Is Apple Watch threatening Polar and Suunto?

Apple Watch was launched yesterday. A friend of mine has been talking about it´s effect on two Finnish companies: Suunto and Polar.

I have written about my challenges with a Polar product here in my blog. Still I want to believe that those products from Finland are something that the sporting world will use in the future.

Today I read a very good blog post about Apple challenging Suunto and Polar with it´s new product. I really hope that this scenario is taken seriously in both of those companies.

Usability is something Apple products have always been good at. I really hope that my next Polar product is going to suprise me with totally new user experience. Something that will keep both Polar and Suunto in the market!

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Frustration!

tossutSo I had this big idea of running a marathon this year. Not gonna happen cause I have not been able to run as much that I should have.

For over a yeat now I have been suffering from plantar fasciitis in my left heel. Last summer when I climbed the Passo dello Stelvio it was at it´s worst. Last summer running was absolutely out of the question.

In autumn 2013 I always wore soft sporting shoes even in the office. Hard leather shoes only when it was absolutely necessary. Luckily the office policy allowed casual clothes so it was not a problem.

At the end of the year my heel was better. I started to have short 5-7 km runs and everything was ok. I thought that maybe a marathon is possible within next summer. Just keep on running!

January this year I made a mistake playing floorball with my colleagues. After that my heel was allmost as bad as it was in summer 2013. “Bye-bye to running a marathon”

At the time it´s getting better. I´m going to start having short runs carefully not to damage the heel more. At the moment I´m not thinking about running a marathon. I´m only consentrating getting back on my feet and running.

 

What now? I need a new goal!

It has been a while since I achieved my goal at the Passo dello Stelvio. After that I haven’t posted anything on this site, so if there has been any readers waiting for new content – I am sorry!

A friend of mine once told me that a fullfilled dream is the worst kind of a dream. After that there can be emptiness because lack of reason – in this case lack of a goal to train for.

There are many peaks to conquer and events to join for years to go. I haven’t lost my apetite for cycling, but one has to set a goal outside the comfort zone.

For an amateur athlete, like me, there is a big must to do. Something everybody allways asks when you tell about sports as your hobby.

Marathon.

Yes. Marathon is my next goal. Stay tuned!

Cima coppi – 2760 meters!

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I made it!

Today I reached the Passo dello Stelvio starting from the Prad side of the climb. All the 48 “tornantes” and apprx. 1900 meters of climbing. No wonder this is one epic climb amongst the cyclists.

Today the weather was on my side. It didn’t rain and temperature was not too high or low. Just perfect.

Instead of the basic statistics of this climb (information can be found easily from the internet) I’ll write about my clothing and accessories I had on me.

First of all the bike:

I had my own bike that is in original setup. Rose Xeon RS, Di2 with compact drive.

Clothing:

Helmet
Protective glasses
Bib shorts
Sweat shirt
Jersey (short sleaves)
Shoes and socks
Gillet
Arm and leg warmers
Jacket

Accessories:

Small pump
Spare tire
CO2 valve and a cartridge
Pocket tool
Two botles
iPhone

I was lucky enought not needing anything else from my accessories than the iPhone. I stopped couple of times to take pictures.

When climbing I had all the extra clothing in my jersey pockets. On the top I put my jacket on and before descent I also added arm and leg warmers. The gillet was only piece of clothing I didn’t need.

What next? That is a good question.

If I had more time on this trip I would take a bus on the top and then descent to Bormio and climb that side as well. But unfortunatelly this doesn’t seen to be possible this time.

I’m sure that I will be back in Tyrol in the future. This place has so many possibilities for a sports holiday!

Pre-Stelvio camp in Garda

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My pre-Stelvio training camp in Garda is almost over. My goal was to get used to long steep climbs before my main challenge at Stelvio but not to wear my legs too much.

First of all I have to say that Riva del Garda is a heaven on earth for mountainbikers. Road cycling is ok as well but You can find better destinations somewhere else in Italy. There are many rental shops for both mountain and road cyclists and organized tours are easy to find. There are also shutle-bus service to mountains… (for those who don’t have the power to climb)

My first ride was a short climb to a near by Lago di Tenno. Nice easy climb, but a lot of sweating because of the heat.

Second ride was organized by a local rental shop. It was mainly flat terrain with couple of short but steep (maximum of 13%) climbs.

At the rental shop I met a Finnish cyclist from Team Donna Agile, a women’s cycling club based in Oulu. With a Donna named Anna we desided to climb to Monte Baldo the next day.

We headed off in the morning first to Nago then Mori and started to climb from Avio. There is a paved bicycle path all the way so You don’t have to ride on a road. This is a very good and wise option, since the road from Riva to Mori is narrow and busy.

I will link my route later.

It was a nice ride with total climbing of approx. 1500 meters. Descents were very fast. My maximum speed was 76 km/h.

Now last night in Riva and tomorrow to Stelvio!

The journey begins

My bag is packed and the Rose is in my travel bag. Early tomorrow morning I’m going to start my journey that will hopefully lead to the top of the Passo Dello Stelvio.

