Archive for July, 2014

Fenix 2 Multisport mode report – it works!!

July 14, 2014 1 comment

image So for my birthday after some thought and a 50/50 deal with my family I was a proud owner of a new Fenix 2 watch from Garmin. I friend had just received one and enjoyed it for running and hiking and I liked being able to add swimming to my triathlon tracking and still have run and bike as well. Last year I paired up my Garmin Edge 500 for the bike with a forerunner 110 for the run. The Fenix 2 theoretically could replace both those and add swimming.

I did a bit of due diligence by heading over to DC Rainmaker and his blog entries on the Fenix 2 certainly added to my want for this watch. I knew some of the limitations (each segment of a tri is a different activity, can’t use ANT+ and Bluetooth at same time, can’t use JHR with water etc.) but those were fine.  And I loved that I could use it for everything.

Thus a few days before I turned 47 I had a new Fenix 2 watch. And one day before I did the Sydenham Olympic Tri. Awesome!

It came with about 80% charged, so since I am impatient just hooked it up to the computer and got going. Entered all the user stuff. Quickly hooked up to Garmin connect, upgraded to Firmware 3.3 and ready to go.

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As I unboxed it and started to dig into the multisport feature was a bit concerned on the apparent complexity of such a task for a mere watch. Naturally went out to the web and oh oh. Nothing but entry after entry about how Multisport doesn’t work, never works, will never work. That would really suck after being so excited to get it.

Well used it this morning and have to say…it at least met my expectations and exceeded them in a few areas as well. I was very pleased with it.

The Basics of MultiSport mode

So 1st off I didn’t really change any of the multisport defaults. The default setting is Open Swim, Bike, Run and I think Transitions ON. If its OFF turn it ON. At least I did. That was it really. Didn’t have much time to do anything else.

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Just so the rest of this entry makes some sense it worked as expected at each stage so in general this was the correct way to do it. You have to HIT the BACK/LAP button after the swim, after the first transition as you start the bike, after the bike, after the second transition as you start the run then hit START/STOP as you cross the line. That is all I did.

After you hit START/STOP to end all it shows you is your time. Which in this case was 2:50:27 or about 1.5 minutes slower than my best but considering the weather and leg cramps (more on that later) I was pleased. 2nd best bike leg too!

The Swim

It’s a bit bulky but overall not that much bigger than my Timex Ironman, although quite a bit bigger than my forerunner 110. Still I didn’t have any problems putting my wetsuit over it. Into the water and got the watch ready. Hit Start/Stop, select Mutlisport then wait for the gun for the swim leg to start.

Bang. We were off. Hit the Start button. The watch vibrates to tell you it has done something and I assumed it started as I had to get into it. I looked at it a few times and I don’t remember exactly what is was showing but I think it was pace and overall time.

This is how it looked once I uploaded it to Garmin Connect. Note this was the one that I had the most issues with.


Since I haven’t used the swim feature before I didn’t know what to look for but obviously the buoys didn’t move that much so a wee bit off. Also it was 1.5km, not 2.3 but I may try to look at some other folks settings as I say a number of Garmin equipped swimmers. Hopefully they published their legs. Also 54m elevation gain?? But its close enough for now but concerning.

Possibly I need to look at some of the GPS and accelerator settings?

Tranistion One

As I exited the swim I hit BACK/LAP and the watch vibrated. The vibration is quite pronounced and I came to appreciat this as you are in a rush and you don’t want to worry about trying to figure out if you hit the button or not.

A Transition is an activity like any other so it shows up as well. We had to run from the swimming exit to the transition area. The best this this is for is to simply know how long your transition was. The Tri just added this to your swim time so this was interesting.


The Bike

Next up was the one event that I really pay attention to and the night before I had made sure I could pair my cadence sensor and my PowerCAL HR/Power strap. As I exited the transition area I hit BACK/LAP again. Again the welcome vibration. For this leg I also had an Edge 200 on my bike. I was using the 200 as I didn’t want to have any ANT+ conflicts. As I exited the watch beep or vibrated or something as I looked down on it. It said POWER METER DETECTED CALIBRATE YES/NO.I didn’t really know what to do so I hit some button and it went again. Need to figure that out.

Anyways soon we were out on the course. One thing I noticed was that the watch was a bit hard to see on the bike. It was at the wrong angle and when I did look at it the writing was too small to quickly make out what it was saying. I may always use the Edge 200 just to be grounded during the bike leg and just delete that activity afterwards.

The bike leg at Sydenham is two loops of a lumpy course so hard to get into any rhythm and today the weather was brutal, as Connect was all too willing to let me know.


Rain, sometimes hard, and an uneven crosswind that was a bit of a tail wind out and a brutal head wind on the way back.  I only really looked at my Edge 200 and for reference at the end of the ride here is what it said. It has always been reliable so I took this as the reference measurement and would see how the Fenix 2 matched a bit later.

Later took these shots after having saved the activity.

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Time was 1:11:02, 33.58 average speed, 39.76 kms, 1785(!) calories.

Compare this to the Fenix 2 data. 1:11 time, 33.6 average speed, 39.72 kms, 745 calories. So about as perfect as you can get. Great stuff.


