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Moving Polygons in QGIS 1.9 While Respecting Snapping Settings

Have you ever tried using the “Move Feature(s)” tool in QGIS, only to get frustrated that you cannot use it and also snap to existing features at the same time? I sure have. With a bit of research, I found a workaround. It’s simple really; select all nodes with the Node Tool, and then drag the feature. It will respect your snapping settings! Check out the video below for a demonstration!

The 40km Project Part XVI

Well, I am back to report on the somewhat dormant 40km Project. While planning out my 2013 ride schedule, I checked out the Almonte Bicycle Club calendar to see when the monthly 40km Calabogie TTs were. I noticed, to my dismay, that there was only one TT in Calabogie, and the rest were on a new course in Franktown. Uh-oh! Only one more chance to meet my goal of going sub-hour on the Calabogie course? Damn! My final shot at the hour mark was Sunday, June 2.

For race prep, I did an easy (very easy!) spin on Friday night due to the ridiculously hot and humid weather. Saturday turned out to be kind of rainy and dreary, so instead of going for a ride, I decided to just rest up completely, taking the entire day off. Krystelle and I ate well (a pasta with bacon/mushroom sauce – fantastic!) and went to bed at an early hour so I could be well rested.

Sunday dawned…wet. Overcast and rainy looked like the outlook for race day. I had a good breakfast of oatmeal, banana and yogurt, and we loaded up the car and headed north to Calabogie.Pre-race pump-up tunes included this one:

“I set my body on fire so I can be free” – Seems fitting in a TT context!

The rain was coming down intermittently, but it looked like it may clear up. When we arrived, the rain had mostly stopped, leaving it hot and humid. However, because I wasn’t sure if the rain was going to hold off for the entire race, and because the road was wet regardless, I made the call to not run the PowerTap rear wheel. I figured it wasn’t worth frying it and wasting a lot of money all for one race. This was a tough decision, and very disappointing, because I had had great success last time I used the PowerTap in a TT, and was hoping to replicate that on the Calabogie course. Since I wasn’t going to be using power, I thought I would try something new; I decided to go ‘blind’ and ignore the computer as much as possible. I set it to display heart rate (no speed, time or distance) and attempted to ignore it as much as possible.

I got registered, and changed. I was given #20 (of 13 riders, starting at 11, so I would be starting 4th from the end.) This gave me 20 minutes to get warmed up before go time. I put the bike on the trainer, and started to spin. Oh man… it was humid! I felt like I was having trouble breathing, and was already sweating a lot! With a few minutes to go, I took the bike off the trainer, and rolled up to the start line.   I started out fairly easy, hoping to pace myself a bit more intelligently than I have in the past; a negative split was the goal. I passed my minute and two-minute men before the 8km mark, and before I knew it was at the dreaded 13 km hill. It passed fairly ‘easily’ and I was feeling really good! I had been consciously standing more on the climbs, and it helped to keep me moving when in the past I have faltered a bit.

I was in the zone! I got to the turnaround and felt like I was only a quarter of the way through, not over half! Feeling good, as at this point I had passed all but two riders who had started in front of me, and had one of them in my sights at the turn. I went into the turn a bit ‘hot’ and due to the wet road actually skidded out the rear wheel a bit on the turn. No harm done, but shows that I still need some work on the turnaround!  I hammered back up to speed, passing the second remaining rider shortly after the turn. I had a gel shoved in the leg of my skinsuit, and ate it within a few minutes of the turn. I noted that I was feeling ‘comfortable’ on the bike, not shifting positions a lot, and not labouring to stay in my tuck. It’s the first time I’ve ever really felt this feeling on the TT bike!

I arrived to the point that I always think is 10km from the end, and was still feeling good. No uncomfortableness on the bike, no extreme pain, no wasting of ‘matches.’ I had never felt so good on the bike! However, since I was running blind, I had no idea how well I was doing. In my mind, I was convinced I was going to be in around the 63 minute mark, because I wasn’t killing myself, and didn’t ‘feel’ fast.

