Suunto Ambit mapping vs. OpenGPS…

Side by side comparison of the map and stats of the track recorded on the Suunto Ambit and simultaneously tracked using the OpenGPS app on my 4G phone.

Ambit

The data from Movescount.com and the data stored on the watch says 2.38 mile total distance. But when I load the GPX track in to Google Earth (via GoBreadcrumbs.com) the track distance is 2.8 miles.

OpenGPS

The actual stats from OpenGPS show a total distance of 2.9 miles AND you can see in the map below it shows MUCH better accuracy of the route. If you zoom in on the map you can see the THIS track actually follows the trail indicated on the map very closely. The track above from the Ambit does not perform as well.

My biggest problem with this comparison is the Ambit’s distance tracking. I don’t mind a sloppy GPX track, especially if I’m just tracking fitness runs. But the half-mile difference in distance (especially considering the total hike route was less than 3 miles) is troublesome.

Speed Tracking

This is another place where the Ambit advertises superiority. The Suunto speed tracking software us supposed to be super accurate and sensitive to stops and starts. Looking at the speed charts below, I think you can see that the Ambit does perform better when tracking overall speed and variations in speed.

Ambit

OpenGPS

Has anyone else experienced similar issues with the Suunto Ambit? I’d really like to test it against Garmin’s new Fenix if they’d let me.

Saturday Ride to Tempe Town Lake…

The tail end of October I spent nursing an excruciatingly painful swollen knee. It finally improved but I’ve been taking it easy on it so far. I’ve tried running a couple of times and it still feels loose and unpredictable so I’ve taken to riding my bike to keep up some activity.

Not only do I need to keep up the rehab on the knee, but I’m in a new part of town and I have been looking forward to exploring. I took last Saturday to bike along the park that sits next to my house. It’s a beautiful park with lakes and ponds, botanical gardens, sports fields and a nice long bike path. It’s been over a decade since I’ve explored the parks along Hayden in Scottsdale.

So Saturday I decided to ride south along the trail and see what there was to see. I had no idea that the Tempe Town Lake was connected to this trail system and only 5.5 miles from the new house! I’ve never really been to Tempe Lake, even though it’s been there since it was filled with water from the Central Arizona Project in 1999. The history of the Tempe Town Lake area is very interesting stuff, it’s been a central part of the valley for a very long time. The Lake Project itself had been in the works for over a decade before it was actually realized.

bike trail cuts under major roadway

I decide to extend the ride and loop the lake along the shoreline trail. I stopped to take some pictures and especially enjoyed shooting the West End Pedestrian Bridge. I knew there was a lot to do down here but I really had no idea how active a site the Lake had become. With it’s proximity to the University, there were tons of people out running, boating, biking, playing volleyball and fishing all along the shore line.

View down the West Pedestrian Bridge

I finished my loop in a wicked headwind. I stopped a mile or so from the house and laid out in the sun on the soft grass of one of the parks. It’s nice to know the Lake is so close and easy to reach from the new place. The total ride was a little over 18 miles, a good rehab ride and a great way to spend my Saturday morning. I will have to do this one again!

More Photos from the Lake…

Winter Gear Giveaway – FINAL WEEK!

Winter Gear Giveaway is almost over!

Win lots of great winter gear

This is it you guys!  The final week of giveaways.  This package is a BIG ONE!  Starting Thanksgiving Day, you can win fantastic outdoor gear from these fine bloggers:

Don’t miss out on this massive offering of winter gear.  If you entered the previous two weeks but didn’t win, don’t worry because I have a good feeling about this week.  SOMEONE is going to walk away with all this gear!

Here’s what we have to giveaway this time:

Week 3

Enter now!

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Lessons about knowing your outdoor gear…

Have you ever made a mistake?  A stupid mistake?  The kind of mistake that makes you kick yourself for doing something you KNEW you shouldn’t have done?  No?  Then stop reading, this isn’t for you.  Piss off.

We all make mistakes from time to time.  We get complacent, or hurried or distracted and we do things we otherwise wouldn’t do.  Sometimes these mistakes make us laugh at our own folly, but (particularly in the backcountry) mistakes can be very dangerous.

I’ve had my share of mistakes.  One night camping in the mountains around Mount Graham outside Safford I hurriedly tossed the rain fly on my tent in the dark as a storm was starting to move in.  It wasn’t long into a pretty solid downpour that I discovered I had put the fly on upside down.  Turns out those waterproof-breathable fabrics they use for protection only work one way.  I knew that, I just missed it.

