Weekend roundup

Well it was still windy – Saturday Storm Desmond Hit

‘their actions are unforgiveable’

And it was too strong for kiting … but Sunday the forecast looked much better. Packed the car picked up my pal and drove down to the coast.

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It looked peachy but cold at 7degrees C. Gimped up in the wetsuit gloves boots and hood and hit the water with my 8m kite. Epic day with the squalls coming through and the strong gusts hitting (sometimes mid jump) meant everything was a bit unpredictable. Think I did some of my highest jumps ever – at one stage going so high that I rapidly ran out of water to land on – traveling a good 70foot before landing in about 1ft of water far too close to the beach … scary stuff and the stories that broken bones come from so a lucky escape. As i was coming down the mantra of stay smooth …. stay smooth was playing in my head.

Screenshot 2015-12-06 18.26.16

What a good day.

Interesting when uploading the gps track to Strava – the Fenix has a barometric altitude sensor but if you look closely at the grey track you can see hard downspikes in the last 1/3rd – those are all wipeouts where i smacked the water and the sensor took a hit.

Screenshot 2015-12-07 10.17.06

Suunto Core Alu

Although I have a Garmin Fenix I use for running and kitesurfing, i also have a suunto core which I love. but the first edition Core has had it’s issues the latest being battery problems so I have sent it back to Suunto.

(within six months it had munched its first battery, three months later it had got through two others so I pretty much forgot about it. Last month I sent it back to Finland under warranty, and two weeks later I got a refurb back (was made a month earlier than the one I sent in.)

This one lasted a week before exhibiting the same problems as my original one (blank display, no life) so it’s currently back in Finland again.

I’ve heard good things about the late 9xxx serials, and the 0x serials, so check before you buy – if it’s a 7xxx or 8xxx serial number, even an early 9xxx (try to buy later than 930x) then walk away.

Serials are Year, Week, 5 digit serial – a eg 949xxxxx is week 49, 2009.)


In the meantime i have a Suunto Core Black Alu to enjoy. Get yours here – if you buy one I get a whopping few pence as a thank you

Screenshot 2014-07-29 23.05.43

Same Spec but nicer build

Suunto Core Alu watch, which comes in a variety of finishes, is a soup to nuts watch, though keep in mind it lacks GPS.  That short coming aside, it can measure the air’s temperature and tell if you’re heading in the correct direction thanks to the digital compass, which mind you automatically calibrates itself according to your surroundings.   In addition to that, there is an automatic altimeter/barometer switch, storm alarm with a weather trend indicator, altitude logger with altitude difference measurement, multiple date/watch/alarm functions, sunrise/sunset times for 400 locations, multiple language support, a user replaceable battery and a few different straps to choose from.

Old habits / new habits

Went for a run today – making the most of the great weather. 10km felt longer as not really been running much this year and also pace was a slow 4:50+/km.

Back to flat and used the rollers on the legs before having a shower.

Now using the Garmin vivofit and mainly to track lifestyle and sleep …. A run certainly puts up the steps and it is only lunchtime.

A day on the water

It doesn’t look windy but it was – well gusty windy blowing 18-35knots that is almost a doubling of wind speed. Nearby prestwick airport has a more sheltered and more stable reading 18-31.

I went out fully gimped out on my 6m kite – having the remnants of a cold which didn’t last long as a few litres of sea water flushed neti style through my nostrils …. Nice.

After an hour I was done in ….. February kiting sure makes you feel alive ….

love the way you can see the tracks - the zigzag wave riding and the long downwind jumps
love the way you can see the tracks – the zigzag wave riding and the long downwind jumps
for those that love stats
for those that love stats

Was using the New Cabrinha Tronic board (137cm twin tip) – only used it with the 6m kite so want to have some time with a 8m kite before I review it …. but it’s good

a warm,wild, wet and windy winter day

Whilst the rest of the country deals with flooding and storm damage (and I have sympathy for their plight) but we in Scotland make the most of the weather and so today was Kitesurfing day. Initial plan was too leave early and get a session in before the rain came in at 1pm but the funny thing is that when the wind is westerly the island of Arran off the coast seems to deflect the worst of the weather especially when it is howling.

Barassie beach just to the north of Troon harbour
Barassie beach just to the north of Troon harbour

Kites Best TS 8m and Best Cabo 6m – Got down later probably after 12 then rigged up. Firstly pumped up the 6m kite as it felt like a good 28-32 knots …. but then the wind lulled before i even left the grass so pumped up the 8m (now officially my big kite as i hate cruising on big kite days) and went down to the beach as the clouds passed sucking in even more wind in its tail … so ran back shoved the 8m in the car and out again on the 6m.

