Week in Review–April 27th, 2013

The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

DCRainmaker.com posts this past week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com this week.

Sunday: Week in Review–April 21st, 2013
Monday: Cycling up (and down twice) the legendary Mount Ventoux
Tuesday: Initial thoughts on the newly announced TomTom GPS Triathlon Watch
Friday: A really cold swim in Seattle

Woot, check it out!

I was interviewed by Living Healthe this week, along with the founder of Training Peaks.  Good stuff, enjoy!

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet:

1) Withings Delays Fitness Tracker (FitBit like thing) till summer (or later): The title pretty much says it all.

2) Understanding heart rate zones while swimming: A bit of a paper on how to calculate heart rate zones for those wishing to train by HR in the water.  There’s of course many technical challenges today in doing so, with differing levels of success in various gadgets.  In related news, I ordered one of the Poolmate HR units and picked it up while in Seattle.  I won’t have a chance to really play with it for a bit longer, but it’s in the pile.  My primary concern will however be the same as always: For guys, swimming with a HR strap generally sucks.  In my experience thus far, it constantly slips down when you push off the wall (open or flip turn).  That said, I’m always willing to give this a fair shake.

3) Downhill descending craziness: I can never get enough of these crazy downhill descending videos.  They continue to be awesome no matter how many times I watch them, sorta like ice cream. (via CyclingTips)

4) How to get your most photogenic photo during a race: Best line of the article: “grab some excess Body Glide from under your pits and use it as styling gel.”

5) The Sports Bra Drying Times Experiment: This is a bit of an older post that I stumbled to linked off of one of her newer posts, but for those science geeks of the womanly variety – you might enjoy this.

6) Toasters and power meters: Ahh yes, building a power meter with a toaster oven. Not quite Pop Secret.

7) How big is your chainring?  Big enough to go 100MPH?  Well, that’s the goal of this bike. Full gallery at that link.

8) Understanding the Triathlon Ecosystem: Interesting post from Dan at Slowtwitch. I actually don’t agree with a fair chunk of it, but, I still think it makes for good reading.

9) Life as a cycling race photographer in Asia: Cool behind the scenes post.  And most of this also really applies to other regions as well, but this breaks down the daily grind of being a pro photog alongside the peloton.

10) The Annual Best Baguette Competition: For those of you not living here, you may not know that the annual competition for best baguette is taken quite seriously.  Here’s a really interesting behind the scenes look at the whole process, written up by one of the judges (in English).

11) Blinking Man – A Vegas Critical Mass Ride: Neat little video on a bit of an eclectic event that occurs in Vegas with hundreds of well decorated bikes (and people) taking to town. (via Bike Hugger)

Blinking Man – Up in Spoke from Dalton Campbell on Vimeo.

Random new product item of note:

Garmin quietly releases updated heart rate strap: A number of you asked me about this over the last day or so.  The HRM3 is the latest variant of the Garmin soft strap.  It’s easily identified by a small chunk of different colored fabric off to the side, which aims to reduce some of the spike/dropout issues.  Here’s a photo of it:

I’ve actually been using this strap since all the way back in December.  It is no doubt better, but it’s not great.  And certainly not perfect.  I find that I still get issues early in a run – primarily within the first 8 minutes.  Beyond that it’s very stable (though the Paris Marathon was the one case where it went 25 minutes before being happy).  So basically, if you get past the 8 minute marker, you’re good to go.  Now, that’s not to say I have problems every time, as I don’t.  Just sometimes.  And there’s been no pattern to the days that I do have problems (dry days, rainy days, hot days, cold days, etc…), nor pattern with the strap wetness (dry, soaked, sorta-wet, etc…).

I don’t really have much more detail or opinion beyond that.  Just a LOT of workouts (5-7 workouts per week now for 20 weeks), so I have a lot of data but it’s just ‘blah’ at best.

Crowd Funded Projects of Athletic Note:

This is a bit of a new section. Most of this content used to be found within the main section, but I figured I’d just call it out up here and make it easy to find.  I regularly sift through Kickstarter and Indiegogo (plus a few others on occasion) looking for sports projects.  Note that as always with crowd funded projects, assume the project will be late and will under-deliver on features.   Thus far, on the numerous products I’ve helped ‘fund’ (except a leather bike handle), that’s been the case.

Siva Cycle Atom: USB power charging accessory using pedal power.  This will utilize the power generated off of your rear wheel to give you a USB charging port on your bicycle.  Cool project, but ultimately the unit looks really darn big for my tastes.  But for those doing long-haul bicycling (i.e. cross-country), I could see the significant value here.

Instabeat: This is a heads-up display that monitors your heart rate, calories, laps and turns during your swim.   The founders reached out to me, and hope to have a prototype at some point in May that I can get hands on with and give some opinions on.

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one liners is perfect, or Tweet it at me) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?

Site/Firmware Updates:

Garmin Fenix Firmware Beta: Version 3.16 builds on the skiing beta version, and a version 3.20 is the production version including the  skiing pieces   (3.16 was there for beta, 3.20 as well for production)

Motvio Training Update: Motivo Cycling v1.1 out now. Updates include new audio alerting for interval changes.

iPhone/iPad App updates this week:

Android App updates this week:

Windows Phone app updates this week:

(There were no WP updates this week that came across my phone)

Thanks for reading!