Another time, on luckily just a short hike, I had performed a quick check of my small pack, checked the hydration hoses, filled the bladder, packed a snack and shortly thereafter shot out the door to make my hike.  It wasn’t until I arrived at the trailhead and picked up my unusually light pack that I realized I had left the full hydration bladder on the counter, right by the sink, right where I had set it after filling it up.  A stupid mistake because I wasn’t fully paying attention to the process.

There was also the time I loaded my tent for a quick backpacking trip and discovered, a day’s hike in to the middle of nowhere, that I had grabbed the rain fly, not the tent.  Luckily I was able to easily make a bivvy shelter with the fly and it wasn’t a total catastrophe.  I’ve also packed my tent with the wrong set of poles before…that was fun.

This most recent mistake learning experience was a result of simply not paying attention.  I even remember second guessing myself and some little voice telling me, “nah, it’ll be FINE…”

My Snow Peak 450 Insulated mug on the SoloStove cook system - outdoor gear

I had just built a nice little fire in my new SoloStove.  I had received one to test out and was anxious to put it to use.  I prepped my fuel, built a beautiful little top-down fire (as instructed) and had quite nice burn going.  Now I just needed to boil some water, time it, record it and round one of the testing would be in the books.

I’m in the process of moving so I don’t know where half of my stuff is currently.  I could not find a camp pot anywhere with which to boil a little water.  In haste, I grabbed my Snow Peak Titanium mug and filled it with water.  There was a piece of me that hesitated, but I couldn’t put my finger on why and dismissed it.  I set the mug on the stove and watched the flames lick at the titanium.

Now, this is for a review, so I’m taking pictures, recording a little video, talking about the technology of the burn system and why the fire was built top-down…so I’m distracted.  The nagging hesitation was set aside so I could focus on the review.  Then it hits me!

The Snow Peak Titanium 450 Double Wall mug is an insulated mug.  The outer shell of the cup is made up of two walls of titanium with air space in the middle to serve as an insulating layer.  This helps reduce heat transfer through the wall of the cup.  This means it will NOT heat efficiently, it is not a good cooking vessel.  More importantly, and the reason for my sudden anxiety, is that the super-heated air trapped between the two layers of titanium will expand when heated and can cause the weld seam to burst.  Depending on how well the seams hold, this could be a pretty dramatic rupture or simply a small hole to let the air escape.  Once I realized this error I pulled the cup off the heat.

Luckily, my seam held and the only real damage (aside from severe discoloration) is a slightly bulged and rounded bottom on the mug.  Not the end of the world.

In the privacy of my own home, I can simply kick myself for being stupid and potentially ruining an expensive piece of gear.  In the backcountry, we can’t afford to make those kinds of mistakes.  This sort of thing is a reminder of how easily, and innocently, mistakes can be made.  It’s a reminder that we really do need to slow down, pay attention and think through our actions…especially in the field.  It’s also a reminder to know your gear.  Know it’s intended uses, it’s limitations, be familiar with the technology and why it works.  The proper gear can save your life, but only if you know how to use it properly and do so with thoughtfulness.

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I’d love to hear about YOUR gear related mistakes.  Comment below if you’ve ever made a mistake with your outdoor gear…it’ll make me feel better about my own stupidity. ;)

Return to the Sierra Ancha Wilderness: Cold Spring Canyon…

I’ve been up since 3AM.  I’m sitting in my truck in the pre-dawn darkness at a far corner of a Walmart parking lot sipping black coffee…waiting.  Waiting for the rest of the group.  Waiting to take the long ride out to Cherry Creek.  Waiting to continue an adventure we started two years ago…

The main part of the trail into Cold Springs Canyon was easy enough.  We started from the same old mining road we used to access Pueblo Canyon a couple years prior, about 23 miles down a seldom used 4×4 back road along Cherry Creek.  This time with a more suitable vehicle, we 4-wheeled our way up the mining road to a small, level clearing once used as a camp.  From here it was supposed to be less than two miles in to Cold Springs Canyon to the Crack House.

Crossing Cherry Creek in the Range Rover - by Jabon Eagar - Sierra Ancha Wilderness

Crack House is the nickname given to the 700 year old Salado Culture cliff house ruins we were after.  When you see the site, the name is obvious.  This cliff dwelling is literally built into a naturally occurring crevice at the base of a 600 ft shear canyon wall.  The 3-story mud, rock and timber dwelling was discovered in the 1930s and documented by Dr. Emil W. Haury as part of the Gila Pueblo Project.

