Tag Archives: My Tracks Droid App

I love my new speed coach!

My husband is a former bicycle racer who competed in Northern Nevada and California races. He still rides almost daily and he rides at a much higher pace than me. On Saturday, July 16, our 10-year-old son left for a week at a mountain lake cabin with his best friend’s family. I asked Stan if he wanted to go for a ride with me. He said yes but also said he would want to go for a workout ride later. I said, maybe we could find a ride where we could both get a workout, like a ride with a good long climb. He suggested Geiger Grade. The last time I climbed Geiger Grade leaving from home was 2 years ago when I was training for my first Ride to Defeat ALS and it nearly killed me! It’s about 40 miles round trip, with about 3000 feet of climbing. But I’m in better shape this year so I was game.

As we rode through the valley toward Geiger Grade (the road to Virginia City), Stan worked with me to try to get me to draft behind him. I have not learned drafting techniques before and I don’t really like riding right behind someone so I can’t see the road in front of me. When we started the climb, Stan worked with me on shifting up and down according to how I can sustain my pace as the gradient changes and as the wind shifted to and from a tail wind. I always used to just grind up hills in the easiest gear. He was still much faster than me and he would zoom ahead doing speed intervals and then he’d ride back down to meet me. When we got up to the false summit at the Virginia City Highlands turnoff, Stan decided to head back. I had never gone beyond this point but I felt great and for once I didn’t have to get back to pick up my son so I continued on to the summit.

It was a very windy descent and I had to stop to rest both at the Highlands turnoff and at the Scenic Overlook. When I got back down to the valley, I had to think of a way home with minimal climbing, since I was pretty beat. I ended up going over the Double R hill to AirCenter Parkway. I had to climb that hill but then got a nice high-speed descent as a reward. From AirCenter I turned on Meadowood Mall Way to Neil, thinking I would ride home on McCarran. But McCarran was all torn up for repaving so I continued on to Peckham. Then I only had to climb the hill to my house. After 3.5 hours of riding I was really glad to be done!

I used some of my speed coach’s tips when I did my hill repeats the following Thursday. Using MyTracks on my Droid phone, I was able to compare my speed and time to the week before. For the same distance each Thursday, the new techniques let me finish 7 minutes sooner and my average moving speed increased from 9.66 mph to 10.55 mph!  Oh yeah! Anything that can help me finish century rides sooner is a good thing!

Sign in for the Ride for RAVE at Sports West. Indoor spinning was an option too.

My speed coach rode with me again last Saturday in the Ride for RAVE. RAVE provides respite babysitting for parents of special needs kids, as well as volunteer experience for high school kids who provide the babysitting. We had used RAVE babysitting when our son was a baby. He was a preemie and had special feeding needs. The ride left from Sports West Athletic Club (where I work out) and the route was our tried and true favorite Verdi Loop. We rode at a high pace for me (our average moving speed was 16 mph). Stan kept urging me to ride closer to him. The pace was slow for him but since he pulled the whole time mostly into a head wind, he was happy with his workout. We ended up being the first to finish – a new experience for me! The ride had a great rest stop on Bridge Street in Verdi, and a really great buffet brunch after the ride.

The Bridge Street rest stop in Verdi

After the ride we went home and watched the Tour de France Time Trial which we had recorded. Then there was just enough time to shower before going to pick up our son, home from the mountain cabin.


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You never have the wind with you…..

“You never have the wind with you-either it is against you or you’re having a good day.”

– Daniel Behrman in The Man Who Loved Bicycles

I’m thinking about getting a RoadID bracelet, and I “like” RoadID’s Facebook page so I get their posts regularly. It seems at least once a week they post an article about a cyclist somewhere in the USA getting plowed down by a car or truck. I think I should “unlike” their page because they are making me nervous about riding on roads where I have to ride in the traffic lane. And no matter which way I go from home there are some roads like that. I know that even in a bike lane I’m not safe from drunk drivers or inattentive drivers but I feel safer – I don’t worry about every passing vehicle the way I do when I’m in the traffic lane. I have started carrying a piece of paper with my cell phone that had my name, blood type, that I’m an organ donor, my husband’s phone number, my dad’s phone number, and the number of one of my friends. Then I also list where my son is and what time he has to be picked up. I have a friend who got in a car accident on her way to pick up her son from his day camp. She was knocked out for 2 hours, and was late for picking up her son. My husband travels often so he is usually not available to do back up kid picking up.

