Garmin Edge 705

Personal GPS tracking device and trainer

I nearly cried the other day.

I’d been barrelling down one of the long, rough downhills of the St Helena trail before the track was graded, reaching the bottom with a grin from ear to ear, when I thought I’d check the elevation drop * on my GPS.

My GPS. MY GPS! Where was it? I was staring at an empty bracket. Oh deity. I felt sick.

My Garmin 705 GPS had been a Christmas present from my wife – I hadn’t even had it 12 months, it wasn’t cheap, and had been the best Chrissie present I’d had in years. I loved it. I dropped my bike in the bush off the track, and threw my helmet and gloves after it, before making the long slow walk back up to where I thought I’d last looked at it on the bike.

I trudged slowly up the steep and rocky hill, scanning the whole track and nearby bush. I had this idea that it could have bounced off the track if I’d hit a bump with a bit of speed, but that probably meant I’d never see it again. It would have taken forever to search everywhere it could have gone. Trying to think logically, I searched most thoroughly around anywhere a bit rougher – it must have taken a big whack to loosen.

But there was nothing. I turned and trudged slowly back down, this time searching one side a bit more thoroughly. It wasn’t all that long before I was trudging back up, scanning the *other* side more closely. I was ready to give up.

Down I went again, by now concentrating on an area after where I’d convinced myself I’d last checked the GPS. It *must* be here. It wasn’t. Not that I could see.

“One last go.”

Up I went, but this time I kept going, round the corner, and there was more hill – I hadn’t been at the top of the hill at all. I stopped at the bottom of the roughest section and looked up at the mess of loose rocks and leaf litter – and that was on the trail. I was never going to find it. I turned and looked back down the hill, before turning up to climb. Then I stopped.

Something had registered. What was it? I turned back and scanned again. A lump of burnt wood? The colour’s a bit wrong for charcoal, and it’s a bit regularly shaped. Maybe? I hurried back. Yes? YES! It was, I’d found it. I was that relieved I nearly cried.

And I think that about sums up my feelings about Garmin’s 705 GPS. I don’t use all the features, but I love it. Combined with included Garmin software, and donationware Sport Tracks you can extract mountains of data, including full GPS tracking of your ride. I’ve also added Shonky Maps, a big improvement on the standard maps.

* Incidentally, the hill drops 90 metres in 800 metres, including some relatively flat bits. The track has now been bulldozed, and is relatively smooth.

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