Long view of the Crack House at Cold Spring Canyon from the trail - by Wilderness Dave - Sierra Ancha WildernessAbout a mile up the main trail you get a glimpse of the Crack House…if you’re lucky.  You’ve really got to be looking for it and luckily, some of us had better eyes than the others.  Jabon Eager and Mike Sorensen were with me again on this hike, the same guys I hiked Pueblo Canyon with.  The only one missing from the original Pueblo Canyon party was my (now) wife, Merelyn.  As the three of us hiked deeper into the canyon looking for the side trail that would lead us to the site, Jabon was the one who managed to spot the distinctive black square hole in the cliff face that marked the entrance to our ruins.  Now, with a frame of reference, we excitedly continued forward.

Wilderness Dave stopping for photographs along Cold Spring Canyon Trail - by Jabon Eagar - Sierra Ancha WildernessEven the primary trail is nothing more than a narrow ribbon of roughly flat ground wrapped tightly against the steeply descending canyon walls.  It’s a seldom used trail that had become overgrown in some areas and we were looking for an even more obscure side trail to guide us up to the ruins.  We followed the path until we were standing below the cliff ledge where we had seen the entrance to the Crack House.  None of us had discovered any sign of a side trail, but as we stood below the cliffs there was what could only have been a drainage path or a rough game-trail leading straight up.  Could this be the trail?  Jabon consulted his print out of the Trail Description he’d found online as I consulted my topographic map.  “This section is nothing short of NASTY”, is what the report says.

“Nasty” is a very subjective description.  To some, a “nasty” trail is any trail without asphalt or concrete.  So with little to go on, we eyed this barely discernible clearing heading straight up the steep slope with trepidation and doubt.  It certainly looked “NASTY”.  We decided to give it a shot.

I took point and scrambled up the slope, unsuccessful.  Jabon followed close behind and when I ledged out, he took another path to the left with the same result.  We both moved laterally toward the cliffs to find something – anything - that looked like a trail.  We found many, followed some, and one-by-one discovered they led to nowhere.  As we crawled along our imaginary trails, glancing up occasionally in an attempt to orient ourselves, I spotted a crack, high in the cliff, carefully filled in with stacked rock.  Far too small to be our Crack House, it must have been an old granary.  Granaries were often created high out of reach and used to store food for the Winter.  This meant we were close.

Mike retreated early, probably getting tired of dodging the numerous geological samples I was generously sending his direction.  Jabon and I retreated next and as I followed Jabon back down slope I lost my footing and my bad knee gave out, crumpling completely under my weight.  Aside from the intense pain and initial fear that I had crippled myself, the fall wasn’t bad and after a short rest I was able to continue on my own.  Jabon backtracked looking for another possible trail and returned later having been unsuccessful.

Mike had had enough and decided not to join in the fight for the prize after our first attempt and failure.  Jabon and I had a little more gumption in us and agreed on a second attempt after having talked through our options.  When Jabon had backtracked he was also able to locate the ruin again visually and note where it was in relationship to where we had been climbing.  We were directly below it at one point and could not find a route.  But now we had our bearings and we knew it was directly above us…

The Punch Bowl below the ruins in Cold Spring Canyon - by Jabon Eagar - Sierra Ancha Wilderness

This meant there had to be a trail above us as well, we just had to find it.  Jabon and I were not leaving this canyon until we’d found the Crack House.  For Jabon and I, this trip had been simmering in the back of our minds for two years now, since Pueblo Canyon.  We were here, no more than 100 feet below the site we’d read about and we were not going to walk away now.

We both chose different lines and committed to them.  He blazed up the left side of the trail we had originally attempted and I crawled up the precarious slope on the right.  My knee was sore from my earlier fall and Jabon was making better progress.

I keep losing my footing.  The steep canyons out here in the Sierra Anchas are in an extreme state of erosion and nothing is stable.  I am constantly worrying about my bad knee as I hoist myself up one precarious foothold at a time, following nothing but the whisper of a trail, not able to see my target but knowing that it is up…somewhere up.

After much sweat and swearing Jabon triumphantly called down that he’d found the trail.  This spurred me on and I hacked my way through Prickly Pear cactus and overgrown Cat’s Claw trees in my fight for the trail.  Before long, with sweat dripping from my dusty brow, I had found it as well and quickly set off in pursuit of Jabon and the Ruins.