DC Rainmaker :

View Comments (55)

  • Thanks for writting! I received a garmin forerunner 210 in past october (a gift from my husband - a cycler for me as a runner). After 2 months using the strap it started the problems you've mentioned. Due to the warranty and 1 month without the gadget they swaped for another and after 2 months the same... I've complained again directly to the garmin site and received past week the new strap HRM3 (I didn't try it yet) but I've done an experience that seems to work out and I'm going to try again tomorrow, I've just finished discovering your post right now :-), But it seems that with more than a week of registers in the memory it starts freeking out. After I deleted the activities in the gadget (after downloading) it seems to work fine... We will see :-)

  • Thanks for your notes on Garmin HRM3. Is it possible that your t-shirt causes the disturbance? I have the same with some of my T-shirts (fabric might cause disturbance). That's why I use a tight shirt, which reduces friction = electricity. Maybe, just maybe

    • Absolutely, fabric can definitely change it. However, many people don't like running in t-shirts (including myself), so it's a bit of a tradeoff.

      That said, since July 2013, the HRM3's have new firmware which has pretty significantly changed things for the better.

  • Found this post and comments while looking for a replacement HRM options to use with my 910XT. I have the Garmin HRM2, which records accurately about 90% of the time. I get random spikes of 220+

    Ray, from what you've seen in the past year, which strap would you recommend? The Garmin HRM3, the Magellan, the Polar or a combination of the Garmin sensor with a different manufacturer's strap? I don't mind spending a little extra if I can get something that is reliable.

    • Garmin changed the HRM3 in July with new firmware (July 2013). So it's pretty much the best ANT+ strap out there these days, from what I've seen. The HRM-RUN contains the same firmware (+ Running Dynamics metrics for the FR620/Fenix2).

  • I've been using the HRM-3 and noticed that it's chafing my shirts (not my body) pretty badly in 2 places. The stitched seam that joins the black and grey portions 1. on the opposite side of the R or about 1 inch from the edge of the pod, and 2. further around the chest on the left side) snags on my technical shirts and ruining them.

    Anyone else notice this and have a fix for it? Band-aids as were used for body chafing?

  • For what its worth I'm now on my 3rd HRM3 strap with my 910xt. The first one lasted several months, until I left it hanging to dry and forgot it in a hotel. So that one is on me. The second one failed after a few months. The rubbery electrode delaminated from the elastic then I lost signal during one especially sweaty run. The most recent one I purchased only lasted a few weeks and the rubbery material is misaligned and hanging off the elastic a bit. It worked fine initially but my sweat overcame it near the end of a couple of interval workouts and now doesn't register a signal at all. With that I guess I question the build quality. Between that and the many frustrations I have had with garmin connect/express when it comes time for a replacement device I'll likely be looking elsewhere. In the meantime I might try the old style nonfabric, it seems like some users don't have issues with that one.

  • I purchased the HRM3 back in March and at first it worked great. I was diligent in rinsing it off after every use and tossing it in the washing machine with workout clothes once a week. It *only* took three months for that strap to start giving me erratic readings, so I gave up on the Garmin strap.

    I purchased a Polar WearLink+ Soft Strap and have been using that since (with the same rinse/wash program) with no false readings. The only problem I've had is that the connectors on the strap seem to be a little too far apart, so the strap buckles behind the Garmin sensor and causes chafing.

  • Hi

    I gave up on HR a while back (did not like running with strap, and was getting spikes all the time with my Timex Race Trainer watch) but recently got a FR220 and I'm tempted to get the a HR strap to go with it. Is the HRM3 still the pick of the straps, and how comfortable is it to wear?

    Also an optical HR band would be ideal, but they're all quite expensive. Is there anything coming out closer to the price of standard straps any time soon?


  • I'm still very happy with the Polar WearLink+ Soft Strap and as the strap has gotten more use, the chafing issues have gone away.

  • Looks like Instabeat is not completely dead after all.

    I had actually given up on them but they are still working at it. Just received an email from them (send to all backers) where the essence is:

    "While we are still working on shipping you some more products (some of you are getting theirs next week!), we have engaged with a new manufacturing partner and design firm to create a more manufacturing-friendly version of the product with an efficient supply chain. The redesigned product will be available at the end of the year."

    And a offer for either a refund or another wait...

    I still like the idea of a goggle based hr monitor so I'll wait it out... But would be very interesting if the could get one of the current shipped version to Ray to get an opinion on where are today.

    If the technology is good and it just production issues there might still be a market for them by the end of the year. It is not easy to read your pulse from a watch while swimming and still only a few that supports it.

  • Hi, Whats your opinion on Garmin Connect mobile and Garmin express ? I find uploading data somewhat flakyand when it doesn't like it theres nothing you can do (on 910XT) the Livetrack is absolutely PANTS !! totally not worth using, its worked once out of 3 tries, and the method of registering and inviting watchers, and starting the livetrack is horrid to be polite !. They need to take a leaf out of Endomondo's live track feature.
    Personally I used to like Garmin but am fast going off its software and its devices. I only use the software now as an uploading tool, their website is horrid. however, I do like the Fenix3 and Garmin 1000, but not sure whats out there to compete with these 2 devices.
    So.. Strava !!
    Whats the point of going premium ? there's no equality between the mobile app and the web app, and if your premium you have different features on both software platforms. And the things you get on web app are not fully matured on the mobile app or vice versa..
    do you have any alternative recommendations ? or inside info for developments to on either of the above products and services ?

    Regards :-)

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