Category Archives: Review

First workout on Zwift

A quick review of my first workout session on Zwift. Yeah, it has taken me a bit to get around to it. Frankly, if it wasn’t for the fact that I wanted the achievement that came with completing my first workout, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Now I know for sure I’m waiting until after Thanksgiving to start in earnest!

Recently I went through a pretty low point. I was getting absolutely thrashed in any Zwift race in which I tried to participate. I couldn’t get power for any of the jerseys. I was feeling really old and was ready to throw in the towel.

My Team Xperimental teammates encouraged me to take a break. They warned that I was just burned out from trying to go too hard for too long. So, I took their advice and either didn’t ride at all… I even RAN once!… or I just took some easy spins.

Now I’m starting to feel a little better. I’ve even landed some PRs on both he Richmond and the Watopia climbs. However, I still don’t feel excited about any long efforts. So, I’ve given myself until after Thanksgiving before I will begin training again in earnest.

That brings us to yesterday. I climbed on the trainer after work and before going to a symphonic wind band concert with my family. I only had a few minutes to ride. I also wanted to get that “sweat badge” for the Zwift achievement board. So, I went looking for the shortest workout I could do.

Jon's Short Mix

Jon’s Short Mix

I landed on the Jon’s Short Mix. Having not run the Zwift test, I was basing the workout on an FTP of 300 watts. Frankly, I think that was a little ambitious!

  • Warmup at 180 watts
  • 2x 1 minute at 450 watts
  • 2 minutes at 225 watts
  • 10 seconds at 900 watts
  • 1 minute at 225 watts
  • 10 seconds at 900 watts
  • 1 minute at 225 watts
  • 10 seconds at 900 watts
  • 4 minutes at 180 watts
  • 10 minutes at 260 watts
  • 3 minute cool down (around 120 watts)

Right out of the shoot I was shocked! The workout mode had taken control of my trainer and in order to reach 180 watts I was spinning along at 130 to 140 rpm. Hey, this blog isn’t called Low Cadence for nothing! 115 to 125 rpm is what I use for leg speed drills!

During that five minute warmup I was yearning for more resistance so I could lower the rpm. However, no matter what I did… even going to my 53×11… the Kickr forced me into that higher rpm. Thankfully, as I moved into the first 450 watts effort I was getting used to it and the Kickr was now allowing me a more manageable 120 rpm in the 53×11.

OUCH!

I went under the banner to start the 900 watt 10 second section. My crank came to a standstill! I was still in the 53×11 and the resistance immediately kicked in. I couldn’t adjust and suddenly I was at zero watts trying to get my gears changed to something more manageable. I finally got underway and even hit 800 watts, but it was a little too little too late. Zwift stuck a big old FAILED up beside that section.

Now I had a minute to get it right. I tried to find the right cadence and counted down to the next 900 watt effort. I was going to try to time it so that I would be in a better gear. This time I hit it and didn’t come to a standstill. I did better, but still didn’t hit 900 watts with only a peak of 875 watts and averaging only 750 watts for the 10 seconds.

Okay, one more time. After a minute of 225 watts with a very comfortable average of 85 rpm, I hit the last 900 watt section. I transitioned well this time, but the problem was my legs were dead. I peaked at about 835 watts and averaged just under 700 watts. I didn’t get “FAILED” out to the side of these last two 900 watt efforts, but I didn’t get the nice “PERFECT” one either.

By this point the 10 minutes at 260 watts was looking pretty daunting! Thankfully, the 4 minutes I had at 180 watts allowed me to get back on the wagon. My legs — and the rest of me — were feeling a lot better.

I nailed it. I held almost a constant 266 watts for the 10 minutes at an average cadence of 105 rpm. My heart rate did climb into the 170s, but leveled off at around 172 bpm. Some of that heart rate could have been partly due to the fact that I had forgotten to turn on my fan and by this point I was pretty toasty!

After cooling down, I had only spent 31:45 minutes on Zwift. I definitely felt like I had a workout! At the same time, I felt pretty… what could I say… supple? I actually think the higher cadence that I was forced to use was good for my muscles. I do tend to push too hard of a gear and it tends to leave me feeling sore after a hard ride.

