I never thought I would become 'one of those GPS people.'
I'd seen them out on the trails occasionally. Skiers, bikers, hikers – all
with a small GPS unit strapped to their arm, pack, or bike. I didn't understand
the appeal. I know how to read a map, why would I ever want to carry that extra
Then Endless Pursuit offered to let me try out their GPS/website system.
Boy has my opinion changed. It took only one or two outings to realize that
my perceptions were very wrong.
Skiing at Kincaid with GPS on my right arm
One day earlier this winter, I took the GPS and my digital camera to Kincaid
Park in Anchorage and decided to put the system to the test. I skied all of
the trails at Kincaid, stopping to take pictures and mark waypoints on the GPS
at points of note. It was a fantastic ski, and I came home and uploaded the
ski to Endless Pursuit. I analyzed all the data. Here is some of the info from
that ski, as seen on Endless Pursuit.
A close-up map of the Kincaid stadium area
Then I decided to 'Publish' my trek for the Endless Pursuit community to see.
The advantage to publishing is that, in addition to letting others users see
your trek, you can also add pictures at any of the waypoints, which I did.
For years, most skiers' training has been based on time and heart rate. For
each workout we decide how long (time) to go and at what heart rate. Those two
factors determine the specifics of the workout. This is because, in the past,
a stopwatch and a heart rate monitor have been our only tools for calculating
our workload. But with Endless Pursuit, we have a whole new realm of factors
that we can observe to make our workouts more effective. We can look at speed
(pace), vertical gain, distance, and much more. It is an instantly accessible
database of every single detail of all of your workouts – without you having
to write down anything. To me, it is like taking two-dimensional training, and
making it three dimensional. We have a whole new depth of knowledge at our fingertips.
I believe that in the near future, skiers and coaches alike will start paying
more attention to these factors, because we now have a way of quantifying them.
While the new possibilities of improving training effectiveness are very interesting,
that is not even my favorite feature of the Endless Pursuit system. To me, the
best part is being able to email your treks to friends, family, and coaches.
For years I have been trying to explain all my great outdoor adventures to friends
and family back east. Sure, I could tell them about it and maybe even show them
pictures, but they still were not able to appreciate exactly where I had gone
or what I had done. Now, all I do is send them a link to my Endless Pursuit
treks. They can get a true appreciation for how far I went and how high I climbed,
plus see the route on a map, maybe even pictures. To me, that is the most valuable
aspect of Endless Pursuit.
It can also be used for bragging rights. If you happen to be wearing an Endless
Pursuit GPS when you do an epic trip or set a new record on a local time trial
course, you can send it to your buddies as proof. The numbers don't lie.
All in all, Endless Pursuit is a training device that is just as useful as it is fun to use, and it is very fun to use. Endless Pursuit allows us to examine our training in ways that were never before possible, ulitmately giving us more control over our training and making it more effective. Because of its many features and ease of use, it is a great tool for elite racers and recreational athletes alike. Honestly, the only drawback for me was that it works on Windows PCs, and I have a Mac at home.
As you have probably noticed, Endless Pursuit is a sponsor of FasterSkier.com.
So I am sure you are wondering, how much of what I have written is actually
true and how much is just sucking up to a sponsor? Well, let me answer it this
way. Before I started using the Endless Pursuit GPS I thought it would be a
'fun toy' to play with for a few weeks. Now the season is over, I have used
the GPS extensively and I soon will have to give the GPS back to Endless Pursuit.
But I am already trying to decide which GPS model I am going to buy with my
own money, so that I can continue to use the Endless Pursuit website. I am a
convert, a believer. I am now one of those GPS people, and I am better off for it.
If you are interested, here are a few more of my favorite treks that you can
check out on www.EndlessPursuit.com: