Rite now all the PM seems to tell me is a more precise confirmation of what I already knew.
My PM is still new, so I am still having fun with it.
But I agree with you. I remember when I first got a HR monitor, and how I eventually realized it was just assigning a different number to what I already knew. In fact, "what you already know" may actually be more useful (my opinion) because it takes into consideration a lot of things that neither a HR monitor or PM can measure.
So, to me it is all about staying interested, motivated, and having fun. If the technical stuff becomes a burden, just dump it or don't ride with it for a while. I know other riders who have deliberately dumped all their monitors so as to sort of force themselves to be more "attuned" to what their body is constantly telling them.
I second that. With a heart rate monitor I really got tuned into where I needed to be heartrate wise in order to sustain longer efforts, or hard short efforts, etc., and that was useful information, especially in situations, for example, when I was trying to see how fast I could climb Alpe d'Huez (no racing, just for fun). But at competitive levels a powermeter has become almost indispensable it seems, providing there are doctors, trainers and everyone else analzying everything all the time to determine just when you are getting overtrained, etc. Polar used to have (still do I'm sure) an orthostatic test using the RR function on their highend watches to help sense when you might be becoming "overtrained". But until powermeters came along the "perceived exertion" was very subjective. Powermeters have taken the subjectivity out of that (400 watts isn't just "hard" anymore, it's 400 watts of quantifiable power), and when coupled with heart rate info, blood sampling, and everything else some pretty specific and effective training programs can be obtained. And now that they're beomcing more and more mainstream, we can all have one, albeit at a pretty high price still. But for the vast majority of people, without a team of trainers and doctors analyzing that stuff all the time, I think it becomes more of a super high end bike toy. And god knows we all love bike toys!
How fast did I make it up Alpe d'Huez you ask? 3 days, 4 hours, and 29 minutes... I was cookin' with gas!
But I didn't have a powermeter back then either. If I did, I'm sure with proper training I'd have shaved at least a day off that.