Well rather than the usual training report for this evenings swim I have slightly different news. Seems as if the operation on the hernia has been bought forward. Rather than the 2-4 months I was originally estimated by the NHS, they called today with news of a cancellation. Can I do Thursday, at 7am? The obvious answer being, yes, yes I can.
As a result I can now look forward to being in some considerable pain for a few weeks after getting my innards hacked at!
I’m actually really happy that it’s happening so soon as the pain has been getting worse. It does mean that the knee will be the prolonged issue which needs sorting, which is not what I expected!
Maybe it’ll give me more time to investigate what Garmin are up to with the Forerunner 920xt, but who knows!
Yesterday was spent at The Cycle Show 2014, at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. I went with a friend, thetrinerd, who was partially responsible for getting me in to the triathlon scene.
Having never been to a cycle show I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially from a triathlon point of view, but was pleasantly surprised. Notable manufacturer absentees for me were Specialized, (though they had a small Body Geometry stand), Scott, Cervelo, Fuji, Felt and Cannondale. So that should give some idea of what was there.
I asked the inevitable question about the Forerunner 920xt to the ‘Garmin’ stand but they knew nothing; this was probably more due to the fact that the stand was being manned by a local cycle company rather than Garmin themselves.
One thing I was looking into was a turbo trainer; due to my current injuries I hoped it would allow we to get on the bike. Sadly having tried out a few it was clear that I was not in a good enough condition to use one. That said, anyone interested, the updated bkool trainer was on a show special at £275, which is a bit of a bargain. The updated software version looked a lot sharper than the original and the new unit was pretty quiet, although on a show day this isn’t the easiest thing to check.
Elite announced that all of their current range will be retrofittable with a bluetooth unit to send real time power meter data back to their E-Training app for use with VR and video rides. Sadly they couldn’t give an indication of when this until would be available, or what the cost was but it appeared to be a simple bluetooth unit that attaches near the mag unit on the rear. You’ll also be able to upload videos filmed on a phone (or other GPS enabled video machine) that can then be shared with others and used as videos to ride. Prices ranged from £159 for the Novo Force to £1099 for the direct drive Real Turbo Muin.
Energy Bars, Gels & Drinks
One thing of note was just how many companies selling and sampling energy and nutrition products were present. By about 11.30am I think I could have taken on the BMW jump course.
It was clear that all of these are an acquired taste as the two of us had very varied tastes in what we could tolerate, let alone like! From my running days i’d got into liking SIS, but I was a little disappointed to discover that they use aspartame in some of their products i’ve been using so will be looking to replace those in my routine. Clif had a small stand but had plenty on display, their energy bars and blok were delicious as ever. Torq stood out, probably because they had one of my dream bikes on display, the Wilier Twin Blade, but they had a great range of things to try.
Their energy gels will be my next attempt in competition as the all natural ingredients appeal, Raspberry Ripple, Banoffee etc are all great words to be in a gel. Some were a little sickly sweet and might be difficult to keep down in a long run, hence wanting to try them, they may be fine on a bike mind. The drinks they had on display were, for me, disgusting, but were the biggest discrepancy as thetrinerd loved them. The protein recovery drinks were also a mixed bag, possibly due to the fact that I usually make mine with milk rather than water, Chocolate Mint had potential, but for now i’ll be sticking with MaxiNutrition.
High5 and PowerBar were there also, but i’ve tried them before and not been a big fan though they were both offering good value show deals. ZipVit had some more pleasant bars but nothing really stood out too much for me, they don’t appear to be too readily available either. Finally Beet-It were another that stood out, i first discovered them at the London Marathon Expo and loved the taste of the energy bar, the drink is an acquired taste and i’ve no data on how well they work for me, but thankfully the prices seemed much lower – something that had put me off previously.
TheTriNerd was on the look out for a new aero helmet but we ended up leaving empty handed as the main brand of interest, Kask, were’t on display. We looked at and tried on a few others but were generally quite appalled at the quality of some them, especially for the money they were asking.
I guess the main reason for going was to look at the bikes on offer, for some reason normal road bikes held very little appeal so I concentrated on the triathlon and time trial bikes. So, in no particular order:
The bike that Sir Bradley Wiggins rode to the recent 2014 World Time Trial Championships, unsurprisingly this was a popular machine so getting a decent photo was rather difficult.
The updated version of that used by Leanda Cave in The Ironman World Championship 2012. It looked lovely, though the teeth styling were a little strange.