At this point, a car passed me, followed closely by Rod, who went on to win with a great time of 58:32 (congrats Rod!) – as soon as he passed me, we crested a small hill and I realized I was less than 1km from the finish! Oh no! I had a lot of energy left, and didn’t think I was so close! I opened it up, hoping to burn as many matches as I could in the last few seconds. I crossed the line, yelled my number, and hit ‘stop’ on my Garmin. Flipping screens to one that shows time, I saw that it read 1:00. Wait? What?!? I was that fast? Wait a minute.. what if…I started playing scenarios in my head—perhaps it was 59:59, and I just took that extra second to hit stop, or.. or or… there was a glimmer of hope that I had made it. Alas, I realized it was all wishful thinking, and that I had been SO CLOSE yet again, and missed my chance, while feeling GREAT, on the last time race on this course. I may have cursed loudly when the realization hit me. Disappointment.

When final results were announced, I was third (by one second), at 60:45. I didn’t even feel super tired. I have done TTs where I was completely WRECKED, and been 2 minutes slower. I am hoping that means that winter CrossFit and smart training have paid off. Or else the stars aligned and I missed my best opportunity ever. Either way, I am torn—it was a good time, and I am happy with it, BUT… I did not make my goal. What a sport; extreme highs and extreme lows within an hour!

Unfortunately, the lack of PowerTap, and the fact that I don’t yet have a speed/cadence sensor on the TT bike mean I have basically no data. No power, no cadence. Just speed from GPS (which is always suspect) and heart rate. I will say that I went in with a stress balance of -0.9, which I’ve never really had the data to back up before. This is interesting, and deserves some more attention! I’ll certainly be paying more attention to the Stress Balance figures before key events in the future!

Garmin Edge 510 – The GLONASS Advantage

I’ve read a number of reviews of the new Garmin Edge 510 and 810. While I’m not 100% sold on the touch screen and ‘social’ settings being game changers, they are ‘nice to haves’ I suppose (assuming the touch screen works in all riding conditions). I won’t go in to any depth on the devices here, as I haven’t even seen one, and because Ray does a great, crazy-thorough job, as always.

However, one thing I see in the spec that is not mentioned in much detail anywhere that I’ve seen is the fact that the Edge 510 (not the 810 though, for some bizarre reason) has GLONASS capability as well as GPS. GLONASS is the Russian equivalent of the US GPS system, and the Edge 510 now works with both systems together. What this should mean for the Edge 510 is three things:

  1. Faster satellite acquisition time – no more waiting around for satellite reception when you want to start your ride
  2. Less dropped satellites as you’re riding
  3. Increased accuracy in some situations (where some GPS satellites are blocked–see more details here)

Garmin Edge 510

Garmin Edge 510

GLONASS Logo

GLONASS Logo

Hopefully this means the Edge 510 is easier/faster to use than other devices!

Why You Need an ANT+ USB Key

2015 Update: Check out this post for updated product options!

Do you have a PowerTap, Quark, or other ANT+ compatible power meter? How about a speed/cadence sensor or heart rate monitor that’s ANT+ enabled? Do you ride indoors (Zwift anyone?) during the off season to maintain and improve your fitness? If so, you should have an ANT+ USB key. Why? Read on to find out!

What is an ANT+ USB Key (/Stick/Dongle)?

An ANT+ USB Key is a small, inexpensive piece of hardware that plugs into a USB port on your computer. It looks an awful lot like a “thumbdrive” or “memory stick” that you might buy to transfer files between computers. However, what it does is much cooler than that! It allows your personal computer to communicate directly with your ANT+ enabled cycling hardware (power meter, heart rate monitor or speed/cadence sensor.) Cool, right? Yes, but … it’s what that allows you to do that’s really cool!

Garmin USB ANT Stick<sup>TM</sup>

Garmin USB ANT StickTM

What can you do with an ANT+ USB Key?

So why should you have one? Well, if you train indoors, you know that sometimes motivation is hard to come by. Staring at the wall in the basement kind of sucks, and even listening to music can only get you so far! Imagine if you could interact with your computer live, based on the actual power, speed, and heart rate that you are putting out on the bike! How cool would that be? The answer? Very cool indeed!

With an ANT+ USB Key, you can ride on your trainer or rollers, and your computer can read exactly what you are doing, directly from the sensors on your bike! And with the right software, you can race against others, or see real-time graphs and output from your training!

What software works best with an ANT+ USB Key?

Lots of software is now available that works with an ANT+ USB Key!

