Polar Flow - please help me with Total Ascent / Descent- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Polar Flow - please help me with Total Ascent / Descent

    Hi, as an enduro rider I'm not really interested into how many kms I've ridden on my bike. Instead, I'm more into tracking the elevation loss (and gain). I'm using a Polar device, which I sync to Polar Flow app. The app, obviously like the watch, shows me ascent and descent per each workout individually. The problem is that I don't know how / where to get a cumulative data for one whole period, e.g. total descents per one month or a year. Would appreciate if anybody could help me. Thanks!
    Last edited by Lucc1; 06-20-2020 at 11:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    Doesn't the free version of Strava give you that data?
    I had Polar Flow and couldn't get it to work well and decided to go with Wahoo to incorporate HR. That data syncs with Strava pretty seamlessly. That is working well for me.

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    Yes, the free Strava version gives me total ascents per one period, but I don't think the Strava data is correct. Their altitude gain data differs considerably comparing to Polar. I always find ther data exaggerated comparing to my device. I have compared with my mates and my Polar data quite matches with theirs (Garmin) so I believe the data I get from Polar is quite correct. Strava has its own gps ascent / descent calculation which is made when you import your gps data from HR app. Sometimes Strava almost doubles the ascent data, so I rather stick to Polar Flow.

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    Never tried Wahoo though. Maybe I should give it a try. How does it work, do you sync your Polar device directly with Wahoo, instead with Polar Flow?

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    The Wahoo device I use is an arm band. I have it paired to Strava. At the beginning of a ride, I turn on Wahoo, but not Strava. The data is then exported to Strava for display. I have not found the data imperfections you describe, though. My longer rides start at about 6500 feet in the Wasatch Range and end a little below 10,000 feet. I generally register a bit over 3000 feet of climbing, which seems reasonable.

    The heart rate function correlates well with what I was getting from a chest band, but it's much more comfortable.

  6. #6
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    Oh, now I understand. But I already have a Polar device with its genuine chest strap. Thanks for info mate. Just hoped that I could could get the desired data from their app.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucc1 View Post
    Yes, the free Strava version gives me total ascents per one period, but I don't think the Strava data is correct. Their altitude gain data differs considerably comparing to Polar. I always find ther data exaggerated comparing to my device. I have compared with my mates and my Polar data quite matches with theirs (Garmin) so I believe the data I get from Polar is quite correct. Strava has its own gps ascent / descent calculation which is made when you import your gps data from HR app. Sometimes Strava almost doubles the ascent data, so I rather stick to Polar Flow.
    Nobody's elevation data is "correct". Fact is, nobody knows what's the exactly "correct" climbing total is for a given climb, and so all the devices out there are only estimates. Some estimates are a little better than others, and what matters is the methodology. If your device lacks a barometric altimeter, then on-device reporting will be complete trash. Analysis after the fact can improve things, but that particular analysis depends on the spatial accuracy of your GPS data (very small inaccuracies can result in large differences in reported climbing totals).

    If you want to compare, then you need your methods to be the same, but it doesn't really matter what those methods are. If Strava gives the information you're looking for, then move to Strava and just get used to the fact that it's reporting different numbers. Neither your current method nor Strava are "correct" so it doesn't matter what the total actually is.

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    Samsung phones have been outfitted with some sort of "barometer" for years. I'm just not sure how it determines pressure readings outside the GPS calculation, or the degree to which it is affected by it.
    Every time I've crosschecked my phone altitude Vs. a known altitude, it's been surprisingly accurate.
    I'm not even sure how relevant that is, but my Wahoo gets it's altitude information through the phone, I think.

  9. #9
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    I knew that. But strava gives me really unrealistic numbers so I stay away from these data.

  10. #10
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    Let me give you an example. This was one of my last rides, just a few days ago. I went on a ride with my friend. It was not an enduro, but just a four hour xc ride near seaside. Not much climbs or descents, mainly flat ride. Polar shows me 83,77 km ride length. Strava shows me the exact same kms. No difference. But then Polar shows me 630m of elevation gain, while strava shows me unrealistc 1381m of elevation gain. Just to show how it looks on my phone.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucc1 View Post
    Let me give you an example. This was one of my last rides, just a few days ago. I went on a ride with my friend. It was not an enduro, but just a four hour xc ride near seaside. Not much climbs or descents, mainly flat ride. Polar shows me 83,77 km ride length. Strava shows me the exact same kms. No difference. But then Polar shows me 630m of elevation gain, while strava shows me unrealistc 1381m of elevation gain. Just to show how it looks on my phone.
    Fact is, you don't actually know what's realistic and what isn't for what you rode. And like I said, the specific number that comes out depends on the calculation method. Lots of calculation methods UNDER report elevation change by their very nature.

    I know what Strava does, but I don't know what Polar does. Strava's elevation corrections are actually some of the better ones. Not "correct" by any means, but they take efforts to address many of the calculation/correction shortcomings that others ignore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Fact is, you don't actually know what's realistic and what isn't for what you rode. And like I said, the specific number that comes out depends on the calculation method. Lots of calculation methods UNDER report elevation change by their very nature.

