Posts Tagged ‘HRM’

Mid-Feb, progress

The best thing about February is that it’s no longer January. That said, it’s still cold, and wet, and muddy. In fact the only thing that saves February is that my birthday is on the 7th – which potentially means new kit.

Having achieved my January goal (I rode about 29 hours / 17 days, compared to Jan 09, when I rode 25 hours / 15 days), I’m starting to feel a return of the legs. Yesterday I did 3 hours, mainly brisk, on a hilly circuit that took in Toys Hill and a handful of other spikes. My heart rate graph for the ride revealed an average of 144 bpm, and a max of 169 bpm, very similar to what I recorded on Jan 17, although I felt like I was riding smoother and stronger over tougher terrain. I’m considering doing the same route in reverse on Wednesday, but just pushing it a fraction harder.

But man, the conditions sucked. 1 hour of drizzle, followed by freezing fog and visibility down to 70 metres, and a layer of slush that turned to mud on sheltered roads. Roll on Spring time.

Prince’s Gold

I’m pleased with my ride at yesterday’s Prince’s Risborough sportive. I beat the gold time target by a decent margin, doing 126km in 4hrs 20, the same time as I posted for the 114km Burgess Hill Classic in late March. The BHC was admittedly a lot hillier, and that day I spent a fair amount of time solo whereas yesterday I was able to work with small groups of strong riders to draft on the flat. Check the results – I’m around 33 out of 232 finishers. (more…)

Product review: Garmin Forerunner 50

A few weeks ago I upgraded my old heart rate monitor and bought Garmin’s most basic HRM, the Forerunner 50

garmin-forerunner-50

First impressions were good. The screen is clear, the watch and chest-strap fit well, the watch buttons are big enough, and it’s pretty easy to get used to the functions after a flick through the manual.

The Forerunner 50 also comes with a USB stick so you can upload saved sessions to your Garmin account and chew over the data. I found myself stumbling around the Garmin websites on a few occasions, so I’ve tried to figure out why. I ran into problems trying to download the software required for pairing my USB stick and watch on a new machine.

Software download

I log in to ‘myGarmin’, then click ‘Downloads’ – and it says I have no downloads available for my product. Confused, and after heading down several other dead-ends, I return to ‘View your registered products’, and click on ‘Forerunner 50’, which I have already registered. I hit-and-hope on a link that says ‘Accessories’. Now I’m on a shop page, but I see there are some Quick Links on the right, one of which is ‘Garmin Connect’. Is this what I’m looking for?

Yes. I’m pinged over to connect.garmin.com, and a new page called ‘myConnect’, where I can easily navigate to download the Garmin ANT Agent software. Why can’t I do this directly from myGarmin via a self-contained admin area? It seems that from Garmin’s point of view, there are different types of download – software downloads for upgrades and add-ons, and software downloads for pairing – but from my point of view, I want all downloads in the same place, clearly flagged from a central ‘myWhatever’ page.

Once downloaded, the ANT Agent software makes pairing the computer and the device, and uploading saved workouts, very simple. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover it worked with Mac / Safari, and I really like the myConnect dashboard interface – it makes me want to upgrade my hardware to use more data (e.g. distance / speed, and maps).

garmin-forerunner-501

The Garmin myConnect 'workout details' page.

The whole experience is very good overall. The Forerunner 50 is excellent value, and I feel good about buying in to the Garmin technology. A few aspects of the online interface are a bit frustrating, and I think these could be improved if the different zones of Garmin’s web environment were better integrated.

Update 5-4-09

After a couple of months’ regular use I’m still a fan of this HRM. Couple of points worth mentioning though:

  • Memory: I tend to go on long rides, and this model’s memory gets full after about 6-7hrs. In order to avoid the ‘lo-mem’ warning that flashes up and obscures the time readout in Train mode, it’s best to clear all saved workouts. Even then, ‘lo-mem’ pops up on rides over 6hrs. Poor.
  • The stop-start button can be depressed by accident when descending, due to contact with the back of the hand.
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