Garmin Edge 305: Hot

Garmin Edge 305I finally got to take my Garmin Edge 305 out for a real spin today. I've been sick all week -- the training data shows that I'm still a bit under the weather -- but I really couldn't pass up the opportunity to view my climb up Old La Honda in full GPS/Heart Rate/Cadence/Elevation/Speed detail. I can see in the data the 30-seconds it took me to get my chain back on; I can see in the data how I spent nearly half of the 2-hour ride in a Zone 5 heart rate; I can see that I really need to work on my maintaining my cadence.

The Edge 305 comes with two different ways to pull apart your data. The included Training Center software is a PC application that lets you graph up to four streams of data against each other (e.g. pace, speed, elevation, heart rate, cadence, % max HR, and grade). It also comes with a rudimentary map that highlights the route and shows the location of the selected data point. I haven't even begun to fully explore the Training Center as it also includes workouts that you can load onto the 305 as well as courses.

The other application is the MotionBased.com service that lets you upload your training data. It comes with a free Lite account and constant ads to try and get you to upgrade to the full account ($8-$12/month). The MotionBased app isn't as good at pulling apart your data, but it comes with some killer Web features: Google Maps integration, export to Google Earth (KML), and the 'Map Player", a Internet-Explorer only application that lets you playback your ride on a map (not Google Maps).

Its going to take me awhile to fully experience all the features the 305 offers. I'm looking forward to trying out the automatic GPS lap markers for my ride to work as well as more of the training features.

Part of me was holding out for a power meter. It would certainly provide even better training data than something like the Edge. But the Edge is cheaper and I also find it to be fun. My inner map-nerd really likes to see my data GPS-located, which is something that power meters can't provide. I'm also not a competitive cyclist, so something like a power meter would be extravagant whereas the Edge seems to be a more justifiable gadget-geek purchase.

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