On today’s ride, I rode over Windy Hill and south on Lakeside to Holcomb. I especially hate the Lakeside and Holcomb stretch – usually lots of high-speed traffic and I’m in the traffic lane. I turned south on Dryden to get off the busy road. I climbed up to Lamay and then went south on Slide Mountain to the Fire Road. I know I said I wouldn’t ride that alone again, after seeing mountain lion tracks, but I guess I’m more afraid of fast cars and trucks than I am of a mountain lion at midday.

Heading down Ventana Parkway, there are many irritatingly large expansion cracks. I headed over to Arrowcreek Parkway on Thomas Creek. I climbed up to the schools and then rode down the hill to Sage Ridge, since this is one of the rest stops on the Ride to Defeat ALS. It’s not a bad climb back up to Arrowcreek. I did the Arrowcreek Loop, and was glad to see that most of the largest expansion cracks have been repaired. I found one shady spot to stop for a snack and a drink.

I found one of the only shady spots at the farthest extent of my ride.

It’s so nice to get to the top of the climb on the southwest side of the Arrowcreek Loop, and start the long descent which takes me most of the way home. I always get back from there much faster than I went out. I also was heading into the wind most of the way home. I had not really noticed the wind at all when it was behind me on the way out. I remembered the quote at the beginning of this post because it is so true!

MyTracks Droid App says I did 22 miles and 1,761 feet of climbing.

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Droid My Tracks for Cycling Hill Repeats

Today I rode 15 minutes of warmup before my hill repeats. On the warmup I got a chance to experiment with traffic signal triggers. At Greensboro and McCarran I rode right where car wheels would be and the signal changed immediately and then was yellow before I barely got started. But it seemed like the loop detected me. I’ll have to try it a few more times. Then I rode down McCarran to Plumas and south on Plumas to the dead-end and then back north to my street. At Plumas and South McCarran, for the first time ever, there were no northbound cars to trigger the light. I was in the bike lane and I sat through two cycles and was just about to move over to the driving lane when a car came to turn left and the light was triggered. That’s another one I’ll have to experiment with. There was too much traffic in the three other directions to run the light.

I did my hill repeats on my street. It’s a good climb with a little level area in the middle which  is where my house is.

The view up my street at the start of my hill repeats

The climb a little farther up the street

Photos rarely do justice to the steepness of the ride. But it definitely is a good workout. I will have photos of the upper part of the climb the next time I do it. I do 4 X 10 minutes seated hill climb with recovery on the way back down. It made a pretty Droid My Tracks output screen:

My Tracks on my Droid with my hill repeat workout data

The nice thing about this data is that I can use this as a baseline and compare future workouts. Since I climb for 10 minutes, starting from the same speed bump every time, max elevation is one indicator of my fitness (today 4,853 ft) as well as average speed (9.12 mph). Since I’m working on being faster downhill, max speed should increase over time too! (today 29.58 mph). My total distance was 11.79 miles and total elevation gain was 1,469 ft.

On the graph, blue is speed and green is elevation. You can see the effects of the relatively level area in the middle of the climb.

I sent it to google docs and google maps, so it will be easy to compare future hill repeat workouts!

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My Tracks Droid App as Cycling Computer

Last week I downloaded the My Tracks app for my Droid phone. I have tried it out on my last 3 rides. It works great, as long as you remember to tell it to stop recording your track when you finish cycling. Yesterday it recorded my drive to lunch and back after my ride, so the data from yesterday’s ride isn’t valid cycling data anymore. Today I rode the Somersett Loop from home, with a little detour up the Plateau climb to meet my friend Renee’. This was the first time I rode with Renee’ and the great thing about riding with someone new is how it takes you out of your routine. Renee’ likes to do the Somersett Loop backward, so we started the loop with the climb up Mesa Park Road and then straight up Mae Anne, and then up Somersett Pkwy. There is no gradual climb like the other way.

Here are some photos of the data screens I get on my phone when I’m done cycling (apologies for the photo quality):

Google Map of my ride

Elevation (green) and speed (blue) profiles

Data output screen in My Tracks

I can send this track to Google docs and Google Maps to have access to them on my computer at home. Since I won’t ride without my cell phone for safety reasons, why not have it do some work for me while I ride? I was afraid that My Tracks would suck the battery like navigating with the GPS does, but it does not. After almost 2.5 hours I still have about 3/4 of my battery strength.

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