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Surviving an Epic Unsupported Ride, Race or Training Session. Part 2

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

Don't go all caveman on me beating your chest, technology is here to stay and your bike rides will only be better for it. The number of technology companies competing for the cycling market share is increasing which means fast improving tech. There are 2 bits of tech I couldn’t survive without - lights and GPS devices allow you to ride longer, further and safer than ever before.

If you've not done one of those epic rides where you start before sunrise and finish after sunset you'll not know the thrill of a proper all day ride. A few weeks ago we completed an epic 7 hour 102 mile mountain bike ride, no lights needed then but now November has rolled around and the days have gotten shorter lights are a necessity in northern Europe. Why let winter stop you completing a similarly thrilling ride, bolt on some lights, these epic days are what make cycling memorable; the last hour of singletrack, the last alpine road descent, those evening workouts…

Cable free design on the Exposure Maxx D and a run time of up to 36 hours.

Exposure Lights stole a lead a number of years ago and still offer the best products you can buy. The compact design and cable free design make for a simple easy to use light that’ll bring daylight back to your roads or trails. I use the Exposure Maxx D and Diablo front lights, paired with a Blaze rear light. Runtime for the front lights are up to 36 hours and rear light up to 24 hours so more than enough for even the most epic of rides. I’ll often use my Diablo and Blaze through the daytime during those gloomy winter days, just as an extra bit of safety from the quick approaching cars.

Competitors descend in the dark at World 24 Hour Championships 2018. My client Julian used Diablo and Toro lights to become world champion.

Garmin are the market leader for GPS devices. Yes they still have their occasional problems, mine will be going back under warranty soon as the screen is fading around the edge but I'm sure most tech brand have as many issues. The Edge 1030 is a navigational and training gem. So many of the routes I ride at home have been found by downloading Strava segments and piecing them all together to make a big ride. I use the same idea when I go away somewhere new and need to find training locations without endlessly getting lost. The 1030 comes preloaded with apps that include Strava and Training Peaks. You can use Strava Live Segments to download nearby segments whilst out on your ride rather than having to download them before heading out. You can also now download routes you’ve created on your Strava or Garmin Connect accounts. Often when travelling to races I’ll download the course GPX to my Garmin so I can practise using the route and run it in the background during the race in case there’s some dodgy marking or sketchy descents.

It's confidence inspiring to know if you head out somewhere on an epic ride and get completely lost the Garmin can get you home safely. The 1030 comes pre-loaded with full colour touchscreen mapping for your region and the ability to navigate to a point of interest such as a café stop or hotel. It can also create a route using the Round Trip Routing feature, popularity data is taken from the millions of daily uploads to Garmin Connect. Tap in a distance and the 1030 will give you several routes to choose from, again particularly useful if you’re exploring an unfamiliar location or fancy finding new local routes.

Points of interest should you fancy a mid ride cafe stop or a quick nap at a hotel.

Most Garmin Edge units are compatible with the Training Peaks IQ app which allow you to download structured workouts. This means on your next insanely tough training session where you're struggling to survive and are losing count of what interval you’re on or what intensity you’re meant to be riding at the Garmin will talk you through everything step by step. My coaching clients love the downloadable workouts as it takes the complexity out of training. The 1030 will let you race a previous activity so if you ride hard with friends but then struggle to ride at the same pace on your own this could be a great way to increase the intensity factor on your rides.

Where too next? Checking the Garmin for some navigational assistance

Battery life on the old Edge 1000 was pretty poor with roughly 6 hours runtime. The new 1030 will provide around 15 hours with GPS and Glonass satellites switched on, with just GPS you are looking at over 20 hours even with heart rate strap, phone and power meter connected. The 1030 is compatible with a huge range of Ant+ and Bluetooth sensors which includes Rotor power meters, turbo trainers and Di2 shifting. If you’re doing something like a 24 hour race or unsupported race like Dirty Kansas you can buy the additional external battery pack which bolts on beneath the Garmin out-front mount, this should double the battery life to over 40 hours.

The 1030 offers a huge range of connectivity features. With your phone connected via Bluetooth you can keep updated with calls and messages, particularly useful if you’re bunking off work to go riding! With the incident detection feature enabled the 1030 can let your loved ones know if you’ve had a crash whilst out riding. Should you crash you have 30 seconds to cancel the notification being sent to your next of kin.

What are you waiting for? Buy into the technology, start exploring and take your epic rides to the next level.

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