Another case whereby one should never ASSume. In retrospect, while the bottom line may have turned out the same, I failed to completely explore all possible scenarios. This post is about why I have a new HRM (and my third strap). Chronologically in order:
On June 23rd I did a thirty-mile loop, and the HRM performed perfectly, as it has for several years, after I had managed to lose my first one (following Garmin suggestion of removing the HRM from the strap so as to save battery power, I think I dropped it in a parking lot. Anyway, that's another story, but I no longer separate the two unless washing the strap).
On June 29 I started out on the first 3-gap loop in Georgia and immediately noticed the lack of heart-rate showing on the computer. I re-wet the connections but nothing happened. Not to worry, I always take it easy on the first ride in the mountains. Ride finished and body showered, I calmly sat down with a glass of red to contemplate what to do next. More fiddling with the computer and strap netted zero changes. I still had cadence, distance, grades, etc. so my focus was on the HRM. Garmin suggests a maximum of 4.5 years at one hour a day average. I do at least twice that, so determined that a new battery would fix the deficiency. The nearest store is down the mountain, a half hour away. Besides, look at those teeny-tiny Phillips screws on the HRM. I needed a tool to even consider replacement. My ever-resourceful wife managed to produce (after going down to Dahlonega the next day) batteries and tool (not a Phillips, but a small eyeglass screwdriver).
I did the three-gap ride in the opposite direction, showered, and sat down with a glass of red (my daughter-in-law supplied me with four bottles, so just about every sitting down included a glass) to replace the dead battery. Didn't happen. Those screws were in so tight, I didn't have the strength to turn that really, really thin screwdriver. Ever resourceful wife called equally resourceful daughter (who was arriving the next day) to include a pair of pliers (remember, we are in a cabin in the mountains, on holiday).
July 1, another three gaps without a heart-rate read-out. But to shorten the story, I got the screws out, installed the new battery, replaced the cover, and put on the strap. Nothing happened. No, I put the battery right-side up. Nothing happened. I was doing well climbing the gaps, including the obnoxious Hog Pen, and even tackled Brasstown Bald for the first time in five years. But I had no heart-rate data.
When I got home, I Googled the problem and saw some suggestions. But in replacing the HRM cover, I apparently was too enthusiastic in making sure it was water-tight. Two screws wouldn't budge. Damn. Time to call in some experts.
July 17, after the BSS Sunday ride, I discussed my options with Todd (ride leader). His experience was they (HRMs) just stop, and suggested a new one. Well, I was already 80% leaning toward that, so I ordered a new one (I love BSS, but their price was $20 higher than Amazon).
July 23, with new HRM and "improved" strap in place, I attempted to "pair" the computer. It didn't "pair." I pulled up the instructions on-line, just in case I wasn't doing it right. Nope, it just didn't recognize the HRM. Pook! Ding-fu!! The July 24 ride in the hills done without HR data.
July 25, today, I took the time-trial bike out to Old Settlers Park. Since my fit on the road bike raised my saddle over an inch, I raised the tt saddle also and wanted to see how that worked. On a whim, I took the HRM. To my surprise, when I switched over to Bike 2, HRM sensor was detected! I had good data for the whole work-out. Back home, I switched to Bike 1, and lost HR read-out.
A head-scratcher. Again I attempted to "pair" the HRM in Bike 1 mode. Nothing. Switch to Bike 2, a good read-out. Switch to Bike 1, nothing. Switch to Bike 2- read-out. Switch to Bike 1- read-out.
I stopped trying to understand computers a long time ago. And I won't dwell on the possibility I didn't need a new HRM. I'll wait to see what I get tomorrow.