5 Random Things I Did This Past Weekend


While I raced the Barcelona Half-Marathon on Sunday, it wasn’t the only thing that we did – either in Barcelona, or the weekend en whole.  Here’s a look back at the weekend, which did not include a Monday holiday like many of you US folks got.

1) We went to Barcelona


We flew down to Barcelona Thursday night to enjoy a bit of the city during our stay there for the marathon.  Not full-on tourist mode, but just relaxed tourist mode.  I had to work much of Friday though (albeit, from my hotel room on conference calls), but by late afternoon we were able to escape and wander across town to packet pickup.


In addition to the running and cycling I’ll talk about in a second, we also enjoyed quite a few bites to eat along the way.  Our favorite meals (we went back again two days later) was from Sensi Bistro, a small tapas place.


Great food, and reasonable prices.  Actually, really cheap prices – at least coming from Paris.  In general, food cost about half of what it does in Paris (from an eating out standpoint).

Perhaps that’s why football club Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich parks his gigantic boat here in the city, to save a couple dollars to pay for the operating costs.  The boat as seen from the hotel, note the size of some of the cars parked near it on the street in front of it:


2) We wandered around a bit via bicycle…and ran along the beach

Saturday brought a nice morning day-before-the-race run.  In my case it was just a 20 minute run building in intensity after the first 10 minutes of warm-up.  The Girl had a similar run.  We simply both started from the hotel and then ran along the beach until turning around roughly just beyond the half-way mark (since we’d run faster coming back at higher intensities).


It was a beautiful sunny day out, closing in on 70°F (21°C), so much so that I’m certainly glad it wasn’t a long run day – or, an interval workout day.

By mid-afternoon there would be plenty of people sunbathing on the beach.  Fairly impressive for mid-February.


After lunch we headed out to enjoy a bit of a ride around town.  Nothing too hard, more of a wander.  We rented bikes for about 10 euros and then easy pedaled around aimlessly at speeds probably slower than a light jog.


Eventually we hit up a small chocolate shop recommended by a reader on Twitter (thanks Oscar!) for their hot chocolate.

It was awesome.  In this case, more of a hot chocolate pudding than a drinkable drink:


As one might expect, it was incredibly dark and rich, and I was definitely wide-awake for a few hours after that.

3) I went for a swim.  It was miserably cold.

Post race on Sunday afternoon I thought it might be a good idea to go for a swim.  After all, we’d seen numerous people out in the water over the previous few days, many sans wetsuits.  And an even higher number sans any clothes at all.  Thus, how bad could it really be with a wetsuit?


Answer: Really damn cold.

Water temperature was about 60°F, or 15°C.

Which, is really much colder than I prefer it to be.  Not as cold as the coldest I’ve swam in a race, nor the coldest I’ve swam outside a race for training, nor the coldest I’ve ever gotten myself into.  But, still cold.

That said, after 1-2 minutes of murmured bubble swearing while swimming, it wasn’t too bad.  I just paralleled the beach for about half a mile then came in.  Nothing too long or special.  The only bummer was in my packing fury I forgot my little swim buoy.  Fear not, The Girl stood on shore and walked along watching (and mostly laughing).


4) I unboxed the LeMond Wattbox…and put it together


In the ‘new things’ department, the LeMond Wattbox came in.  This unit affixes to the existing LeMond Revolution Trainers to provide an ANT+ stream of your speed and power data, which you can connect to any ANT+ device.  This is different from the past which required the PowerPilot to get power data.  Now, I can simply connect it up to a Garmin Edge unit (or any cycling computer that supports the ANT+ power meter profile).


Inside the box there’s simply the Wattbox itself, a couple of screws and a tool to tighten them, and then two batteries and some silly-simple instructions.  Pretty straight forward.

I got it all hooked up in about 38 seconds:



I haven’t had the time yet to run it through a long trainer workout, just enough between a few other tests I’m wrapping up (mainly the Elite Muin Trainer), but I did run one quick five-minute test against the Quarq Elsa and Stages PM.  Below, that comparison chart:


There’s a few things of note.  First is that the Wattbox currently requires an ANT+ cadence-only sensor, and isn’t compatible with the near-ubiquitous speed/cadence sensors.  Without the cadence sensor it won’t know when you’ve stopped pedaling, thus, it doesn’t correlate that against the power data and simply looks at the speed power curve.  In my test above, I simply never stopped pedaling until the very end – which you can see that gentle slope down on the orange line.

