From Google Maps to gold medal

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 9:05 AM


My reconnaissance of the Beijing Olympic Time Trial all started in December 2007. My coach Jim Miller and I traveled to Beijing, China to not only check out and ride the Time Trial course, and to experience the heavily publicized pollution problem first hand. (During my Gold Medal ride, it turned out to be a perfect day in Beijing.)
 
Much of the hype with the course centered on how non-traditional this 15-mile course was, especially with the sheer amount of climbing involved. At the encouragement of my husband (a technology buff) I took along one of his GPS units so as to get an elevation profile. While riding the course,I kept thinking to myself that we must be on the wrong road; there is just simply no way a time trial would have this much climbing! At the reassurance from my coach and much to my delight we were on the right course. 
 
After returning home to Boise, Idaho, I exported the GPS data to several different formats, one of which I was able to launch with Google Earth. I was then able to trace the entire course from the comfort of my home half a world away and find a similar route to train on back in Boise. This capability along with having the elevation profile proved invaluable in my preparation for my Gold Medal race. It was also very nice to be able to show family members and friends the course from the excellent satellite views presented by Google Earth.
 
With all the requests that I've been getting since winning the Gold, I've become hooked on my next cool tool find Google Calendar. My publicist/manager, agent, and I are constantly checking and blocking out times on my calendar so we needed a way to share calendars and of course that's never easy. Imagine my delight when I did a Google search for "calendars" and up pops Google Calendar -- another great tool!