First stop is München where I pick up a rental car. After that I’ll drive to Lake Garda where I’m going to do some cycling as well. I think Monte Baldo is going to be the highest climb there.

I’m driving to Stelvio in 8th of July. I have three whole days there to reach my goal. Hopefully the weather is going to be in my favor.

I try to update my blog on regularly. You can also follow my Instagram feed of You like to.

Toughts about Vätternrundan 2013

vatternrundan2013Last weekend I rode the legendary Vätternrundan in Sweden. My ride around the lake Vättern – almost 300 kilometers – took longer than I expected. My total time with all the stops was 11h 54min and riding time was 10h 08min.

This beeing my first Vätternrundan I´m happy with my result. I had a very good small group of co-riders I rode almost the whole ride with. I think I was the point man for the most of the time – gaining a nickname “sähköjänis” – resembling electronic lure in a greyhound race. (I have a Di2 set on my bike)

Vätternrundan is the largest recreational bicycle ride in the world. First official Vätternrundan was held in 1966 and after that this event has been organized every year.

This year there was 23 000 registered cyclists to the 300 km main event and they represented 55 different nations.

There are all level of cyclists taking part in this event. Everything from somebody with an old commuter style bike spending more than 20 hours on the route to a top trained and equipped pro-teams pedalling under seven hours…

This also means that anything can happend on the road. Not all of the participants are used to ride in a group and there was some accidents. I was lucky enough to avoid crashes, but there was a couple of near-accident situations.

Me and my co-riders tried to avoid groups we kept hazardous. It was quite easy to tell a difference between a safe and a dangerous group by monitoring if they were riding in clear lines or if there was overlapping. In the case of disorganized group or/and overlapping we tried to pass them to maximize our safety.

I have to say that the Swedes know how to arrange a big event. I give my all my respect to personnel behind the scenes of Vätternrundan.

Vätternrundan here I come!

prästgårdcafeVätternrundan is the largest recreational bicycle ride in the world. 300 km (approx 186 miles) long ride takes place in Motala, Sweden. Last year there was 23 307 registered riders from 46 different nations. Skandinavian weather conditions can spice up the event – last year 2 250 riders gave up due to rainfall and cold temperature – in mid summer.

This year Vätternrundan is 14th-15th of June. First riders starts Friday evening at 19.30 and the last start time is at 06.30 Saturday morning. I´ll start early in the Saturday morning at 03.16 am.

I´m travelling to Sweden with a group of Finnish cyclist mostly from Jyväskylä and Keuruu. We´ll take a ferry to Stockholm and then our bus will take us to Motala where we have our accomodation.

My goal is to ride the 300km ride in 10 hours. I don´t know any of the riders I´m travelling with, so I hope there is fit enough riders to form an average speed group targetting to that same time frame.

But then again – I won´t get any brighter medal or a prize if I manage to ride under 10 hours. The most important thing to me is to finish the ride safely. This summers main challenge waits me in South-Tyrol.

If I finish Vätterrundan it will be my longest ride. By this far my longest ride have been approx 190 kilometers, last summer from Helsinki to Turku with a friend of mine.

I´ll try to update my Twitter and Instagram regularly from Sweden – not on a road thou 😀

Another Polar device!

CS500I know I have been a bit unlucky with HRM devices by Polar, but after all I decided to have a go with CS500 – knowing there is some drawbacks with this product.

CS500 is not the latest cycling computer by Polar and it lacks GPS connectivity. That´s not a major issue cause I have the RCX5 with G5 GPS.

Combining exercise data from these two devices to polarpersonaltrainer.com is something I haven´t tried yet. Maybe that´s not even possible.

If I like to have both, location data and altitude data, to the same training result I have to update some of the information manually. I haven´t tried that yet, but hopefully it is possible.

Why did I bought CS500?

  1. I wanted a product with elevation information
  2. There was a killer deal on bike24.com
  3. I already had a compatible cadence sensor attached to my bike

One funny thing there is thou. I started off for a ride from my yard and returned to the same place. My CS500 told me that I had descended some more than ascended. How is that possible?

Customer care via Twitter

Today I got very fast customer response from Polar using Twitter. I have to say ttwiit1hat I´m very pleased on fast answers and to a promise that they will pass on my feedback to their product management.

This case just underlines the fact that a global customer brand, like Polar, cannot underestimate the power of social media as a customer feedback and service channel. Social media is fast, interactive and public channel to have a dialog with customers. In my opinion Polar did good today on Twitter.

This whole episode begun earlier today when I noticed Polar´s status update on FB about new features on their RC3 GPS HRM. It has a GPS based altitude data which cannot be found on RCX5.twiit2

I asked on Twitter if they are planning to do a firmware update for RCX5 (using G5 GPS) to get this altitude information available as well. Of course you can find location based altitude data when you upload your trainings to polarpersonaltrainer.com. But this really isn´t what I need.

Unfortunately the answer was that an update is not in a pipeline.

As a cyclist I want to get cumulative climb data from each ride, per week, per month, per year etc. This is something RCX5 does not provide.