The A-Ha Moment
Full disclosure: Oakley and Intel are still working out a few kinks with the Radar Pace. Apple's iOS 10 was released almost simultaneously, and a few bugs have cropped up as a result. I had some trouble getting my phone to sync initially, and didn't feel like my first ride lived up to potential. Luckily, the on-site Oakley engineers were more than happy to continue tweaking until my set-up was finally synced and ready to roll.
It was like someone lit a match in a dark room.
We know what you're asking for this Christmas.
I immediately started receiving feedback about my cadence (our bikes were equipped with PowerTap P1 Pedals). "Your current RPM is 74. Aim for an RPM of 85 for a more efficient pedal stroke. Shift down to make pedaling easier."
Radar Pace nailed it—I'm habitually one or two gears heavier than I probably should be. Noted. A few miles later my coach interrupted again, this time with better news: "Your current RPM is 86. Nice work. You've been in your target range for 30 percent of this ride." Yes! Solid sense of achievement.
Similarly, during a run, the system provides you feedback like stride and heart rate, encouraging you to pick up or decrease your pace based on energy output. I also appreciated the fact that I didn't have to look at my watch during periods of increased intensity—Radar Pace was right there to instruct me when to pick it up and when to back off.
Throughout my runs and rides, I quizzed the system like that algebra teacher who knows you forgot to do your homework. What's my heart rate? How fast am I going? Should I slow down? How am I doing? The system responded with up-to-the-minute data, each and every time.
It's official: I'm impressed.
Who Will Use It?
You mean other than me? Well, the cost is a little prohibitive ($449) for your average fitness enthusiast, but you're packing a ton of technology into that price point.
To really get your money's worth, you need to have a basic understanding of heart rate training, power and cadence. Assuming you check those boxes, the Radar Pace is one hell of a toy that will indeed take your training to the next level. I can see serious runners, cyclists and triathletes becoming tethered to this device over time, especially as the system continues to learn about the user and tailors programs accordingly.
In other words, if the phrase "race calendar" is a regular part of your vocabulary, we know what you're asking for this Christmas.