Screen Time!

This week we thought we would share the two main Garmin screens with you.

In this time of information overload, it’s hard to cut it down the essentials and, to be honest, identifying the essentials can be tricky too. Based on years of using head units and the increasing amount of data that they are collecting and able to display we have pared them down to this.

So, without further ado let’s swipe left!

The main screen is simple, with only 5 fields it’s easy to see and easy to process. It’s the “right here, right now” and as such is the most often in use. All these fields are available out of the box from Garmin except for the last one “Sweet Spot”. The fields show:

  1. Time of Day – kinda obvious, but we do lose track of time!
  2. Heart Rate – monitoring you HR is a good way to see what’s happening. Are you riding easy and your HR is high or are you having issues with elevating it? Despite Power being King, HR is a good Queen to have up your sleeve!
  3. Cadence – the jury is out on high vs. low and much like the weather it changes frequently. So go with the flow. Personally, we aim for around 90 rpm.
  4. 3s Power – this is the average of the last 3 seconds, it’s preferred as it’s a bit more stable than real time which jumps around too much
  5. Sweet Spot – weekend longer rides will often have a goal of  x minutes of Sweet Spot time accumulated and this field displays that data. To get this data I use a Garmin CIQ app called AppBuilder5+. This allows me to create a custom algorithm based on my FTP and the Sweet Spot power range of 84-97%. We show you how to add a CIQ field in another post.

The second screen is a summary screen:

  1. Timer – this shows ride time. With Auto Pause enabled this will stop when you stop riding
  2. Elapsed time – this doesn’t stop when you stop. Basically, these two fields show the difference between riding and total time. It’s a good reminder that those minutes spent standing roadside soon add up. It’s also a good one to use when you are working on minimizing Aid Stations stoppage time! I can’t underline how important these timer screens are on race day! The remaining fields are just overall numbers
  3. Distance – how far!
  4. NP – how hard! Normalized Power (NP) is a metric to quantify training intensity with power data, it’s based on a complex algorithm
  5. Total Ascent – how high, always a good Ego boost!
  6. Ave HR – overall for the ride
  7. Ave Cadence – overall for the ride

You may have noticed that Speed is not used. To be honest speed is result of most of the above and it’s one of those things that when observed can freak people out…it felt like 35mph which is super comfortable vs. it was actually 50mph which has a much higher pucker factor!

Finally while this post shows data fields and screenshots from a Garmin 1030, most if not all should be available on a Wahoo, Polar or other devices, with the notable exception on the CIQ field.

Five Minute Fixes!

Some days are complex; Mounting Tubeless Tires, manipulating .gpx files, pairing Ant+ devices and the like can soak up hours! So here are five easy fixes that you apply in five minutes or less

  1. Squeaky Cleats: do you have new or old cleats and do they squeak? A quick squirt of Pam and a wipe down will remove that in a flash! Remember to wipe of any excess before attempting to walk or you could be mistaken for being a rejected try-out for the escapades
  2. Split Tire Wall: a tire boot is the best course of action, but you can usually fix it with an empty gel or bar wrapper or even a dollar bill folded up, it’s not perfect but it will get you home!
  3. Brakes Rubbing or wheel feels out of alignment: did you have your bike on a stand and then mount a wheel? With the bike on the floor undo and redo your Skewer to make sure it’s seated properly in the dropout. You could spend 30 minutes realigning everything and then find out it was all for naught!
  4. Did you tire mysteriously go soft over night; did you have a flat on the last ride and use a Co2 to re-inflate your tire on the side of the road? The issue some is weird scientific thing where the rubber attracts the Co2 molecules more than good ol’ fashioned air “02” molecules! When you get home deflate your tire and use a pump to re-inflate.
  5. Forget to stop your Garmin; did you crush that KOM and then load your bike in the car and drive home only to ruin your file! Pay a visit to and you can edit your file and reupload to Garmin, Strava and so on with the correct data!

In other news:

Watts Up Training has partnered with the Nosco Ride to provide signed up riders a discounted FTP test and a discount on a 10 Session Pass.

In preparation of the event have created a 5 week hill climbing specific training block that leads into the weekend of the Nosco ride on November 3rd.

Per our normal format we will break the week into two distinct work loads. Monday and Tuesday will focus on Threshold efforts and Wednesday and Thursday on longer Tempo based intervals.

You may not be a grimpeur yet but you will be by the time November rolls around 

The five-week block starts with a FTP test on September 29th and the classes start on Monday the 30th

While these will have a focus on hill climbing if you’re training for Ironman Arizona they will certainly help with those 112 miles!

Celery in your pocket…no, not a new nutrition strategy!

Stalking, (celery, stalking…get it?), never a good thing in general, but sometimes you just need to know where someone is!

We get it, riding on the road can be dangerous! It a major reason we train indoors! But at the end of the day, indoors is the means and outdoors is the end!

There are several apps that you can use to send your location and status to a select audience. Garmin LiveTrack and Strava Beacon are two of several that you may have heard of. They provide some reassurance to your loved ones that you’re trucking along and haven’t had any issues.

Over the years we have tried the above and several more and by-far our favorite one to use is the one offered by Road-ID.