On the other hand, when I look through the list of other possible workouts, I see nothing but pain! It really is enough to make me ask myself, “Now, tell me again why you do this? You’re telling me this is fun?” Well, the training isn’t really fun, but the payoff you get for the investment sure is!

I’m looking forward to investing in my fitness bank with the Zwift workout mode.

But after Thanksgiving!

Getting a kick out of the Wahoo Fitness Kickr

Friday was a frustrating day. Work did not go well at all. Last second changes to some event plans, some process failures that lead to some embarrassments, and then just normal stress of soon coming deadlines. About mid-afternoon, I saw a chance to get some work done and have a little fun in the process.

I headed home where I planned to watch some required software training tutorials (about 4 hours worth!) and ride my trainer while I was at it. If I was going to have to sit for a couple of hours, I figured I might as well sit on my trainer. I could work my legs even if I wasn’t necessarily working my mind.

Things got more frustrating as I kept getting phone calls from work dealing with the above issues, the tutorials were a bear to find in the online system, and Zwift released an update that for my machine contained a bug that forced the launcher into an infinite loop. So, my afternoon turned into a mixture of giving instructions over the phone, searching for online videos, and deleting files to reinstall my Zwift. Multitasking anyone?

So, finally, at 5 PM, I had gotten through several tutorials, Zwift was finally installed, and I told my assistant to go home because there was no progress to be made on our issues until Monday morning. After another tutorial, I tested the new Zwift update and headed up for dinner. It was about 8:30 PM before I finally made it back to the trainer to get the workout I had hoped to started around 2 PM.

With the way things were going, I was afraid that I would relive the issues of Thursday evening. I rode the trainer for about 2.5 hours. Everything was pretty good for the first hour, but then I started playing around with the Wahoo Fitness apps while spinning with Zwift. They led to the connection between my computer and the trainer to drop. I couldn’t get it reconnected and so rode the last hour plus in “dumb trainer” mode.

Now, finally on Friday evening I logged into my Zwift profile and started to spin. As you begin the initial straight there isn’t any elevation. So, I wasn’t sure if the Kickr was working or not. Then I approached the first kite marking the finish of the Green Jersey Sprint. This was the first kick up in grade and I could feel it!

The Kickr was working. You might ask, what does that mean? Well, the Kickr is a “smart trainer.” Not only does it measure your power as you produce it, but it also can receive signals from software applications that cause the trainer to adjust its resistance based on those signals.

Compare a lap between my CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer (a “dumb” one) using a Quarq crank mounted power meter with the Wahoo Fitness Kickr trainer (a “smart” one). Resistance on the CycleOps is relatively constant. The only way to increase the resistance is to shift to harder gears. In other words, it would be like riding on a flat road with a normal bicycle. So, when you ride on the virtual Zwift Island even the hills are “flat.” Zwift compensates by slowing your virtual speed on the island. If you want to climb in a respectable time, your brain has to see the drop in speed and tell your legs to ride faster to compensate.

Now, the Kickr changes all this. When you approach the climb, Zwift sends a signal to the Kickr indicating the change in grade. The Kickr can then use electromagnetic resistance to give the sensation of a topographical change. So if you ride with a constant cadence at 0% grade and then start a climb on Zwift, the Kickr will begin to build resistance to match the amount of grade you are experiencing. A 3% grade is going to engage a little lest resistance than a 15% grade.

A smart trainer like the Kickr is the missing element to a product like Zwift. It truly turns your experience into one as road-like as you can imagine. It allows you to immerse yourself in the experience in a way the dumb trainer does not allow.

I have not yet experimented with the many other software options that pair with the Kickr. I can certainly see the training benefit. For instance, if I am doing an interval workout on the trainer. With the dumb trainer I have to keep one eye on the watch and the other on my wattage display. Then I get lost in the myriad of rests, efforts, and repeats.

With the Kickr you can set up a training session that preprograms the Kickr to guide you through the repeats. The trainer holds the resistance pushing you to maintain the proper wattage. When it come to rest, the trainer releases to allow you to spin. It then engages once again when it is time to start your next interval repeat. You can focus on your effort and not keeping up with what interval you are on!

