Product Review- First Impressions of Garmin 810

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Strava

Follow me on SPOT

Follow REV Endurance Cycling

I had my first ride today using the new Garmin 810.


I found the set-up was very easy.  Garmin 810 like its predecessor is all touch screen commands except for Power, Lap and Start/Stop which are buttons.  I just tapped through the different menus and was ready to ride in fewer than 5 minutes.

The bike set-up was really simple.  I have an SRM Dura-Ace Crankset Power Meter.  The Garmin 810 found the Suunto Speed sensor and the SRM power meter with ease. I then did a search for my Heart Rate strap and bam! all sensors were detected.

People laugh at me because I name by bikes.  Ok then why when I was doing the bike set-up did the Garmin 810 have an option to name by bike?  You’re not going to put something boring like “Road bike” or “MTB” or  “Serotta” in there are you?  No!  You have these little icons to choose from that are silhouettes of bikes.  If you do that then you can see if it’s your road bike or MTB.  No,  the very smart people at Garmin are giving you the option to NAME you bike! So do it it’s ok.

Once you get the basic sensors from your bike detected by your head unit it’s time to have some fun. One of the cool upgrade feature of the new Garmin 810 from the Garmin 800 is Live Tracking.   Pair up your Garmin 810 to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology and now you can invite friends to follow you on your ride. You can choose selected friends by inserting their emails into the Garmin Connect mobile app or simply turn on Facebook or Twitter and have ALL your “friends” follow you.  Watch the video below so you can see how it works.

Tomorrow 1/19/13 I will be doing a century plus ride and if you’re my Facebook friend you can follow me through some of San Diego’s great country roads. 

My latest endeavor is forming a new and completely different cycling organization.    REV Endurance Cycling Team – a cycling organization focused on bringing up the next generation of endurance cyclists. REV is a development team rather than a racing team. As part of it’s rider development strategy, REV is very keen on bringing more women into Ultra Cycling.  REV is about making and maintaining a lifestyle change with personal health, fitness and cycling as priorities.  REV will take the “couch potatoes” coach and train them to complete their very first century or Gran Fondo.  REV will take century riders and assist them in becoming brevet riders (unsupported events) or double century riders. REV will prepare you for “the toughest 48 hours in sport”, the Furnace Creek 508.

REV Endurance Cycling is always looking for corporate sponsors and individual donations.  Please feel free to contact me with your interest in assisting REV Endurance Cycling accomplish its goals.

Stay tuned for more details…

What a difference a day makes…

I rode two days in the Palomar Mountain area.  Both days were lackluster but today was slightly better.  Yesterday was such a shitty day I turned around and went home.  I started in Escondido and climbed the lower portion of Palomar Mountain on Hwy 76 (approx 4.4 miles 1,500 gain) I couldn’t get myself motivated to climb the second half of the mountain.  I was tired from the work week and I hadn’t had a good night’s rest. So I turned around yep, I DNF’d on a training ride 😉  It was still a 50 mile ride with almost 4,000 feet of gain which is a good enough ride for most people.

Today I started in a different part of Escondido and climbed all the way to the top of Palomar Mountain, albeit slowly.  I felt so much better today.  In fact, I even descended a couple of times to pick up my straggler.

Epic Training Tip:  When the day isn’t going well go home, eat and rest.  Your body is telling you something.  Take care of it and go back the next day and try again.  It’s ok to miss or quit on a training day to have a better training result on another day.

Living up in Orange County I haven’t been going to Palomar Mountain as frequently I used to when I lived in San Diego County,  On a regular basis, typically once a week, I would make the 100 mile 10,000 feet of climbing round trip from Encinitas to the top of Palomar Mountain.   Palomar is a great climb beginning in Pauma Valley about 1000 feet elevation topping out at 5,200 feet.

There is much debate as to how long and how much gain is attained on the climb. Most people time themselves from “store to store”. Which means from the Stage Stop and Liquor at the bottom to the Mother’s Market at the top.  That distance is about 11.7 miles with about 4,200 feet of gain.  Some like to time themselves from Harrah’s Casino which is understandable because it is the very bottom of the valley.  The store is on the left hand side of Hwy 76 when you make the right turn onto Hwy 76 from Valley Center Rd.  You can see it in the Google Satellite image I have included below.

March 15 not a good day (notice low normalized power)

March 16 a little better (notice much higher normalized power)

March 16 just the major climbs — 40 miles with 7400 feet gained

Alright and now for some good things to take away from these two uninspiring days.    On Thursday when I made the right turn onto Hwy 76 I saw a rider alongside the road, just across the road from the Stage Stop store, wearing a Furnace Creek 508 jersey.  I had to pull over and ask who he was.  I asked “What’s your totem?”  He knew who I was but I didn’t know him.  He was David Nash a two-man finisher from 2011 with my friend Steve “Desert Duck” Teal.

