Mechanically Challenged to PowerTap Pro with Pro Triathlete Meredith Kessler
There's no doubt that power data can be incredibly helpful in the life of an athlete. It can also be quite intimidating, pro athlete or not.
We recently had the chance to ask pro triathlete, Meredith Kessler, who describes herself as "mechanically challenged", about how she became a literal PowerTap pro. Here's what she had to say:
It is not a secret that my strengths do not lie in being mechanically savvy. Put me in a pool and I will try and swim. Hand me a bike and I will ride it the best that I can. Point me to a track and I will run round and round on it! Thus, it may be best to leave all the number crunching, technical scrutiny, and overanalyzing data at home! Training time is also my meditation time — chi time which gives me an opportunity to think and relax. In the past, I never wanted to take the time to focus in on the new technical gadgets and the headaches that go with them during my workouts and racing. It made sense to me to not overcomplicate something as pure as getting your heart moving through exercise.
This began to change as I mindlessly toiled through the ranks of age groupers and began to try to improve the best that I could. We worked to get those middle of the pack finishes to turn into podiums and the competitive juices became alive.
I distinctly remember racing Vineman as an amateur and I was in 'la la' land on the bike.
Everyone knows your mind can drift after being on the bike for so long. I eventually came to my senses to notice I was being passed by others in my age group and I had settled into a blistering pace pushing 100 watts. I do think spectators cheering where running faster than I was biking. This was my 'a-ha' moment where I knew — in order to get better on the bike I had to make some drastic changes. This included immediate equipment purchases in order to leap head first into embracing technology that could keep me focused on my watts, speed, and time.
I asked around the Bay Area triathlon community and CycleOps and their PowerTap system kept coming up as their 1st choice in hubs and computers.
It took me a long time to realize that I needed these tools to keep my mind focused on the training or race by constantly being able to check my power numbers and progress.
This enabled me to not drift and stay concentrated on the task at hand. Now that I had accepted this leap into technology, the next step I feared the most — learning how to use the system!
Nothing is more frightening to a mechanically challenged individual than opening the box and seeing all of the components and steps you have to go through to have it actually work. My ENVE wheels were built with a PowerTap hub at Wheelbuilder.com and my journey to technology and working out had begun. I was surprised at how easy the instructions were and I successfully completed the first step to put in the battery to the hub; simple.
I then attached the PowerTap computer to my bike and the XLAB Torpedo system. Once again, easy enough! On my first ride, I was able to sync the computer to the hub and voilà, I was shown, watts, distance, time, among other useful pieces of information. It was just as effortless to enter in all of your information into the computer using a USB cord and their smart software, PowerAgent. Now I had access to all of my rides and the technical aspects of biking. I know this sounds like I have oversimplified this but it is the truth — it was this seamless.
I still do not consider myself a savvy technological wizard but the PowerTap system made me feel like one. I can now go on rides and monitor my progress through their hub and computer and then go analyze the data through PowerAgent.
The hurdle I had to overcome was my own personal worry of new technology, yet now that I took the jump I can't imagine training or racing without it.
I was riding uninformed and uninspired before I could see and utilize all of the data captured by PowerTap and I couldn't be more thankful that they made it so easy for someone like me to master!
Meredith Kessler, grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended Syracuse University on a Field Hockey Scholarship. Using her college graduation money she purchased her first tri-bike in 2000 and never looked back. Since then Meredith has competed in over 50 full Ironman races all over the world. When she's not racing, training with Matt Dixon of PurplePatch Fitness, or spending time with her husband Aaron (also her high school sweatheart!), she's writing a series of manuals called "Life of a Triathlete". You can stay up to date with Meredith at her website, on Facebook, or @mbkessler on Twitter