OK, I'm writing this in a hot, sweaty and slightly disgruntled state but, what I'd like most from the PM/5 at this moment is for it to work as well as the PM/4!
I received a new machine complete with PM5 just before Christmas. As my new machine is a Dynamic, rather than a Model D, I've been easing my way into it gradually. Anyway, tonight, it was time for me to have a crack at 4x2k with 5' recovery, which, I'm sure, is a staple for most visitors to the C2 Forum.
I did a 10' warm up; programmed the session into my PM5; saved it as a favourite then set off on the first piece.
My 500m pace is currently about 5" slower across the board on the Dynamic, and, as this was my first 2k interval session, at the end of the first piece, I was pleased that I'd managed to do a sensible even pace that I felt I could hold for the remainder of the session. Normally, at the end of each 2k piece, I do a funny rocky back and fore thing for the first 10 or 15 seconds, until I've recovered enough to get everything working again, then start rowing at recovery pace. I do this for about 2'; have a quick drink or whatever then pick up recovery pace of the remainder of the rest period.
So... imagine my shock when, after the obligatory, 10, to 15 seconds, rocky back and fore thing, I opened my eyes to find, that only 30 seconds of recovery time (rather than the expected four and a half minutes) was showing on the monitor!
Normally, I have everything on my log card, so, for any given session, I can usually pick up "one I prepared earlier" from there, but, of course, the PM5, comes with USB, rather than log card, storage (incidentally, the supplied USB flash drive looked pretty but was DOA - I've replaced it with one of my own mini USB flash dries), so I'm having to program everything in from scratch at the moment.
I cancelled the session, and looked at what I'd saved as a favourite on the PM5 and, to my surprise, it showed, "2000m 44" recovery"!. My first thought was "DOH" - like I said, I don't normally enter sessions from scratch, so I thought that I'd made a mistake and pressed the wrong button when I was setting it up.
I did about 3 minutes on "Just Row" then I set up the session again, taking care, this time to enter, 5' recovery. This time, I didn't save it as a favourite, just in case that was what was causing the problem and, after some 4-6 minutes recovery, I was ready to start on the second piece. At the end of the second piece, once again, instead of the expected 5' recovery, the monitor started to countdown: 44, 43, 42, etc. This time, I thought that perhaps something had gone wrong with my monitor and perhaps the "minutes" part of the recovery time display was blank, so I let the monitor countdown to zero, which it did, after precisely 44 seconds.
I am nothing if not patient, so, I programmed in the session again and, after a rest of between 3 and 5 minutes, I started on, what would have been my third piece. However, by now, I was more pre-occupied with what the PM was doing, rather than what I was doing, so, after, a few strokes, I abandoned the session and just rowed the remainder of the 2k out at a gentle pace. This time, I was confused, but not surprised to see the PM once again countdown from 44", rather than the expected 5'.
I was now thinking that there was something a bit wrong with my PM, and, not being used to the PM5, I climbed off the machine and went to the Concept 2 website with the aim of finding out where the reset button was on the monitor. When, I got to the website, I was a more than a little surprised to find, under the "Known Issues" section for the current version of the firmware (v 015), the following comment,
When creating a new interval workout, rest times above 4:15 will not set up the proper amount of rest time, and the rest time will appear as a seemingly random number.
Resolution: We are working on a permanent solution to this issue. In the meantime, avoid programming workouts with rest times above 4:15.
So, 'tis a bug, and a pretty fundamental one too. No doubt the good people of Concept2 will fix this soon but it is a bit worrying that such an obvious bug is there at all. After all, as I mentioned earlier, 4x2k with 5' recovery is a fairly standard workout. At a guess, I'd say that about half of those who have used an erg for serious training would incorporate a session similar to this into their schedule and, since, it's normally very easy and convenient to set up the PM for intervals, most of those who do sessions of this type would do as I did and program it in to their PM. So the presence of this bug begs the question, as to how much beta testing has actually been done with the PM5? Furthermore, what other, more obscure, bugs might be lurking in the background ready to bring my shiny new PM to a grinding halt?
I'm sure that, in time, the bugs will be fixed and I shall be as happy and contented with the PM5 as I was with the PM4, but, what I've said might have some bearing on those considering an upgrade to the PM5, or contemplating whether to buy a new erg with PM5 or opt for a secondhand machine with the PM3 or PM4.