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No records, but a grueling ride; More thoughts on the Garmin Edge 500.

Thursday, May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

May
31
2012
Average heart rate of 182 BPM for 44 minutes.

Average heart rate of 182 BPM for 44 minutes.

Yesterday I decided to ride at Wekiwa, and I was looking to break some personal records. We’ve had a lot of rain lately, and I expected the sugar sand to be packed down (as well as sugar sand can be, that is). I was quite surprised to find that Wekiwa apparently did not receive much rain at all: the sand had clearly seen some precipitation, but it was still very loose. Also, there are a couple of low-lying areas that have standing water even after a fairly light rain, but yesterday those areas were just a little muddy with no standing water.

So there was not enough rain to make the trails fast, but there was plenty enough to make the forest feel like a gigantic sauna. I’ve done a lot of riding at Wekiwa over the past couple of years, and I don’t think the humidity has ever been as bad as it was yesterday. The hot, humid air made breathing extremely difficult, the mosquitoes were out in force and my sunglasses were perpetually fogged over. It was not a pleasant ride.

Despite the conditions I rode very hard with every intention of breaking some of my personal records. While none of my existing records fell, I felt I had an an excellent ride. My average heart rate during the ~45 minute/8 mile ride was 182 BPM (94% of my max); considering how painful the hot, humid air made breathing, that was an especially difficult heart rate to maintain. Too bad Strava’s Suffer Score can’t take into account the humidity. 😀

If you want to check out the ride in more detail here it is on Strava and on Garmin Connect.

Also, I want to mention that yesterday was the first time I’ve been to Wekiwa with my new Garmin Edge 500 – Red Premium Bundle (my first ride with the Edge 500 was at Mt. Dora, and you can check out my detailed thoughts in my May 25, 2012 blog). Once again, I was very impressed. Here are a few additional notes…

This is how I currently have the primary data screen on my Garmin Edge 500 set up. Having the backlight on all the time helps readability in the woods, but doesn't seem to adversely affect battery life much at all.

This is how I currently have the primary data screen on my Garmin Edge 500 set up. Having the backlight on all the time helps readability in the woods, but doesn't seem to adversely affect battery life much at all.

First, I changed the layout of the main screen to show four pieces of data (the Edge 500 supports up to eight data items on each of its three screens): my speed at the top in the largest font, the elapsed time on the second row, and the distance and heart rate on the bottom row (see photo at left). I also set the display up to leave the backlight on constantly. These changes made a big difference, and I had no problem reading the display. The Edge can run up to 18 hours on a single charge, and the battery life didn’t suffer noticeably with the backlight on the entire time. When I finished the ride I still had like 96% battery life.

Segment matching and GPS accuracy were–once again–excellent! With the Strava Android app I had all kinds of segment matching issues, GPS drift, lost GPS signals and so on. Smart phones just are not designed to excel at this kind of GPS usage, and so one of the main reasons I wanted to upgrade to a dedicated Garmin was GPS performance. So far The Garmin has matched every single segment I’ve ridden without fail, and I’ve not had a single dropout or other GPS problem. I’m really happy about this.

Finally, the premium heart rate monitor that comes with the Red Premium Bundle is extremely comfortable. It’s a soft strap, and far less noticeable than the Timex Ironman strap. The heart rate monitor is very accurate (the reported heart rate matches my Ironman and also my recumbent bike HR monitor), and I’ve not had any dropouts or other issues. The range seems to be quite good: it reliably reports data to the main unit as far as 10-11 feet away.

So far I’m really happy with the Garmin Edge 500, and would definitely recommend it to Road or Mountain bikers who are interested in seeing all kinds of useful stats while riding, analyzing that data post-ride and/or competing on Strava. I expect the Edge will find its way to my Favorite Things list in the near future.

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