Sunday, January 31, 2010

Training Toys

I've been really unmotivated this winter. The idea of sitting in the basement pedaling my bike on the hamster wheel listening to sci-fi podcasts makes me snuggle under the covers. I just cannot seem to find the will power to get on the bike.
One of the issues is that the cycle computer on the bike is broken and I cannot watch my speed or cadence. I've got no way to challenge myself if I don't have any data.
So I decided to get a new computer. I wanted to get one with both cadence and heart rate. I also wanted one that would be easy to switch to my primary bike in the spring. The last feature I wanted was that it read speed from the rear wheel because the front wheel doesn't move in the trainer.
To get features I wanted, I was looking at dropping a minimum of two bills. Cat Eye makes a nice unit. Garmin also makes a new unit that does everything, but it costs about three bills. The advantage of the Garmin is that it keeps the history over time. You can watch your progress.
While I was doing research at REI one of the sales people suggested a Forerunner. They are a GPS enabled wrist computer that does heart rate, cadence, and speed from the rear wheel. They also store history. The big advantage over a bike computer is that you can use them for more than just biking. For example, I can use it when doing training walks with H.
There are a bunch of models ranging from two to four bills. I chose the cheapest model. It had all the features I needed. The biggest differences were size, auto synching with a computer, and the calorie computation algorithm. The unit is a big red brick. It must be plugged into the computer with a USB cord. The newer models use a heart rate based calorie computation algorithm.
After a week of using it, I like it. It definitely makes riding the bike more interesting. I can watch the speed and my heart rate. I can also set up different work outs.
For the most part it is accurate. The cadence meter drops out every now and then, but that isn't too big a deal. It's not like I am training for a serious event. I used it on a walk and the pace monitoring occasionally spiked.
Despite the minor glitches, the data is fun. Being able to track my progress keeps things interesting.
It is a little sad that I need a toy to keep me motivated, but such is life in the modern plugged in world. What is important is that I'm back in the saddle.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Charity Paddles

H decided to do the Avon Walk this year. It got me thinking about other types of charity events I might be interested in doing. I found a bunch of cycling events, but I couldn't find any kayaking events. In 2002, I participated in a very well organized event in Hilton Head. Other than that I don't know of any other events.
I'm sure there are kayaking for charity events. Please add events in the comments. I'll post them on my club's Web site.
If there are not any kayak for charity events, there should be. I'm sure there are plenty of people interested in participating.