Posted by: Ian | March 14, 2011

Mapping Garmin rides in Golden Cheetah

The Garmin Edge 800 captures a tremendous amount of info about my rides. Garmin Connect is a great tool for picking over the ride data and sometimes I use Training Center to provide another (less slick) way of looking at the same info. But, it strikes me, both of them leave potential analysis on the table. Yesterday I downloaded Golden Cheetah to see whether this can offer something new. It’s free and open source and runs on the mac. At first sight, it looks great. Here, for example, is a visualisation of Day 1 of last year’s Tour of Wessex:

It’s worth clicking on the picture to see it properly. The position on the x-y plain tracks the route on the map while the height charts altitude. The whole chart can be fully rotated in 3D and the axes can be re-mapped to other variables. For example, if I wanted to set the z-axis to give my power reading and colour code it by heart rate I could do so.

Other charts in Golden Cheetah are much more sophisticated. This one, for instance, shows (again over the same ride) the best power level I sustained over different time intervals (x-axis), up to the full ride length:

Again, you’ll need to click on it to see it properly. You can see, for example, that over 30 seconds I held a power level of at least 400W whereas over an hour the best that I could sustain on this course was 200W.

While this looks fantastic, there are three reasons why I won’t be using Golden Cheetah very much:

1. It crashes all the time, more than any other home-use software that I’ve used on the mac.

2. The majority of the charts are highly esoteric, unexplained and, I suspect, useless.

3. And this is the big one – I can’t find a batch load function for my Garmin rides. Ideally, I’d just plug in my Edge 800 and watch Golden Cheetah load all the new rides as I do with Garmin Connect and Training Center. Instead, I have to export each ride separately to a file and import them individually. Or so it seems. If you know different (there’s no help) please post a comment!



  1. […] FIT file off the device but it won’t load into Garmin Connect or Garmin Training Center or Golden Cheetah. Nor can I find a Mac-compatible utility to load the FIT file into non-binary format or to repair […]

  2. […] a power readout makes Golden Cheetah even more appealing. Unfortunately, it really does crash a lot. And although it’s easy to […]

  3. You should be able to drag and drop as many files as you like onto GoldenCheetah and it will parse and import them all, .tcx is supported amongst others.

    Are you using v2 ? We spent a fair while looking to track down bugs. If you haven’t setup your power zones in the preferences that may help a little … but we really really want to squash bugs so feel free to post to our mailing list on google groups (

    GC is very much geared to power analysis, if you are struggling to understand the performance manager or PfPv plot you should take a look at … it gives a great rundown of power analysis concepts.


    • Cool. Many thanks for this. Re the multiple upload, my question would be how I get the collection of tcx files to drag/drop in the first place. I’ll try exporting all my rides from Training Centre, which I believe is a menu option, and then see whether I can drag these straight into GC. I’ll check this out when I get back to my mac at the weekend. I’ll also check out what version I’m running – since I downloaded the current version on Friday/Saturday, I guess it’s the latest. I’ll also study the material on your link and set up my power zones. If I can get it to work without the many crashes I got and make sense of tabs such as Aerolab I’ll post an update. Certainly it *looks* terrific and anything that can help me get more training benefit from my powertap would be v welcome. Best, Ian

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