Weekly Mailbag–June 19th, 2010

WeeklyMailbagIconHere’s this week’s edition of the weekly mailbag.  This is a weekly series where I feature a handful of the e-mailed questions I received from the previous week or so.  I try and pick a wide variety of questions. Some are technical in nature, some sport related, and sometimes all sorts of other randomness – as you’ll see below.

This week’s mailbag covers the following topics:

1) Simple ANT+ Cycling Computer
2) Race Wheels and Spare Tires/Tubes
3) Garmin 305 Quick Release Challenges

Question #1: Simple ANT+ Cycling Computer
From Dave-

I’m looking for an ANT+ compatible stand a lone bike computer to combine with the Gamin speed/cadence sensor and Heart rate strap.
I’ve recently changed from Polar to Garmin. My last setup had a S720 on my wrist and a CS100 on the bike, worked well for tri’s, cycling and MTB. Looking for similar setup using the 310XT on my wrist.
Trek makes a couple but I’m unable to find it in stock, I think VDO also have some, but the one’s I can find a just as expensive as the Garmin 500.  Are there any reasonable priced alternatives that are available as I have 3 bike to fit out, Used the CS100 on the Road and TT with another for the MTB? Looking to do the same.

Yup, and I think I’ve got the product just for you.  I picked one up earlier this week from my local bike shop just for fun to see how it works out.  It’s the Bontrager ANT+ Node 1 unit.  This is identical to your old school bike computers in size and weight.  The only difference is instead of having a proprietary speed/cadence sensor, it will connect to any ANT+ devices you want to pair it to.  Heart Rate straps, speed sensors, cadence sensors, even power meters!  And the price?  Just $75.  Here’s a few pics I took during the unboxing:


I’ll be putting together a bit of a lighter review in the coming weeks.  The main thing that differentiates this device from any other is that it doesn’t allow you to transfer to the recorded data to a computer.  It’s just on the head unit.  But it does remember things like odometer and ride history.   And it does even include nutrition timer-reminders – something that only the Polar has these days.  Anyways, stay tuned for more deets on this!

Question #2: Race Wheels and Spare Tires/Tubes
From Attila-

“I did my first Tri this weekend in Delaware and your site helped me tremendously in my planning leading up to the race.  I’m in IT as well and love your in depth detailed reports on all the different things you’re doing.

My question is it looks like you’re still using tubular’s with the new wheelset but in the Tidewater pictures I see a clincher tube on your Beaker Concepts tail and no spare tubular.  Are the wheels clinchers or are you doing something else like a pitstop in case you get a flat.  Just curious.”

Congrats on your first tri – that’s awesome!  And thanks for reading and the comments, I appreciate it!
Funny on that picture, I was wondering who might notice. ;)  Actually, I normally have both a tubular and a clincher on there.  I keep them both there because I regularly swap back and forth between race wheels and training wheels and figure I’d always forget one or the other if I just didn’t have both there.  Back at Rev3 though, I actually gave away my spare tubular to a woman who flatted at the same location as my car/bike crash on the course.  She ended up paying me back via a note in transition area, but I forgot to pick up and attach the spare one prior to the race.  Thus, it never made it to my bike for the race.  Doh!  Luckily, I didn’t flat – so no harm no foul…  Here’s my full normal setup to hold CO2/spare tires.

Question #3: Garmin 305 Quick Release Challenges
From Pete-

“Since you are the undisputed Forerunner 305 expert I thought I’d run a quick question by you.  I use the 305 with the Velcro quick release wristband for nearly every workout.  Getting the wristband on and off is never an issue in training, transition training, etc, but come race day it kills me to waste time in transition threading the wristband through the loop…usually whilst choking on a GU, gasping for air, and cursing simultaneously.  I’ve tried pre-threading the band through the loop, but it always pops out when I jam my hand through.  I’ve thought about just wearing the wristband for the swim sans Forerunner, but thought that the plastic clips might be a bit lethal when thrashing about (not to mention I’d look silly).  I’m considering just duct taping the rubberized end of the wristband so it can’t slip back through the loop, but this seems a bit ugly and permanent. Just wondering if you’ve come across this and how you dealt with it?”

Hmm, interesting problem.  I haven’t had this particular issue.  Some of it might just be practicing – it’s amazing how in a race even the easiest of things become very difficult.  One thing I do to counter this a bit is to practice transitions and actually include taking the watch and putting it on each set.

Now, one thing I do differently is I don’t put on my Garmin in transition.  I grab it, my race belt, and any nutrition – and just start running.  I figure I can deal with it along the run.  So typically my primary goal is to leave transition as soon as possible.  Once ‘on the run’ and out of transition I go ahead and get everything all sorted out and cleaned up.  I figure I have between 3.1 and 26.2 miles to figure it out. ;)


As for your specific solution that would probably work.  You could also probably just put a safety pin through that end as well to act as a ‘lock’.  On a semi-related note (I know you’re talking Bike to Run, but just to mention it) – I generally recommend against putting on the quick release mount during the swim, as the plastic ends of the mount on the band can easily tear wetsuits.  And having a torn wetsuit makes for a sad panda.  Hope this helps!  If anyone has any other suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments!

Oh, here’s how I race with the Garmin series of watches/devices – for those who’ve just joined in the past few months.

Thanks for reading!

Recent Mailbags:

Weekly Mailbag – June 12th, 2010
– What to wear during first tri
– Quarq Cinqo Power Meter Review
– Using Garmin 310XT for power meter intervals

Weekly Mailbag – June 5th, 2010

– Cleaning HR and Quick release Strap 
– Multisport Mode
– Splitting Data Files
– Using Edge 500 with Sport Tracks

All past mailbags here.


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  1. I was looking for the cheap solution for ANT+ and found o-synce cyclecomputers and heart-rate monitor.

    Also, I would like to ask, did you make review of suunto T6C or T4C monitors?


    Me Also, I would like to ask, why you don’t make review of suunto T6C monitors?
    My self I found TE very useful during my preparing period

    One more question, related to TE
    In my opinion right now Garmin Forerunner 910XT is the best out there.
    I know that uses TE (second generation also) but can be displayed during workout as Suunto t6c does?
    I can not find TE it in picture

    link to lh3.ggpht.com

    you name “Garmin FR910XT Run Fields”

    Is the TE the Grade you are writing in the second column?

    Thank you in advance

  3. I don’t see the Suunto T6C as competitive in the landscape of triathlon watches today. I think the Ambit represents some new focus, but overall, the costs for these products are rather high and the seperate pod design is less than ideal. Just my two cents.

    As for the Grade column, that refers to grade as in incline (like a hill).

    Thanks for stopping by!


    Thank you very much for the quick response.
    So this is a no!?
    Although Garmin 910XT uses the firstbeat Algorithm in “Calorie Calculation” -so it can understand beat-to-beat time- to see the Training Effect (TE)in real time workout is not possible!?
    That if NO ..sucks!

  5. Correct, it’s not shown today on the Garmin watches themselves. I don’t expect to see that change unfortunately.