A while back, RideApart’s own Robbie Bacon picked up a Garmin Forerunner to help him on a quest to get better after his cancer diagnosis, as well as better understand what was going on with his body after chemotherapy and while riding motorcycles. He came away with a fascinating set of data points and could track his progress, his down days, and even somewhat predict when he’d feel like hell all through his watch. 

And as he alluded to in his recent post, more stories from his experience are coming soon to these very pages, too. 

But as he was showing me all the data collected through Garmin’s watch and its smartphone app—Garmin Connect—a question sprang forth: What does the entirety of powersports do to a person? 

I love a good rabbit hole. Interesting, weird and wonderful pathways of science, technology and whatever else is hitting those dopamine centers of my brain. I’ve lost days, weeks and months—if not years in the respect toward my archery habit—to threads that I can’t stop pulling. And it’s why my recent music plays look like someone took every artist ever, threw them into a Yahtzee cup, shook it up and let it create a playlist. 

Garmin fenix Pro Sapphire
Garmin fenix Pro Sapphire

And so thanks to Robbie’s saga and constant Slack messages of all the things that his Forerunner could and does do, I developed the idea for this series. 

I’m a somewhat in-shape 37-year-old, heavy emphasis on somewhat. But I do daily hikes with my dog, ride and drive all manner of powersports—hence my title and takeover here—and roughhouse with my kids whenever they decide to pretend they’re John Cena. I’m not some gym rat, nor a MotoGP lightweight. What I am is probably pretty normal for your average powersports lover, and I want to see what each of them do to my body. 

Garmin Screenshot of Snowmobiling

Garmin dropped me a fenix 7 Pro Sapphire Solar, the brands tippy-toppy smartwatch and does everything you could ever think of. It has the standard step counter, calorie counter, altimeter, and workout features, but also pulse oxygen levels, EKG, body battery, sleep score, heart rate variability, stress levels and other sensors and a suite of graphs that show you further breakdowns. 

It also has specific programs for activities like your normal hiking, running and swimming, but also hunting, archery and riding ATVs, motorcycles, and snowmobiles, which help track how you’re burning calories and being active. The watch also pairs with my inReach Mini 2, has in-watch track-back functions and topographic maps, which will make backcountry blasts all the more safe, and a damn flashlight. Hell yeah. 

Garmin fenix Pro Sapphire

But what I aim to get is a raft of data points using Garmin’s Connect app to show what each powersport does to my body and how it relates to my normal day-to-day activities and levels. 


Well, science-adjacent. Right now though, I’m just building out the watch’s baseline health graphs as some points require a couple weeks of data to become accurate. From there, however, I’m planning on doing a story on each powersport discipline I engage in, but acquiring data from multiple sessions of riding to be as accurate as I can. 

I already have a Can-Am Maverick X3 Max in my garage—it’s my current project vehicle that I'll be introducing shortly—and have a new Ski-Doo snowmobile that I just started playing with in the backcountry. The data I've already seen is fascinating, but more on that later.

But motorcycles (separate stories for adventure, sport, cruiser, and dirt bikes are all in the cards), PWCs, hunting use and using motorcycles to access hunting spots, and whatever else comes my way will also make an impression on those graphs, and will deserve a story each. 

Garmin fenix 7
Jonathon hunting
Garmin fenix Pro Sapphire

What’s wild is I’m already seeing some interesting things thanks to the fenix 7 Pro, including how my hikes are affected by the foods I ate beforehand. I didn’t expect that, but it provided an interesting enough aside that I’m going to start also taking notes of the things I eat before I head out on a ride just to see what that does, too.

I've also learned that my heart rate is directly tied to whether or not I'm going to be sick—yay, viral stomach infections. 

But now is the time to tell me what y’all like to see. Is there a specific thing you’d like to know or a metric you’d like to see highlighted? Should I add a few more variables or jot down other things like what sleep cycles or weather do to these metrics? So sound off in the comments below, and let’s get started.

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