I’ve trained and raced in various environments with the Suunto Ambit2 Sapphire, blogging and spouting forth of it’s various bells and whistles. All that being said though, these environments have not really been that severe. A bit of a knock around mixed with water, dust and sweat won’t even register on it’s “I don’t give a f^ck” meter. If anything is going to test the general hardiness of a GPS/HR watch, a couple of laps of a Tough Mudder course should just about do the trick.
To be honest, I had absolutely no concerns going into this event….so long as I didn’t get it torn off my hand by barbed wire or lose the HR strap hitting the water on the 5m drop at Walk The Plank. All I had to do was cross the line with all parts still accounted for. Aside from seeing what this thing could handle, the day’s mission was to get some mileage in the legs for the last time before the onslaught of the 100km Surf Coast Century the following weekend. It was good for the soul to get down and dirty….I’ve been really enjoying the Salomon Trail series but it’s nice to get scratched up and crusty for a change. I’ve missed that.
Anyone say scratched up and crusty? This course delivered. The mud was some of the thickest, stickiest stuff I’ve ever encountered….it was like a mixture of clay, cow shit, molasses and flour. There was no point trying to get it off between obstacles…you just had to wait for the next chance to hit some water. At times, it felt like your feet weighed in at around 5kg each and the sun had baked you in a nice shitty brown plaster cast.
How do you think precision electronics can cope with this……????
The Ambit2 Sapphire rocked, people. I had it completely caked in grainy, like-shit-to-a-blanket mud for over four hours….never worried about just wiping over the glass to clean it off…the sapphire crystal is bulletproof. People were stopping me on the course asking how I could even think about taking a GPS/HR device through that event….TWICE. Even now, after a good scrub, the only tales of war are a few scratches on the wristband. Trophies. The only metric that was disturbed by this feral working environment was altitude…I’m guessing that being encased in mud for that duration may have messed with the air pressure sensor a bit, but have since tested this and it’s pin-point accuracy has returned.
If I had any constructive feedback it would be to put a better adhesive strip around the heart rate chest strap to stop it from slipping down. Nothing major considering the amount of time spent crawling around face down, but would be a nice touch as it does slip around a little now and then.
The two laps were 20 minutes apart while I had quick drink and stretch, waiting for the next wave to kick off. The course was much better than the last Melbourne one I did, with some more challenging obstacles (a few I recognised from World’s Toughest Mudder 2012) and some intelligent thought into the spacing and sequencing between each obstacle. There were a few stints where the run between obstacles was longer than usual but this served to thin the field out a little and ease the congestion a little. There was still a LOT of waiting on the second lap when the course was busier, but overall better than previous efforts. By 2.00pm Saturday the course had been totally minced by the feet of thousands of happy little Mudders…the Sunday punters would have been in for a treat, that’s for sure.
Sadly, my GoPro has turned into a brick while I wait on help from their support team to either fix or replace it (lousy timing….gutted!), so I haven’t got a lot of photos to show you from the event. Hopefully I can salvage a few when Tough Mudder HQ publishes some more over the coming days. The weather was perfect….some awesome Phillip Island coastline scenery on some parts of the course.
Anyway…back to the Suunto verdict….if you are an avid obstacle course/adventure race lover that likes to have numbers and stats to push you along like I do, then you MUST get your paws on one of the Ambit2’s….or, if you possess the patience of a Zen Master, you might want to even hang and see how far off the Ambit3 might be!
Are they cheap? NO. Will they cover every sport imaginable? ALL Y’ALL Do they deliver on promise? F YEAH. For the sake of another $100 or so versus others on the market, I would spend it and never look back.
The heavens parted, the seas quieted, the earth stood still. From her womb, the goddess brought forth Chuck Norris, sired by the sun, as a gift to mankind. He reclined upon the fertile soil under the crescent moon and immediately sprouted a beard of fire. She spoke softly to the young child and said, “Go forth and roundhouse kick people in the face.” So it was spoken, and so he does. Every now and then he also sells exercise equipment and wears awesome clothes.