Archive for January, 2010

topocreator.com new feature

topocreator.com convert tcx to hrmNew topocreator.com tool for converting TCX files to HRM files

For this post, I just want to introduce a new feature of my website, http://topocreator.com, which enables you to convert a TCX file into an HRM file. I am a huge fan of the Polar ProTrainer software. The graphs are easy to read, and the number of different types of reports you can generate is amazing. But if you switch from a Polar product to a Garmin fitness product, then you are stuck with the Garmin Training Center which is pretty much laughable compared to the Polar ProTrainer software — not even in the same ballpark. But now you can be free of the Garmin Training Center and convert your Garmin data for use within the Polar ProTrainer software. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you too can convert your Garmin data for use within Polar ProTrainer 5.

  1. Plug your garmin into your computer using the mini-usb cable.
  2. Navigate to the following url: http://topocreator.com/polar.php
  3. Click Browse… and navigate to the GPX folder on your Garmin
  4. Set your personal params (max hr, resting hr, etc…) for the output HRM file
  5. Click the “Upload and convert” button
  6. Save the .HRM file to your Desktop
  7. Start Polar Pro Trainer
  8. Double-click the calendar on the correct date
  9. Click the “Day-information” tab
  10. Click the “Add New Exercise” button
  11. Click the “Attach” button and select “Attack from exercise”
  12. Navigate to your Desktop and select the .HRM file you saved in Step 6
  13. Fill in any extra information for the ride

January 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm Leave a comment

BBL 1/23/10 – Power / heartrate data


Attack Zone #1 – Camp Winnie – 3rd place

Excellent BBL – lots of power and heartrate data in this blog! Read all about it…

Continue Reading January 24, 2010 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

Double Oak Climbing

Beautiful weather today. I felt absolutely great on the bike and decided to push it hard on a familiar route that I did in the reverse direction to hit up some classic climbs in the Birmingham area. I’ve created a topocreator.com topographic map of the route annotated with the climbs labeled. My favorite part of the ride is Double Oak Way which climbs for 3.1 miles from a starting elevation of about 800 feet and finishes at over 1400 feet. The road is potholed and sections are filled in with gravel, but the road is paved all the way to the top. The most unique part of the climb is the roller coaster section near the top where you crest one of the ridges at 1411ft drop down 93ft with a gradient of -18% bottom out and immediately climb a 20% climb back up to 1433ft. Then you turn around and go back down the 20% gradient and nearly 3/4 of the way up the 18% gradient just coasting! Top speeds are approach 50mph on both short descents because of the steepness. Today I was just shy of 52mph – what a rush!

Click for a large version of this topocreator.com map – Double Oak Climbing

Click for a larger version of the annotated heartrate/power data for this ride

January 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm Leave a comment

Vestavia/Bluff Park Ice Ride

We have had a record-breaking cold spell here in Alabama and everything is frozen over. Today it was a bit warmer, and tomorrow it may hit 50 so I thought I would take some pictures on my ride today of the once every 20 years icy scenes. Ton of climbing on the ride to get to all the good spots. Check out the map, profile, and photos:

Icy cliff behind Brookwood Mall

The sign should say “Watch out for falling icicles!”

View of Samford from Vestavia Drive

Icicles at the top of Columbiana Rd near the intersection of Shades Crest Rd

Star Lake was completely iced over except for a portion the ducks kept open

Well – not all the ducks – not sure what happened to this poor guy.

The duck warmed nonfrozen part of the lake

January 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

Three icy rides

We just wrapped up our annual Christmas trip to the upper midwest, and I finished it up with the three icy rides below:

Shell Lake Lake Ride
Air temp: -10F (10 below zero)
Distance: 7.8 miles (it was cold!!!)
This was my last ride in northwestern wisconsin, and it was also my last chance to really explore the frozen lake. It was plenty cold (-10F) cold enough to freeze your breath almost instantly. But unfortunately warmer temps and even light rain on Christmas left about an inch of water melted underneath a thin layer of top ice. I kept crashing through into the puddled water. No danger of crashing through into the lake b/c there was another layer of thick ice below that, but problematic enough with the temp -10F to shorten my ride. Still, for this Alabama boy – the novelty of riding a bike on a frozen lake never gets old!

Northwest Green Bay ride
Air temp: 15F(and very windy)
Distance: 61.4 miles (very flat)
This was my first ride in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area. I thoroughly enjoyed it although most of the ride was table-top flat. I could tell that if I had gone northwest away from the lake instead of towards the lake, it would have been a much hillier ride. But I really wanted to see Green Bay and see the ice flows and icebergs on the lake. I wasn’t disappointed – although my camera batteries were dead after only one picture. We drove out later to get a few pictures that I posted below.
La Porte, IN to New Buffalo, MI
Air temp: 10F (10 above zero)
Distance: 36.9 miles (it was cold!!!)
We spent New Year’s Eve with Kristine’s grandma in La Porte, IN which is just south of the Michigan border and southeast of Lake Michigan. I had a great mountain bike ride in the middle of a minor lake effect snowstorm. It was quite an experience and perfectly safe as the roads were snowy and not icy. Actually makes for pretty good traction on a mountain bike as long as you keep the tire pressure low.

And here are all the photos from the three rides…

Ride #1 – Shell Lake, WI – 12/29/09







Ride #2 – Northwestern Green Bay Area – 12/30/09



Ride #3 – La Porte, IN to New Buffalo, MI – 1/1/10





January 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment


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This is one of the reasons i really like spiders. Shortly after this mosquito bit me, I was trying to squish him and he flew into the spider web next to my desk. Thank you Mr. Spider! Recovery ride stats Mark and I ran into each other on our recovery rides ... so we end up climbing south cove as slowly as possible exploring the possibility of an Everesting attempt - possibly the world's shortest. Last lap stats are from the climb. 225 ft of gain per lap.

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Brian Toone

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Quick reference stats

Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Maximums:
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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