    I know what Strava does, but I don't know what Polar does. Strava's elevation corrections are actually some of the better ones. Not "correct" by any means, but they take efforts to address many of the calculation/correction shortcomings that others ignore.
    Believe me, I would have certainly felt in my legs if I had done 1400m of total ascent that day on my almost 16 kg heavy enduro rig

    Anyway, thanks for input, but I'd rather go back to the topic. Would highly appreciate if someone could show me how to gain total ascent / descent data per one period in Polar Flow.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucc1 View Post
    Would highly appreciate if someone could show me how to gain total ascent / descent data per one period in Polar Flow.
    By one period, you mean one ride, or by segment?
    I went back to my Polar Flow app and I didn't see an option to even show elevation during a ride. Is it possible the app just doesn't present that information? Like I said, I never noticed, as I use Strava, but does Polar have another app that would give that info, like Polar Beat, or something? Or, is there a third party app that Polar can export to? I know that's the case with Wahoo.....it exports to several other apps.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucc1 View Post
    Believe me, I would have certainly felt in my legs if I had done 1400m of total ascent that day on my almost 16 kg heavy enduro rig
    My point is that you don't actually know. You can't. What you THINK is a 1400m day might actually be twice that amount of climbing. You've just framed your mind about what things "feel" like with what amounts to an arbitrary number. You DID ride 83+km. 1400m in 83km still isn't that much. That's less climbing per unit distance than just about anything in my area. I'd be feeling pretty good, too. What I'm saying is that it's entirely possible (even likely) that Polar's numbers are too low and given that Strava is doing things Polar is not, they may still be too high, but the reality may be that the true number sits somewhere in the middle, so both could well be equally incorrect.

    You've not actually posted any of the GPS data itself, so it's all conjecture. I'm just telling you that you should just give up on the Polar app (since other people are saying they can't find the information you want, I'd say it's unlikely that it reports it) and look at your data elsewhere, accept the fact that the numbers WILL be different, and adjust your frame of reference to account for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    By one period, you mean one ride, or by segment?
    I went back to my Polar Flow app and I didn't see an option to even show elevation during a ride. Is it possible the app just doesn't present that information? Like I said, I never noticed, as I use Strava, but does Polar have another app that would give that info, like Polar Beat, or something? Or, is there a third party app that Polar can export to? I know that's the case with Wahoo.....it exports to several other apps.
    Well the Polar Flow app shows ascents and descent per individual ride. Polar flow web page is a bit more in detail, but looks like they don't offer this information. By one period I meant per e.g. one month or one year. I would probably hardly find a serious enduro rider who doesn't care how many descents he made in a season I've been keeping a separate evidence of my descents for years now, calculating individal rides from Polar data. But times have changed and I think these kind of info nowadays should be found by one single click.

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    So far this summer I have 57,274 feet of climbing. 2019 was 167,310. The data goes back to when I started using the app. If you think Strava overstates by an average of 20%, I suppose you could just take 80% of that value and be happy.

    I'm happy with the estimate from the app.
    The important thing to me is my relative stats from month to month and year to year, so the trend is more important than the exact numbers....which aren't exact anyway.

    Strava can be pretty funky, though. On a segment my son and I rode today, we were together the whole time and I showed a minute faster. Maybe it's a Father's Day special!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    So far this summer I have 57,274 feet of climbing. 2019 was 167,310. The data goes back to when I started using the app. If you think Strava overstates by an average of 20%, I suppose you could just take 80% of that value and be happy.

    I'm happy with the estimate from the app.
    The important thing to me is my relative stats from month to month and year to year, so the trend is more important than the exact numbers....which aren't exact anyway.

    Strava can be pretty funky, though. On a segment my son and I rode today, we were together the whole time and I showed a minute faster. Maybe it's a Father's Day special!
    Haha, you made me laugh, mate
    Yes, I think I will go that route. Strava estimate, minus some percentage, I'll figure out how many. And then compare these data. Thanks!

  18. #18
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    Depending on watch/device, Polar is pretty damn accurate, especially models with baro. It's way more accurate then any phone with app, and old Polar's V800 and V650 are still golden standard for GPS accuracy in field of HRMs, so their ascend/descent values are pretty much as close to exact one, as you could come to.
    But anyway... that's not OPs question anyway... In Flow it's pretty easy to get cumulative data across the time. Just go under Reports (top "menu), select training report period (by default it's month, but can be week, month, year or custom)., and below pick sport from drop down menu.
    Under graph you have severa options to pick from. Bar graph has "Ascent and descent", and Line graph has some other features. It's not possible to get distance AND duration AND ascend/descent on same graph, as these are values just under Bar Graph, but it's good enough.
    And diary feature of Polar Flow is light years ahead of Strava, so for such things, I would stick with Flow and never look elsewhere
    Primoz

  19. #19
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by primoz View Post
    Depending on watch/device, Polar is pretty damn accurate, especially models with baro. It's way more accurate then any phone with app, and old Polar's V800 and V650 are still golden standard for GPS accuracy in field of HRMs, so their ascend/descent values are pretty much as close to exact one, as you could come to.
    But anyway... that's not OPs question anyway... In Flow it's pretty easy to get cumulative data across the time. Just go under Reports (top "menu), select training report period (by default it's month, but can be week, month, year or custom)., and below pick sport from drop down menu.
    Under graph you have severa options to pick from. Bar graph has "Ascent and descent", and Line graph has some other features. It's not possible to get distance AND duration AND ascend/descent on same graph, as these are values just under Bar Graph, but it's good enough.
    And diary feature of Polar Flow is light years ahead of Strava, so for such things, I would stick with Flow and never look elsewhere
    This!^^^ This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you so much!

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