I hope to be back with more on the Kickr as I get used to it. However, I think the way I can best describe my experience and what I think of the trainer is this… that Friday evening after a frustrating day at work, I got off the trainer with a smile on my face. I rode for an hour and got my first ever triple jersey: Green Jersey Sprint, Polka Dot Jersey, and Orange Jersey.

triple

Ride on!

Back to the island

Bronchitis done it is time to get back on the bicycle. I’m not sure what my next goal will be, but I know I need to get moving again. My body is well rested, but now I’ve got to start ramping up my fitness again.

I’m not sure what my next goal will be. I had originally planned to do the River Falls race in the Greenville Spring Training Series. It was originally slated to be held February 28. However, it was postponed due to weather and is moved to March 14.

That was exciting to hear at first because I wasn’t ready physically to race on the 28th. I started thinking about getting myself ready for the 14th. Then I looked at the calendar and my plans came crashing down. I have to work that morning.

So, I’ll just turn my focus to improving my fitness and then see what comes along for competition. At least I might be ready for the Tuesday Night World Championship rides. Of course, holding serve on the Saturday morning Sunshine Cycle Shop group rides is another objective. You don’t always have to pin a number on to enjoy a little competition!

That is definitely true of Zwift and my new friends on Jarvis Island. When I first started riding there, I would see less than 20 people using the online game with me. Now, I regularly see 100 or more. Eric Min, the man behind the system, says that he has seen over 300 though currently the software only shows around 100 to the participants.

Check out the “computer game” in the video I created during a ride this past Tuesday. By the way, some of the riders have started a Tuesday Night World Championship ride on the island. They all log in at 6 PM EST and then do a warmup lap. After that, it is just racin’ for the next eleven laps.

I can thank Zwift for what fitness I have and I’m pretty sure that when I get a chance to move it to the road, I’ll be better for it! Let me tell you, I enjoy Zwift and will even ride it on occasion during the good weather season, but I CANNOT wait for the time change and spring to come so I can put real rubber down on real asphalt!

Zwift has me daydreaming

When I discovered Strava, I found a new motivation to ride. Going “Strava segment hunting” helped meet a competitive desire now that I was no longer racing. Then I found that I wasn’t strong enough to beat my own times on Strava, much less up and coming whippersnappers. I’ll admit that when winter 2014/2015 came along, I basically parked the bicycle.

In November I rode my bicycle for all of 7 hours. In December, I rode for three times for less than 5.5 hours. Finally, on January 5, I started finding the urge to climb back in the saddle. It was just soon after that I discovered the online program Zwift. Suddenly, January found me racking up 18 hours on the bike. 11 of those hours came in the last week… and I’ve got one week to go.

10900166_10155127791980650_5507688864612460114_o

Sure, improving weather was a help, but just as Strava gave a shot of motivation, Zwift did the same. It is kind of hard to explain, but I’ll give a short description here and then let a video I recently published give you more details.

Zwift is part video game and part training tool. You download a program just as you would the latest version of Call of Duty. Once it is installed, you use wireless technology to connect your bicycle’s data collecting devices to your computer. The computer program then uses the data input to control your avatar on the screen.

Instead of this being a first-person shooter game it is a first-person cyclist game. What makes it interesting is that it takes the simple data from your trainer ride and combines it with the virtual world. It adds a new dimension to an otherwise static experience on the trainer.

On the trainer when you increase your wattage you increase your speed. The harder you pedal, the faster you will spin the rear wheel. To mix things up, you typically will use a stop watch to add variety (or intervals) to your ride. This works, but is so often still boringly sterile.

Zwift changes that up. For instance, you approach a climb. Obviously, the virtual world creates a change visually. However, it does something more. As you begin to climb a grade, you notice your speed on the computer readout begins to slow. You also get the audible cue that your wheels are turning less (even though your actual wheels are turning at a consistent speed.) So, if you want to go up the hill faster, you are going to have to increase your wattage.

Boom! There you have an interval. However, it is more than just a stop watch. You now have visual, audible, and self-generated force feedback.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 4.25.01 PMI’m just getting started. To add to the motivation you have dozens of other people doing just what you are. My sons enjoy playing multiplayer first-person shooters on their Xbox. Zwift brings the multiplayer aspect to trainer rides. I’ve already found a consistent group of riding buddies!