A bike I love, but the price always makes my eyes water. Seeing one in the flesh you can see the engineering that goes into it, but the eyes still water. Priced at £5900 with SRAM Force gears and Bontrager Aura 5 it’s at the lower end of the scale.
The Vitus Chrono TT appealed as it matches the colour scheme I’ve somehow ended up with. This particular one belongs to Robert-Jon McCarthy, riding for the An post Chain Reaction Cycling team, Chain Reaction Cycling being the owners of the Vitus brand and sole distributors in the UK. They’re competitively priced at £1799 for the frame. Chain Reaction Cycling said they’d be moving to frame only sales next year, I suggested they build in a configurator as there is nothing us bike folks like more than tinkering with configurations of bikes!
A quite interesting machine, specced sensibly with Ultegra all round. It looked fairly long on the top tube so maybe good for the taller, or more aero capable folks. The black bike in the background appeared to be an all black track bike, somewhat lacking pedals, gears et though…
Against some of the other brands, this looked particularly good value. The Canadian brand are quite popular at Kona and I can see why from seeing one in the flesh. Ultegra Di2, Fulcrum Racing wheels as standard and from £4999 (this one had upgraded carbon wheels, Racing Quattro’s are standard).
Two triathlon specific bikes from Cube, the Aerium HPC SLT is their flagship model, the SL the ‘cheaper’ sister. No brand loyalty exists for Cube, as you can see Mavic wheels, Rotor Q-rings and Ultegra Di2 on the SL. Reynolds Aero Carbon wheels, FSA Metron crank and Dura Ace Di2 on the SLT. Prices from £3499 for the SL to £6999 for the SLT.
The official bike supplier of British Triathlon. One of the things i love about Beaconfell is the configurator, who doesn’t love speccing their own bike!? (Sadly you can’t see all of the wheel options :() The only triathlon bike on show was this, the BF-55. On display in a relatively entry level spec with Shimano 105 groupset and Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels for £1999.
Entering in to the realm of silly money, the Storck Aero 2 IS starts at £8999. They do a ‘basic’ version from £5299 the sign lovingly stated. You do get Dura Ace Di2 and solid Mavic Cosmic wheels for your £9k. They do get a nod to the configurator, though it is fairly ‘basic’ (free mind, not just over 5 grand!) The bike gets great press reviews but up close and personal it looks like you’d need to be pretty flexible to ride it in the pictured spec!
Not a brand I was familiar with before the show. The matte finished colours looked stunning in the flesh. Not many details available, even on their own website. Not many details were shown, other than Ultegra Di2, no name wheels, but Easton for the bars.
Back into the silly money realm, this one came in it a bargain £8999, but all things considered the complete Dura Ace Di2 setup is hardly cheap.
Another Italian and another looker. Very helpful of Vision to let us know how many spokes that front wheel has too, i’d have been wondering all day if they hadn’t written it on there. One thing that baffled me here is the TT bar shifter, it appears to resemble a brake more than a gear shifter and not a very comfortable one at that. Anyone know anything about it?
Non Triathlon Bikes
Another Ritte bike that stood out, unsurprisingly I figured my good lady would like the look of this….
Another one for the good lady… it’s actually pink, not red. Very odd forks, not sure what the benefit of wavy forks is supposed to be, but i trust Pinarello know more about that than me.
No further words available.
It took a while to be able to get this photo as it was unsurprisingly a popular machine. It still looked radical, even in the presence of all the other machinery, including the Air 9.8 as used by the Brownlee brothers.
As a somewhat newbie to the world of cycling it was interesting to see the various choices a cyclist gets to make. Of note for me was that despite both my current bikes having Shimano gears, I am now erring towards SRAM. The Di2 shifters for both handlebars and bar ends felt a bit clunky and for people with larger hands, such as me, the bar end buttons in particular were difficult to accurately hit. As such SRAM it shall be going forward! Campagnolo might be worth a look but their normal bar shifters were far from ideal as the thumb shifter wasn’t in an ideal place for me.
Overall I enjoyed the show, despite not being in a position to buy anything. I was a bit disappointed that a lot of the other brands weren’t there. Working for a company that exhibits at these large shows though, I appreciate the costs involved with being at the shows can be prohibitive, and a return on the cost can be hard to measure. If you’re not there though, no one gets to see what you’ve got. I was particularly keen on taking a closer look at the Cannonade Slice, Specialized Shiv and Scott Plasma but this will have to wait.
A lovely and early start today, just heading out the door for a training session at the local pool with my club. The early start was so I could try eating before the swim based on my hardly surprising earlier discovery that energy in, helps with energy out!
