Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Anatomy of a Crash

I'm hacked off, really hacked off this morning.  My Powertap has been reading low power for several weeks and not just because I'm a jessy who would be better off considering cheerleader school rather than trying to ride a bike.  No, there was definitely something off, so I sent it away for maintenance.

And then the news comes back this morning that the electrics need replacing and this will be a paltry £400 thank you very much as I am out of the 1 year warranty (I've had the PT 2 years).  That's actually not much off the price of a brand new hub (c. £550).  Winner.

I got all angry with CycleOps and thought, damn it, these things are so temperamental and I've hardly had the sodding thing 2 minutes, etc, etc.  And then I remembered.  Oh yeah.  When did I start to get issues?  Er that would have been right after I fell off my bike a few months back and redistributed half the skin off my hip somewhere in Surrey.  Not only that, but I further damaged my already damaged coach, and may well have been the straw that broke the camel's back, meaning he couldn't compete with his well earned slot in Kona this year.

Jack was close behind me as I went into a sharp roundabout too fast on wet roads and with a poorly executed racing line.  In the matter of seconds this is what happened to my wallet:

  • £0 New Powertap plastic cap (thankyou Torq!)
  • £400 New Powertap components
  • £25 Powertap courier costs
  • £75 Repair Winter Jacket (zip and elbow hole)
  • £80 New Rear Derailleur
  • £35 New Bar Tape, Cables & Fitting
  • £40 Ripped Unrepairable Bib Shorts
  • £25 Medical Supplies

Total damage £680.  Ouch - that hurts more than the first salt water swab on the road rash.

This is an expensive sport, and I've made my peace with that.  I spend a large part of my income on getting to where I want to be.  Equipment, flights, accommodation, race fees, coaching, gym membership, sports nutrition products.  I don't want to total up what I spend in a year.  I know it's a huge wadge of cash and I'm damn lucky that I have the opportunity to do what I do.  And I derive a lot of pleasure from the sport, but what really gets me is the bunch of cash I spend just to keep me on the road, money that doesn't seem to get me any closer to my goal.

So I think, maybe I'm missing the point here.  Maybe all the gadgets and gizmos are just snake oil, crutches that make me think I'm training smarter, harder, better.  Maybe I should just go back to basics and just train.

In other parts of my life I strive to reduce clutter - a simple work life, a simple home life, get rid of the junk, focus on what's important, but when it comes to triathlon, I let the sport take free reign.  It concerns me that the products we buy often end up owning us, and we are no longer in control.

Get the biggest mortgage you can afford, then you have to fill your big house with lots of big stuff, and you need a big car to sit outside your big house, and you have to live a big lifestyle to go with your big house.  And you need a big job to pay for all your big stuff and before you know it, you're no longer in control.  You're the hamster in the cage running on the wheel to stay exactly where you are.

OK I've gone off the rails a bit here.  Getting all philosophical because my bank balance is dropping faster than my pace towards the end of the ironman marathon.  I guess I'm thinking should I go old school for the winter and train without the stats, or do I take the hit on the belief that it will make me a better rider in 6 months time?


  1. Entropy mate. You have to fight the entropy.

    Ironically though I think your aproach actually fits well with a minimaist, non-materialistic lifestyle. I think what you do is buy the best gear you can, but you only have the minimum number of everything - which is the highest quality. So you don't have 3 bikes, 4 GPSs, that are all a bit crap. Instead you have 1, and it's good. Better to have less stuff, but really good stuff. Quality over quantity.

    The downside of course is that when it breaks it's expensive.

  2. After a weekend to mull it over I've decided to bite the bullet. Man, entropy sucks!

    And I should mention that I do have 3 bikes - I think that is the minimum allowed for a cyclist. The actual formula for the number of bikes you should have is n+1 where n is the number you have currently.

    Alternatively if in a relationship s-1, where s is the number that results in a break up.

  3. Always go old school. The powermeters are there to remind you that you are weak and should be riding faster. I reckon turn up the volume on your walkman, wear more clothes for heat simulation, load some bricks into the backpack and HTFU. And stop crashing! No prisoners Houston. Ever.

  4. Stop crashing sounds like an awesome philosophy - must remember that one! Actually Paligap, the maintenance guys in the UK did the work for free in the end. I had some new components fitted about 6 months ago after some problems, and it turned out they were under warranty. So actually all good! Winner.

    Where you been Robby? Put some posts up on your blog! I know I need to knuckle down and do the same :)

  5. I'm back Houston. It's been a busy few months. Here's an update inspired by you!