GPS ride profile and recommendation

I got the Garmin Forerunner 205 a few weeks back and I love the thing. It’s so cool it makes me want to work out more just to get the data. Coupled with the free level of, it’s an amazing tool for viewing ride data, including the oh-so-sweet Google Earth overlay. One downside to the “free” level of motionbased is that they only provide analysis of the last ten rides, but a downside of joining is $100 per year, and I’d rather spend that money on other stuff. I’ll store the data on my own anyway.

Today I took it on my first big (not that big) climb, a 3.5 mile, 1200 ft. ascent and a return pretty much the same route, so 7 miles. With, one can apply what’s called MBgravity which reconciles your GPS’s elevation data with the known elevations along the route. This came out quite accurate and pleased me to see the beautiful, symmetrical profile that was generated.

Anyone can view my rides by seaching on for “steveyo” since I’ve put that in the name of each ride, though I’m not sure why anyone besides my riding buddies would want to.

In the pic below, however, I cut and pasted bits from the various data pages on the MB website for today’s climb just because the profile looks so cool. I recommend the hell out of the Garmin Forerunner 205 for tracking rides, especially if you’re a number-crunching-loving geek like me.

Edit: I rode a KH29, 165mm cranks, Big Apple 2.0 tire.

Hey brother! I ride with the Garmin eTrex Vista mounted on my helmet. After every ride I look forward to loading the data on my PC and run various analyses. I feel miserable when it occasionally fails on me, usually because of dead batteries, almost as if the ride was for nothing.

… which I am. Now I know why I liked your race writeups so much. There was suspense in all those numbers.

In the motionbased analysis, where are the data on temperature and wind speed coming from? Temperature could still be on the Forerunner maybe (the eTrex has a temperature sensor on an Easter Egg screen), but wind speed? Maybe taken (by motionbased) from some database, corresponding to your time and position provided by the Forerunner?

I used to bring my GPS on all my rides. I wanted to track speed, distance, elevation, etc.

My rides turned into events to get better numbers on the GPS. The rides were no longer just for fun.

I have now stopped using the GPS except for rides where I am riding in unfamiliar territory and may need the GPS for its locating capabilities.

My weakness now is that I still wear my watch and I have been unable to keep myself from looking at it at the bottom of long climbs and then again at the top. I went on a muni ride yesterday at Tiger Mountain. I can tell you that it took me 35 minutes to do the climb (1140 feet in a little over 3 miles). The good news is that I didn’t allow the fact I was tracking the climb on my watch to make me push the pace. I stayed at a nice comfortable easy pace and didn’t push it at any point. When I was riding with the GPS I’d be spent at the top of the climb because I was riding for numbers. Funny thing is I would have been happy back then with a 35 minute climb on that hill. I’m faster now and doing the climb with no difficulty and better yet I’m enjoying the ride.

I’m not riding to train for an event. I’m riding to have fun. Riding with a GPS interfered with the fun aspect. Now I just gotta get myself to stop tracking myself with my watch.

I don’t get how doing something you apparently want to do, takes away the fun? You are touching upon the finer subtleties of the word ‘fun’. To me though, part of the fun is in tracking myself. You’re right, it involves pushing myself to get better (faster or whatever) next time, or at least as a trend, but I like to do that.

The whole GPS tracking thing is (or was) probably some kind of compulsion or addiction to you, maybe like someone who wants to give up smoking but can’t. But then again, what is so harmful about knowing your speed, or pushing yourself for that matter? I say, if you enjoy it, do it.

The fun I’m talking about is the carefree fun. Where it is just you and the unicycle. Riding with a performance goal and a training aspect is a different type of fun. A training focus can still be fun but it is no longer carefree fun.

Adding a GPS track and stats along with postride analysis adds a psychological element that pushes you. Instead of being content to listen to the buzz of the trail under your tire you are thinking about maximizing your speed and/or heart rate. The ride is no longer about the carefree enjoyment.

Even with just my watch I was having a difficult time not focusing on the overall time of the ride along with the time of the climb and the time for different sections of the trail. But I did make a conscious effort to ignore that as much as possible and do the ride for the carefree fun aspects while still not being lazy. I did want to do the ride at a good clip.

Here’s a blog post that starts to explain the aspect of riding for numbers when you have a cycle computer or GPS or some other monitor: Average Speed Is Depressing

I guess it’s good you stopped then. I don’t ride to get numbers on the GPS, but I love to look at them after the ride. On this particular ride I enjoyed watching as my elevation increased, and figuring the ascent of each chunk of the climb. I guess I haven’t used it on too many repeat rides yet, so I haven’t started comparing times yet. I can’t wait to get the profile from thiis weekend’s Whiteface climb.

i totally agree with john childs. Watching your average speed (i only ever did it on a bike) is stupid and annoying. (to me anwyays)

However that gps tracking looks awesome and really looks like a laugh. It all depends why you are riding for and if you care about the numbers. I cant help caring if they are there.