No use crying over a broken @Garmin 810, or is there? @transconrace

I am delighted with devices which help me navigate, I’m not the best map reader and without a good sense of direction I’d be a little stifled if I needed to rely solely on maps.

Spending weeks researching the best routes, checking if border crossing are rideable and then plotting the routes to save into the Garmin is part of the game plan to try and do well in a TransContinental Race. So to have a device, which you’ve paid a fortune for, prove to be that unreliable just plain sucks.

I’d read on forums that the Garmin’s corrupt for no apparent reason, but I’d never experienced it and thought I had a reliable one. Why would one need to carry a backup device just in case?

Well when you have to knock out 300km to get to your hotel, which is very doable, then trying to navigate off an iPhone using your memory of the route is not conducive to staying competitive in a race or making your hotel for the night.

Couple this with a complete failure of the Tout Terraine’s Plug3, which is a neat little USB port allowing you to charge your devices from the dynamo hub, navigating from an iPhone would mean needing to find somewhere to plug into a power source. Try finding somewhere open late on a Saturday night or a Sunday in France.

These two pieces of equipment were the bits of kit which would allow me to just sit on the saddle and churn out the miles as I needed to. They both worked perfectly well in the US, so why choose now of all times to quit on me?

Are the Trans Race Gods trying to tell me something? They say there is no use crying over spilt milk, but I can tell you it helps to get over the frustration of all the planning gone to waste, the fear of having to announce that you’re quitting another race and this deep down feeling that you’re not strong enough to deal with all life throws you on these races.

Mentally it’s tough going solo, unsupported, especially when your competitors arrive at the start line with a partner. In the back of your mind you keep thinking if something went wrong there are two of them to resolve a problem, perhaps to shift weight load if the going gets tough. It may not happen, but it plays on you mentally. The more you struggle to get your equipment working, the more the mental game kicks in. It’s not a part of racing I’ve ever had to deal with because so much less can go wrong in a normal race. If my Garmin died on the Etape, it would be a bummer, but actually I dont really need it. When it’s so key to getting you from A to B then trusting it becomes a whole different game.

So what next. I hate the idea of being defeated, it means I will probably need to learn to read maps on the fly, will definitely travel with a contingency for navigating perhaps in the form of a backup device and look for a more reliable charging mechanism. The freedom to charge stuff while pedalling is pretty cool.

For my next race, I might just sneak off and do it on the quiet, I can’t possibly face having to tell everyone who is routing and supporting me that I’ve failed again. It’s the hardest part when deciding to quit “What am I going to tell everyone and what will they think of me?” Man it sucks being human sometimes. I bet a Lion doesn’t think the same when it fails to catch dinner, nope it rests a bit and then just gets back out there, using a different strategy until dinner is caught.

So I am going to rest my tired body, my mentally drained brain and my defeated heart. I might even go and lie on a beach somewhere and just look at the empty blue sky for a while.

6 thoughts on “No use crying over a broken @Garmin 810, or is there? @transconrace

  1. Hi Peta, Sorry to hear about your bad luck. Try not to feel too bad about it. You are doing more than 99% of what the rest if the worlds population are doing anyway. I know how you feel about the navigation. Most of the MTB stage races here are going the GPS route with no more route markings so it bring another aspect into the competition. Well done for what you have achieved. Cheers Tony

  2. Bummer – shit happens & it may feel like its happening a lot to you right now. But hey – most people wouldn’t attempt to do what you’re doing & to do it as a woman, unsupported is truly tough. The most important thing is it’s never been your will that’s given up. So take a rest, wait for everything to get back into perspective then start landing the next one. You haven’t let anyone down, so we’ll hear no more of that xxxx

  3. You’ll be back for more Peta. There’s no such thing as failure, just a learning curve. Try carrying a Pebble XT battery charger as a back up if the Tout terrain or dynamo fail.

  4. What exactly broke on the Garmin? I mean, I do have observed random freezes on my 810. Sometimes I loose my recorded data for the last hours because it won’t store the data from the memory to the SD-card. Besides that it works for what I use it, no routing, just showing the track on the map (OSM). Dunno, beeping on each turn would simply annoy me. Not to mention that routing long distances would require to reduce waypoints of the tracks – for what I’m simply to lazy.

    Heard so many stories about the Plug charger and this minimum speed for charging. Hell, that would annoy me too, esp. on the 810 which shuts of if you miss to quit the 15s-message. That the dynamo hub itself will stop working is a bit unlikely. Leaves the charger as the weakest part. The plug got nice small electronics inside. But no buffer battery. And its rather poor on the efficiency. Okay, going on a road bike, efficiency does not matter that much since you’re quite fast on average. In case you wanna charge more than just the GPS device, it’s worth to check the electrical efficiency a swell. Much better solution is the charger you might have to build up yourself – at least partly:

    I’ve chosen the 5V-USB 1.5A + 12V -Version. It’s a 4-staged-DC/DC, as far as I remember the latest tests there is no other charger close to that efficiency. And you can play a bit with the size of the buffer batteries, which gives you flexibility on fitting it into your bike and for your needs. The only day where I drained the buffer was some climbing at night in Albania/Macedonia, my avg speed was a bit low, so after 5 or 6 hours I got the well known message from my 810. Next day it took like 30…40 mins and the buffer was completely charged again. A setup I can fully recommend. Besides you shouldn’t be afraid of soldering and some mechanical playing it’s also a bit cheaper than the commercial solutions.

    1. The 810 showed my route as 0km with no track (I segment distances to around 290km so the waypoints dont go over the Garmin max). I kept riding using my memory of towns I needed to hit and when the batteries died and I recharged it, it kept switching off as the maps loaded. It took me a few hours to to find out how to hard boot it, only one sequence of pressing buttons simultaneously managed to get it working again.

      The Plug wouldn’t charge anything, I have to send it back to the manufacturers for them to work out what the problem is. I’ve heard the internal workings can fry if you exceed certain speeds, but will wait for the manufacturers verdict. It’s a pain as you have to strip the bike if something goes wrong with the Plug. Neat solution until it stops working.

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