Posted by: Ian | March 20, 2011

CycleOps in the sun – UPDATED

Today was gloriously sunny. It was also the day when Paula, Zoe and I were supposed to be riding in the Lionheart sportive and I was only too aware that if I’d been able to participate I would have enjoyed nicer weather than on most of my previous events. Driving up the hill at Bishopswood we saw a cyclist gunning down towards us. Although my wrist is getting better it has been a bit achey and I don’t feel that the day when I can grip onto the bars while riding with his speedy abandon lies just around the corner.

Meanwhile, I’m doing what I can. I’ve had a couple of sessions on a recumbent bike at the gym, which is nice because it puts no pressure at all on my arms. I’m also starting to do a bit more street running. It’s been a while since I’ve done much so it’s hard work but in the right surroundings it can be uplifting and it keeps my heart and legs ticking over.

My breakthrough this weekend was getting my Astraeus back: putting it into the Turbo Trainer in place of the Felt brings my Powertap into play, which adds a missing dimension to my training. I’ve been on it yesterday and today with the sliding doors wide open so that I could enjoy the sun and even feel the occasional breeze on my face. I ride my Felt with a slightly downward saddle, which I haven’t bothered adjusting on the Turbo Trainer (doing stuff like this one handed is a nuisance). The angle increases the pressure on my arms and so the more neutral position of the saddle on the Astraeus is a relief. I’ve also now been taking my cast off (it’s cunningly removable) and wearing padded summer gloves along with proper cycling attire – it’s a start.

Having a power readout makes Golden Cheetah even more appealing. Unfortunately, it really does crash a lot. And although it’s easy to import individual rides I haven’t found a way to do a batch import for all of my rides, or even a significant bunch of them. [I tried to use the Export All menu option from Garmin Training Center but even with no other programs running and 6 Gb of RAM on my laptop it crapped out. Since Golden Cheetah can’t read activities directly off my Edge 800, as far as I can see this means there’s no easy way to transfer my rides in bulk to GC. I can live with the crashes but only having a handful of rides on GC impairs its functionality.]

UPDATE – as Livers points out in the comments, there is a procedure for doing a bulk upload and I should have thought of it myself. Simply plug in your bike comp and drag the activities from the drive that gets mounted in Finder. For my Edge 800 the drive appears as GARMIN and the relevant files are in the Garmin/Activities folder, where they have .fit extensions. Drag them into the GC app window rather than the icon in the dock.

Nonetheless, it is very cool. For example, compare this one chart summary of the 69 minute interval workout I did yesterday:

with the same chart for my 30 minute steady workout today in which my aim was simply to stick above 200 W:

Picking over these simple charts gives me some useful cues for what to focus on during similar workouts next time.

However, essentially the same information is available in comparable form in both Garmin Connect and Training Center. What’s different in GC is the Critical Power chart. I described this last time and it’s especially useful as a tool to analyse a particular session and refine training goals. For example, the interval session from above shows as the black line here:

The coloured line marking the top of the zones shows the best average power level I’ve achieved over each interval. These best levels are taken from the handful of activities I could be bothered to import one at a time – this is where a bulk import would be most useful. Even so, taking half a dozen decent rides gives a decent approximation to what I imagine I’d see if I imported all those that I have. What this particular chart shows is that on the interval workout I never threw a burst of power comparable to those I’ve turned in over very short intervals in the past but that over 30 second spells and greater I wasn’t miles away from prior highs and that my average over a full hour was passably close to my best (in this sample). In future, I can target power levels over preset short or long intervals knowing what I need to hit to match or improve on past form.

It remains to be seen whether 30 and 60 minute workouts on a recumbent bike or a turbo trainer with the occasional modest road run will get me in good enough shape for the Tour of Wessex at the end of May. I suppose it depends when I can start cycling again, even supposing that I’ll be roadworthy by then at all. If possible, I’d ideally like to try the Somerset Gran Fondo two weeks prior to the Wessex. It would be presumptuous to sign up for it now when I can’t even change gear with my left hand yet, although if I leave it too long there’s a risk that the event could fill up I guess. I’m not sure that it makes much training sense to sign up for such a tough ride a fortnight before my year’s main event – but I like cycling around the area so much that it would be a shame to miss it.



  1. Thanks a lot for writing this, it was unbelieveably informative and told me a ton

    • Thanks for the kind word. For some wordpress spammed your comment (maybe due to the corp address). Apologies to you and anyone who is inappropriately silenced! Encouragement and corrections are always very welcome.

  2. Batch export of from Garmin Training Center isn’t really a GC issue, but you can drag and drop all the files from the virtual drive that appears when you plug the 800 in.

    Be really interested to hear what you were doing when GC crashed and which version you used…

    • Oh thanks, Livers. I’m so dumb! That d&d hint is great!! I’ve updated the post. This is potentially transformational for my use of GC.

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