitement, right now we know Froomey is riding both within himself and on the edge of being in the red, we know he’ll never bonk out, but what if that was the possibility? What if Contador, Quintana and Froome where on the last stage of A Tour separated by negligible timing and racing for the win with 10k at the end of a long stage attacking and counter attacking in the blazing sun without the safety net of your power data.
As a spectator the knowledge that hitting the wall could happen at any time adds that old school tension of Le Monde and Hinault. Removing the power meter would make racing more intuitive, more random, more open to rider error in gauging performance. While Froomey might mention going back to fixed gears and I understand his point but cycling has had technology and banned it.
I’m not a purist, I don’t long for the days of friction gears, steel frames. I’m also not a luddite ready to smash anything that might alter the cycling landscape. As a tool to gauge yourself I think everyone should have a Stages but as race day kit I think keeping it basic would give more exciting racing.