Golden Cheetah allows you to see your training output directly in graph format, as well as with a series of other output metrics. It’s very cool! You can also set up a training view, which allows you to embed a video or movie and still see the real-time metrics on the screen at the same time. This works really well with The Sufferfest videos, as an example.

TrainerRoad is another piece of software that works well with an ANT+ USB Key, and gives a live ‘dashboard-like’ view of your training metrics.

But…what if you actually wanted to race someone, rather than just see your stats on a big screen rather than your Garmin? Well, there are options for that too, and this is where I personally feel the technology shines! The best of the racing options are Zwift and Tour de Giro.

Zwift – need I say more? If you want to join the Zwift ‘revolution’ you need one of these bad boys!

Tour de Giro lets you connect to a race server over the internet and race other people or ‘artificially intelligent’ bots on a variety of courses. This is a very cool piece of software, and makes training much more motivating! I highly recommend you give this at try; you might get hooked!

Where can you buy an ANT+ USB Key?

2015 Update: Check out this post for updated product options!

Alright! You’re sold! You can see why owning one of these little guys makes your indoor training more fun and increases your motivation to train. So, how do you get in on the game? There are two commonly available options; the Garmin USB ANT StickTM and the Suunto Movestick Mini.

The Garmin USB ANT StickTM  is readily available at most bike shops. You can also buy one on Amazon.com if you’re in the US, or Amazon.ca if you’re in Canada.

Your second option is the Suunto Movestick Mini which is slightly more expensive (buy on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca); however, the advantage is that it is much smaller, and thus less likely to break off or get damaged while it is sticking out the side of your computer. This is especially important if you use a laptop, as it’s more likely to get moved around and bumped up against something.

Suunto Movestick Mini

Suunto Movestick Mini

Summary

An ANT+ USB Key will allow your on-bike ANT+ sensors to communicate directly with your personal computer. You can use it with a variety of software to see your training metrics live on screen, or to race against your friends (or random strangers) over the internet. Because these little guys are pretty darn inexpensive, it’s probably worth trying out! If you do decide to give one a shot, I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments section below!

2015 Update: Check out this post for updated product options!

2012 – The Year in Review

How best to sum up 2012? Perhaps with many words and stories. Perhaps with few words, but lots of pictures. Or, as is most likely for me, some numbers.

I failed at writing consistently again this year, but still kept regular stats on most of my riding and other activities. I’ll try to sum up the year that was using some of those stats. I know numbers alone never tell the whole story, but they at least provide an interesting summary that can be compared across time. Let’s take a look at the year that was 2012.

 Cycling

2012 was another great year on the bike, with many of my highest highs and lowest lows happening on two wheels. I rode a bike 140 times over the course of the year (excluding my very short commute twice a day for much of the year.) Over those 140 rides, I covered 6046.76km, which is down for the second year in a row, from 6882.96km last year and 7846.97 in 2010. I can’t say that I like the trend, although I feel that I had a lot of quality miles in this year, and that’s very important :)  Overall time spent on the bike was down to 220.27 hours, or 9.2 days, or 2.51% of the year. Average speed for all rides works out to be 27.45km/hr and the average ride length I did was 43.19km. I also did 21 spin classes or roller rides for a total of 29.27 hours indoors.

My first ‘real’ (outdoor) ride of 2012 was February 22nd, and my last was November 25th. I rode at least once outside in every month except for January and December. I rolled 4682.11km (77.4% of my total) on the Colnago, 607.8km (10.05%) on the Time Trial Bike, 58.4km (0.96%) on the Mountain Bike, 323.25km (5.34%) on the old ‘cross bike, 330.2km (5.46%) on the new ‘cross bike, and 45km (0.74%) on a rental track bike at the Forest City Velodrome. The one thing that really stands out to me here is the increased time spend on the TT bike (from 345.84km/5% last year) which fit with my goal of improving my TTs and getting more comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, it did not result in success in The 40km Project yet again, although I did do my first ever sub-hour 40k on the Heckston course.

