18 February 2011

Hello 2011!

Way back when racers first started getting infatuated with technology the heart rate monitor and a pair of sweet, sweet Oakley Factory Pilot sun glasses were the peak of high tech.


These days it seems you can't even turn a pedal (and have it be worthwhile anyway) unless you are recording power, elevation gained and calories expended not to mention the ability to upload your data file to some online application that will tell you how much you rock/suck compared to the last time you rode this same route or compared to whoever else might be using the same online application.

I bought in for a while but then got sick of it all the beeps, numbers, gadgets, batteries and associated hardware. Interestingly, it seemed to me that pretty frequently the display acted as a governor and prevented me from going faster instead of helping me get faster. So for many years I was the guy with no dashboard. Sometimes I did not even wear a watch. I know, I know, "What is he thinking?"

That just changed.

First some history.
I've been meaning to get a power meter. After looking around it seems that the Garmin unit which will hopefully reside in the body of a Speedplay pedal makes the most sense for these reasons.

  • I already have tons of Speedplay pedals and love them!
  • This unit is easily moved from bike to bike and will work with training wheels, race wheels, wheels with knobby tires... you get the idea.
  • It's ANT+ wireless compatible. That's what all the good power meters I have seen use.
  • Hey, wireless! No more shit to zip tie or tape to your bike.

Not only is this particular power meter damn cool, power meters in general seem like a really good way to train smarter and more efficiently. And these days I am so used to not looking at a cyclometer that I bet I won't get intimidated by a high number. I can always put a piece of tape on the display. The release date for this has been pushed back countless times but the latest is, "The second half of 2011" whatever that means. Maybe I will get myself a cool Christmas present.

Back to today.
Although I rarely use a cyclometer I have fallen in love with using a GPS! My first experience was during TransPortugal in 2007 and I was blown away by how easy it was to use and how well it worked. For that event I got a Garmin GPSmap 60CSx


and was sold because of it's accuracy and durability and resistance to rain/sand/impact/etc.

All power meters require a head unit to display numbers and it seems like a shame to get a power meter and not have all the basic stuff like speed elevation, etc. These days a GPS is so accurate and not needing any wires is a dream. Plus you can easily move it from bike to bike without the need to re-calibrate anything. Not needing to attach a magnet to all your wheels is also a huge bonus.

So I just ordered a Garmin Edge 500.


The only feature this unit is missing is the visual map so I guess it would not be so good for hiking or getting lost in the woods on a mountain bike. Otherwise it seems ideal. Besides, I still have the 60CSx.

Martin meet 2011, 2011 meet Martin.

No comments: