Last weekend, I went on an impromptu ride with some coworkers. It wasn’t anything super long, at the finish the total mileage reading on the Garmin was 26.85 miles. I had a little more mileage than the others due to a technical difficulty and having to trace back to see what happened, but we’ll get to that.
This was a last-minute plan on friday, got 3 other people to agree to ride, I had heard that the Pike Road area of Alabama was very bicycle friendly and I was curious to check it out. I used the Strava App and found some a segment on my phone, that seemed to be a nice easy ride where it wasn’t too difficult so I didn’t think we’d get lost. I also wanted to test out some of the capabilities of the Garmin. I went on Garmin Connect and was able to create a route that matched what I was seeing in Strava and taught myself how to use that feature. I saved it and hit the button to send it to the device. The next time I turned on my watch near my computer it synced up and had the course on the GPS. The course was roughly 24 miles, and everyone that was interested in the ride was happy with the distance. We planned it out and decided to meet around 10:00am at the prominent park in the area.
Morning of, I woke up early and loaded the bike and got all the gear into the jeep, with the full intentions of grabbing a few of the Honey Stinger Waffles to carry with me for a snack along the way. Unfortunately I forgot them as I rushed to get out the door and on my way. I should have stopped and just gotten some breakfast along the way or anything really, that poor decision wouldn’t affect me till later though, I was just happy to get out and go for a ride. I received a phone call as I was driving there, one person was running late. No big deal, this is just going to be a fun ride, besides, I was running late as well. I got to the park and everyone started showing up, something came down so it ended up just being the three of us, still planning on a fun easy ride.
The Route (Pictured Above)
The Route was a pretty fun ride, I lost count of how many other bicycles we ran into, but they were everywhere! All of the motorists were very aware and there weren’t any close calls when they passed us. As I was hoping the roads were fairly well-marked and it wasn’t that hard to make sure we were on the right ones. With the course sent to the Garmin it had an alert that popped up and said “Course Found” which was extremely helpful when one of the roads didn’t match what it was named online. After we had ridden 2 bike lengths past the intersection the Garmin told me that we were off course. I verified with my phone to make sure that the road we had just passed was the correct one since it was named differently. The difficulty wasn’t too bad either, there were a few big climbs capered to everything else, but the majority were long, sloping easy climbs. They threw off my perception a few times where I thought there was a long descent followed by a steep decent, I would gain speed on the way down only to realize that the next climb wasn’t as bad as I thought I saw from the top.
As we were coming up on the last few mile, I ended up out in front of the other two by a ways. I stopped to wait for them at the stop sign for our next turn as was the plan briefed at the beginning of the ride. After I had been there for between 5-10 min I checked my phone and saw I had a missed call and text. About a mile back one of my colleague’s pedal had actually fallen off her bike. I started back tracking and met up with them right as they finished securing it back on. From what I heard of the story, it fell of randomly and took them a while to find it while they walked up and down the stretch of road eventually finding it in the grass. Minor mechanical difficulties but everything was taken care of and we got back on our way. The last few miles were uneventful, not more difficulties and we managed to finish in right at 2:00 hours of moving time. As we were packing all the bikes back up, I was hit with this wave of hunger, at that moment I knew my mistake was not eating a good breakfast. I was so hungry that I was practically shaking, I went straight from there to the local Chipotle on the way home and had a post ride burrito. It was delicious!
I was really happy with the way the Garmin worked for me today, the Auto Pause stopped the timer when we had our rest stops and I didn’t have to worry about it at all. The pages I had set up were great especially with the scrolling speed. With the course sent to the Garmin one of the pages told me how far behind we were to the virtual pace that I set when I created the course on the internet. I chose it as a final goal to reach eventually but knew we couldn’t keep up with that on the first attempt. I set it at an Average 18 mph pace and we averaged right over 13 mph. The course also added a page that drew the route on the screen, which could have been very helpful! however, by the time it finished processing the route as it had to re-draw it every time the page came up, it was already switching to the next page. I’ll play with this feature a little more some other time.
All in all I had a great time. It was a perfect day for a ride, nice and sunny. I learn something new about the Garmin each time I go out. From now on I will remember to eat a good meal beforehand and to make sure I take the nutrition snacks with me on the ride. Garmin Connect Ride Data