Monday, February 18, 2013


            The past 6 months have seen the addition of several pieces of technology into my training arsenal.  Before the book and “The Big Purchase” that started it all, I used a few simple products that seemed to get the job done. 

I used to track ride stats and to, well, map my rides.  I’ve been using both of these for years, BikeJournal to enter all kinds of ride data to compare and contrast later, and MapMyRide to create maps, which I would then enter onto Facebook before I left for each ride so folks would know where I am in case I didn’t return.  For a rider such as myself who almost always rides alone and has had some pretty bad crashes in the past, that seems like a smart thing to do.  I also, off and on, used to track meals and eating habits, as well as workout data.  That site gets much of the credit for helping me go from 230 pounds to 160 in just under 2 years, and keeping it off since then.

I have several Excel spreadsheets keeping track of different stats ranging from specific ride and climb records, month to month yearly stats, training plans (both yearly and short term for specific events), and parts use.  One spreadsheet itself was dedicated to my personal experience and reviews of all the different tires and tubes I’ve used over the past few years. I'll admit it.  I'm a stats geek.

For a cyclocomputer, I used a Cateye AT-100 that I bought in 1998 with my Specialized Stumpjumper FSR-XC.  That was one of the first cycling computers that had all the regular data plus an altimeter giving you current altitude and total altitude gain.  I LOVED that thing!  (The Stumpjumper, too!)

In 2012, I read “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” by Joel Friel.  That book changed the way I viewed training.  I’ll admit, a lot of it was well over my head.  I don’t have a power meter, nor am I anywhere near affording one.  And I don’t train to race several times per year at Pro Level events, and the events I do are not Criteriums, Triathlons, Time Trials, or Stage Races.  They are ultra endurance, long distance events.  But there is much in this book for every serious cyclist, and it doesn’t take much adjusting to logically fit the information given into a training regimen for what I do.  They do help you with that, forming a training regimen to fit your specific needs and desires.  It's a VERY good book for an serious cyclist, just know that it is very advanced, almost as if it is oriented more towards the coach than the rider.

On September 4th, 2012, I decided to take the plunge and bought a Garmin Edge 500, replacing my then 14 year old Cateye.  That little computer changed everything.  I was overwhelmed by how much data it would collect, I spent days setting it up to show what I wanted and to figure out how I wanted the different pages of screens to be arranged.

Of course, when you buy a Garmin, you pretty much have to get onto as well.  So, as soon as I had my Garmin in my hands, I went on Strava and got started, replacing BikeJournal as my primary source for data input.  I immediately fell in love with all it had to offer, and I ran with it.  I love that it’s more social oriented, and the achievements and segments are a lot of fun.  And the sheer amount of information it will give you linked with a source like my Garmin Edge 500 is immense.  But, fortunately, not overwhelming.

Then, through, the website associated with "Cyclist's Training Bible", I stumbled on  Wow.  That is a powerful training site.  If you want to get serious about your training and health, take a look at it.  I’ve been using it for about two weeks now, and it will record your training data (I upload mine straight from the Garmin) as well as meal and food data, giving you daily, weekly, or monthly wrap-ups on workout and food information.

It can be expensive for some folks, at $20 for 1 month, or $120 for a full year.  I’m still using the free version, which gives you quite a lot.  For someone that loves data and stats like me, you can geek out on it all day long.

So, this year, I’m experimenting with the training program I formed for myself after reading the book, linked with my Garmin Edge 500 for data gathering, for social data collection, for detailed training data gathering, and a solid, logical, and smart training program.  We’ll find out just how much training smarter with a detailed plan works out!

Now if only they would invent a piece of technology that would make riding in the wet and rain not suck…

My personal pages:

My Strava Page

My MapMyRide Page

My TrainingPeaks Page