Stefano Picker

Product Manager Team Leader Tech Executive Entrepreneur MBA with Honors Competitive Swimmer Ironman Triathlete Certified AcroYogi

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Technology in Endurance Racing

August 19, 2013 Triathlon

When I started the bike leg of Ironman New Zealand a few months ago, the supposedly scary thought of 112 miles / 180 km of cycling was way outweighed by the awareness of how technology – beside the athlete’s performance – can influence the outcome of any triathlon.

Even experienced pro-athletes have happened to withdraw from races because of technical issues: what if something similar happened to me, at the other end of the world, after so much training and hoping?

That’s right: in our blissful madness, we want to experience every minute of these excruciatingly long events!

Once left transition and made sure that everything was working just fine, of course I forgot about every fear and I simply focused on my own performance. I ended up enjoying every minute of the almost 11 hours spent on the race course (roughly half of which on the bike) including the most challenging and painful parts, and I loved crossing the finish line just as much as anticipated. It was incredibly rewarding.

During all that time – just like in training – technology actually confirmed its usual role of invaluable friend: I could read on my watch real-time information such as speed, time, heart rate, cadence and every possible related average and ratio. This not only helped the crucial management of energies, but also gave me a feeling of confidence and control.

Now, the truth is… I would like to get even more of that next time!

Too bad that mobile communication technologies are not allowed while racing: the product developer in me was already thinking of some bespoke app running on an Android smartphone (or even smartwatch) connected to a pair of Google Glasses.

Fortunately it looks like somebody else has had similar thoughts, which I may be able to put my hands on for a test early next year.

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