I can see where this can go… How about riding a Tour De France route? What about a special interval training course that gives you visual cues to guide you through multiple sets of repeats? Want to ride with your buddy in Italy and chat while you are at it? Just log in with your “race radio” and ride side-by-side.

I even have my own app idea that I would love my software firm, Worthwhile, to build. It would be a phone app that allows you to use the camera function of your phone to bring your body within an outline on the phone’s screen. When you snap a photo of you in your kit from four different angles, you will find your team’s kit rendered on your avatar. This would then be uploaded to Zwift allowing you to enter the virtual world looking a bit more like yourself!

Oh, sorry. So much for a short description! Without further ado, here is the video.

Thanks for watching and get ready for the Zwift experience. Word is that the software should be available this spring. I’m thankful I was able to get in for the beta testing. You can learn more here at Zwift.com.

Alternative mount for iBike wireless base

I got back on the bike yesterday. My legs actually felt very good. While on the bike, my shoulder did not hurt me at all. Only when I lift my arm up to my head do I feel a tinge of soreness. Sorest were my middle and ring fingers on my right hand. At first I couldn’t figure out why, then it hit me… the iBike.

When I fell on Saturday, I had my right hand turned with my index finger on the left side of the Garmin Edge 500 with my thumb on the right side. The abrupt fall caused my right hand to “punch” the iBike computer with my hand. It would appear that it was the aforementioned fingers that took the brunt of the punch.

The iBike wireless mount "strap"

This is the hard plastic strap used to affix the iBike wireless mount

Still, it was the iBike that got the worse of it. The small hard plastic strap that screws into the wireless mount base broke in two. This didn’t surprise me at all. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had this mount break. At least it was the strap only this time and not the base itself as I have had happen before.

It got me to thinking of an alternative to the mount. I really like the new Garmin mount. It uses large rubber O-rings to mount the base to the bike. This makes is much more versatile and less likely to break. I wondered if I might be able to take a similar approach with the iBike.

iBike wireless base with O-rings

A possible alternative mounting system for the iBike?

The iBike mount has two “knobs” that stick out on either side of the base. These contain the threads into which the strap (seen above in the first picture) is attached with screws. I’ve had one of these knobs break off before.

So, I decided to see if I could loop one of my extra Garmin O-rings around one of the knobs, run it under the stem, and then around the second knob. I also placed some two-sided tape on the bottom of the mount to help keep it in place. Right off the bat, I saw some potential.

I still didn’t feel overly confident with the setup. The potential that the O-ring could pop off of the rounded edges of the knobs was real. If I could just find a way to hold the rubber in place, I couldn’t see any reason why this wouldn’t work.

A second O-ring solved my problem. It worked by running a second O-ring over the first one around one knob, routing it over the stem, and then over the bottom O-ring and around the second knob. You can see the demonstration in the photo above.

Now, I realize that one reason iBike has such a rigid mounting system is because the consistency of its placement is important to the proper function of the unit. While it is possible that this method for mounting the computer might not work, I am willing to give it a try. My first experience was positive.

During my ride, I made sure I went over some rough sections of road. I tested various efforts. In every case the unit stayed in place and the wattage registered was consistent with my expectations. The only thing I had to be careful about was putting the unit on and taking it off.

It takes a bit of torque to snap the computer to the mount. It could be possible that I could twist the mount a bit in the process. That would weaken the tape as the O-rings flex. This is easily countered by holding the base with my left hand while I attach/detach the computer with my right.

So, why did I do this instead of ordering a new base strap? I will order a replacement, but I needed it last night. Plus, I’ve never been a fan of that system. It is awkward and prone to breaking because of the stresses caused by the rigidity. IF this method works, I may not replace it.

I’m open to reasons why this isn’t a good idea. I will keep testing the concept to see if I experience any long-term issues. I’ll let you know!

