Thursday: 4 x 20′ / 3′ at West Plano Crossfit

Wednesday:  Travel day to Texas.  Flew down in the late morning, had a big prep meeting and a customer dinner.  On the plus side, I got back to the hotel by 10pm and I was asleep by 11.

Thursday:  I headed over to West Plano Crossfit at 5:30 in the morning.  I was scheduled for a nice easy endurance session.


  • 3 x 20 / 3′
  • Cat VI (pace: 2:06, rate: 18)

Today was the day when I was going to try out my new iphone USB cable connection.  I had some doubts, because the way you make the connection is to buy a cable from LiveRowing and then use it with other apps.

I plugged in the cable to my phone and then into the PM3.  Then I discovered that the cable is too short to allow the phone to rest anywhere, so I need to have a phone cradle.  For today, I grabbed a velcro wrist brace and strapped the phone to the monitor arm.  I arranged so that I could just see the HR value, since that was the only thing that wasn’t on the PM3 screen.

I ran into a couple of other funny things.  First, if the cable was connected, then my bluetooth headphones would connect but not play.  But if I connected the headphones and then plugged in the cable, all was good.  Finally, when I went to take a monitor picture when I finished, I noticed that the camera would not work with the cable plugged in.

OK, with the head phones fixed, music on, cable plugged in, HR monitor turned on, I went to try to use painsled.  No luck.  It did not see the PM3 connected through the cable.  So then I tried ergdata.  Success!  It connected right away and even let me connect my HR monitor via my phone.  This is the way to get HR on a PM3 as far as I’m concerned.  You can’t see it on the screen, but at least you get all the pace, rate, power and HR data together.

So, off I go.  And I’m feeling great.  I go through 20 minutes and my HR is only up to about 142, and it feels easy.  So, I do another 20 minutes.  again, it’s pure delight.  I’m rowing easy, enjoying the music. hitting my numbers.  then the next rest and another 20 minutes, finishing up with a HR about 147.  One of the things that helped pass the time was the WOD (workout of the day) that the crossfitters were doing.  It was a AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) of some running, some dumbell snatches, then a 500m row, then somethings else.  But basically, every few minutes there would be this big rush to the rowers and they would flail wildly for a couple minutes and then run away.  It was very entertaining as I plodded along at my r18 and 2:06 pace.

Anyway, I finished the 3rd 20 minute piece and I felt fresh.  My HR was nice and stable around 147.  And since I got there so early, I had some time.  I decided to do a bonus 20 minutes and it was also pure bliss.  My HR stayed right at the plateau around 147-148 and I felt like I could have just kept going and going.  I guess that means that this is my “all day pace”.  I kind of spooked the Crossfit coach though, about 15 minutes into it, he wandered over and asked me if I was ever going to finish.  I told him I would be done in 4 minutes and 16 seconds and he seemed OK with that answer.  He was worried that I would want to go past the end of the second class that was going on now.

When I finished, I discovered a data disaster.  While I had overcome significant challenges to get my setup working, I had neglected to check the date on the PM3.  When I tried to sync my workout to the concept2 site, it told me grumpily that it was unwilling to upload my workout because the date was off by too much.  A quick check now revealed that I had unwittingly done my workout 3 months in the future.  The date was set to February 2018 on  the PM3.  So, now I have the most beautiful aerobic workout I have done in recent memory trapped on my phone and there is no way to extract the data.

I’m sorry, but this really pissed me off.  I see that there are incredible benefits to using data to improve the effectiveness of training, but it seems like there are so many traps along the way, that only data lunatics are willing to subject themselves to the constant bullshit that these half assed implementations put us through.  I mean, how hard would it have been for the person coding the sync function to offer an option to fix the date in the error handling code for the mismatch instead of just puking on the user?  It’s the same deal with using the PM5.  There are constant questions on the forum about hangups, drop outs, lost workouts and weird behavior.  Everyone who wants to use data routinely farts around trying different stuff until they stumble upon something that works and then they protect the method like an ancient druid protecting the philosopher’s stone.  Don’t even get me started on RowPro.  If your neighbor downloads pornography while you row, you get tossed out of your happy group row into some isolated world of loneliness like you have stumbled into the “Upside Down” on Stranger Things.  On the water, it’s even worse.  There are a multitude of fragile, incomplete solutions that distract us from rowing.  Not all the time, no, just enough so you never quite trust it.

Right now, I only feel good recommending data driven training approaches to people with a strong engineering background.  I feel like pointing someone who isn’t used to being a beta victim toward using these crappy products is just going to make me look like an idiot.

It reminds of the single best quote about software engineering I’ve ever seen.  If builders built buildings the way programmers write programmers, the first woodpecker would have destroyed civilization.

So, I feel great about the workout, but I am really pissed off at the way concept2 does the sync function on ergdata.  I guess if their intent was to make sure that I always will waste some time before each row to check the bloody date, then they sure taught me the lesson.  But if they wanted to look like the fine post-modern, connected fitness company I think they aspire to be, they sure missed the mark.

Sorry for the rant, I needed to get that off my chest.


And with that workout, I wrap up November.  Total rowing time 28 hours and 5 minutes.  Best in almost 2 years.


Tomorrow is a new month.  I have a redo of my 20′ and 75′ tests coming up in a couple of weeks and some international travel to work around, and then there’s Christmas.  Let’s see how I do for training hours with those challenges.


  • 45′ continuous with bumps
  • Cat VI (rate: 18, pace 2:06)
  • Every 5 minutes 20 stroke burst at r32



5 thoughts on “Thursday: 4 x 20′ / 3′ at West Plano Crossfit

  1. mcgumic says:

    I second your rant!
    Story: Trying to clear some problem with my PM5, I r&r’d the batteries which, of course, blew the data/time info. When I linked up BoatCoach, I got a message telling me that the date/time on the PM didn’t agree with my phone and offered to fix it. BC has it’s vagaries too but in that case, it saved me some aggravation.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. gregsmith01748 says:

    I’ve been thinking about it and it’s a really hard problem. As soon as you have multiple products from different manufacturers that need to work together, you create a big problem in terms of software verification and test. I wonder if a closed system approach would be more reliable. If it was, would people recognize that and be willing to pay for reliability and ease of use?


    • sanderroosendaal says:

      One would think that standards like ANT+ and BLE would solve part of that, but it could lead to the complete opposite. An open approach where you could assemble your system from components you like. Manufacturers would have to compete on features, though. Which is tough in a small market like rowing. Although some of the more generic sensors could be reused for things like x country skiing, kayaking, etc

      Liked by 1 person

      • gregsmith01748 says:

        I would have thought standards would help too, but you end up with situations like me having pm5 Hangups constantly with my tickr, but never with the polar. I think it is the small market problem. C2 just doesn’t seem to have the resources to do a “connected” pm reliably. They might do better by adapting a Garmin head unit.


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