Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mark v. Virtual Mark

I have at my disposal a nifty little gadget called the Garmin Edge 305. My wife gave it to me a couple of years back, I believe it was a birthday present. It looks like this;

As you can see it has the ability to show many different bits of info including but not limited to speed, distance, heart rate, elevation, time, cadence, maps, sunrise/sunset, laps, heading, total ascent/descent, and calories burned and many variations on each.
The application that we will be speaking about today has the somewhat unfortunate nomenclature of the "Virtual Partner." This has nothing to do with some e-babe that I can have long talks with to discuss my innermost feelings. My wife says that I can't talk about feelings anyway because, according to her, I have none.
But I digress, the Virtual Partner (VP) is a training tool in which I can ride a certain course or route and save all the information within the gizmo to be used later. Then I can ride or race the same route with/against myself.
Here is a screen shot of how that looks;

The "distance behind" can become "distance ahead" and the small black circle denotes my location in relation to the VP or as I like to call him Virtual Mark. I have started to hate Virtual Mark, that guy is a jerk who has no regard for how I suffer to keep up. He will drop me without so much as an adios and never look back.
Okay, maybe it is my fault that I set the course up after having a very good day on the bike but it is still demoralizing to have to turn myself inside out to try and beat that guy.

Today I attempted an ascent of Utah Hill with Virtual Mark as my training companion. I rode the course exactly one week ago and got beat by 2 miles so I was looking for some redemption.
I give you the map I made with my Garmin and Topofusion.

So by pedaling my guts out and using some big ring power, I beat Virtual Mark to the summit by 330 ft. Score one for Reality Mark. As I began the 8 mile descent, I held that spacing for about 3 miles and then the distance ahead number began shrinking rapidly. I poured on the speed but to no avail. The distance ahead quickly became distance behind and the number was spooling upward at an incredible rate. I was going 36mph and this joker was leaving me. "Who is this guy" I wondered, " What's he got that I don't have?"
I was out of gears and out of pedal power and I could not close the gap. By the time I hit the bottom I was half a mile back and still losing ground. He built up a .63 mile advantage at the Kayenta turnoff and I knew that I had 7 miles left to catch him.

But Virtual Mark had other plans, I am sure that somehow he knew I was putting on a better showing than the week before and he was having none of it. He kept the hammer down the whole way home. I was blowing stop signs, drafting vehicles, risking life and limb and generally being that biker that we all hate. Slowly the numbers stopped getting bigger and began diminishing.

I still got beat by .42 of a mile.

Next week your mine Virtual Mark and when I pass you on the home stretch I am going to virtually punch you right in your smug, virtual face.


Bob said...

Next time I see VM I will give him the virtual finger for you dude. Good time post.

DW said...

Damn - with friends like Virtual Mark, who needs enemies??