One week to go!

Nearly there, just one week to go (Until I leave for the Vendée, that is).

I’m slowly getting all the kit together. There’s only been one slight problem which has been resolved thanks to Zyro.co.uk, the importers of Altura panniers. A little while ago, I bought a Altura bar bag with the intention of using it on this trip. The trouble is that I no longer have the receipt and have never used it until now. It comes complete with a Map Flap which is sealed by the use of velcro strips which have come away from the plastic pocket. A quick phone call to them and they have very kindly agreed to put a new one in the post for me, at no charge. So, thanks again Zyro.co.uk. Continue reading

My progress so far – 18th June 2011

Firstly, here are the numbers:

  • 2 weeks to go to the start of the 2011 Tour de France.
  • 10 weeks to go to my Tour de France or Bust trip.
  • 2873 miles cycled so far this year.
  • All 21 stages mapped for GPS (available for download).
  • Accommodation booked and confirmed for the first 11 days of the trip.
  • £88.00 collected for Help for Heroes (My target is £1000) Continue reading

My Week in Training – Week 17

Date Miles Time Type Avg Speed (MPH) Links
Tue, 26th Apr 2011 25 1:22:10 Road 17.9 Strava Garmin
Fri, 29th Apr 2011 57 3:23:41 Road 16.9 Strava Garmin
Sun, 1st May 2011 57 3:09:01 Road 18.2 Strava – Garmin

There was no riding for me on Easter Monday. This was due to family commitments and recovering from the efforts of the previous day’s Tour of the Weald. Continue reading

My Week in Training – Week 16

Date Miles Time Type Avg Speed (MPH) Links
Tue, 19th Apr 2011 25 1:34:03 Road 16.4 Strava – Garmin
Thu, 21st Apr 2011 25 1:36:01 Road 16.0 Strava – Garmin
Fri, 22nd Apr 2011 64 3:40:12 Road 17.5 Strava Garmin
Sun, 24th Apr 2011 65 3:29:04 Road 18.7 Strava – Garmin

After Sunday’s Sportive, my legs were quite tired and so I took a day off. Unfortunately, I didn’t really load up that well on Carbs which showed on Tuesday’s Brighton commute. Continue reading

My Week in Training – Week 12

Date Miles Time Type Avg Speed (MPH) Links
Wed, 23rd Mar 2011 52 3:00:13 Road 17.4 StravaGarmin
Sun, 27th Mar 2011 52 3:02:43 Road 17.2 StravaGarmin

After a disastrous ride in the Burgess Hill Springtime Classic last Sunday, where I had to push my bike up Cobb Lane, I decided to get a wider cassette, which I fitted on Tuesday night, ready for Wednesday’s ride. Continue reading

My Week in Training – Week 8

Date Miles Time Type Avg Speed (MPH) Link
Wed, 23rd Feb 2011 52 3:17:54 Road 15.9 Garmin
Sat, 26th Feb 2011 31 2:09:11 Road 14.8 Garmin
Sun, 27th Feb 2011 52 3:06:00 Road 16.8 No data

Tuesday, I took a Maximum Heart Rate test: 181bpm.

Wednesdays are now my official days off so, I took the opportunity to test out my newly calculated training levels. I went out in the rain on the Trek and rode to level 3. The difference between the old levels and the new ones are that the new ones are about 10bmp lower. This turned out to be an easy ride with relatively less recovery than I normally would have needed fo that length of ride. This has confirmed that recently, I have been riding at too high an intensity. All in all, I’m very pleased with these new results. Continue reading

Maximum Heart Rate – Part 2

In early January, I wrote a post about the different ways of calculating Maximum Heart Rate.

I said that you can either calculate your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) by using one of the many different formulae or by actually taking a MHR test. Continue reading

Garmin Edge 305 GPS – It might be old but it’s still good

During my Tour de France road trip, I intent to put up a blog post on a daily basis. These posts will include video and statistics from that day’s ride using my Garmin GPS unit.

Garmin Edge 305 (with HR and Cadence accessories)

Garmin Edge 305 (with HR and Cadence accessories)

In 2007, I bought a Garmin Edge 305 GPS. This was one of the cycle specific units. It’s no longer made but you can still get it from various cycle shops for about £180 or from Ebay for around £100. The 305 just plots your journey; It doesn’t have maps. If you want maps and a colour display, you’ll have to go for the Edge 605 and above, but you will have to pay more. The Edge 605 is £230 and the 705 is £315. There is a flagship touchscreen Edge 800 in the pipeline but that’s not yet available in the UK.

Even though the Edge 305 is getting on a bit, it is still a very commendable unit with the following features:

  • Virtual Partner® – lets you race a virtual competitor over a specified distance and speed.
  • Courses – lets you race against a previously recorded workout, so you can compare your current and past performances over the same ride.
  • Auto Pause® – pauses the timer when you slow down or stop and resumes when you speed up again, so you can focus on your ride.
  • Auto Lap® – automatically starts a new lap each time you pass a specified location or travel a preset distance.

The standard display is fully configurable with as much or as little information as you require.

Edge 305 display

Edge 305 display

Not only can you upload your completed rides onto your computer using the software provided but you can also upload them to the Garmin Connect website. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get a map with your route plotted onto it. You’ll also get loads of statistics and graphs of your speed and the elevation of your ride as well as your Heart Rate and/or cadence, should you have either of these two add-ons. Once done, you can share your ride with friends in a number of ways such as Twitter, Email or Facebook.

The Virtual Partner® and Courses are great training aids. If you have a particular course which you do regularly, you can convert the data from any ride on that course and ride against it using the Virtual Partner®. Now, when you ride that course, you will get a graphical representation of where you are, on the course, compared to where you were on the course when the ride was taken. I do hope this makes sense.

Virtual Partner display

Virtual Partner display

You can also pre-plan routes using sites such as http://ridewithgps.com/ and transfer that data to the Edge 305. That way, even though you don’t have maps, you do have a line to follow which hopefully will prevent you from getting lost. This is particularly useful when taking part in events such as the Evans Cycles Ride-it events as Evans publish the route as a downloadable GPS file for you to transfer to your Garmin GPS unit prior to the ride, negating the need to follow a map.

Route display

Route display

Uploading routes is exactly how I plan to use it when I come to ride the route. At the moment, although the start and finish towns are known, the actual route each stage will take won’t be published until June 2011. When they are published, I will plot each stage using http://ridewithgps.com/ and transfer them to the Edge 305. On the morning of each stage, I will then load that stage’s course and follow it. As I ride, not only will I get the usual information such as Speed, Distance travelled, Heart Rate, Elevation etc. but It will also tell me the distance and estimated time to the finish. I will still take maps for the interest of knowing exactly where I am but I won’t need to refer to a map at every junction to make sure I’m going the right way. Don’t you just love technology!!!

Even though this unit is no longer made, it is still supported by Garmin. Last year, my unit developed a fault. I sent it back to Garmin and, as it was out of warranty, they just charged me a flat fee of £65 in return for a brand new unit.

So there you go, you can go cheap and get a whole bag of features at the same time.