Finally summer! A look at my brick-taper weekend.

It’s been a nice relaxing summer weekend back at home in Paris – the weather seems to be largely pleasant, versus the normal cold and rainy.  For example, Thursday night we went out walking along the Seine and it was absolutely perfect.  Aside from the 100m dash, we also took part in rock-wall climbing of sorts.  More like a vertical obstacle course.

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Thursday night I had gone to the pool as well, where I continue to get reminded that posted times really mean nothing here.  It seems sometimes they just split the difference between the two pool schedules.  But, I got the bulk of my workout in, so it’s better than nothing.

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Nonetheless, after the session ended and everyone got kicked out, I did get to watch these folks wander up and down the lanes quietly.

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Skipping ahead to Friday and Sunday, both were bricks.  I’m heading into a bit of a taper week, with the Olympic distance triathlon next week up in the UK (Stowe Triathlon).  I just signed up a short bit ago.  I’d been trying to decide which race to do, and after a lot of going back and forth, this ultimately was one of the easier ones to get to logistically as well as having a more scenic course.  I’ve still got some minor details to work out (like getting from the London Eurostar station to the race itself), but that’s what this week is for.

On a non-sports front, a new little camera I ordered arrived.  I had seen some posts that the Canon EOS-M (mirrorless small DSLR-style camera) had been reduced in price at Fry’s (in the US) to $349.  And I knew that Best Buy would match it, and then ship it for free to me (well, my US forwarding address).  So I did all that.

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I’d been eyeing this camera for a long while, primarily to use while on trips in place of having to take my full blown DSLR camera.  I normally use the 7D DSLR camera for all product review shots (except while cycling or running), but taking it with me weekly on trips adds a fair bit of weight.  I still of course use my small little red camera (the Panasonic Lumix) which is waterproof and semi drop-resistant – but those are really just for bike/run.  To put in perspective just how small the EOS-M is, see below:

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(Not so great cell-phone photo above, sorta ran out of charged cameras to take a photo of cameras)

As I said, I’d been watching this camera for a while, but reviews hadn’t been good, primarily around auto-focus speeds being slow.  But early last week some video of a new firmware update slipped out that showed solid improvements, so I bit the bullet.  By time Friday evening came along, the new firmware update was out.  Thus far, I’m pretty thrilled with the results of the camera, especially for that particular price.  In fact, every photo in this post except the ones down below while on the run, were taken with the EOS-M.  Can’t really complain there.

Back to training…

Looking at my Sunday brick, it was similar in overall duration (just under 2 hours), except this time there was a more even blend of bike (55 minutes) and run (45 minutes).  Start off with, the bike:

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It would begin as a 10 minute warm-up before heading into a 20 minute build.  Once that was complete I’d have two minutes of rest before doing a threshold 20-minute set, then from there a couple minutes easy before going out onto the run.

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I had bought a pair of Bluetooth headphones for use on the trainer back a number of weeks ago, and they finally worked there way over here last week.  Thus far, for the price, I’m pretty happy with them ($30).  I’d been using wired headphones until now, but the challenge was often that if I sat up, it would potentially pull over the iPad that I was watching TV on.  Not ideal.

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Speaking of non-ideal, note the power indicator at the top?  Well, I sorta did too.  So I plugged my iPad into my computer nearby, which of course doesn’t give it enough juice to charge, but usually keeps it constant.  Turns out, not so much.  Why is that a problem you ask?  Well, because it was naturally controlling the Wahoo KICKR.  So when the iPad shut-off, I was without the ability to control things.  Quite a sad panda moment.  I frantically ran around trying to figure out where the right iPad charging adapter was – finally finding it.

Thus, back in business.

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Also of note in the ‘things that didn’t go well’ department, my beloved bike pump broke.  And did so in a manner that totally hosed me for outdoor riding as well.  The inside cylinder broke apart as I was pumping my tire.  In doing so, all air pressure departed said tire.  Thus leaving me without a rear tire.  Further compounding this issue is that our other bike pump was apparently permanently borrowed and/or thrown away from where we stash our commuter bikes.  And then, adding injury to insult, our attempts to get a new pump on Saturday were thwarted because the bike shop was closed due to being on a protest route.