The real path to the ruins wasn’t much better than the trail we’d been forced to blaze.  It simply had the benefit of being an actual recognizable trail.  It still amazes me that so much vegetation can cling to the steep, eroded slopes of these desert canyons.  I found myself crawling through brush and vines, sliding under tree branches and carefully dancing around cacti, yuccas and agaves.  Finally, after a near vertical scramble, I reached the rocky shelf that led to the Crack House.

The photos say more than I can about the impressiveness of this cliff dwelling.  Both of us have studied enough about the archaeology of the area to approach the site with cautious awe and respectful curiosity.  Because of its protected location, the floor structures are in fantastic shape.  The crack which this structure was built in cuts clear through the cliff.  The main room, which is on the third floor, makes a sharp left turn about halfway through and presents visitors with a balcony window framing an amazing view of the valley to the southeast.  Jabon photographed the interior of the ruin creating some of the most detailed interior shots of this site ever taken.  We stayed for a short while, soaking it in, quietly reveling in our triumph.

For me, there is an addictive nature to this sort of hiking.  These canyons are littered with sites like this.  Not all of them are as dramatic or as well preserved, but they are here.  Most of these sites see so few visitors that trail descriptions are few and far between, pictures are rare, and the academic documentation incomplete.  Finding them takes work.  That, for me, is what draws me to these kinds of hikes.  I like the research, the exploration and the satisfaction of discovery.  Even though this hike was probably no more than 2 or 3 total miles of hiking, it was far more gratifying than many longer hikes I’ve been on.

We concluded this hike on a high, excited to have had the experience.  Our conversations inevitably revolved around where we would go next.  There are rumors of more ruins in Cooper’s Fork, the canyon to the east across the creek.  Another rare site in rugged, inhospitable territory with no established trail and minimal documentation…sounds like a fun trip!

Photo Gallery

To see more Jabon’s fantastic work, check him out on Facebook.

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These archaeological sites are in the condition they are in because of the rarity of visitors.  I have deliberately left out a trail map and directions in hopes that these sites do remain undisturbed by the general public.  Like most protected areas, their inaccessibility is their salvation.  One of the lessons learned from other important archaeological sites that have turned in to tourist attractions is that people are inherently destructive.  If you do visit some of these historic structures, treat them with respect.

Book Review – Deep Survival…

Anyone who has ever faced a survival situation or studied stories of rescue and survival in extreme conditions can attest to the fact that there are no hard and fast rules about survival.  There is no gear, no training, no support system that will guarantee your survival.  Gear can fail, training can fail or be forgotten and 9-1-1 isn’t really available at 19,000 feet.  There are endless stories about highly trained, well prepared individuals dying in the wilderness when all the cards were stacked in their favor.  Why?  There just as many stories of ill prepared, unequipped, injured people (sometimes children) who miraculously find their way out of horrendous situations.  Why? How?

In Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why, Laurence Gonzales tackles this subject with intense scientific scrutiny.  Gonzales has spent his entire life obsessed with survival.  His father, a pilot in WWII, was shot down over Germany and survived not only falling from 27,000 ft and breaking nearly every bone in his body, but also survived 3 years in a German Prison Camp.  Since childhood, Gonzales was quite literally obsessed with his father’s survival story.  He has spent his life pushing his own limitations, studying gruesome accident reports, interviewing accident victims and their rescuers and chasing the elusive secret that makes some people survivors and some people…dead.

“Psychologists who study survival say that people who are rule followers don’t do as well as those who are of independent mind and spirit.”

Gonzales talks in length about the mental, physical and emotional responses to stress in survival situations.  He equates the human reactionary system to a “jockey and his horse” where the conscious mind (thought, logic, reason, memory) is the jockey perched atop the overwhelmingly powerful and reckless horse, representing emotion.  It is our ability to control the balance of power between reason-memory-training and the instinctually emotional fight-or-flight response that determines who is better equipped to survive.

“To live life is to risk it.  And when you feel the rush of air and catch the stink of hot breath in your face, you enter the secret order of those who have seen their own death close up.  It makes us live that much more intensely.”

Gonzales reaches deep in to the popular lexicon of survival stories to support his findings.  He uses examples from books like Alive, Adrift, Into Thin Air and Touching the Void to illustrate how people react in survival situations.  He then breaks down some of these individual stories step-by-step, dissecting the psychological and emotional transformations the survivors had to make in order to come to terms with their situation and overcome impossible odds.

