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Using A GPS Cycling Tracker For Good…

August 2013
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Just a few posts ago I wrote that I haven’t been relying on my Endomondo tracking app as much as I did in my first two seasons of cycling for motivation.  I did add however, that I still use it for a few things such as keeping track of weekly, monthly and yearly mileage, daily and weekly calorie burn and so on…  I find it helpful to know that last week I had to replace about 9,000 extra calories while the week before, it was closer to 12,000.

A new opportunity presented itself after my ride on Wednesday.  I’ve been taking Monday’s off for months but we also got rained out for the club ride on Tuesday so I ended up with two days off in a row.  Generally speaking this is a good thing so I expected to tear it up when I went out on Wednesday.  I pushed really hard, especially into the wind which was fairly considerable on the way out.  I had about four miles with a crosswind that sucked but I thought I did pretty good through that as well.  Then, four out of the last five miles I had the 10-15 mph wind at my back and had my new Venge up to 28 mph, pedaling quite easy.

Even though I hit about every stop light and had to stop at most of the stop signs I was expecting somewhere between a 20 and 21 mph average – I was shocked to see a 19.1 as the average when I shut Endomondo down.  So, the thinking went like this:  “Okay, I know I put in a 21 mph effort and ended up with a 19 mph result (even considering the wind, I kicked some ass).  Either I got SNAFU’d by the lights and stop signs or the setup on my bike is wrong and I’m working hard but inefficiently (a product of a poor setup).

So Wednesday morning I packed my tools and my bike in the car so I could check my setup in my office (fortunately I know all the tricks and can self-perform any adjustments).

Lo and behold, when I could finally look at the ride data Thursday morning I found that it was indeed the stops (and Endomondo’s slow auto-pause) that was the problem, not my effort or set-up.  With the crosswind I averaged between 22 & 23 mph.  Into the wind I was steady at about 20 and with the wind at my back I was anywhere from 24 to 28 mph.  For me, that’s a damned good effort, just a little shy on results because of a bunch of unavoidable stops.

I still checked the setup anyway just because my initial setup was based on the measurements from my 5200 and I initially made sure the saddle height was right by bracing myself in a doorway to pedal backwards with my heels…  The right way to do it is on a trainer where you can warm up for a second and find that sweet spot with your butt – that’s where you want to measure from.  Well, I checked the fore/aft position of the saddle with a plumb bob (just under the knee cap and the bob should end up over your foot, right smack dab in the middle of the pedal spindle), then the saddle height just to make sure…  My feeling well fitted on the bike over the last couple of rides was confirmed – I can’t get it any closer to perfect.   😀

Without Endomodo, because I have an inferiority complex at times, I’d have been pulling my hair out trying to understand what the hell was going on – when there was nothing going on.

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10 Comments

  1. elisariva says:

    I am curious – do you have a speed/cadence monitor on your bike too? I use a Garmin Edge (yes another toy to add to the “investment”) and it tracks by GPS but also reads the speed/cadence monitor wirelessly. Works on all of my bikes so one GPS and a few monitors. Also helps when Satelites fail (bridges and clouds) the monitor takes over and measures distance the old fashioned way by wheel turn over.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I don’t and I’m a bit of a Fred for not having one – which creates problems in small groups – I have a tendency to blow up weaker riders because my pull pace (even though it’s second tier) is a touch fast. Right now I’m right at my limit with cash expenditures so this will have to come after hunting season.

  2. meganjanicke says:

    I’m curious as to why you chose Endomodo over Strava. All my riding friends use Strava. I’m trying to get into the habit of using it now that I really want to start working on my speed.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Cost – if I want to upgrade to the pay app, it’s less than half the cost. There are only 20, maybe 30 people on the planet who I want to beat up a hill. I see them every Tuesday night. It doesn’t matter to me that Joe can spin out to a hill and charge up it fresh for a KOM – I’m doing that hill at 20mph in a pack. 😉

  3. I used to run with Runkeeper and my Garmin 305 at the same time. I was always amazed at how much off Runkeeper was compared to my Garmin. On a 5k run, it would be off by about 300m everytime and on rides over 20k, it was not not uncommon to be 1k for every 20k. It is not the app fault but the GPS receiver in the phone. I have upgraded to the Garmin 310XT and I love how well it works.

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