cycling app strava and mytracks review

Strava vs. MyTracks Droid apps for tracking your cycling.
UPDATED:

I liked MyTracks for a long time, but to me it seemed to use too much of my battery (more on this later). MyTracks was very useful as I was learning some new Mt biking trails in North Georgia. I found that I could take it off ‘satellite’ put it on ‘map’ mode it would download my location much faster.

climbing Cherohala skyway

But as the summer cycling season was starting to reach it’s peak and I was doing group road rides, I found Strava and started trying it out. I really started enjoying it’s features.

Strava can be Fun. You input some data about you and your bike (from which it will estimate your wattage). Then record your ride via GPS, once you finish and save the ride, it quickly uploads. Then it will show you how you did on various climbs on a social network – Strava.com, compared to others in your area that have done the same rides or climbs – whether or not you are following them.

This can be Fun, challenging and give you new goals to push yourself for. Get a PR or even best some of the riders in your area. I have to admit, I did a couple rides this summer with no other intention than bettering my time on a couple climbs during a group ride.

But suddenly this weekend a glaring difference was found and now, I am mixed between the two apps and will keep both on my phone – but for totally different reasons!

Strava2

I made my way to an area of Mt biking trails that I had never been before. So while I was getting prepped, I did my usual of turning on Strava, and my dog Apollo and I hit the trails…. only Apollo was tired from a fun dog day on the farm. I though we would knock out 5-6 miles, like we usually do – he barely made it 2.

Suddenly I was in the middle of unknown area of trails, and needed to get back to the car along the shortest route possible. I went back to the Strava app, but all it would show me was our ride time and our pace. I attempted to figure the best possible route and forged onward. Apollo was getting more tired, we stopped again & I re-evaluated. And then suddenly I remembered MyTracks.

my_tracks_android

The reason that I went back to MyTracks is that during the ride, it will give you a map of where you are & a red line indicating where you have been. This makes it much easier which direction you are going on the map, and figure out which way you need to go. Both apps allow you to view where you have been on a map from a computer, but only MyTracks allows you to view that map while you are riding.

Although I do like both apps, I now really feel that they both have a separate purpose that (for now) neither can fulfill.

MyTracks is Great if you are exploring or you realize you are lost & attempting to get back to where you started.

Strava is Great to compare and keep up with how you are doing along a route, against yourself or others.
With Strava you can review the map after the ride.

Bonus Tip: Strava and I think MyTracks can both be turned on for a minute to ensure satellite connection then, you can put your phone into airplane mode to save battery!

See my previous post about MyTracks

While recording using MyTracks, you can:

1. See location / progress on a map
2. Monitor real-time statistics: time, distance, speed, elevation
3. Create waypoints
4. Create statistics waypoints (splits tracks into subtracks)

UPDATE:
Thanks to the comment below, I have successfully uploaded .gpx files from MyTracks onto my computer, then uploaded them onto Strava.com.
Although this is more of a pain due to the extra steps, it is good work-around.

Ben Stiller goes for a night Mountain bike ride

If you have never been night Mountain biking, I highly recommend it. There is an aspect to night riding that you don’t get during the day – riding with lights forces you to look further up the trail and look less at what is directly in front of your front tire.

You gotta love comedians and how they describe a scenario.

“Look whatever happens, don’t fight the Mountain”
Think about the meaning behind that – I have thought the same thing before, but couldn’t put it into words like this. To me, this means ‘have flow’. You don’t fight the trail, you try to flow over it, similar to how water would go down a trail – A person with good flow takes the shortest, fastest path with the least resistance.

What it would be like to live in a cycling community

Ever wonder how people would react if everyone knew what it is like to commute via a bicycle?
Ever wonder what traffic would be like living somewhere that everyone would get out of the way of a bicycle?!

-Notice that no one questions what is going on – they just get out of the way.

-Notice how quickly everyone creates a pathway for someone to pass.

Here it is…..

We believe this is Japan, but are waiting on an interpreter to be certain.

Bike crash injury

I crashed. I was going too fast and there were acorns and lots of leaves on the ground. I hit hard.

I went Mt biking with some buddies today. I slowed down at an intersection to make sure everyone was together and 2 of the guys passed me – suddenly I was playing catch-up. I went into a berm with more speed than usual, ended up high on the berm, I overshot the exit and the front wheel landed on leaves. The front wheel immediately folded out from under me and next thing I knew, I was rolling off the trail so that I wouldn’t get run over by the guy behind me. It happened that fast.

If you have not crashed, your not going fast enough…. or something like that.

I went down on my left side and had pain in my left knee. The guys stopped and waited as I figured out whether or not it was serious. I finally got up gingerly and slowly got back on the bike, and continued the ride. The knee was sore, but I pushed on…. I was riding the Jamis SS so I had to mash and stand often. My knee wasn’t very Happy, but I was enjoying the ride. After we finished an easier loop we moved onto another trail.

After transferring over to this other section my knee felt like it had hot-spots. I pulled down my knee warmer, which revealed a purple knee cap and being October, I don’t exactly have a tan. I could see where the skin had taken some abrasion. I was now figuring that I needed to take it easier than I was and attempt to spin my way out of the woods if possible.

I solo hiked & biked my way back to the parking lot and threw down some advil. Once home, I elevated and put a bag of frozen broccoli on the knee cap. Hours later and there was serious swelling and I could barely bend my knee past a 90 degree angle. This was probably my fault.

Things I did wrong
I should have realized how hard the impact was that my knee was going to swell and be sore. More riding was not going to ‘loosen it up’. In fact, all it probably did was aggravate it even more. Being on a Single Speed wasn’t helping either.

Things I did correctly
Once I realized that it was worse that I initially thought, I attempted to get back quickly and not make things any worse, and then took take advil in hopes of suppressing any swelling.
Elevate the leg and start 15 minute periods of icing the knee.

UPDATE:
After a couple days of the knee starting to feel better, I checked to see what was restricting my range of motion. Well, where I was feeling the pressure was not in the joint itself, but coming from the muscle.
I started massaging the muscles around the knee and found some tight spots that were fairly tender. SO, I pulled out my good old foam roller and started to roll out my inside knee. I did some searching for those main spots that were so tender, and put some slight pressure on them until they slowly released.

Almost immediately, I noticed improvement in range of motion and less pain.

After a week of doing this, the knee joint itself feels good – no pain through full range of motion.
The inside and just above the knee muscle seems to be quite swollen – I’m continuing to take Advil, apply ice and elevate.