Cycling brings a Human Connection
Posted: Feb 24 2016
We saw on the news recently that Fitbit sold something like a zillon of their activity tracking bands in the last quarter. The Co-Founder & CEO, James Park talked about the accelerating pace of innovation and how optimistic he was about future growth. Of course, it was no coincidence that we read the earnings release on an IPhone that came with a built in “Health” application. That's because technology is an integral part of our lives and countless numbers of entrepreneurs are doing their best speed up the pace of change. They are looking to disrupt everything from how you sleep (full disclosure, we did try Thync and it may have actually worked a bit) to how and how much you work out. It does seem, as tech titan Marc Andreessen likes to say, that "Software is eating the world."
The I-phone knows if you've been naughty
As endurance athletes (especially triathletes), many of us have a predilection toward technology anyway. We’ve seen heart rate monitors, GPS trackers and power meters on folks for many, many years. And truthfully, that is fantastic. Objective data can be of enormous value to an athlete and we’d never suggest that anyone put their devices away for good. That being said, we might respectfully request that, perhaps, you do take out your ear buds and take a peek away from the screen occasionally.
You see, our one concern related to technology comes when the device starts to intrude on our humanness. At Coeur, we’ve been saying for years, that it is in everyone’s best interest to connect with their fellow athletes (especially new participants) and to do as much as possible to make endurance sports welcoming. We know from personal experience how scary that first group run (I won’t keep up), ride (I swear, I’m going to fall), or (insert the chewing nails nervously emoticon) the first triathlon can be. Everything is magnified a thousand times and a negative experience at the start, in transition or during the event can leave a mark. If the mark is too big, then the woman who took the brave step to sign up for the event will frequently be “one and done” and we will have lost an opportunity to show her how amazing endurance sports can be.
If, on the other hand, she gets a warm "Good morning" or even just a welcoming smile (not to mention a “let me know if you need any help”) as she makes her way to the start, there’s a fantastic chance that she’ll finish feeling like a million bucks and we (as a community of athletes) will have a chance to literally change her life.
Good feelings multiplied
That’s because cycling, running, swimming, and triathlon can be addictive in the best possible ways and they can serve as gateways to lives of health and fitness. After the soreness wears off from the good events, people frequently (some would say almost inevitably) make their way to the computer and begin looking for the next race. “Why yes…I do think I can shave a few minutes off my time.”
Finishing is better with friends
Then there’s the benefit of having a network of training partners. These amazing individuals help keep you honest and they certainly help get you out the door on those mornings when you might think about sleeping in. You see, everything has a beginning and it’s those “beginnings” that might be missed when the screen full of data (or funny cat videos) has our full attention.
They can start at that coffee shop after your ride when you see the solo rider at the table next to you or they may start at your local tri club meeting where the newcomer takes up a position in the back.
Now, we’re certainly not encouraging stalkers, but similar to the start of a race, a smile and a friendly “hello are you new?" could be all it takes to make someone’s day and to convince them to come back for the next meeting, or run, or ride.
So, the next time you’re out and about, try to find a few minutes to take out the headphones or look up from the screen and say hello. Who knows, it could be the beginning of something quintessentially human.
Your friends at Coeur