I guess trainer season is over

I use my trainer a lot. When I broke my neck, it was the only way I could get exercise on my bike. I”m also a wimp when it comes to weather conditions. When some will ride outside, I will get on the trainer. Mostly, however, I am a busy man and during the winter, I don’t have many opportunities to ride during daylight hours. It is not unusual for me me to be spinning away at 10 PM.

It was after one of those late evening sessions that I noticed something odd. Normally, when I am done spinning, there is a good amount of fluid beneath my bike. It’s my fluid — as in I sweat a lot. It will sometimes pool on the linoleum beneath the front wheel stand. I clean up the bike and the floor before heading back upstairs. This time, I noticed some fluid back along the rear wheel.

No biggie, I guessed somehow some sweat got back there during a time when I was sitting upright or some water from my bottle got spilled. I wiped it up and went about my business. The next morning I came down to get something for work and noticed that the patch of fluid was back. This time I stuck my finger in it and realized it wasn’t water. It was oil from my trainer.

Hydrolic fluid leaking from resistance unit

The "fluid" part of the Fluid 2 trainer

Turning the trainer over, I could see that fluid was all over the bottom of the resistance unit. It was one more thing to add to a growing list of things I had to work on, so I just kept riding it for a few more sessions. Finally, I got it in to Sunshine Cycle Shop where I purchased it.

I have been pleased with the service of Saris. When I first got their CycleOps Fluid 2, the tension handle broke. Sunshine gave me a handle from another product and Saris replaced it. In this case, Mike called Saris and they said to send in the resistance unit and they would send out a replacement. It would have been nice to have gotten the replacement part before shipping off the unit.

As it is, I have learned to appreciate my Cycleops Fluid 2! I was given a basic resistance trainer to use while waiting for my replacement. Wow, what a difference!

The Fluid 2 really does give me a near road experience. My power files from trainer sessions compared to the road are very comparable. Now that I am on this piece of junk, I am all the more impressed with the Cycleops product.

Yesterday, I was supposed to do a session that included my short “race winning efforts.” These are ones where I come out of the saddle and sprint for about 14 seconds before settling in to hold a steady wattage of 400+ watts for 2 minutes. Ha! I tried this on this new trainer… at 180 rpm I was hitting 500 watts. That was my sprint! Then I attempted to  “settle down” to 400 watts. I couldn’t do it. I was spinning at 128 rpm just to hold 300 watts!

Needless to say, I didn’t complete the workout properly. I also won’t be attempting any more sessions on the trainer other than easy spins at 150 watts or so. That session was doable on the Fluid 2. In some ways it was more effective on the trainer than on the road.

The good news is that the temperatures are improving and the days are beginning to last a bit longer. It would be nice to have my Cycleops. Still, trainer season should be about over anyway.

The Giant Twist Electric Assist Bicycle

A quick diversion from all the planning for the Ride for Mike. Things continue to progress for the ride. Gifts continue to come in. Plans are coming together, but sometimes it is good to have a little assist…

Sorry I didn’t have more time to get some extended video of the bike. It really is a pretty neat contraption. Because it is electric assist and not a motorized bicycle, you can even use it on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. It would make a neat urban ride.

Now, don’t get on it thinking that it is a moped or something like that. It does take some effort to pedal – just not as much as you normally would need. You must keep pressure on the crank in order to engage the motor. If you stop pedaling the motor will disengage. Also if you start rolling faster than 15 mph the motor will stop. You’re on your own at that point!

The Giant Bicycles Twist is intended for the urban commuter who needs a little assist getting up to the top of that hill without breaking out into a sweat. It doesn’t try to take the pedaling out of cycling. I would have no problem riding this thing to work in my suit.

Want to check it out? There is one for you to throw your leg over at Sunshine Cycle Shop. Give it a try. What I want to do it give it a try up Paris Mountain. If I could average 15 mph up Altamont Road…

Cyclemeter – an update

Yesterday afternoon I headed out around 3:30 for a longer ride. The plan was to got out for an hour or so and then return back near home to connect with my friend, Chris Hartzler, for another hour or so out on the road. It was also a chance to try out the Cyclemeter app on my iPhone 4.

