July 18, 2014 @ 08:10

Unexpectedly back in Chiang Mai. After riding just 17.2 miles along the Great Divide, months of planning, 20,000+ miles of travelling, uncounted costs (I don’t want to add it all up!) and a severe kick-in to my pride.

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April 16, 2014 @ 10:04

Back in the saddle today after a long lay-off due to an accident I sustained whilst mountain biking on the 23rd March. I hit my right knee very hard after coming off when I caught the front wheel in a gulley hidden by leaves. After three weeks the inflammation and bruising has now subsided.

I’ve not been idle though, I’ve used the time productively to begin the planning and preparation for the Great Divide ride that I will embark upon in July later this year. Canada to Mexico.

So far I have plotted a draft route which is just over 2700 miles long:

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The next step is to plan for accommodation, food and water supplies.

I anticipate that the ride will take between 60 – 70 days to complete and I already know that this will entail more camping than my previous North American tour with stretches of up to 4 days without passing through a town.

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March 7, 2014 @ 16:54.

So, I was unable to source a Trek 7.4FX Disc 2014 here in Thailand, therefore I’ve ended up purchasing a Trek 7.3FX (with v-brakes) instead. I’ve had a couple of modifications made (upgraded the rear derailleur, removed the chain guard) and even with a few freebies thrown in by the bike shop I still only paid ThB20,400 which at todays exchange rate is about £380. That is about £150 cheaper than I would have paid for the same unmodified bike in the UK.trek-73-fx-2014-hybrid-bike[1]It feels more compact and slightly more upright than my Domane 4.3 thanks to the straight bladed forks. It also doesn’t feel too heavy.

I will give it a couple of run outs over the next few days to see how it performs.

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Feb 25, 2014 @ 17:53.

Ok so after Sunday’s debacle with the Garmin I decided to create and load a route of my own. A route that I knew and that I had ridden; mainly on roads, but some of it on paths that are not mapped by Google.  I used bikemap.net to create the route. You can find it in My Strava by clicking on the widget in the footer on the front page. I have named it Doi Gom, Doi Kham and Huay Tung Thao. It consists of one small hill, one steep hill and a lap of the lake.

The Garmin worked perfectly, never put a wheel wrong. So the next question must be, why? Was Sunday’s route that I downloaded from the ‘net, less accurate? I don’t know.

I suppose that I should try and recreate the route from Sunday myself (i.e. create it from scratch) and then see what happens when I try to follow it using the Garmin. That should at least give an indication as to what went wrong on Sunday.

I’ve spent the last week or so working on my website, so I haven’t been in touch too often with people back home. The good news is that it is coming along quite nicely and so soon I can go “live” and they can follow me on here.

Today has been a good day. A positive experience with the Garmin. A good set of new pb’s on the bike. Both bikes are clean.  Just waiting to hear from Damian to see whether or not he can get me another bike imported through SpiceRoads. I’m looking to buy a Trek 7.4 Disc 2014 hybrid. It will be good for playing around town and should add another dimension in the mountains, with a few extra gears so that I can spin up some of these hills, rather than grind up them. Looking long-term, it may also double up as a road touring bike for trips to Australia and France.

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Feb 24, 2014 @ 8:01.

Yesterday I took the opportunity to take the MTB out for a short spin around the foothills, between Navamin Reservoir (which is located behind the 700 Year Stadium) and the lake Huay Tung Thao. It was a chance to practice some off-road skills and a chance to test out my Garmin 810′s route following ability.

I’ve been struggling to load routes onto the 810. It appears that you cannot create and load routes direct from Garmin Connect. You can only load routes that you have already ridden. It seems a bit pointless to me but there is a work around:

  1. Create a route on a different platform (such as Google maps or bikemap.net)
  2. Save it as a .gpx file
  3. Turn off your 810
  4. Remove the sd card from your device
  5. Create a new folder in the sd card  (name the folder ’Garmin’)
  6. Create a sub-folder  (name the sub-folder ’New Files’)
  7. Copy the .gpx file into the sub-folder
  8. Replace the sd card into your device
  9. Turn the device back
  10. The 810 will automatically convert the .gpx file into a .fit file and move it into the Courses folder on your device

I managed to download an existing route from a local MTBer and having saved it onto my Garmin, I wanted to see how easy or difficult it was to follow a route on the 810, as this was going to be important for my Great Divide ride starting in July.

It was a frustrating morning, although I enjoyed the messing about on the bike, I didn’t have much luck with the Garmin.

It didn’t appear to be able to locate the start of the route (although it did take me to the vicinity). I’m not sure if the Garmin 810 is capable of following of-road routes or whether the route I had loaded was accurate enough. It’s not quite ‘back to the drawing board’, but I will definitely have to play around with route planning to ensure that I am confident about using it for a 2800 mile ride through Canada and the USA.

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