Time for a New Social Network: Garmin Connect Upgrades

Over the past few years we’ve been presented with more and more options for tracking our training and racing performance. It’s also become increasingly easy to that and share your progress and/or connect with friends and foes.

Training log/social networks like Endomondo and Strava have thrived by making tracking readily available on smartphones, and at the same time make it pretty simple for owners of other devices – for instance from Garmin – to import their sessions to these services.

That might be about to change.

4 days ago Garmin quietly announced social features on their Garmin Connect training log service.

Garmin – probably the World’s leading manufacturer of devices for endurance sports and outdoor activities – has kept quiet for a long time while smaller and more agile services established impressive followings in record time. A fair chunk of those followings are Garmin users, so it was almost just a question of time before Garmin would launch similar features.

At the moment things are very basic at Garmin Connect, but the launch communication above shows promise of more – without being too ambitious or promising too much. Rather too little, I hope.

Anyway, if you own a Garmin get on it and try it out – I’m here!

Retül Bike Fitting – and Why You Should Get One

My bike is a modified road bike – a Focus Culebro 2010 with a pair of clip-on bars to make it useful for non-drafting triathlons. Admittedly I’ve grown increasingly dissatisfied with the decision to purchase a road bike and modify it instead of just buying a pure triathlon bike.

The differences are that the frame of a traditional road bike just doesn’t support the time trial position as well as triathlon bikes do. The impact of that is a less efficient position on the road bike versus what you would have on a triathlon bike.

Over the past few months I’ve repeatedly heard about a bike fitting system from the US by the name of Retül. Not only do they make bike fittings for a bunch of professionals in cycling, MTB, and triathlon – they also apply the same testing protocol to amateurs:

As you start the test, first thing that happens is an interview that helps the fitter understand the goal for the fitting session as well as with the particular sport that the athlete does. Subsequently extensive measurement of the body is carried out. At this point flexibility (or lack thereof) is measured and recorded to identify the possibilities and limitations that the athlete needs to work with.

And now it’s time for the big reason to go get a Retül fit: The dynamic fit session. Sensors are placed on shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, quads, knees, ankles, heels, and feet so that when you start cycling, the fitter will have live dynamic data to work with – not just static numbers recorded in a fixed position.

Finally the entire bike is measured – before any changes are made, and after changes have been made. That makes it possible to revert back to the pre-fit position.

If you’re buying a new bike, the fit is not done on your old bike or on your potential new bike, for that matter. The fitter is likely to have a fit bike – ideally the Retül Müve. The benefit of the Müve is that it can be adjusted during action, so you can immediately feel the difference and increase the chance you pick a bike that’s just right for you! The ability to measure the watts output during the fit session only increases the likelihood that you’ll perform at your very best on your newly acquired bike.

Finally, if you’re buying a new bike, all this data is used with the frame finder to match your specific requirements with all sorts of frames. That ensures that you avoid spending thousands getting a bike that’s just not optimal.

Alternatively, if you’re not buying a new bike, now is the time to start making changes to optimize your position on the bike according to your goals.

In my case we changed quite a bit. We went for a shorter stem to reduce the reach to the aerobars – for the same reason the saddle also came as far forward as possible. Finally we lowered the steer just a bit, also to shorten the reach to the bars and to make position my body lower.

At this point – about a month after the test – 15 cycling hours later – I’m still getting used to my new position on the bike.

Two things are for sure, though:

  • I’m making better use of my current bike!
  • I will never buy a bike again without doing a dynamic test in advance. Never !

Training Log September 2012

Early September was still very much a holiday month and the second half has been dominated by getting used to new institutions for the kids. As a result the total training time for September is still far from that of July, but still much closer to what I’d like it to be. In fact at about 13 hours it’s up there with some of the training months I put in leading up to Challenge Aarhus 2011.

The image to the right is of Vejle Fjord Broen. Actually it fits my last post better, as that’s exactly where we crossed the Fjord back in August. Good memories from that race, though. I’ll be doing another post on that topic…

Here’s the full status from September with a few thoughts for October:

  • Swimming : Lot less swimming done. Seems I haven’t lost or won any speed. Following an early-October VO2 maxtest the focus is now on building base condition;
  • Running: Injured. Ended up giving my right calf a rest in September. Haven’t been running since Septemer 20th and physio and a exercises are both in the works. The plan for October so far is: No runs!
  • Bike: Pretty happy about my bike progress. Had a Retül bike fit – something I’ll elaborate on in another post. In October the bike trainings will move indoor on the home trainer – it’s getting too wet and cold outside. More on the home trainer setup at a later stage.
For those who care, here are the numbers:
  • Total duration: 26 hours, 6 minutes trained – up from 14 hours, 28 minutes in September;
  • Swim:
    • 8 workouts – up from 5 in August;
    • Total duration: 6 hours , 38 minutes – up from 2 hours, 27 minutes in September;
    • SWOLF score stabilized completely at 40 – no improvement;
    • Average pace: Stuck just above 1:50/100m;
    • Total distance: 18,97km – up from 7,15km in August.
  • Bike:
    • 4 workouts – up from 2 workouts in August;
    • Total duration: 6 hours, 41 minutes – down from 3 hours, 20 minutes in August;
    • Average speed: 29,54 km/h – down from 30,83 km/h in August;
    • Total distance: 197 km – up from 103 km in August.
  • Run:
    • 10 workouts – down from 11 workouts in August;
    • Total duration: 5 hours, 19 minutes – down from 6 hours, 35 minutes in August;
    • Average pace: 5:54 min/km – down from 5:32 min/km in August;
    • Total distance: 54,18 km – down from 71,43 km in August.

More numbers next month…

Where Can I Do Lap Swimming in Amsterdam?

Over the past few weeks I have gotten rather frustrated trying to find out which pool I could train at and at which times. You may think this is a rather easy task: Just find out when the pool nearest to you is open and go at that time, right?! Not so.

My days tend to change a lot from day to day, so going at the same time every day or week just isn’t an option. What IS an option is to go to whichever pool is open in the local area and train there. My local area is Amsterdam and what I’ve done is this:

  • Copied all the lap swimming times off of the schedules for the pools in the area;
  • Put them in a Google Calendar;
  • Sharing it with you right now.

You can find the end result here: http://swim.thusgaard.com. Let me know if you like it. Or not. And if you think it needs updating.