Okay, I admit that I can be a bit of a nerd at times. I’m a Unix admin, so I think I’m officially allowed to make that claim. Merging geeky data analysis with biking is like merging peanut butter with jelly, cream filling with an Oreo, fries with a burger, corporate donations with elections, milk with cookies… you get the idea. I bought a Garmin GPS watch with a heart rate monitor for my birthday last week. The heart rate monitor I had had become flaky (because it was cheap), so I was able to justify the purchase as a replacement. Regardless of the rationalizations, I’m hoping to get a little better view of my rides and how well they fit into my delusions of actually training. The best part is that I don’t have to think about it: I’ll just go and enjoy the ride, and then geek out over the data later.
I got out with the watch for my first real ride yesterday and uploaded the data to Strava. I guess I’ll make it my goal to own Kingdom Trails by accumulating “King of the Mountain” (KOM) on as many trail segments as I can. After checking out some of the times that are posted, I’m a little skeptical about the validity of a few. Also, the way the segments in Kingdom Trails are reported in Strava are a bit of a mess. These are created by the users so it’s not going to be perfect.
Regardless, the ability to view heart rate with the sections of trail I rode is pretty interesting. I have noticed that the GPS tends to report a shorter distance than my cycle computer does. The elevation data isn’t always accurate either but that’s a known issue with any GPS system. I’ll need a few more rides with this to get a sense of where I can make changes with my riding. If nothing else, it’s pretty cool to check out the graphs.