‘Lowlights’ of the year for me this year included Paris-Ancaster. My allusion last year that it would be hard to keep improving year over year came true, although due to a mechanical rather than having poor legs. You can read that story here. If you were paying attention to the above paragraph, you’ll see reference to ‘old ‘cross bike’ and ‘new ‘cross bike’ – this is as a direct result of said story. I made the plunge and bought myself a very sweet Specialized Crux (thanks Greg at Sport X!) I’m very happy with the bike, and it’s given me a bit of extra confidence on the ‘cross course. Failure to successfully wrap up The 40km Project was also a lowlight, although the positive Heckston run, and the mental boost that has given me look good for next year :)

Highlights of the year were once again many. I didn’t blog about Tour de Brew this year, but it was once again fantastic! We returned to Sterling Ridge Resort in Vermont for the second year, and did some more epic rides. Shawn and Luke got enough of a vote in to convince us to take mountain bikes as well as road bikes this year, so we loaded up 4 guys and 8 bikes for the trip. We rode the incredible Kingdom Trails, where I reminded myself just how much I suck at mountain biking. However, it was a blast! We did some epic road rides, including Smuggler’s Notch again, but also Lincoln Gap (outstanding, leg searing climb…and we went the ‘easy’ way up…) and Middlebury Gap, which has possibly the most fun descent ever! The Lincoln/Middlebury day alone saw 1361m of climbing over 91.24 km of riding.

Another highlight was my first ascent of Whiteface Mountain. I won’t go into detail (I did that here) but suffice to say it was a fantastic experience, and I hope to go back again this year!

It turns out that 2012 was a year of new toys. I bought the aforementioned new ‘cross bike, but also dipped my toes in the Power Meter arena, with the purchase of a cheap old used wired PowerTap. Unfortunately, the PowerTap only worked for me for about 6 rides before it died just as we arrived in Vermont (damn! I wanted to see numbers for those climbs!) I bit the bullet early in 2013, so now have a fully refurbished (now ANT+) PowerTap and a new Garmin 500 to go with it. I’m pretty excited!

What I’m excited about for 2013:

Paddling

This was a slightly better year for paddling.I managed two canoe trips; one to Puzzle Lake PP again for the May long weekend with Matt and Randy, where we once again failed to find the caves. The second one was a new experience; Krystelle and I went south for Canada Day, hoping to avoid the crowds by paddling in the Adirondacks. We had a fantastic trip paddling in the St. Regis Wilderness Canoe Area, and a cool hike up a mountain. Very un-Canadian of us to leave the Country on our National Holiday, but for a last minute trip, we certainly avoided the killer crowds that would have been any easily-accessible Canadian canoe areas!

What I’m excited about for 2013:

  • Finally finding the Puzzle Lake Caves
  • Getting in at least one additional trip

Skiing

2012 was an excellent ski year for me, despite the winter being kind of…lame in the snow department. Steve,Donny and I got into a good routine of skiing in Gatineau Park on Saturday morning, where if there’s any snow at all, the conditions are good. (Thanks to the awesome grooming!)  I finally got the hang of skate skiing; it really ‘clicked’ after Rick gave us a few lessons and told us what we were doing wrong. I can now safely say that I love skate skiing, and rather than dieing after 10 minutes, can go for a couple of hours and only be dead at the end!

What I’m excited about for 2013:

  • More great skate skis, and refining my technique

Blog

This blog saw only 14 new posts (lame!) but still a fair bit of traffic, with 17,696 visits (up from 10,131 last year) from 14,420 unique visitors. All visits totaled 26,292 pageviews (up from 16,454 last year.) The 10 most popular pages, in order were:

  1. Sigma Rox 9.1 – Initial Review and Thoughts
  2. QGIS Topological Editing
  3. Map Books in QGIS
  4. QGIS Trace Edit Tool
  5. QGIS Diagrams – Pie Charts for Symbols!
  6. Merge A Directory of Shapefiles Using OGR
  7. QGIS Can Now Delete Columns In Shapefiles!
  8. Sigma Rox 9.0 – Part II
  9. Renaming Fields in a Shapefile
  10. Sigma Rox 9.0 Follow-up Review – One Year In

What I’m excited about for 2013:

  • My new Cycling Software page. It’s a bit of a new thing (started just days ago) that I hope will really pick up. I’m discovering all sorts of awesome software that I didn’t know about, and hope to share it with my fellow riders!

I  think that’s it for 2012 in review. As always, thanks for reading, and have a fantastic 2013!

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