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I’ll miss this particular pump (I’ve poked at trying to fix it, but it won’t quite go back together), especially since it’s gone along for a number of trips with me, and easily works with my different wheelsets.

On the bright side, despite all these challenges I was able to complete the bike portion of the brick, and thus found myself ready to start the run.  The run would begin with a short 5 minute build, before starting two intervals.  Each interval would be just about 10 minutes in length, at a 10K race pace.

I made a wide loop along the river, first heading past the edge of Bastille.  As I connected back with the lower docks, I found plenty of folks out sunbathing:

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From there it was onto the river road, which is closed for Sundays to allow folks to get out and enjoy it.

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I’d make it just to the edge of the long tunnel, before turning back around again and heading back home.  Well, actually to the CupCakery to check in on The Girl.  Plus, she always has ice-cold water waiting for me. :)

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The paces weren’t quite as good as my Thursday night brick, but the weather was much warmer than the very cool Thursday night run.  Plus, I’d put in more time on the bike during this brick than that one.  No worries, paces on Thursday were looking quite good for next weekend.

Upon finally getting home I whipped up a quick smoothie in the blender and then made a grilled cheese.

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This put me right in time to catch the Tour de France Stage 2 finish.

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I will say, the whole concept of featuring Corsica for the opening stages was brilliant from a tourism standpoint.  There’s no doubt that the island is solidified on our list of places to go (though, it’s a much easier two-hour flight for us than most of you).

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With workouts complete, The Girl and I headed on out to enjoy a long walk around Paris.  Given the nice weather, it’s great to get out and see more of the city at night – especially with it being light out till near 11PM.  Here’s a few pictures from along the way (and for the photogs in the group, these were all hand-held).

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Thanks for reading!  Oh, and swing back around later today…

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32 Comments

  1. Boekenbon

    Nice artikel DC! And yes: It is finally summer in Europe!

    Reply
  2. Alex

    Hey Ray,

    Interested to here how happy and satisfied you will be with the EOS. One question what brand is you fan. Thanks alex

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’ve used Canon DSLR cameras for some years. For DSLR/High end cameras, I love the Canon lineup. For smaller cameras (outside of the EOS-M), I prefer other brands like the Panasonic Lumix.

      Reply
  3. David

    A good place to start for european train travel (which might help getting to Stowe) is link to seat61.com

    Reply
  4. Ronald Meier

    Ray, what software are you using in combination with Kickr to do your sessions: TrainerRoad, PerfPro or something else?

    Reply
  5. Ben

    Huh is that where a heart monitor goes? Ha

    Reply
  6. Bert

    I did the GR20 in Corsica last year… Great experience! Some parts of it are perfect for a trail run. And based on what I saw, some awesome road/mountain biking can also be had down there. :-)

    Reply
  7. Ray, always enjoy the life/training posts. Did you pick up a link to dcrainmaker.com different podium kit just in case you place well for your age group?

    Reply
  8. Corey Morreale

    what fan do you use?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I got it at Target in the fall a number of years ago when they were clearancing fans. I probably paid no more than $20 for it. It’s funny though, in looking at the unit online, it’s a $109 fan! Holy cowbells! link to amazon.com

      Reply
  9. Eli

    I think most would call that bouldering. (the rock climbing)

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      True, but I wasn’t sure if you still called it that when you only went 4′ up in the air. ;)

      Reply
  10. Steve Knapp

    I’d bet those headphones would be HOT, no?

    I’ve been happy with these: link to amazon.com

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I had wondered if they would be as well, but I’ve been surprised and they haven’t been. They’re incredibly lightweight (way more than I expected).

      Given I have no A/C in my place, and it’s a bit warm these days, and I hate warm trainer rides, they’d get chucked out the window if they were too warm.

      (Interesting side note: Almost every Parisian runner you’ll see will wear headphones like this – even the much bigger ones. Astounds me.)

      Reply
  11. Jamie

    You’re costing me a fortune!!! That EOS-M is a good deal :D

    Reply
  12. Iain

    First nice post and pics! On the bike pump if its done, check out a Lezyne – you’ll have a new favorite!