Map created by Cyclemeter

Click to see map in Google

We ended up covering around 50 miles in just under 4 hours. It was crossing my mind that any folks watching my progress on the computer would think I was going pretty slow. That is one thing about the app, it can’t give any indication of how hard I am working. It just provides a location. So, when you are doing lots of climbing, your average speeds are going to show up low — but you’re actually working harder than when you have the high averages on the flats and downhills!

Still, the purpose of this app (for me) is to show my location. I’m happy to announce that it worked great and I’ll be using the Cyclemeter when I head out on my 700 miles in 7 days ride in mid-September. You’ll be able to track me in near real-time as I make my way from Memphis to Raleigh.

Tweets from LowCadence Mentions feed

These tweets were read to me by Cyclemeter

You’ll even get to talk to me, if you like. A fun if not entirely practical component of the app is the ability it has to read tweets to you as you ride. The way it works is that Cyclemeter announces that a rider has started a route. During the time that cyclist is on the bike the app is checking his tweeter feed. You can set it up to read your time-line or just the replies. As a new tweet comes in, the app “reads” it to you in a computer voice.

That is where it loses some of its practicality. First, there is no way this will work unless you are wearing headphones. Second, even if you are the computer voice is hard to understand. Add all that to the ambient noises of a bike ride and you may hear the tweet being read, but you won’t be able to understand it.  Even so, I think this is a cool idea and hope that later updates might provide some clearer voice packages.

Cyclemeter Stopwatch View

Screen capture of Cyclemeter on iPhone 4

Overall, I am pleased with the app. At first, I planned NOT to use the app on regular rides. However, after my accident, my wife has been very supportive, but also a little nervous. The Cyclemeter app emails her when I start and she can bring up the map on her iPhone to see where I am along the route. My Garmin Edge 500 can’t do that. Looks like Cyclemeter will be going along with me more often — though don’t look for me to announce all my rides on Twitter!

Don’t expect the program to give you extremely accurate information. I pulled up at the house at the end of the ride to find that my wife was gone. I asked the Things Three where she was and was informed, “She went out to look for you.” The beautiful redhead had been watching my progress and could tell I was heading home. Well, I spent the last 10 minutes of my ride in a downpour. Turns out she could see the storm (which ended up being quite an electrical storm) and decided to go out to meet me using the Cyclemeter map.

The problem is, the application only updates the information every five minutes. Also, it appears that if the phone loses signal it will store up the data and keep polling until it reconnects. It then updates the map with the backed up data. This is a very good thing. Problem is that means the location could be almost 10 minutes later than what you see on the map.

Finally, another fear I had was with battery life. Turns out I think things are going to work out. I left with about 80% battery life. I rode nearly 4 hours and ended up with about 50% of my juice remaining.

Thanks to those of you who tested out the system while I was out riding. I enjoyed hearing your tweets…. even if they sounded like “Wah wah wah waaaaah wah wah wah.”

How do I show my way? Garmin or iPhone

Monday night I went out on a ride that had the primary purpose of getting my atrophied muscles some exercise. A side benefit was it also gave me a chance to test out a route tracing iPhone application. In yesterday’s post, I talked about the success of my primary goal. Today, I’d like to share my initial observations about the secondary one.

I’m not that excited about adding one more piece of technology to my bike. I find my Quarq CinQo powermeter and Garmin Edge 500 to be enough. Sure, I haul my cell phone around with me for that just in case need. However, that doesn’t have to do so much with my ride as it does with if I suddenly stop riding!

While making my plans for the 2010 Ride for Mike, I always intended it to be an interactive affair. That phone back there would play more of a role in that trip. The plan is to stop along the way and use my iPhone to send tweets out about my progress. With the iPhone 4, I’ll also able to take some HD video… if I happen to have anything worth catching on video.

Then I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I could use the iPhone to allow people to follow me on my route in real time.  I started looking an application that could do it. Right now, the closest I have come is the Cyclemeter by Abvio. At least I know that it will track my route… whether it will allow people to follow me as I ride or if it will only allow them to see after I’ve finished is the question.

The application sends out a tweet when you start with a link to a map. I’m told that it updates my position every 5 minutes. So, my assumption is that if you click on the link during the time of my ride, you will see my progress within five minutes or less of that time. I’ve yet to test that part of it.