“Your experiences, education, family, and way of viewing the world all shape what you would be as a survivor.”

At the end of the book, we aren’t just left hanging with harrowing stories of death and survival.  Gonzales is nice enough to break down his decades of research into a simple 12-step guide he calls “The Rules of Adventure” with simple, common-sense tips like Avoid Impulsive Behavior or Be Humble.  He breaks down each suggestion with examples and explanations drawn from earlier in the text.  It reads like a summary of the lessons you were supposed to have picked up by reading the book (which is why it’s an Appendix and not part of the main text I guess).

Gonzales wraps up Deep Survival talking about his father’s survival story.  He finishes strong drawing the conclusion that real survival is a lifelong endeavor and the way we live our lives after the near death experience is as vital, if not more so, than our survival of a single event.  This concept seems to parlay well in to his new book Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience.

Ultimately, I found this an insightful book that had me engaged from very early on.  I really enjoyed the author’s style of storytelling and his scientific approach to understanding survival.  I think most of us realize that survival is a mental game, but he takes that discussion to another level entirely and gives the reader a better understanding of WHY survival is a mental game. And how instinct and emotion can either wreck havoc on the survival process or be harnessed to fuel your escape.

Gonzales talks about something the U.S. Air Force, and one of his survival school instructors, calls “Positive Mental Attitude”.  He explores in length the mystery and meaning behind this phrase.  Many can’t, or won’t, explain what it means.  He grabs on to this phrase as the Holy Grail of what it takes to be a survivor and eventually finds his own definition of what it means (I would tell you but you really should read the book).

Deep Survival was a wonderful read, I enjoyed it.  I think I probably enjoyed it more because I had already read many of the survival stories he referenced.  If you haven’t read these books, you will want to read them when you finish Deep Survival.

“The perfect adventure shouldn’t be that much more hazardous in a real sense than ordinary life, for that invisible rope that holds us here can always break.  We can live a life of bored caution and die of cancer.  Better to take the adventure, minimize the risks, get the information, and then go forward in the knowledge that we’ve done everything we can.”

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why

True stories of miraculous endurance and sudden death

Written by Laurence Gonzales

 About the Author:

Deep Survival Author Laurence Gonzales

Laurence Gonzales won the 2001 and 2002 National Magazine Awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors for National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Since 1970, his essays have appeared in such periodicals as Harper’s, Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Smithsonian Air and Space, Chicago Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, and many others.

Check out this Video Interview with Laurence Gonzales.

Winter Outdoor Giveaway – Week 2…

Week 2 of the Winter Outdoor Giveaway is here so you get a second chance at some awesome winter gear.

We’ve added a new entry option called Refer-A-Friend.  Use this entry option to score up to 10 bonus entries!  Here’s how it works:

After you enter using any of the options, a box will appear at the bottom of the widget that will give you a unique URL that you can share with your friends. For each friend that enters the giveaway, you will receive +1 entry into the giveaway. You refer up to 10 people.  Cool, right?!

Win lots of great winter gear

Entering is easy, just click on the entry options below to secure your chances.  The more you enter the better chance you’ll have to win this fantastic gear:

And don’t forget to show your support for our fellow outdoor bloggers who have put in considerable time and effort to pull this outdoor giveaway together.

What are you waiting for?  Enter the Winter Outdoor Giveaway now!

 
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Winter Outdoor Giveaway – Week 1…

Winter Gear Giveaway

Let’s get this party started, folks!  Winter is upon us and you KNOW you want some fancy new gear to play with this season.  We had great participation last Spring and we’re hoping to give even more people a chance to win this time around.

Entering is easy, just click on the entry options below to secure your chances.  The more you enter the better chance you’ll have to win this fantastic gear:

Week 1 Prize Package:

And don’t forget to show your support for our fellow outdoor bloggers who have put in considerable time and effort to pull this outdoor giveaway together.

What are you waiting for?  Enter the Winter Outdoor Giveaway now!

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NEW Winter Gear Giveaway starts Thursday!

HEY! It’s Winter Gear Giveaway time!

Winter Gear Giveaway

 

You guys remember last Spring, right…a bunch of us handed out piles of awesome gear!  Well, it’s time to do it again and we’ve got 3 weeks of killer winter gear giveaways starting this Thursday from:

You know the drill, we will give you tons of chances to enter.  The giveaways are even bigger this time around.  But don’t worry, you can accumulate entries over the week leading up to each drawing.  The more you enter the greater your chances are to win this fantastic winter gear.