Wind was gusty but good 1908936_10152260919789993_1081725259_oyou can see the stats here 18knots gusting 32 when I got on the water and then for the next hour was 17 gusting 28 …. 17 was a bit low for the 6m but in the gusts it was great.

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 19.18.08I took the new board down it is a Cabrinha Tronic 137 and it is amazing in the choppy conditions and with the bigger fins (than my last board) it kites a lot flatter so the spray is a bit cleaner and not one eyeful of spray into your eyes …. i love it straight off and the H1 pads and straps are fantastic so comfy.

Out with the old Slingshot Lunacy on the left and in with the new Cabrinha Tronic on the right
Out with the old Slingshot Lunacy on the left and in with the new Cabrinha Tronic on the right

I tried a few little speed sections between the waves and the board felt fast – but only 21.7 knots max so i am sure the 8m will be quicker as the Cabo sits quite deep in the window (well it is a wave kite)



what 5 a side looks like on gps

My friend Tom asked what 5 a side looked like on a gps or Strava … well here Tom this is for you.

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 09.51.41


pretty accurate for something that has a 5m accuracy. It isn’t telemetary but it gives a good idea of the pitch covered – a full 11 a side pitch would be much more accurate in terms of area covered.

i use a Garmin Fenix HRM GPS – like this one here – fantastic – esp now they have dropped in price

Strava is bad today

went for a run and this is the picture I see after putting it into Strava so I think the Strava gremlin is out trying to change from Ride (default) to run.

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eventually i import it and Whoah something is wrong (besides my lack of pace which is expected) …. the gps track on the Fenix is way out.


bad gps track
bad gps track
Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 21.31.37
what the track should have looked like

So what could cause the track to be so bad on a cloud free day – was only wearing a vest so that can’t be to blame. So i googled the possible reasons.

Instead of the straight line, the satellites in the sky above you track your route through a series of plotted dots that’s typically within 10 feet of your GPS watch. But that 10-foot margin of error can add up over the course of 26.2 miles. Two dots could weave 10 feet inside and outside of that “straightest path possible” that the USATF certification ensured, which will add to the total distance on your watch.

Other factors can mess with your GPS, too, including:

  • The number of participants at big races often make going the “shortest path possible” impossible for most runners. Things like taking wide turns can add distance to your total.
  • Tree cover could disrupt the GPS readings and make it slightly less accurate.
  • Veering off for a water stop, bathroom break or to run over and high-five your kid will add distance to your total.
  • Starting the GPS in the corral rather than at the start line adds pre-start line distance to your total.


Snow, who doubles as a running coach, praises the usefulness of GPS watches in training. Few runners would disagree.


So no answer but changed software to latest version and there is a nice feature that will now read the ANT+ speed cadence sensor …… hooray.

Changes made from version 3.30 to 3.40:

  • Added full support for GSC 10 Speed/Cadence bike sensor to allow calibration and display speed (options found under Setup > ANT Sensor > Bike Spd/Cad, Setup > Fitness > Bike Speed)
  • Added ‘UTC (24 hr)’ option to alternate time zone list. This option displays UTC time in 24-hour format regardless of system settings
  • Added support for ‘Alt. Zones’ to become a data page option

So will see how good the new version is – off SUPing tomorrow so we will see.

A good ride made better

There is something to be said for riding and more importantly riding with pals.

the route strava - click to go there
the route strava – click to go there

Up the crow – normal ride on Sunday and joined by ‘new to the road bike lark’ pal. He said up to 60km was fine so this was going to be just under that – up the Crow Road and the Campsies and then straight back down.

Got out of bed – weather report had said sun – made a wish pulled back curtains to drizzle. so running tights over the cycling 3/4 and a waterproof top were donned. Met at his house at 9am then off we went chatting and cycling. Kept the speed low around 22-24kmh on the flat and then headed north. The etiquette on the crow is ‘go for it’ so went up a bit harder then doubled back at the top to come down and join him on his climb. brief stop ….

nick at the top in the mist
nick at the top in the mist


in my fetching new Campag top (style police say German colour / italian top / american bike / Japanese group set / mild confusion)

photo 2


lot of gunk and grit on the road and the bike needed a wash on its return to the flat …. quick bucket downstairs then back inside ….


photo 3


Garmin Fenix review from military times

I’ve been in the market for a new GPS watch since destroying my Garmin Forerunner 310XT in the failed “Watch vs. Accidentally-slam-it-in-the-trunk” durability test. After the introduction of the Garmin Fenix, I knew I’d found my new toy/fitness watch/tech gadget to lord over a few jealous friends.