After that I’m off to The Cycle Show. Not sure if it’s quite the UK equivalent of Interbike but we shall see. Plenty of shiny new things to see and maybe I’ll see what Garmin have to say about the Forerunner 920xt….. Must remember to leave my wallet behind!
If it’s worth it and I get enough pictures and information I’ll stick up a post about the bike show later too…
Thankfully the pool was much quieter today, I think arriving a little later – 7.15pm probably contributed to this. There were was me and 4 others in a double width lane and all bar one were capable swimmers (I seem to count myself in that category…)
I felt much better also, which I think I’ll put down to eating about an hour before. I don’t usually worry about nutrition in swim training sessions at the moment as I’m not exactly pushing myself, however based on this session even just a flapjack seemed to make a big difference. I felt able to keep going and at no point did I feel exhausted. I’m still doing my own thing with my training but focussing on technique and increasing my continuous distance. This session was sets of 100m with a break (length of my choosing) between each set and I did a total of 8 sets.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was trying the Get Speedo Fit campaign, however it became apparent that even the warm up would be a challenge for me at this stage, as such when I feel I can complete that, I’ll start on the campaign.
In other news I got chatting to another guy who was beating himself to death by doing breaststroke with hand paddles – it looked hard work! He like me is more of a mountain biker and not convinced about his abilities at front crawl, he may come along to the triathlon club on Saturday!
Thursday nights session was a bit of a damp squib, cut short due to massive congestion at the pool. Despite the pool having a reasonable good system for lane usage, unfortunately the ‘slow’ lane is usually taken up by kids playing, meaning anyone who actually wants to swim ends up in the ‘medium’ lane and thus it gets too crowded after a while. I felt ok, not brilliant, but ok, the Speedo Pull Kick is definitely helping me float better enabling me to swim more naturally. Here’s hoping that the hernia op and knee fixing take place soon.
Saturday’s session was back with the club, so a bright and early 7.30am start. A fairly gentle 4 x 25 front crawl and 2 x 25 backstroke for a warm up, followed by a full 400m without stopping (I didn’t make this, but did managed 6 x 25m without a break, which is big progress from my first session a month ago), once finished it was on to leg drills with 4 x 25m using a kick board. This hurt in my current physical condition!
OFFICIAL PICTURES – taken from Garmin Canada. WARNING lots of them!
For those of us in the UK, it’s now on their site, Garmin Forerunner 920xt. Seems we have to wait until Q4 2014, which is well, vague as we’re in it now. I’d imagine, based on history that we’re looking at November at the earliest. Here’s hoping we don’t end up with another Sweatshop monopoly on it.
Well it seems it’s not quite a Sweatshop monopoly but according to Garmin UK on twitter it’s an exclusive to wiggle – Garmin 920xt – for the next 2 weeks. Though at the time of writing, they have no stock…
Amazon are also now showing it, with stock available from 3rd party suppliers. They have updated my order to state that it will arrive between 18th December and 14th January – which isn’t exactly useful!
It seems that DCRainmaker has been playing with one for a little while and it’s basically, as we mostly correctly assumed; an amalgamation of the Forerunner 620 and Edge 1000 with the Forerunner 910xt. Handy really, as I have both of those. Summarising from what we though/knew and from Ray’s data, compared to the 910xt it has the following additional features:
Bluetooth Smart & WiFi connectivity
Enabling link up to mobile phones for data transfer such as workouts completed and training/route schedules, firmware updates, smartphone notifications (such as incoming call alerts, text messages) and finally smart satellite tracking. The WiFi is used to download satellite data but equally automagically upload your run/ride/swim data when you get back (assuming you’re in sight of a registered wifi network).
Note that the watch doesn’t support Bluetooth Smart Sensors. Still not sure why they do that, but hey.
Daily Activity Tracking
Similar to the other Garmin fitness units, such as the VivoFit, it’ll monitor steps taken, goals, distances, calories etc. This will, one assumes, link back to Apple Healthkit, although at this time Garmin Connect and HealthKit aren’t exactly best friends in my experience!
A recently announced feature that will allow third party app creation and connectivity. New right now, but has a lot of potential…
Handy if you’re heading off on a long ride or run on your own and assuming that you’re happy to take your phone along as it requires the bluetooth connection it. For cyclists I can see the benefit of this, for runners it’s more of a personal preference thing but I don’t like lugging my iPhone along with me. Basically, it broadcasts your location to a webpage that you can give viewing permission to selected people.
