Garmin Edge 500: first ride; Unleashed dog, trail sabotage.
First–and most importantly–I was very happy with the GPS performance of the Edge 500. Even out in the woods the Edge kept a solid lock on the satellites, providing a very good GPS resolution of about 11 feet.
When I used the Strava Android app, segment matching on Strava was very hit or miss and often frustrating. When I got back home after yesterday’s ride and uploaded the Garmin Edge 500 data to Strava I was very happy to see that every segment I rode matched up properly with the existing segments on Strava!
Also, having my heart rate data included with the speed, elevation, power and even temperature data was really cool.
The smaller size of the Garmin Edge 500 is a double-edged sword. On yesterday’s ride I had the screen set up to show 4 data fields per page (you can have as many as 8 per screen), like this:
I found that “Distance” and “Speed” were a little difficult to read while riding over rough trail. I could see a roadie using all eight fields on a screen of this size, but mountain bikers might find the small text tough to read. Of course it could just be me: my friend Craig uses eight data fields per screen on his Garmin Edge 305 (discontinued), which has about the same size screen as the Edge 500.
There is an option to leave the backlight on all the time, and that might help visibility out in the woods. Since The Garmin Edge 500 can go about 18 hours on a single charge, I’m pretty sure that even with the backlight on all the time I could do a fairly epic ride without draining the battery. I’ll do some testing.
Another really cool feature that came in handy yesterday is the auto-pause feature (this can be disabled if you want, BTW). You can set up the Edge 500 to automatically pause recording when you stop, or even drop below a speed that you define. Once the Edge detects that the bike is moving again, it automatically resumes recording.
Have you ever forgot to turn your bike computer or GPS app on before a ride? I’ve done that, it’s frustrating. The Edge 500 has an awesome feature that reminds you to start recording if it detects movement and the recording function has not been started. This feature can be disabled if you like, but I think it’s a very nice feature.
The Garmin Edge 500 mount was very solid. The Edge remained in place and didn’t shift around at all, even when I pressed the buttons while riding. I should point out that I stem mounted my Edge 500 (I like the computer in the center of the bars), and the mounting bracket juuuuuuust fit on my fairly stubby Truvativ AKA 70mm stem. If you’re rocking an even shorter stem, you’ll probably have to mount the Edge off-center on the handlebars.
Another excellent feature of the Garmin Edge 500 is you can upload your data to the Garmin Connect web site for further analysis. For example, you can playback your ride and see real-time data like your speed, heart rate, temperature, elevation, distance and time as you watch your progress on the map. Check out yesterday’s ride on the Garmin Connect Player here. I love this!
As for the ride itself? Meh. It was very hot, the trails were dry and sketchy and I felt completely out of sync and uncoordinated. I still managed a personal best time of 8m22s on the main loop, which is the 2nd best overall time out there (here’s the leaderboard). I had King Of the Mountain bragging rights on that trail, until Michael (one of the builders of this trail) came in on May 19th and whipped my butt with an amazing time of 7m57s. That dude can ride.
If you look at the leaderboard on the Loop segment I was just talking about, you can see that now my heart rate data is included–very cool. My average heart rate on that segment was 187 BPM, so it’s not like I wasn’t working hard. Michael, simply put, is a better rider than I am. I’m going to have to step it up and keep working those corners if I want to take back my crown! I think if I ride well when the trail is not so dry I might just have a shot at it.
See, this is why I like Strava. The friendly competition inspires me to become a better rider.
Unfortunately there was a little drama out on the trails yesterday, which I detest.
I was riding along and I came across two women walking a dog. Even though these are designated mountain biking trails, I truly don’t mind sharing the trails with people enjoying them on foot. What drives me nuts, however, is that oftentimes people don’t have their dog on a leash, which is not only against the law, it’s dangerous. Sure enough, as I passed by the unleashed dog gave chase. I’m not sure of the breed, but he was a large dog. As I rode on the dog ignored his owner’s admonition to “stop” and chased me while barking, snarling and nipping at my heels. While the dog was biting at my heels, I yelled back, “There is a leash law!”
You guys know what a huge dog lover I am. It’s incredibly unsafe for people to allow their dogs to run loose on a mountain biking trail–not just for the riders, but also for the dog. I honestly thought I was going to get bit.
So on the next lap I’m railing around a corner not too far past the place I had the encounter with the dog: directly in front of me was a large 20′ branch across the trail. The branch was only about 8-10″ in diameter, so I was able to hop it with no problem, but I felt that I needed to stop and move it so no one would get hurt. I could see in the sand and leaves where it had been slid into place. There was no one on the trails yesterday but me and those two women. I know they did it.
These crazy women illegally had their unleashed dog running lose on a mountain bike trail, the dog almost bit me, the women didn’t even bother to apologize and then–because I had the audacity to say something–they purposely tried to cause injury to me.
I was furious.
It’s a good thing they left, because if I’d run into them again it would have been a very ugly conversation.
On a happier note, it’s Friday! No riding today, it’s a weight training day. I’m going to go low volume, and heavy.