Later when I was about 3 miles from finishing my ride back in Escondido, I see someone flagging me down.  I pull over and start chatting with the gentleman pictured above.  Apparently, Roland has been reading my blog for about a year.  He recounted his progression from racing as a young man, coming to the states, having a family and now riding again.  He had just completed his first double century in Death Valley put on by AdventureCORPS.  Good work Roland I hope to see you at an event sometime and thank you for reading my blog.  You brightened up my day which was otherwise a total wash.

UPDATE  3/17/12

A question came in from one of my readers.  He asked if my Performance Management Chart reflected the lack of motivation or over-training that I felt on Thursday March 15th.  Well the graph above is from November 14 through March 15.  You can see the pink line is the stress I put on my body and yellow line is how much rest or recovery I give my body– in layman’s terms.  I don’t see anything unusual when compared to other times I have stressed my body more and still been able to put in a good training workout.

Thank you for reading my blog and please refer a friend.

Please consider AdventureCORPS in your 2012 ride calendar!  I hope to see you “out there”

Week in Review December 5 – Dec 11, 2011

Week Four of Base Miles (Recovery Week)

Performance Management Chart last 28 days

Ending—Dura—–Dist—- Weight— HR— TSS—- kJ——1min—-5’w—-20’w— 60’w 


12/4—— 11:18—–207——-155——159—–529—-7167—-337—–279—-239—–204

11/27——8:39—–151——–155——-157—- 427—-4970—- 466—- 317—-211—-188

11/20——6:14——-99——-155——-154—- 292—-3458—- 468—- 286—-213—-180

This concludes my fourth week of a three-week build and one week recovery period.  This week the focus was on maintaining the fitness gained in weeks one, two and three.  I rode easy this week so that I would achieve full adaptation from week three.   While my hours and mileage were more than last week the intensity was still low.  You will notice a significant portion of my hours was spent in the Endurance Zone (lighter Green).

Notice in the graph above how week four has a significant portion of the overall training time in the lower two categories (Blue and lighter Green) My endurance zone is between 165-223 watts.  I feel comfortable riding at that intensity.

Above is a graph depicting hours ridden with Bars and mileage ridden by the Line.  The increase over the last four weeks has been moderate and consistent.

Above you will see how even though I did more mileage on my fourth week my IF (Intensity Factor) is much lower than any of the previous weeks. This type of building takes discipline and training with a purpose. My SRM Power Meter is the best tool for proper pacing.

Nutrition and rest are two very important components of a successful training program.  I use AminoPure after every workout.  It ensures I maintain good health as it boosts my immune system and helps me recover quicker.

I also increase my protein intake to ensure good muscle recovery for the next day’s training effort.  Interphase from Sportquest has 34g of protein with only 190 calories.  If I have been training really hard I make a smoothie before bedtime so I can sleep through the  night.

I rode five straight days with no rest days for a total of 14 hours 24 minutes and 237 miles. A little more than three additional hours and 30 more miles than last week.  Training Stress Score was down from  529 to 516 and kilojoules was up from 7167 to 7577.  Remember the kilojoules is closely related to calories expended.  Notice how on the Performance Management Chart my Acute Training Load (stress over 7 days)  is up from  72.6 to 79.5 and the Chronic Training Load (stress over 42 days) was up from 39.2 to 47.9.  Two items of notable mention:

1.  A good 4.5 hour endurance ride in San Diego

2.  Followed by another good 3.5 hour endurance in San Diego

Just for fun how about these statistics for the last four weeks of training:

I rode 737 miles burned 24,000 calories,  43 1/2 hours and averaged just over 17 miles an hour.  

Thank you for reading my blog.  Please pass it to a friend!

Back to Back Centuries

Thursday 130 miles with 9,500 feet of climbing (9,000 in the first 50 miles) and Friday another 100 miles on the coast. On Thursday, I hitched a ride to Glendora with some friends.  I climbed Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) descended and topped off my bottles at Camp Williams.   I then cut across on East Fork and climbed from below 2,000 feet elevation to  Dawson Saddle (7901 Elevation) on Hwy 39. My friends didn’t want to climb to Dawson Saddle so I “stranded” myself and I rode home from 84 miles away.  I told my friends that they did not have to wait for me while I kept climbing and that they could go home.

