By Jon Sharp
Have you ever drawn a map of the trail you just suffered through so that your buddies, who--conveniently--couldn’t make the ride, can feel your pain? Endless Pursuit understands where you’re coming from. Ever wonder, not only your speed, but the incline, altitude, or direction of the trail? Endless Pursuit understands. Endless Pursuit has taken the task of tracking your workout to the next level. Not only do they provide many helpful metrics (which we will cover later), but they do so in a way that lets you measure your workout no matter what the activity. All you have to do is carry around a GPS.
Although it might not seem apparent upon first inspection, Endless Pursuit isn’t in the business of selling GPS units. What they really sell is access to their website and storage space for your workouts on their servers. For the convenience of you, the user, they sell GPS units to match with their system. Utilizing some complex calculations, Endless Pursuit can measure many different metrics based on your weight and change in position throughout your workout. Basically, with your mass (weight) and three-dimensional change in position, the Endless Pursuit website can tell you power (in watts) and energy (in kcals) spent during your workout.
After logging on to their website, the user can then go to a section entitled “My Treks”. Here, the user finds a calendar showing all recent treks (or workouts). After selecting a particular trek, the user will find a myriad of different statistics ranging from altitude (uphill altitude change, downhill altitude change, grade, maximum altitude, etc.), to speed (average speed, maximum speed, uphill speed, downhill speed, etc.). Most every metric is plotted on a chart, and can be compared--side-by-side--to other treks saved in the system. Optionally, the user can upload data from certain brands of heart rate monitors for even more metrics.
The most interesting feature to me was the map. Endless Pursuit takes your global coordinates, and plots them against either a topographical map, or a satellite image of the area. So, instead of drawing pictures of the trail, just show your friends the picture. I found these pictures and my trek across them, to be quite accurate.
Of all the GearReview.com staff, I am probably the most GPS-illiterate. When Endless Pursuit sent me a Garmin Gecko 201 GPS, I didn’t even try to figure it out. Fortunately, all I had to do was turn on my GPS, wait for it to acquire a signal, and start my ride. At the end of the ride, I switched it off. Endless Pursuit supplied me with a cable to sync it with my computer. After connecting the two, all I had to do was click on the "Upload" link and a wizard appeared that walked me through the process. In less than 5 minutes, all my information was laid out there before my eyes.
One of the features I like best about this system is its versatility. Whether I'm hiking, biking (road or mountain), cross-country skiing, or snow-shoeing, all I have to do is bring along my little Gecko GPS. If I'm on my bike, I don't have to worry about a wheel pickup for speed and distance, nor do I have to re-calibrate it for my road bike. Unfortunately, under dense tree-cover, the GPS may not be able to get a 3D lock (at least four satellites) or even any link. In this instance, Endless Pursuit will fill in the blanks with a straight line between where you lost the signal and where it picked back up. This is problematic if your treks take place in areas like western Oregon where trails wind through dense forests of evergreens. In Utah, however, as long as you don't venture into deep slot canyons, you should get a great signal and complete metrics for your workout.
Summary: For $149.99, you can store 150 different treks on their servers. Once you fill all the slots, you can either delete old workouts, or purchase another 150 for $79.99. To get the complete kit including the Gecko 201 GPS, bicycle handlebar mount, pc-hookup, and an armband to hold the GPS with the 150 treks will cost you $299.99. This might seem a bit steep for anyone but a professional seeking to accurately measure their workout, but Endless Pursuit is currently working on a less expensive package for the casual athlete. Besides the drawbacks inherent in using a GPS to track your location, I found the Endless Pursuit system easy to use, and quite comprehensive in its feature set. It is especially perfect if you participate in many different outdoor activities. If you can afford it and live in a relatively sparse area, I highly recommend it. If you can't afford it, contact Endless Pursuit and let them know of the demand for a lower tiered pricing structure.
Jon Sharp is a contributing editor for GearReview.com specializing in mountain biking.
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