Of course, my greatest concern is with the AT&T network. The iPhone application might do a great job collecting the positioning data, but that doesn’t do me any good if I can get it up to the Web! My understanding is that the Cyclemeter software compensates for this by buffering until if finds a connection.

Then I wonder about the GPS accuracy. This isn’t as big of a deal, but consider these two maps from my Monday night right. The first is the one generated by my Garmin Edge 500. The second one is from the Cyclemeter software.

Cleveland Park route Garmin Edge 500

Garmin Edge 500 route from Monday

At first glance, the Cyclemeter route looks identical.

iPhone 4 GPS route of Cleveland Park

iPhone 4 Cyclemeter from Monday

Look closer and you will see that the Garmin GPS read a much tighter route than the iPhone one. Now, neither of them stayed dead on during the ride, but the iPhone one was a bit more wacky at times.

Wacky reads from the iPhone GPS

Close up of iPhone 4 GPS route

The Garmin data is much prettier…

Tighter Garmin Edge 500 tracking

Close up of Garmin Edge 500

It looks like this is the approach I’m going to have to take. I wish there was an ANT+ connection to the iPhone so that I could port the Garmin data through my iPhone to a server on the internet and display even more information from my ride. Still, this is about the investment I’ll need to make considering how many people will (or, more to the point won’t) be following my progress.

Do you use the Cyclemeter? Can you give me some advise? What type of battery life do you find you get? I’d also like to connect with some folks who would be willing to check in with me on my next ride. I’ll let you know when I plan the test and you can click on the link of the tweet that is sent out. We can figure out how it works together!

By the way, here are the links to the actual Google Maps routes that were generated Monday evening.

Finally, if you want to see what I would REALLY like to have for the 2010 Ride for Mike, check this out! Maybe The Worthwhile Company could do something like this for me next year!

You are in good hands with Lucy

Yesterday was a fun day. Turns out that it was a good day for me on the inside as well as the outside! It was a great day to help me get back some excitement for what I am trying to accomplish and a great day for getting some help to prep me for getting back on the bike.

I got started by heading out on my lunch break to deliver some Low Cadence kits. One of the first places I stopped was Eastside Chiropractic to deliver a kit to one of my strongest supporters toward my return to the bike and for the 2010 Ride for Mike. Thankfully, the kit fit the 6′ 4″  David Mruz. Better yet for me, he wouldn’t let me out the door without me getting an adjustment.

Later in the day, I arrived at the St. Francis location out on Innovation Drive. Here I was to meet Lucy Allen. She is a massage therapist that I have known for a year or so. We had always talked of connecting, but I just never got around to it. Well, yesterday we did and I am glad.

Lucy Allen and Jonathan Pait

A big thanks to Lucy Allen for the great work

For my February birthday the beautiful redhead gave me a gift certificate for an hour session with Lucy. My initial plan was to use the gift about a week before the French Broad River road race — one of my A events for the year. Well, I never made it.

First, Lucy sat me down and showed me a group of exercises to help loosen up and strengthen my neck muscles. They hurt, but I could tell they were zeroing in on some of the spots that have been the most problematic for me. Since my neurosurgeon hasn’t given me any physical therapy to do, Lucy’s instructions are most appreciated.

Then it was time for what I came for. Of course, being the journalist I am I was peppering Lucy with questions about why she did certain things. What was she looking for in the texture of the muscles? Were there pressure points that she focused on for a certain effect? Why were there the various oils? My guess is she wished I would just shut up so she could do her job!

Well, turns out she did shut me up. When I moved over for my upper back to be worked on, I had nothing else to say. It hurt so wonderfully! She found all of those “calcium deposits” that cause those rolling sensations. Slowly but surely I felt her work them out. Before long I was totally relaxed. I. Felt. Soooo. Good!

It isn’t a science with Lucy. “I just go to the spots that my hands tell me I need to work on,” she told me. Well, her hands must have been telling her the right things! Speaking of her hands. Wow, I would not want to get in an arm wrestling match with her! When you shake her hand for the first time, you immediately notice two contradictory sensations… 1) the strength of her grip, 2) the softness of her touch. I’d say those are great assets for a masseuse!

Thanks so much, Lucy!