A training note:  This was a 400 mile week.  One of the greatest challenges of riding that many miles is RECOVERY.  Eating enough calories and protein to rebuild your muscles overnight is very important.  Proper hydration during my ride on Thursday was very challenging because of the remote nature of the course (refer to this post on Dawson Saddle).  I spent the rest of the day on Thursday re-hydrating so that I could be ready for Friday’s century.  After Friday’s century I was still dehydrated because I only stopped once to fill my bottles and rode for six hours on four bottles.

Today- another 100 miles with sore legs.

and now for some fun…

Swiftwick Socks

From L to R: Heidi, George Vargas, Johnny, Geno and Chris

Camp Williams General Store- water spigot located at the base of tree to the right backside of Glendora Mountain Road or Little GMR as some call it.  

Dawson Saddle- the summit of a 35 mile climb from Duarte

George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas summits Dawson Saddle

George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas view from Crystal Lake (5200 feet) looking up.

Newport Beach to Dawson Saddle 270 km (168 miles) 11,300 feet of gain

I wish to nominate Dawson Saddle for another of California’s Toughest Climbs  additional links here and here .  Dawson Saddle is 32 miles and gains 7,500 feet.  But there’s more difficulty to this climb than just the mileage and the gain.  If you plan on tackling the climb to Dawson Saddle please follow these tips to ensure safe travels:

1.  If you want a short warm-up and then begin climbing straightaway you should start at Encanto Park approximately 660 feet above sea level

2.  In the summer months, I would start the climb with a minimum of three bottles.  I have done it with five bottles.  Never a bad thing to have “too much fluids/nutrition”

3.  In the summer months, expect temperatures over 90 degrees F at the lower elevations

4.  Bring at least five hours of nutrition Minimum three-hour climb, Recovery at the summit and then nutrition for the long descent. The descent is not a high-speed descent because of the road conditions which you should note on your climb.  There are sections were you can open it up as well, so to speak.

5.  There isn’t anywhere to get fluids once you begin the climb

6.  There is a stream coming through the rocks at about 4,000 feet elevation – drink at your own risk!

7.  In May and June you should plan to reach the summit and begin your descent before 3 pm – temperatures drop very quickly as the sun sets  The “sun sets” sooner because you are surrounded by higher mountain peaks in the area and you lose the Sun’s heat earlier

8.  Bring a vest and arm/knee warmers and light full-fingered gloves as a minimum.  I HIGHLY recommend wool! Standard issue of clothing if you wish to a summit bagger!

9. Unless you are a strong climber bring at least a 27 tooth cassette (11-27 or 11-28) or a compact crankset 50/34.  I have done this climb with a 53/39 and 11-23 cassette but I wouldn’t recommend that for everyone.

10. Bring a buddy this is a remote climb, with closed roads to vehicular traffic, cell coverage is spotty to non-existent.  I would go on the assumption that there’s isn’t cell coverage.    Wildlife can and should be expected such as bears, deer and squirrels.  Yes squirrels, they are dangerous because they are unpredictable and cross your path then double back across your path again – a recipe for disaster.

11.  Bring plenty of flat repair- even though the road has been cleaned significantly over the years I have been doing this climb the roads are not maintained, frost heaves, potholes, plenty of loose rock, and falling rock are strewn along the highway.  I bring tire boots but a spare tire is not a bad idea.

12.  Be prepared to ride at least five hours without seeing another cyclist and once you pass the gated areas you won’t see any cars.

13.  Descend with caution- it could be hours or even days before someone finds you!

14.  File a flight plan- Tell a loved one or a friend where you are going and when you are expected back.  I have always called/texted my loved one with three simple words “on the mountain” and then “off the mountain”

15.  Lastly enjoy the views they are spectacular!

Training Peaks screenshot of Dawson Saddle Climb Normalized Power 201 or 3 w/kg for 3 hours

Grade analysis of Dawson Saddle from the Public Restroom at mile 35.25 on the San Gabriel River Trail

Felony – my 2011 Felt F1 with Shimano Di2

George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas summits Dawson Saddle on his 2011 Felt F1 with Di2- 32 mile 7,500 feet of gain climb

My ride yesterday was from Newport Beach to Dawson Saddle 168 miles with 11,000 + feet of climbing. I left Newport Beach close to 1pm.  My plan was to do some night riding at the tail-end of my ride.  I was stocked with 10 hours of nutrition.  I ran out of fuel 9 hours into the ride.  It took me almost 11 hours to get home.  I bonked badly.  I rode 126 miles the day before and because of  it I was much hungrier on this ride.  My route was North on Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH)  to Seal Beach and then the San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT) to Hwy 39 to Angeles Crest Hwy 2 to Dawson Saddle summit 7901 elevation.  It’s important to mention that the  Dawson Saddle summit is 84 miles into my ride.  This climb is hard enough from Encanto Park where you get a couple miles of warm-up and just go.  Now imagine starting this climb with 50 miles on your legs.  Or how about this after summiting realizing you are still 84 miles from home.

