A Slave to the Watch

The Garmin Fenix 6X- Taskmaster!!

I have always liked gizmos. I had Polar heart rate monitors for many years as well as sports watches and devices mounted to my bike to tell me my mileage. I regularly entered information into Velo-News logs about rides, who I rode with, maximum heart rates, and all kinds of information that was interesting to me as a weekend warrior. I had the first app on the I-phone for calculating vertical feet when skiing, and when the creators of Alpine Replay( the name of the app at the time) saw that my buddy Hutch and I had broken the one day record each for his app( 57,000 vertical feet in one day at Northstar at Tahoe), they texted me wanting to know more about us. I had a backup battery in my parka so as not to lose any data and to make sure I collected all the vertical from 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM that day. In any event, I have always liked these things and they have been of particular interest to me with their amazing technology.

So at the suggestion of my friend Mark ” the Shark” Sauers, I recently purchased a Garmin Fenix 6 X Sapphire watch. It was available on the Amazon Prime sale and I got a good deal on it. I had not purchased anything like this in a while and have been amazed at the data and information that it provides. I am only using a fraction of that data because I am not a real techie. But what I have discovered is very interesting but the watch is starting to make me feel bad. It is subtle in it’s insults and I am hoping that the information I entered as an aging athlete would have tempered it’s comments. But to no avail. This thing in a subtle way admonishes me, and I am starting to think it has a personality all of its own.

The Aging Athlete

To give you an example, it tells me I am a poor sleeper and I need to focus on getting better rest. I think I have had a decent nights sleep but I guess with the frequent trips to the bathroom as an older guy, it senses that I am not getting enough REM, and deep sleep. And it lectures me. ” Although you slept enough, your sleep was restless.” ” Try a white noise machine or earplugs.”

There is a measurement called load focus which tells me I am balanced based on my running Vo2 max trend. It tells me that my training load is sufficient to maintain fitness but I need to work out longer and more often to improve. WTH- I am riding four days a week on my mountain bike. I don’t race anymore and ride to ride again. I use my mountain bike for exercise. But this thing says I am loafing. Come on!!! Guys I went to high school with are coming home and getting a hot bath and watching Fox News. They have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel but my Garmin won’t give me any slack.

When I look at the training effect measurement after a two hour weekday ride, it says,” This activity enhanced your ability to maintain a moderate pace for a longer amount of time” ” You gained a slight anaerobic benefit from this activity” My heart was pounding at 169 beats per minute on many climbs. I would argue about the moderate pace. I thought it was a pretty good pace at close to 8.5 MPH moving average speed. Come on Garmin- I am an old dude. It did say I had 64 minutes of vigorous intensity and 22 minutes of moderate intensity, so what gives? I think it just likes to insult me.

This winter, it says that there are over 2000 ski areas mapped into the Garmin. So wherever I am , I should be able to map how many vertical feet I log without going to the standard I-Phone app for vertical feet. I wonder if it will tell me I am lazy or not making enough turns? How will it insult me on the slopes? The watch has an app that connects to on my I Phone called Garmin Connect. It takes the data from the watch and downloads it to the app. So both the watch and the app double team me. Admonishment from two sources.

The watch- motivating or insulting?

Speed, Timing, Heart Rate, Training Effect, Elevation, Nutrition and Hydration, Temperature MTB Dynamics, and Intensity Minutes. What did I do do deserve this? TMI if you ask me but I was the one who bought the watch. So buyer beware!! If you sale for one of these watches and you are an aging athlete like me, be ready to be humiliated by a device. I am sure in its own little way- it is trying to motivate me, but my giddup and go for a lot of these measurements has gone up and left. I just need the basics to give me the data on the rides or the slopes. I don’t need much more than that. But I will still look at the watch. Heck, I sleep with it to get the after hours measurements. It is part of me now. Thanks Shark!!! Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “A Slave to the Watch

  1. Bill Day says:

    Now that is funny! You may want to disassociate yourself from your watch, not exactly a motivator. 😏

  2. janleemac says:

    Lol you are addicted to that thing!!😆

  3. Valerie Reading says:

    Oh, and Bob and his WHOOP.

  4. Chatton Julie says:

    Hi Pat,

    Good read!! Good information on that device and those like it!!

    Personally, I prefer NOT to be intimidated or insulted by anything or anyone. After reading this I think you should put a call into the maker and have them produce a watch for the ‘aging human being’ because the one they are selling is not for ‘our generation’ it’s for those who are pushing themselves not enjoying themselves by still being active! I think there is a market for a device that would better suit your active lifestyle with gratitude and encouragement to live to ride another day.

    Cheers my friend!
    You’ll be famous and pictured in magazines wearing the new version of the ‘timeless gratitude for latitude watch’ 😊

  5. Gwynne Morgan says:

    Hysterical, Patrick! I’ve passed it on to a number of family athletes and friends older than you. A suggestion: work this up for a broader audience and send it to the New Yorker.

    • patmccloskey says:

      HI Gwynne. Thank you. I am trying to build my audience with this blog but it is slow going. I like your New Yorker suggestion. Need to edit a bit. Thanks and hello to BIll.

  6. James Finkel says:

    As a degreed engineer, I have fallen into the data driven trap. Cancer docs “noped” my cycling. That said, I have a garmin fenix 5 (links to Strava), Strava on my phone, Polar H10, and Google Fit. Each program/device gives me different numbers. Strava on phone will say 290 calories burned. Polar says 550 kcals. Distances are all over the map. Now that leaves have fallen, GPS and fenix heights match. With leaves, 2-3 “floors” while leafless says 240 feet, 10+ floors.

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