And they should be jealous, because it’s great.

Here are the highlights:

Great design. Garmin did well on the look and feel of the watch. I find myself wearing it as a day-to-day watch and fits right in with my style. While I know I have a GPS and adventure super computer on my wrist; it doesn’t look or feel as if I do. The design is rugged and durable: I’ve worn it daily and during training runs, snowshoeing and four days of snowboarding.

Hardware upgrades. The updated charging connector is better than the previous clips. Instead of the standard alligator clip of other Garmin models, you get a clamp that securely connects to the watch. This is great for users who charge on the go during multiday hikes, 100-mile races or those who are afraid of rogue pets or roommates disrupting the connection, leaving you literally drained for the following day.

GPS cycle rate: This is the Fenix’s main selling point.The Fenix is Garmin’s first GPS watch with options for different cycle rates, meaning you can change how frequently your watch communicates with satellites. The more frequently your watch pings the satellites (a high cycle rate) the more quickly you’ll drain your battery. Sunto’s Ambit does this as well, but unlike the Ambit the Fenix will let you change your cycle rate on the fly — right on the watch.

Garmin gives you two jumping-off points for the cycle rate: Normal and UltraTrac.

In normal mode, the Fenix will hit the satellites once per second. This is the standard for fitness watches. A rate of once-per-second will drain your battery the fastest, but it will also give you the most accurate speed and distance data. It’s a tradeoff: Do you want more battery life or more accurate data?

Garmin recommends leaving the Fenix in normal mode if your activity is shorter than 8 hours.

For activities lasting more than 8 hours — or if you get lost — you can switch to UltraTrac.

“UltraTrac is a GPS mode that decreases the update rate of GPS data to provide increased battery life,” the folks at Garmin say. “This setting, which by default decreases the update rate to once a minute, is perfect for an ultramarathon (ultra distance) or for a long hike as the battery life of the device can last up to 50 hours in ideal conditions.” (Get the full details here.)

The default rate is once per minute, but a recent firmware update will allow you to set the UltraTrac cycle rates at one every 15 seconds (estimated 20 hours of battery) or once every 20 seconds (estimated 24 hours of battery). And if you find that you’re still in danger of running out of battery — if you’re in the middle of a 100-miler and not feeling so awesome — you can change the rate to once a minute while you stumble down the trail.

Battery life: Using it as a day-to-day watch (with the GPS off) and for short periods with the GPS on (with the GPS cycle rate at once-per-minute or higher) you’ll definitely only need to charge once every two weeks. Now, when I’m out on a long run, ultraendurance event or day hike, I want all the data I can get! So of course I set the cycle rate to once-per-second — the best way to get the most accurate data — and find the battery lasts 14-18 hours. That’s plenty long enough for a 100K race, long hike or full two days of skiing and snowboarding. If you need to charge mid-activity, the new charging clip design works great with solar or USB chargers.

This watch has it all — it is hands down the best backcountry navigation and fitness watch I’ve found on the market. It has all the major features I used on the 310XT (pace, distance, elevation, splits, moving time, overall time, heart rate, calories burned, etc.), plus more I didn’t know I needed … until now.

Some of the great new features:

* Compass: Tilt compensated, 3-axis electronic compass will keep your bearing whether you are moving or not.
* Barometric Altimeter: Gives you spot-on readings of elevation.
* Barometer: Shows you changes in the barometric air pressure.
* Temperature gauge: Reads the temperature of where you are — although my body temperature does influence the readings. I am going to get the Temperature ANT sensor that clips to your shoe, backpack or tent — anywhere away from your body — to get a more accurate reading.
* Geocaching: For those who enjoy a whole new level of scavenger hunt.
* Hunting/Fishing Calendar: Get recommendations of best times of day to hunt or fish.
* Sun and Moon Information: Keeps track of rise and set times.
* TracBack: If you are in a pickle or want to find your way back to the vehicle, the watch will take you back via the same route.
* Sight ‘N Go: Lock onto an object that is within sight and you will be able to continuously know that you’re headed toward it.

The Fenix also has the standard options for foot pod and speed/cadence bike sensors.

Bluetooth capabilities

Using Bluetooth, the watch will sync your tracks and waypoints via the Garmin BaseCamp app directly to your phone. You can then upload your data to Garmin Connect to view and edit on your computer. Plus you can share tracks, waypoints, routes, etc. with other compatible devices or your friends.