his ride is especially difficult SOLO and unsupported.  You must carry enough fluids and nutrition from the start to a public restroom at mile 35.25 on the SGRT – about 50 miles for me.  Then refuel and have enough fuel/fluids for the next 35 miles of climbing – at least 3 hours of climbing.  You should have enough nutrition and fluids to have something at the summit and for your descent.  The descent takes a little longer than normal because the road conditions are not ideal in certain areas.  Basically you need enough of  whatever you fancy for 70 miles with 3+ hours of hard climbing in a remote closed road section.  Then once you refuel at the public restroom you need enough fluids/fuel to get you 35 miles back to PCH and then home if you don’t want to stop again.  Can you say Epic Adventure?!?!?!

Thank you for reading my blog.  Please provide me with feedback as to whether you find this post useful before or after doing your climb.  Please pass this blog on to your climbing friends.

Here are a few other posts I have made on climbing Dawson Saddle

September 29, 2008

May 14, 2010

May 27, 201

Coastal 200km (125 miles)

Today I did a round trip from Newport Beach to Encinitas.  It was 200km (125 miles) with only about 4,000 feet of climbing.  The training objective was to spin out the legs from yesterday’s hill workout where I did seated climbs at low cadences and high torque.  Today I spent almost 5 hours at cadences between 80-100 RPM.  I had good day on the bike.  The northbound leg (60 miles) was into a head/cross wind that sucked!  My average speed plummeted! But now I’m sitting relaxing in “the Pod” having a CVAC session at Lunar Health and Wellness in Newport Beach.  The plan is that the CVAC session will aid in my recovery so that I can do another 8 hours on the bike tomorrow.  Today’s ride was the longest thus far on “Felony” my 2011 Felt F1 with Shimano Di2 and SRM 7900 wireless crankset with Power Control 7.

I gained 10 lbs on my bike ride yesterday!

I rode from Encinitas to Palomar Mountain yesterday.  I had a great day on the bike. On my way back, I saw a fruit stand selling 10 lb bags of oranges for $1.00.  I couldn’t resist and bought a bag.  I carried that bag for the last 35 miles of my ride.  I thought why not – it’s good training 😉 and my son LOVES oranges! 🙂



Another Six Hours in the Saddle – Newport Beach to Oceanside and Back to Newport Beach

My legs felt a little heavy after yesterday’s six hour training ride.  It took some time to warm up.  I was quite hungry on today’s ride and pulled over a couple of times to get some solid foods in me.

The training goals and actuals are almost exactly what they were yesterday so I won’t load any additional graphs.

One awesome thing that happen today was running into Isabelle Drake. I was experiencing a lull in my ride, just south of San Clemente, when up ahead I saw a Furnace Creek 508 vest.  I wondered who that might be.  As I got closer I recognized Isabelle.  The timing was perfect.  I snapped out of it and started riding better.  She has a knack for that!  At the 2009 Furnace Creek 508 the winds were gusting up to 60 mph and we motivated each other to keep riding as we played leap-frog through Death Valley.  Thank you Isabelle you did it again you got me through a rough patch.  When I post my Death Valley Double Race Report this is the Isabelle that I will talk about.

Six Hour Training Ride – Newport Beach to Hwy 39

On Saturday February 26, 2011 I did a Double Century.  On Tuesday, March 1 a 30 mile club ride.  Today a Zone 2 Endurance Miles, 6 hrs pedal time 108 miles,  3,500 kjs Normalized Power of 180 watts. The club ride really hurt I wasn’t recovered yet! But I wouldn’t let myself get dropped no matter how much I hurt. My legs felt surprisingly good consider the abuse they took on Saturday’s double century.

Garmin download here

TRAINING GOALS: Endurance Miles 6 hours in Zone 2 training 160-216 watts.  2.35 w/kg – 3.17 w/kg, Average Cadence 90 RPM

ACTUALS: Average 162 watts (2.38 w/kg) Normalized Power 180 watts (2.64 w/kg). Average Cadence 86 RPM

HEADWINDS: Newport Beach to Long Beach and the San Gabriel River Trail. (about 15 Miles)

TAILWINDS: Long Beach to Hwy 39 Azusa (about 40 Miles)

HEADWINDS: Hwy 39 Azusa to Long Beach (about 40 Miles)

TAILWINDS: Long Beach to Newport Beach (about 15 Miles)