Saturday, March 26, 2011

Frustrating Heart Rate Monitor Issues

Heart Rate Data - Normal "redline" for me is low to mid 170's
Is it just me or do other people have issue with their heart rate monitors?  (Please, feedback wanted...)

I have two Garmins - a Forerunner 405 for running and the Edge 305 on my bike.  I have several heart rate Garmin heart rate monitors - the older style and the newer one you can swim in.  On occasion they flake out, like today!  Check out the data below.  I'd be coasting down a hill and watch my HR soar to 240, then watch it plummet with no rhyme or reason.  I can't seem to nail down the problem but I admit to not being very good with my experimental controls.  I've had lots of theories:
  • my clothing produces static
  • interference from iPod
  • air too warm, too cold
  • I am too sweaty, not sweaty enough
  • band is too tight, not tight enough.
  • is it when I am aero or sitting up?
  • Does my skin get bunched up?
  • it's the monitor (hence the reason I have several)
  • it is my electromagnetic personality 
  • perhaps I have a metal plate in my head, unbeknownst to me
  • I'm actually an alien or some kind of cyborg
For a while I was paranoid that something was wrong with me, and I'd take my pulse just to be sure.  Now I try a few clothing or position adjustments, but mostly try not to let the data distract me from the job.

The monitor I used today I'd been using on the bike trainer and I had been gaining confidence that it was pretty reliable. Until today, out in the elements.

Other than the data issue, it was a pretty good ride despite being in the mid-30s with something freezing pelting me at the very end. This was one of my favorite routes but they tar-and-chipped a big section of it last fall and it's rough and slow now.  It's still beautiful with creeks, farms, animals, and many opportunities to play guess-the-roadkill.

My chain slipped off once and I was skipping some gears, time to get it into the shop....

Love the names - "Half Acre of Rocks" etc.

Typical elevation chart in the Blue Ridge Mountains!!

Is this any way to have to dress for a late MARCH bike ride?!