Christmas is behind us, it’s the downswing waiting for the new year to roll around. Chances are you may have a bit of cash to spend. That good old stand by Christmas gift that is always King! Here are a few suggestions for things that you could spend some of your Christmas loot on. This is in no way a review of each option but more of a “hey I didn’t know about that” teaser post.
Strava Premium $7.99 a month or $59.99 annually. As a cyclist it’s almost a given that you have a Premium Account. The upper tier gives you access to more features including Coaching Programs. Online Analysis of your training/racing and Real Time Segments, you can red my post about that feature here. There are few other bells and whistles that are nice but these are the three key features that get unlocked. These extend across to your mobile device too so you get a little extra bang for your buck. If you’re considering this and you use Chrome as your browser try the Stravastix Plugin as that may give you the functionality that you want and then donate $20 to the Developer Thomas to keep him going!
Veloviewer Pro $15 annually or Pro+ $30 annually. If you like hills; ok nobody really likes hills, but we ride them, data and graphs and maps and more data this is for you. Veloviewer lets you dig deep into post ride analysis of your route, ride, effort, segment and so. It takes the data captured by your device from Strava via their API and slices and dices into various tables, graphs and images including rotational 3D images, some of which you have seen on this site. It’s now available as a Chrome Plugin too so with that little more extensibility it integrates into your Browser window. Essentially this fills the holes in Strava’s website on the presentation of data.
SportTracks Mobi $35 annually with a forever pricelock. SportTracks began life as a PC Desktop application. It became my de-facto container for all my Garmin data. Several PCs later and several years worth of data down the drain due to no one’s fault but my own I switched over to their Online version and have been using it every day since the end of 2013. All the graphs you see in my training posts come from this application. It gives the power to analyze your activities. I also use it as the main log for all my gear (post on this to follow) and as the repository for my HRV data that I collect using my iPhone. Don’t be fooled by the simple and clean UI, one of its strengths in my opinion. There are a lot of analysis tools available. You can also still get the Desktop version but I do not use that anymore so I can’t comment on it.
TrainerRoad $89 annually. Unless you have been hiding under a rock I am a huge fan and user of TrainerRoad. I have been using it since December 2011, to date I have over 850 rides totaling 5.2 weeks spent on my trainer! I have used it for multiple training cycles across various events including my Sufferfest Knighthood, multiple centuries, two Everestings and Dirty Kanza 200. If you want smart structured training that improves your cycling in the most time efficient manner, then this is for you. I am trying not to sound like a fanboy but the truth is that this works. It integrates across many other platforms including The Sufferfest, 3LC, RealRides, epicRIDES as others. There are many Training Plans that cater to different disciplines. Of course not baked into the price here is a trainer and all the trimmings that go with that but if you shop around you do not have to break the bank and you do not need a Power Meter to get started!
So far everything has been an online option, the next one is old school…
Books. Yes good old fashioned books. I am determined to get my book reading habit back on track for this coming year. One way you can stock on is to pick up slightly older titles from Amazon on the Used list. Here you can find titles heavily discounted. Some that are a year or so old can be had for less than a dollar if you don’t mind the odd dog ear. Often the shipping which is usually fixed can outweigh the cost of the book!
A couple of other options to consider are:
Zwift; I was a beta tester for this on the program that ended about this time last year and thought it was fun but could never see any real training benefit. No doubt it has iterated during the last year, they were just starting to bring in training plans when I was cut off. Given its success there it is obvious that it is appealing to the masses however that’s one mass that I am not part of. This is a personal thing as in general I am not into video games and that’s where I categorize this. I have no plans to go back to Zwift but if you are interested I would direct you to DCRainmaker for his review or just google it.
The Sufferfest App. The Sufferfest has moved its business model into an online format. The App is where you go now for all things ‘fest, unless, like me you have a library of downloaded content in which case you can use the videos with TrainerRoad. The downside of not having the App is that there is exclusive content being released there so you are missing out some. As a SF Knight I am privy to some of the development that is going on but so far I haven’t jumped in. This year’s Tour of Sufferandria will be App based so I will get to try it out then. Again DCRainmaker has a review of the App.
Ok so by no means a comprehensive list but just some food for thought into some ways you can spend that Christmas money! Many of these also have a Free Trial Period too so don’t feel the need to sign up straightaway!
What did I miss? Leave a comment below.