I quite like this on the Forerunner 620 and Edge 1000, particularly when you’re using the different activity profiles; race, training, walking etc and it changes the colour outline to dictate this.
Running Dynamics, Recovery Advisor & VO2 Max (requiring the HRM-Run strap)
All of these, and their sub features, were introduced with the Forerunner 620 as means of monitoring performance. I like the features but admittedly don’t fully understand them, although it can be handy to see how the impact of clearly working harder (higher heart rate) can often manifest a change in stride length or stride height. The VO2 Max is a bit of a guide using techie algorithms and this can now be applied to cycling too
The main features are Vertical Oscillation, Ground Contact Time, Cadence, Recovery Time, Race Predictor and Personal Records.
Again a feature from the Forerunner 620, you can use pre-defined training plans from Garmin Connect that tell you what to do, how hard and when – either by Heart Rate or per mile (or kilometre if that’s your bag) pacing. You can also create your own training plans and synchronise them to the watch so it’ll nag you into doing something when you’re actually supposed to.
You can also use the Virtual Racer, again as per the Forerunner 620 but apparently enhanced here which is a good job as i used this precisely once and then moved on. Basically you can race/train against a pacing session that you’ve done in the past or in the new bit, upload any session from anyone and train against that.
I asked about it and nobody knew but a few folks guessed, it seems it does as a metronome does, in that it kicks out a beat for you to aim your cadence against. Not sure how useful it’ll be but lets not criticise evolution!!
Also, again as per the Forerunner 620, you can use it indoors without a footpod. In my experience this is accurate enough for the casual user but not accurate enough if it’s really important to you. Thankfully you can use the footpad if you’ve still got one….
Battery life is listed at 24 hours using per second tracking, but this can be increased using ‘UltraTrac’ which offers up to 40 hours using less frequent tracking. In Ultratrac it still records ANT+ stuff at the same 1 second interval, which is a nice touch.
GLONASS which was introduced in the Edge 1000 basically gives more accuracy when using GPS in dodgy coverage areas.
You can also use the much missed features in a number of other devices, the ‘Back to the Start’. It’s not a full navigation system but will point an arrow in the general direction and off you go. Possibly more usefully for a trekking process is that you can pre load waypoints and navigate towards them in a similar fashion.
Garmin VIRB control
Probably only useful when you’re on the bike, but as per the Edge 1000 you can control the VIRB action camera. A bit of a gimmick for me as I already have the Edge 1000 but it could be useful for others.
Garmin Connect Enhancements
Garmin Connect is finally becoming a triathlon friendly place too, rather than uploading the three separate disciplines as individual activities, it can now be shown as a triathlon.
So it looks as though there isn’t too much revolutionary material here, but we have a built in daily fitness tracker.
Some data screens…
The recovery advisor is present as per the recent FR620 and Fenix2.
I’ll admit I have little idea what a metronome is going to be used for, i’d assume it’s some sort of swimming feature to keep your tempo up, or maybe it could be used for cadence in other disciplines?
It doesn’t look too chunky, which is a good thing. I’d put off getting the Fenix 2 as it looked huge.
It appears that Garmin have extended the VO2 max calculation first launched in the Forerunner 620 and used in conjunction with the HRM-Run. This shows it working on the bike so we must assume it is present in the running to. Will we see it for swimming yet – highly unlikely but we can but dream.
It also appears that we can use this watch as a, err, watch!
A bit more info coming to light, Garmin Canada appear to be showing a reference to it, good news, it’s been confirmed as a wearable device – Forerunner 920xt. It seems it has a product code of 137024 and a part number of 010-01174-00, for all the good that does at the moment. This means it’s a fairly safe bet that those folks in Canada will be able to keep an eye on this page.
It seems that the Forerunner 920xt may be more imminent than some thought, RoadRunnerSports (USA) are advertising it as available from October 5th priced at $499 with the HRM-Run. here’s hoping that it is the same strap that came with the FR620 and Fenix 2. I guess that means £379 in the UK. As hoped it seems to offer all of the advanced metrics of the Foreunner 620/Fenix 2 but in a smaller unit.
I’ve tried a couple of times to contact Garmin UK to ask for confirmation on dates but have no news as yet. I’ll update this thread as and when I know more!
Many rumours circulating about this little baby, logic assuming that it’ll be called the Garmin Forerunner 920xt, if their naming pattern continues. I’ve been using the Garmin Forerunner 620 as my main running watch since it was launched and I love the extra detail over some of their earlier units. As i’m new to triathlon i’ve been thinking for a while about getting a multi sport watch.
I already have an Garmin Edge 1000 cycle computer and the above mentioned FR620, and given that my biggest area of concern is the swimming, I figured that I either need a Garmin Swim, or look at a multi-sport watch. I’m very aware that there are other brands on the market from Suunto, Polar etc but i am quite in bed with the Garmin ecosystem so plan to stay there.
I’ve considered the Fenix 2 but having seen them on a few folks, they look huge – i’d have genuine concerns about getting a wetsuit off with one of those on my wrist!
Here’s hoping the 920xt is thinner and a better form factor than the current 910xt. I’d also like to see them retain the quick release element as this seems to be a large area of concern for a lot of people. They’d be mad to exclude Bluetooth Smart for connectivity too and as a result of this i’m sure it’ll have all the Live Track features that go with it. Having used a few Garmin devices in my time, the hot satellite link is a must too, the FR620 gets a satellite link in seconds, as opposed to minutes for the FR10 i used to use.
It seems that the 920xt has been confirmed (and then quickly removed) by Garmin, but thanks to the powers of Google, you can at least get some proof of it here.
Sadly Amazon failed once more to deliver goods on a date promised, so no finger paddles for me 🙁
As a result of the no show, I opted to create my own training plan using what I had already got and what I felt like doing. The kick buoy proved its worth as I used it for both kicking workouts and as a pull buoy, progress was glacial as a kick board as my kick technique is awful and needs work, but at least I had the opportunity to practice my breathing. Things were much more positive when used as a pull buoy; as I’ve alluded to before a major issue at the moment is my bottom half sinking in the water which exacerbates my other problems, I’m pretty sure this is in part due to the hernia. With the pull buoy in place I was comfortably able to swim 500m with only short breaks whilst waiting for a spot to clear in the rather crowded pool. All in all massive progress – I await to see what benefits the finger paddles bring…. If amazon ever deliver them!!
End result; my longest swim to date and by some margin the most comfortable.
As part of my campaign to improve my swimming I have signed up to the Speedo ‘Get Speedo Fit‘ campaign. This basically gives me some sort of training plan to work on, it also gave me the excuse to my some new goodies, which arrived today!
Another session on Saturday morning, mornings not exactly been something i’ve always been a fan of, but still 7.15am at the pool. Currently I train twice a week on my own and have one ‘club’ session, this helps me improve my currently very basic ability but also means i get pushed and learn a little about improving to actually compete.
As someone who swam a long time ago, when i started out the thought of being able to do 2 sets of 4x50m did not compute but despite feeling a bit sick and still struggling with my form I was pretty chuffed to actually succeed with the day.
My current biggest issue is most likely caused by the hernia as i find my form difficult to hold and consequently my legs sink in the water, as i get tired (happening quite quickly at the moment!) I also start to lose my breathing pattern and start to take on water – combine these issues and things go wrong quite quickly!
I have decided to follow another training plan on my own, following an email from Speedo, I will be attempting over the next month their ‘starter programme‘. This has meant buying some rather techie looking equipment: Speedo Biofuse Finger Paddles, Speedo Biofuse Fin Training Fin and i followed the suggestion from the training plan and knowing that I need to work on my legs and may need a float, i decided to save money and bag space and get a Speedo Men’s Elite Pullkick. Hopefully i don’t look like too much of an idiot when i rock up with this and nearly drown not long after!
I’m not sure if this counts as a great first post for a new blog, but hey it’s where we’re at right now, so the first post it shall be!
Like many triathletes (he says talking as though he is one) I come into this sport as a newbie but with some degree of ability in one of the disciplines, in this particular instance, running. I have been known to hurtle around the countryside a little on a mountain bike too but having never owned a road bike, would hardly call myself an expert there either. Swimming on the other hand…. let’s just say, it’s not my strongest discipline. I can jump in a pool and swim a mile in some sort of breastwork without having to stop, but when it comes to front crawl I am definitely more of a ‘get to the other end of the pool without drowning’ kinda guy.
I’ve now had 5 swim sessions in total, 2 of them with the local triathlon club and 3 on my own. Things are definitely improving but i’m still struggling with breathing properly and, possibly as a result of carrying a knee injury and having an inguinal hernia, I am struggling to get my legs working properly in the pool. According to one of the coaches at the club I have a runners/cyclists kick to my swimming – whatever that means – I mainly take it to mean, not what it should be!