Heart Rate, Cadence, Power all looked about what I would expect so I would consider this a success.

I have always noticed that the Edge 200 was always very giving of calories, but basically considering the Fenix 2 had HR, Power and Cadence more around what it would really be. So something to consider when you so 1700 calories on your Edge 200, it is probably inflating by over 100%!

Transition Two

As I dismounted hit stop on the Edge 200 and BACK/LAP on the Fenix 2. Again the nice buzzing. This transition was quite a bit quicker. Cycling stuff stowed, shoes on, grabbed a gel and off I went. No real drama except my socks were very wet and overall I was a bit miserable!


Put the activity in satellite to give you a sense of the transition area. Basically you entered from the road in the south, to the racks on the field then out on the track.


The Run

Exiting the transition area hit BACK/LAP one last time. Again vibration..all good. This was the final leg and where the watch did best at least during the run. I was able to keep a firm grasp on my pace and it was easy enough to scan when I felt like it.

My run, for me at least, started really strong. After 6kms I felt that I was liable to beat my personal best for this Tri which would be awesome considering the weather. I have not been doing a lot of running and have been averaging about 6:20 or more per kilometer. The first few kms I was averaging about 5:30, wow!

Naturally I then paid for this, two nasty bouts of leg cramps brought everything crashing down. This is quite evident in the timing. After that I slowed down and lost a lot of time.



Also NOTE that the transition is the first split. Hmmm don’t like that. Will have to dig into that a bit.


Wasn’t sure if the heart rate monitor was going to transfer to the run leg but it did automatically.



Finally a bit exhausted and sore due to the cramping crossed the line. Hit START/STOP. The watch stopped at 2 hours, 50 minutes and 27 secs.

Here is the official SportStats timing. Within a few seconds so nice! Ended up 12th but in a fairly small field (32). All the Somersault events I have been doing are waaay down in attendance. May need to look for other Tris next year?

 12       2:50:32.3   156 DAVIS, Doug


Other Tidbits

Wondered about a few other things on the watch.

Looked at the recovery mode. Don’t understand this too much yet but it now says 62 hours. Which is a problem as I have a group ride tomorrow. But interesting.


The V02 calculation came in at 42. Again need to understand that a bit more.


The biggest conclusion is that it worked! So while I am sure some people are having problems with it in general worked for me. Transitions seem to be included a bit in the run and the swimming I need to understand a bit more.

And after using this now in anger, really pleased and looking forward to a long and fruitful life together! May try it as my main watch and if something just pops up like a ride, run, hike or anything really I will have the right device close by.

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2008 Redline Conquest Pro Frame build up

July 1, 2014 1 comment


So just as I was finishing up the restoration of my brother’s old fiori into a Cyclocross bike naturally a buddy of mine noticed and said “hey, I have an good Cyclocross frame I don’t use anymore, did you want it?”

Did I! A bit of negotiation ensued and $100 later I had a 2008 Redline Conquest Pro frame with a Carbon fork ready to be turned into a sweet true Cyclocross bike. Although I would have been fine to continue with the Fiori the prospect of a finer bike beckoned and you have to take advantage of serendipity when it arrives.

As well as a frame and fork it came with a carbon seat post, which was incomplete so had to ditch, seat collar and a few of the various bits and pieces to route cabling.

I am used to gatheting parts on the cheap now and after a couple of weeks of parts selection and build up ended up with this.


I won’t go into the usual deep details of why I bought this or that for it but I knew from past experience that the drivetrain would be Campagnola Veloce. I have found this to be the most cost effective way to get good shifters and overall performance. So once more Ribble provided me with a full set there.

The crank I settled on a was SRAM Apex compact crank 50/34 which was also on sale at Ribble. Probably a few years back in production but does the business. I know this isn’t the usual Cyclocross crank but those are around 46/38 which seemed a bit too specialized for the general riding I was also hoping to do with this bike. 


The brakes were the most interesting part to source as I had not used cross brakes in the past. With Discs coming on strong as well may be the last time too but in the end I found a nice pair of TRP Euro-X on ebay for under $100.


Wheels I also wanted something Cross specific but cheap as possible and I selected the Vuelta Corsa HDs from Bike Nashbar. $105 as I paid attention to the various coupons and savings. They seemed decent and since I have received them they have done the business no problem on some pretty crummy roads. Look for a blog entry on the trio of Vuelta wheel sets I recently received.


Tires I went back and forth on a few but settled on these Vittoria Cross XG Pro 700×34 which as you can see from the brake picture above still leaves lots of room for mud etc. So far they have been stellar.


Rest of the bike I used a bit of left over bits, bought some compact handlebars on sale and re-used some of my Mountain bike pedals.

With the parts assembled the bike came together fairly quickly and started putting some kilometers on it and we were entered into the local Paris-Roubaix race as reported here. As stated there the chain has been a problem but its now sorted more or less with a bit of a Frankenstein Shimano/SRAM hybrid. Since then has been trouble free. This bike tends to now be my stormy weather bike and it gets dirty so have to be a bit careful about keeping it clean. My “other” Cyclocross bike will now become my dedicated winter trainer.

Overall the Redline is another welcomed addition to the stable!

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