I will say that making your way through the menus and figuring the watch out takes a bit of getting used to. And the instruction booklet isn’t of much help on the fitness end or uploading to Connect.

My small requests to Garmin would be:
1. Enable the Fenix to communicate via Bluetooth with the Garmin Connect app on the phone, like their biking computers do already.
2. Give a better how-to or instruction booklet on everything the watch can do, including more on the fitness aspects of the watch. (Which I found lacking.)

Otherwise I am overjoyed with my purchase; I set out to buy a new fitness watch and came away with SO much more! When asked by a friend, “Do you love, love it?” my immediate answer was, “Yes! I love it, I love it!” And until my friends purchase a Fenix, I’m happy to let them all drool on mine.

Note: There is an issue related to water resistance. The improved water resistant Fenix watch will be out March 7th, but if you do have water resistance issues with your current Fenix, Garmin will quickly replace yours with the updated model.

Strava have updated their run analysis

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 22.11.38


Great news, runners: your new run activity page on Strava.com is now live. We spoke to tons of you about what’s important when viewing your activities and those of others, and have incorporated your needs and experiences as runners into this new page.  Get more background around our redesigned run activity pages here.

See Your Race Results Like Never Before
Layered on top of the new run activity page is Strava’s Premium Pace Analysis, available now to Premium members for just $6 per month or $59 per year. In addition to Pace Distribution and Heart Rate Analysis, runners can now tag their run as a “Race,” giving runners interactive and granular pace data at every point during the race.

With Race Analysis, Premium members can now enjoy:

  • A pace bar graph showing your pace fluctuation, as well as your mile/km trends

  • Visualization of your meaningful race splits, such as 5K splits for a marathon

  • Pace scrubbing data to analyze every critical point during the race

  • Projected finish time data based on your performance throughout the race

  • Finish flag with the finishing time, signifying the race achievement

see your race performance in all its glory.


unplanned race

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 15.27.09

bloody nora it was cold about 4C but felt colder. Not really run much this year so a race was always ambitious …. Jack Crawford Memorial Race in Glasgow. 10km only so easier to do with little training.

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 15.30.08

lap times alright considering the path was muddy, uneven, narrow. The far side coming down was a bit better but at the turn at 6km ish it was smack back straight into the wind – not very pleasant.

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 15.26.27

had a footpod sensor on – in the gym the fenix takes distance from this but outside with gps it merely records footstrike rate / cadence. In the chart above you can see how consistent it is – about 92-98 (that is 182 – 186 footstrikes/min) Most runners will be between 80-100 cadence with recent thought that the higher end chi running is more efficient and less prone to injury …. phew at least I am thereabouts.486612_10151377577443924_1758717342_n

And smiling coming in – 42:12 for 9.98km according to the Fenix – the route markers had been exact to the foot all the way around so can only think the last stretch through the wood threw it out slightly.

Strava loves Fenix


My new Garmin Fenix was great but Strava wasn’t having any of my new love it thought my technical hot swapping of wrist brides didn’t suit its traditional ways – I couldn’t link to Garmin Communicator…. It poured scorn on my choice and refused to entertain any new adventures I was having.
There was a workaround – I could sneak my adventures through the backdoor – importing FIT files direct from the Fenix when linked via the USB connector.

Then I got a love letter from ms STRAVA …’Hello from Strava HQ in fabulous San Francisco, California!

Some time ago you wrote us a note regarding support for the (relatively) new Garmin Fenix device. I just wanted to send you a heads up that we do now officially support the Fenix for direct upload to Strava. Hope that helps! As always, if you have any questions, please contact Support by replying to this message and we’ll do our best to help you.

Thanks very much!

Strava Support Team’

Aaaah acceptance at last

ANT+ connect the dots and know the score

ANT+ is the standard wireless transmission protocol for fitness equipment these days, for collection and transfer of sensor data, be that from a heart rate monitor, PowerTap or cadence sensor.

If you’re planning a set-up for your bike that’ll give you all the info you need for the perfect training session, or perhaps you’re hoping for a box with a nice shiny Garmin in your stocking this year, there’s now a site with a full directory of ANT+ compatible devices.

The directory is perfectly easy to use: just enter the first piece of equipment you’re planning to use, and read a short description of it. From there you can see all the compatible products, and cross check to make sure other monitoring equipment will be suitable too.

For more information, see This Is ANT.

*although I notice that the Fenix and Suunto Ambit aren’t listed *

1st outdoor exercise in a month

Back home in Glasgow – can’t blame jetlag for lethargy anymore – was cold in house so quick run and I feel much better ….

