Some of you know I am using a Garmin for my tracking my cycles. I think it's one of the greatest training aids there is (apart from your bike of course), especially if you are a bit of a geek and like analyzing your rides afterwards or compare them with rides you've done before.
I used to have a Garmin Edge 305, but recently upgraded to a Garmin Edge 705. The 705 has a bigger screen, longer battery live, colour, a very useful joystick and better zoom in and out functions and full mapping. It also integrates with wireless power meters, which is important for Ryan.
The thing that I really find useful, however, is the new mapping feature. Especially since we are here in Gran Canaria, where we didn't know any of the roads, it has come in very useful. The other really cool thing is to be able to download pre-defined routes onto the Garmin and then just follow these with your virtual training partner. You will never need a cumbersome foldable paper map any more!
The software I'm using to create my cycles beforehand is the Route Creator on Bike Route Toaster. It's free and really simple to use and when you create your routes it even calculates the ascent data for you and shows the elevation profile. You will also need to install the Garmin Communicator plugin on your computer to be able to upload courses to the Garmin. Then you just need to export the file to your Garmin.
And if it turns out you overestimated your strength a little bit and want to cut your route short, you can use the "find back to start" function on the Garmin to find the fastest way back to your start location. You can of course purchase maps from Garmin, which are of pretty good quality, but there's also loads of free maps available online which are really useful.