We love the Road-ID one as:

  • It’s device agnostic LiveTrack requires you to use a compatible Garmin device
  • There’s no up-sell. Strava Beacon requires you to have a Summit membership
  • We have found it to be the most resilient with cellphone coverage. Even today it’s not unheard of to be out of cell coverage and we have found that the Road-ID reconnects and picks up the tracking without issue. We can’t speak for every carrier, but we have used it very successfully with AT&T and Verizon.
  • It offers the best battery consumption on your phone, there is a setting to reduce the amount of GPS polling which saves the battery
  • You can have up to 5 contacts notified. Notifications can be sent via email or text, you simply select them from your phone’s address book
  • Like the best Apps, it is easy and intuitive to use
  • They send you best emails after you have completed your ride! (see below)
  • It’s free…and even better comes with a $5.00 discount for Road-ID items!

How many emails have you received that contain;
You just whooped some buttocks. Got your sweat on. Made the road “cry uncle“.
The App provides three main functions:

  1. eCrumb tracking which shows your progress on a map
  2. A stationary alert which notifies your chosen contacts that you have been stationary for 5 minutes and causes the phone to emit an alarm. Very useful if you are out of obvious sight, i.e. in a ditch!
  3. It allows you to create a Lock Screen with emergency contact information as well as any specific notes/medical conditions you want to make an EMT or Good Samaritan aware of! (NKA – No Known Allergies, NKDA – No Known Drug Allergies, O+ blood group)

Not limited to cycling you can use this App for running, skiing, even walking the dog, in fact it’s so easy to use we often use it instead of Waze to give each other an estimated arrival time when driving home!
The App is available from the Apple App Store and from Google Play

Why don’t you download it and give it a try this weekend!

Four Things to Know about training with Power!

A long time ago I was told that I should learn something new everyday! As Monday was a holiday and today is Thursday I have a bit of catching up to do so here are Four things your should know about training with Power!

When you are training with power it can get complex and it can get complex fast. It’s a bit like an onion where you can find yourself peeling back more and more layers. For this week’s Newsletter we wanted to roll back one or two layers and hopefully not reduce you to tears!

If you want the TL/DR Version skip to the end. If you’re interested in more details, here we go…

#1 What is Functional Threshold Power (FTP)?
 “FTP is the highest power that a rider can maintain in quasi steady-state without fatiguing. When power exceeds FTP, fatigue will occur much sooner (generally after approximately one hour in a well-trained cyclist), whereas power just below FTP can be maintained much longer.” (Training and Racing with a Power Meter (3rd Edition 2019), Allen, Coggam, McGregor)

In simple terms it is the consistent level of intensity can you ride at for 60 minutes. 

#2 Training Zones 
A big benefit of knowing your FTP is that it allows you to set your Training Zones. Having the right Zones set up ensures that your training is:

  • Effective; successful in producing a desired or intended result and 
  • Efficient; achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.

We’re all busy people so using our time in the most productive manner to get the desired result is a no brainer!

There are several Zone scales that can be used but for the sake of simplicity Watts Up uses the following one:

Zone 1 Active Recovery <55% FTP
Zone 2 Endurance 56 – 75% FTP
Zone 3 Tempo 76 – 90% FTP
Zone 4 Threshold 91 – 105% FTP
Zone 5 VO2 Max 106 – 120% FTP
Zone 6 Anaerobic Capacity >121% FTP
Zone 7 Neuromuscular Power FTP >

Having your Zones set up in your Device (Garmin, Wahoo, Suunto etc.) and Software (Training Peaks, Garmin Connect, Golden Cheetah, Strava etc) ensures that:

  1. When you are riding you can see what you are doing. (In a future Newsletter we will have some suggestion on screens on your Device).
  2. Your post ride analysis is correct. Did you blow up during a race; did you get spat out the back on a group ride or did you end up in with the common triathlete result of Swim-(over)Bike-Walk?

#3 Training in Zones
Knowing your Zones also allows you to train in the correct Zones. Watts Up structured sessions are primarily in Zones 3, 4 and 5. 

  • Monday/Tuesdays are Zones 4 and 5. These days focus on shorter harder efforts at or above Threshold
  • Wednesday/Thursday are Zones 3 and 4. These days focus on longer easier (easier is relative) just below or at Threshold

There’s no point coming to class for a Zone 1 Recovery Ride or Zone 2 Endurance Ride. These can be completed at home on the Trainer or on a Group Ride. 

Overall knowing your Zones and the having the ability to operate within them is key in ensuring that you are doing what you should be doing when you should be doing it. It also provides you a consistent framework to understand what went right and wrong when you are off the bike!

#4 Scheduling your Training 
Having two structured sessions across the week has multiple benefits. It allows Cyclists a recovery or endurance day and Triathletes the ability to have a run and/or swim in between. It also gives everyone the flexibility to mix and match their Watts Up sessions and fit them into their existing Training Plan…or life in general! 

  • An example of the best schedule is: Monday morning and Wednesday morning. 
  • An example of the worst schedule is: Tuesday night and Wednesday Morning. 

This schedule also allows Watts Up to create training blocks using a Fatigue Training Model. I’ll not get into that in any more detail than to say that the intensity of the workouts tapers through the week, so you do your hardest workouts when you are the most recovered and the easier when you are more fatigued.

So, there you have it, the definition of FTP, Training Zones and Scheduling. Hopefully you got to the end of this and you’re not in tears!

Oh the TL/DR Version…it’s simple “come to class twice a week, get stronger, ride faster”!