    Reply
  13. OperationOne

    EOS-M is a very good choice considering what you’re photographing, it is light and handy, and has a very high quality output files (RAW is really very good, at medium/high ISO too). as a long time Canon user (1DIII, 5DII, 30D and a bunch of lenses) i have tested (a 3 day long Canon Italy test “on the road”) this camera too, but slow autofocus with older firmware was a critical issue in some conditions (e.g. some street photo session). now i have to find another EOS-M to test the new firmware ;) :)

    Reply
    • OperationOne replied

      ps: +1 for 22mm f/2, its 35mm equivalent focal lenght is simply amazing (my 35mm f/1.4 is …locked on 5DII here :D ).

      Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Yeah, it’s definitely faster, but I wouldn’t use it to take photos on the road next to the TdF this year (though, I’ll give it a shot). For that I’ll stick with the 7D.

      Reply
  14. Dan K

    Hi, see you wearing your HRM high on the chest – why ? does it work better / feel better ? do you do the same when out running etc ?

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      I generally prefer it higher. It allows me to wear it a tiny bit looser (less restrictive) and still stay on. Also, in this case, there’s actually two straps there. ;)

      Reply
  15. andrew

    love the handheld shots at the end…

    Reply
  16. Rob

    Ray,

    Your best bet for getting to Stowe from St Pancras International (where the Eurostar terminates) is to walk (or cycle?) to London Euston station (about 0.5mi) then take the train from there to Milton Keynes Central (about 30min). From there, a taxi will take about half an hour or there are buses, but that may involve several connections… Perhaps you can reach out to Team MK (link to teammk.com) to see if anyone can give you a lift? Triathletes are nice like that.

    Reply
  17. Ryan M

    Ray –

    Have you had any problems with ANT+ data dropouts and the Kinivo headphones? I ordered them after seeing them in your post and tried them this morning on a trainer ride. Wifi on my iPad was oddly slow streaming video and I’d look down at my 910XT and see no figures for speed, cadence or HR.

    I turned off the headphones and everything instantly came right back. I think bluetooth, ANT and wifi all runs @ 2.4Ghz so interference was the only thing I could think of as the issue.

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      No, none yet.

      Out of curiosity, how close was the 910XT to the iPad? And, if you were to draw a line between the iPad and the the WiFi access point, was the FR910XT in the middle of that, or ‘outside’ of that line?

      Reply
    • Ryan M replied

      The 910XT was probably ~18″ directly in front of the iPad on my handlebars.

      The 910XT was definitely outside a direct line between the iPad and the access point (access point was 1 floor above).

      I’ll play around with the placement of the iPad and see if it helps. Thanks for the reply!

      Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      In case you’re curious, my iPad is just hovering over the edge of the right aerobar, the Edge units are on my aerobars, and the WiFi AP is at my 5PM (if on a bike). Obviously, the headphones are on my head. :)

      Reply
  18. mjlamora

    Off topic, but hopefully the folks in the room will humor me.

    I’m Joe Average photographer: family shots, kid sport shots, vacation pics – and have long contemplated dipping into the dSLR world. This EOS-M is the closest I’ve seen to balancing my usage with a not-too-huge dent to my budget. I’m a high-variety user that is unlikely to buy additional lenses any time soon.

    Ray went with the fixed 22mm, but the 18-55mm is also offered. I like how compact the 22mm is, but am concerned that I’ll miss the functionality offered by the 18-55.

    Who among us can peer into the future and predict my happiness with either lens? Thanks in advanced for your efforts.

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Here’s my thinking – for family shots/kids/etc, go with the 18-55. The reason is that you’ll be on the move a lot, and having to move yourself with the 22mm (as opposed to just zooming with the 18-55), might have you miss out on pics.

      I did find today at the TdF that the autofocus simply wasn’t fast enough for TT-photos, whereas on the 7D it was perfect. This was with the Canon EF adapter and a higher end 70-200 lens, most of the shots I just couldn’t get focus fast enough with a 30MPH rider coming towards me on the EOS-M.

      Also, note that B&H has them now down to $299. Dang!

      Reply

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