Running and Town Run Trail + Ft Ben + Garmin Forerunner 310XT

I wrote a few weeks back that I had lost my Garmin Forerunner 205 after a trip to Texas. I thought it had to be at my house in Texas. I have made do for the past few weeks, borrowing my wife’s Forerunner and even using my Oregon 450 on an 8mi run in Houston. That became a real pain because I have been unable to sustain a long run in the past couple weeks because of some knee pain setting in around mile 5 or 6. I haven’t been able to track myself otherwise. I broke down and ordered a Garmin Forerunner 310XT refurb. It retained the training features of the 205 that I like, added the HRM sensor compatibility and foot pod compatibility I want to upgrade to (maybe next season) and had the bonus of also being compatible with my Tanita bc-1000 scale so I can finally start transferring metrics to Garmin Connect. I’m not sure how I’ll like tracking my metrics there or not. I’m going to give it a try. Tanita’s software is only okay.

I was somewhat surprised to find that Garmin also made a 1/4 turn quick release adapter for the 310XT for quick changes to the bike in triathlons. I am no triathlete, but I figured I’d order it and give it a try on my bike.

I set out today to get 2 laps of Town Run Trail and the trails at Ft. Benjamin Harrison State Park each. I didn’t quite make it. My leg strength just wasn’t there. I got 2 laps of Town Run and only one at Ft. Ben By the end of my Ft. Ben lap, my legs were screaming. I called it a day and grabbed a beer with my wife at Triton Brewing nearby. I love that place.

Of the trails I rode, I’d have to say Town Run was in the best shape. It was beautiful, even a bit dusty in places that were out in the sun.

Town Run Trail Park

Town Run Trail Park

White River looked good today, too. I think I might try to get my canoe out before the rain gets here next week.

There were some birds out and about at one of the old gravel pits along the river. Here are a couple turkey vultures and teensy weensy on the lake are what appear to be a couple of mergansers. The vultures spooked and I missed my chance to snap a picture of both of them taking off, but I did get this one. This little Fuji Finepix XP20 takes some pretty respectable shots of moving animals when fully zoomed. Being waterproof and shockproof, I can just keep it in my zippered shorts pocket for easy access.

Town Run Trail Park Town Run Trail Park

I didn’t get any pictures at Ft. Ben today. Just too tired. Lawrence Creek Trail has some sloppy trouble spots still, but is drying. It will be a mess next week again, of course. Schoen Creek Trail looks pretty good overall. Not many wet spots at all. The ramps are coming up in force right now, though. I need to find a patch I can harvest without getting in trouble. If you don’t know what ramps are, here’s a picture of what they are. They are essentially a wild leek and are quite potent.

ramps

Alright, my assessment of the QR mount with the Forerunner 310XT on the mountain bike. Generally speaking, accuracy looks good. There is some track separation if you zoom in tight, but mostly still follows the same path. Town Run (the first one) is a pretty dense, twisty trail and I’d say it was good enough. I am not 100% clear which sampling interval the GPS uses on the bike. When in running mode, you can choose Auto or 1sec as your sampling intervals, but when you switch to bike mode you are not given a choice. It looks like it probably is 1sec, though. Auto on twisty trails on the bike tends to be a disaster.

It’s smaller than I’m used to, since I’ve used an Oregon for so long. With that said, sometimes small is good. Sometimes, I don’t need maps. For example, I know Town Run and Ft. Ben well enough that I can manage just fine without a map. The 310XT does have a map screen you can enable in the settings. It shows your breadcrumb trail and any waypoints you create. No basemap. That was enough for me to get a basic idea of how far I was from the intersection that would return me to the trailhead on the Schoen Creek loop at Ft. Harrison.

I really liked the QR mount. It uses a standard Garmin 1/4 turn interface also used on all the Edges since the 500. Basically, you take the watchband off of the head unit. You attach the male portion of the 1/4 turn mount onto the head unit using the spring pins from the watch band.

Garmin Forerunner 310XT QR mount

Notice the little cutout on the side. That allows the clip charger to attach without interference from the adapter.

Garmin Forerunner 310XT QR mount

I actually think it helps keep that clip in place a little bit better. Some folks complain that the clip is not secure enough on its own. This works pretty well for me. The female portion of the 1/4 turn mount attaches to the bands with some more robust screws that need a tiny screwdriver. I managed to tighten the screws with the pin tool that was included with the GPS. It has a nice positive click when attached and removes easily enough, but with enough force that I am not worried it will fall off.

Garmin Forerunner 310XT QR mount

It does add a little overall thickness to the watch profile on your wrist. It looks to be right at 2mm thick. Not too bad, imo, but I have yet to use it while running. My knee pain has convinced me that I need to stop running prior to the mini, and do my cardio and leg work on the bike or gym. My rides today did not aggravate my knees at all, though my quads are feeling it.

Now of course, the day that this FR 310XT arrived on my doorstep, I ended up finding my FR205 in the bottom of a box that I brought with me from Texas. I really don’t know why it was in there and not my suitcase. I didn’t end up running on that trip. That’s chemobrain for you, though. Put something somewhere and forget it for a month (or more).

Update 4-10-2013:

I got some fresh batteries for my Oregon and got the FR310XT alongside it for a ride today. The FR310XT originally did not do 1sec sampling in bike mode. I had done a firmware update, but apparently firmware updates using ANT Agent are not cumulative. I noticed today that there were a few updates I needed to apply individually. Irritating. I did not think to check sampling interval to see if 1sec was added in one of those updates. It was, so the option is there for me now. But it originally was not. Here is a comparison chart for the accuracy of the 310XT vs my Oregon 450 on a connector trail I rode a few times today.

FR310XTvsOregon450

It’s a fast bit of trail, hence the track separation.

Here is that same area with today’s ride and Friday’s ride together.

FR310XTvsOregon450_1

Once you start to pile them on, you start to get a feel for the amount of error involved with a segment of trail like this. The three tracks are more or less consistent with each other. Even though there is still a decent bit of separation, I get a strong feeling that the Oregon 450 with its 1sec intervals (in these images) is more accurate, especially on the slower uphill leg. You can tell which one it uphill by noting the one where the points which are taken at a constant time interval are closer together, indicating slower uphill riding.

Just for comparison purposes, here is a section of trail where there is much less track separation. This one shows much higher agreement, mostly due to terrain. This is an uphill section, so speeds are slower. Relief is not terribly steep, so signals aren’t degraded as much.

FR310XTvsOregon450_2

I will post an update when I get a ride in where both receivers are set to 1sec recording.

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