Even Strava worked hard to cheer me up …

Thursday fat burn and why mornings start better with exercise

I love starting the morning with a bit of exercise it seems to set me up for the day – whether it is a boost to my heart rate or my metabolism or whether it is a bit of fluffing for my ego, I am not sure but I always feel a bit better once the exercise is done.
I know some people don’t respond to the thought of exercise first thing – some people are morning people and some are night people, but for me it is partly that I feel better once I know my exercise quotient for the day is already done – if I am aiming to do at least an hour of exercise a day then I feel like I have passed my test for the day before I start. Also life often throws a curveball – an unexpected guest, restaurant trip, change of plans or even an afternoon energy slump that can mean that exercise gets dropped off the task list.
Exercise in the morning makes me feel like I had my me time for the day – take this morning – I did an hour on an indoor spin bike in the gym. Lower resistance and spinning at around 90rpm. Heart rate fixed in lower cardio fatburn and I read a crappy book for an hour. At no point did it feel like I was exercising.
My aim is to go again this evening and do a hectic interval running session or another bikram spin session as I am flying tomorrow.

Garmin Fenix – software update 2.9 – suddenly becoming a fitness watch

I made a little observation the other day on the Garmin Fenix about how it was tracking even in the city

I made a not then that the frustrating part was the inability to use it in the gym very well (there is a section where you need to set it to track by distance and not by time otherwise you get no summary) but now with version 2.90 of the software they have addressed some of the problems.

First, they’ve added a new mode – INDOOR – which turns off the GPS and allows you to record activities while inside. There are new data pages for this mode – I have data pages set up already for running cycling and kitesurfing and at first I was a bit peeved that i had to enter everything again. But then if I am indoors I do not need to know the grade of hill I am on or the elevation gained so the setup is a bit cleaner with less data.

The other change for indoor mode that counts is that they are now supporting the ANT+ footpod. Mine of course is on loan along with my FR60 to a friend so not much use for me here in Istanbul and my treadmill runs but i will reclaim it and use it when I go home. It will also be good outdoors and will add a step count and cadence profile to my runs.

Apparently whilst the speed distance cadence ant+ sensor is supported – it only works with cadence. So turbo training sessions are a bit of a pain – for me this is less of an issue as I have an Edge 305 but for a 1 item / multisport solution it is lacking. Saying that – the fact there have been 3 quick software updates means they are listening and changing so expect that to be added soon.


Garmin Fenix – gps in the city

Just a quick link – I will moan about my frustrations using the Fenix in the gym at another time but here is a quick track from a walk into the office this morning. It goes from a hotel – through narrow streets with 5 storey buildings and it was still able to track. Started the gps as i left the hotle and didnt stop walking – took about 1 min to get a fix and then tracked amazingly well. I dont think woods or trees or canyons are going to throw the track off too much.



the watch is also very comfortable to wear the straps are pretty fab – but it is chunky but doesnt feel much bigger than larger Gshocks, breitlings or Suunto’s …..

lying next to pencil gives you an idea of the height


Garmin Fenix

Just taken the plunge and ordered this … Off to Istanbul for a month and will review the watch in the next week or so.

the Garmin Fenix

The Garmin Fenix is the first GPS navigator + ABC (Altimeter, Barometer & Compass) wristwatch to include comprehensive Garmin GPS navigation. Developed together with professional mountain guides and designed for the serious expeditionist and outdoor enthusiast, Fenix is the hands-free outdoor navigation tool that guides you with confidence through demanding mountain environments.
You can create and follow routes and mark up to 1,000 waypoints which you can navigate with ease. In addition Fenix can store up to 10,000 track points, recording a track log – a GPS “breadcrumb trail” – as you move. You can then use TracBac to show you the way home. Naturally, as a navigating GPS+ABC watch, it also includes altimeter, barometer, 3-axis electronic compass and temperature sensor. Rugged, stylish and waterproof to 50m, it’s also a functional, accurate, well featured timepiece, as comfortable for everyday wear in the city as it is off the beaten track.
More than just a navigational tool, the Fenix provides comprehensive real-time performance monitoring for athletes such as trail runners and ski mountaineers. With lap and autolap function and important performance data (e.g. distance, vertical speed and pace), ambitious mountaineers can keep track of their progress during their outdoor training activities. Equipped with ANT+ and Bluetooth, the Fenix not only shares data wirelessly with other units, it’s also compatible with Garmin’s optional premium heart rate monitor or speed/cadence sensor for distance, speed and cadence while on a bike.