Ride Notes for August 23rd, 2014

Today's ride was an adventure in more ways than one.

First of all, my new cycling GPS arrived in the mail yesterday, and I was eager to try it out. The GPS that I bought is a Garmin Edge 510 Bike Computer, and I purchased the version that was bundled with Garmin's Heart Rate Monitor and GSC 10 Speed/Cadence Sensor.


All of this gear took a while to set up, so even though I had hoped to be on the road by 9am, I didn't actually get on the road until shortly after 11am. By way of explanation, the speed/cadence sensor needed to be installed on my bicycle, and to do so I needed to read the user guide and watch an online video in order to make sure that I was setting everything up correctly. (I also needed to pair the heart rate monitor with my GPS and install the GPS mount on my bicycle, but those tasks were fairly simple.)

Once I started out, I spent the first few miles adjusting small features on the GPS to display what I thought would be the most-relevant information for me during my ride. For example: current speed, total distance, ride time, cadence, heart rate, current time, etc. The GPS is pretty easy to use, so once I got the hang of things, I like having the additional information available to me. (My old cell phone GPS app was great, but it doesn't provide the same level of flexibility nor does it provide information like cadence.)

Another interesting adventure during today's ride was the altered course: many of my recent long rides have involved multiple trips to Colossal Caves, which I may have pointed out has a very bumpy last mile because the road is poorly maintained. I also mentioned in a recent blog that I have been considering turning off onto a short loop at Pistol Hill Road instead of riding all the way to Colossal Caves. I mentioned this plan to an old friend and avid local cycling enthusiast earlier this week. He was shocked when I told him that I had been riding all the way to Colossal Caves, because he knew how terrible that last mile was. He encouraged me to ride the Pistol Hill Road loop, although he mentioned that it has some hills to climb.

With that in mind, I followed my usual route towards Colossal Caves for the first 14 miles or so until I reached Pistol Hill Road, where I turned south and promptly began huffing my bicycle uphill. The great part about this route was - the road itself has obviously been recently-paved, so the riding conditions were great. The only negative feature was that the loop begins with a hill which I think parallels the difficulty level of the big hill in the Saguaro National Park. Nevertheless, it was a good ride, and I think that I will stick with this new route in the future. It adds a few miles to the course, which is actually a good thing, and the quality of the ride is so much better that it makes everything worth the extra miles.


I spent a lot of the ride paying attention to my cadence. I have been doing a lot of reading about cycling training, and many of the articles which I have read mention trying to keep your cadence at 80 rpm. I quickly realized that this cadence wasn't going to work for me, so I tried to keep my cadence at 70 rpm. This was difficult for predictable reasons, such as hill climbing. Just the same, I averaged 66 rpm for the duration of today's 4-hour ride, so I will simply try to improve from there.

I drank 3 or 4 liters of water and Gatorade during today's ride, but I still lost 2.5 pounds by the time I was finished. (I'm starting to see how the triathletes who compete in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii can lose 10 pounds during that race - for which they are disqualified.)

I was within a few miles of my house on the return trip when I realized that I had forgotten to put on sunscreen before today's ride. I had been in a hurry to get out the door, and as a result I could already see that my thighs were sunburned along the lower edges of my cycling shorts.

I needed to get home to help Kathleen take our puppy to obedience training at a local pet store, and we needed to leave sometime around 3:15pm to 3:30pm. With that in mind, I was calling it pretty close with a 4-hour ride which began at 11:12am. (I made it, though. I had just enough time to take a quick shower and run out the door.)

Ride Stats:

  • Primary Statistics:
    • Start Time: 11:12am
    • Distance: 54.9 miles
    • Duration: 3:57:52
    • Calories Burned: 1,896 kcal
    • Altitude Gain: 2,510 feet
  • Speed:
    • Average Speed: 14.1 mph
    • Peak Speed: 27.7 mph
  • Temperature:
    • Minimum: 80.6 F
    • Average: 92.3 F
    • Maximum: 100.4 F
  • Heart Rate:
    • Average: 144 bpm
    • Maximum: 169 bpm

Out of curiosity, I ran both my new Garmin GPS and the CycloMeter app on my Windows Phone to track today's ride, and there were some serious differences. In the end, I decided that the data from my Garmin was the most-trustworthy, so that's what I used to track and log today's ride. (For example, CycloMeter listed my calories burned at 3200 calories, whereas my Garmin showed 1,896 calories. That's a pretty significant difference.)

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