Here’s what we have to giveaway this time:

Week 1

  • Backpackers Pantry Freeze Dried Meal Set
  • Teton Sports Trailhead Ultralight Sleeping Bag
  • GU Energy Packs
  • Patagonia Men’s Scree Shield Boots
  • Bottle Bright Cleaning Tablets by Clean Ethics
  • Klymit Sleeping Pad
  • Injinji Toe Socks

Week 2

  • Hillsound Crampons
  • Hillsound Gaiters
  • Chaos Sports Balaclava
  • GU Energy Packs
  • Hydrapack Day Pack
  • Bottle Bright Cleaning Tablets by Clean Ethic
  • Injinji Toe Socks

Week 3

  • Tubbs Mountaineering Snowshoes
  • Terramar TXO 3.0 Half zip top
  • Terramar TXO 3.0 pants
  • Terramar TXO 3.0 beanie
  • Black Diamond Trail Back Trekking Poles from The Gear House
  • JetFlow Hydration Pack
  • Eco Vessel Water Bottle/Filter
  • Chaos Sports Gloves
  • GU Energy Packs
  • Chaco Tedinho Waterproof Boots (unisex)
  • Bottle Bright Cleaning Tablets by Clean Ethic
  • Injinji Toe Socks

Stay tuned and DON”T MISS this giveaway!  In fact, if you subscribe to WildernessDave.com in the form at the top of the page you won’t miss a thing!  Just drop you’re email in and you’ll get all the updates straight to your Inbox!  It starts Thursday so GOOD LUCK!

First test of the Suunto Ambit…

Suunto Ambit GPS watchI just received the Suunto Ambit I ordered and needed to take it out for a test drive.  I had hoped to be restarting my 30-Days-of-Running challenge by now and the Ambit would be assisting me with that, but my knee hasn’t allowed that yet.  For the past week or so my knee has been a swollen mangled mess and I’m not sure exactly what I did to it.  So while it’s recovering, I am impatiently waiting to get some training in.

Well, the knee is feeling a little better and mobility is returning but it is still extremely stiff.  I have an important hike this morning (which is why I’m typing this at 3AM) and I really needed to try to get the knee stretched out and test how much strength I really have. I decided to go for a quick bike ride yesterday.  It would allow me to test and stretch the knee, take the Ambit for a dry run AND check out a little of the new neighborhood.

lake near the bike path at Hayden Park Scottsdale

I took off from the new place in Scottsdale and took a leisurely ride around the Green Belt that runs along Hayden Road.  The biking / running trails along Hayden go for miles and see a fair amount of use.  It really nice to see so many people out biking, jogging or walking the paths.  I think we’re really going to enjoy this area.

another lake and sitting area along the bike path on Hayden Road Scottsdale

I didn’t go too far since my knee was really tender on the bike.  I was definitely stretching the limits of what I should be doing but it felt good to push it a little and let it open up.

I tracked the ride with three different devices: The new Suunto Ambit, the on-bike computer and my GPS fitness tracker app on my phone.  Each device gave me different data at the end of the ride (which is expected) and I was surprised by the gap in the final distance calculation.  The Ambit showed me traveling 7.49 miles, the on-bike tracker had me at 7.68 miles and the phone app showed 7.73 miles.  That may not seem like a lot but in only seven miles I had managed to accumulate a quarter mile discrepancy.  In a race, or tracking a specified route, this could be dangerous.

My hope is that the gap doesn’t grow with longer distances being tracked.  I will continue testing it against the other devices.  I also had some trouble getting the Heart Rate Monitor to track consistently while I was biking.  I managed to get it to recognize the device before I started but it quickly lost connection and so my HR data is very spotty.  This will be important to figure out as HR monitoring is a big part of why I wanted the Ambit in the first place.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the Ambit so far.  It’s a comfortable piece to wear, light, easy to read the display.  I like that it can cycle through a variety of custom screen options during exercise.  I really like the method by which it connects and transfers data to the computer.  Instead of having a small port which could get clogged with dirt, broken, etc. it has a clamp that lines up with 4 little contact points on the back.  Once attached, it sends the data to the computer via USB.  Easy, clean and it charges while it transfers data.  It also has an auto shut-off when it’s not being worn to save battery life.

More shots of the bike path:

The stats on each exercise are downloaded to Movescount.com where you can see all the charts and figures from your workout.  Here is my data from the bike ride:

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