In looking at the above data, it looks like there’s a fair bit of smoothing going on, given some of my short spurts easily show up with the Stages and Quarq, but are barely blips on the Wattbox.  I zapped some readings at the very end, as it was showing a few erroneous 20K wattage readings, so you see gaps there.

Interesting stuff.  More to play, and more to come here on this.

5) Ok, more gadgets: The DJI Phantom 2 for action cameras


I few weeks ago I made mention of the DJI Phantom 2, which has drawn my attention for a few reasons.  First, I love little RC aircraft.  I grew up flying RC planes and gliders, and have wanted to get back at it (it’s been a few years).  I had picked up the Parrot AR Drone last summer, but ultimately the image quality on the unit just left too much lacking.

The second (and primary) reason I picked it up was that it has a mount that’s designed for the GoPro and able to capture high quality aerial imagery.  Imagery I’d be able to include in action cam reviews – partly because I find it interesting, and partly because I’ve gotten requests from folks on this area.  I don’t have any plans at the moment to review these units themselves (the copters), rather, just to use them in other reviews.

In any case, the unit came late last week and I spent a bit of time Sunday and Monday poking at it.  The quadcopter itself is silly simple to assemple, taking just a few seconds.


The mount (gimbal) however…not so much.  Actually, it really is simple – it’s just the instructions are poor.  Specifically, the part where they ask you to insert a screw through a piece that you fundamentally can’t insert through, unless you remove a different piece.

In some ways, you see little bits here and there in both their site and the product where the company has gone from nobody to a major player in the space almost overnight.  Thus, while many things look professional, there are little areas that the light shines through.


Nonetheless, once you take apart some of the parts then you can get the magical screws where they are supposed to go.  As you can see below, this is for the GoPro units, with the GoPro mount connector seen to the right.


Ultimately, I’d like to look at other mounts (ideally a standard tripod one) to allow connectivity to other cameras (namely, the rest of them on the market).  But, that’s a different thing for a different day.

First flight won’t be till this weekend – simply because I’m travelling for a few days and that’s the first time I’ll have a moment to spare.

With that…onto a 11PM conference call I go!  Fun times.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Anders

    I noticed that you mentioned the Mio Link in a recent post. Are you doing testing on that at this moment? Just like many other folks, I’m very interested to read your numbers regarding real-world battery life for it.

    • I continue to test it, mostly at the moment focused on the accuracy side. I’ll take a look at the battery side once they get final production units in for me to poke at.

    • Anders

      Cool! Looking forward for the upcoming review!

  2. Simon

    Really like the look of that quadcopter. Been thinking of getting one so I’d be interested in how you get on.

  3. falconeye

    Hi, congrats to the Phantom. You will have a lot of fun and nice videos and photos.
    Here are two videos showing to install the gimbal. It’s not so difficult. Mainly six screws.
    I could bring it to work too 😉
    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com
    The second is in german but you can clearly see what to do.
    One important tip. Never power on the phantom without the camera mounted.
    This could destroy the motors of the gimbal. You should disconnect the grey cable first when you want to fly without the go pro.


  4. Dave

    Such a cool weekend!
    Awesome you got a quadcopter! Can’t wait to see footage! (would be cool if you posted a link in twitter)
    It’s not that tricky and the gimbal would help for awesome shots,
    but yes the idea of a tripod mout for testing is the best, but you would need to superglueit or screw it well…

  5. That reminds me, I should pack. Sticking around for MWC?

    • Yup. Well, sorta. I’ve already been back home, and now in Germany. But yup, by time Sunday rolls around I’ll be back in Barcelona very late that night and there Monday and till mid-Tuesday.

  6. Mark

    I was going to ask about mounting the Virb camera on the DJI Phantom, but I did a little searching and found that it evidently does work. Here’s an .
    Interesting to see the altitude and flight path overlays.

  7. Casey Manion

    link to sellout.woot.com has the “DJI Phantom UAV Drone Quadcopter – V1.1.1” for $399.99 – today only

    Here’s the permalink to it: link to sellout.woot.com

  8. David Stankard

    Is it just me, or does the LeMond Wattbox look like a tiny Darth Vader helmet?

  9. tommies

    May be you could have problems with your quadcopter in France.

    read this : He filmed with Nancy drone justice pursues him mayor job offer

    link to translate.google.fr

    • Yeah, been watching some of it, but also reached out to some various French folks on the subject. There are more rules than in the US, but they are actually fairly common-sense rules for non-professional endeavors (not selling footage).

    • Mark

      Here’s another one in today’s news link to m.thelocal.fr

    • frank d

      Holy smokes!
      I just looked at that, even for private hobby use, you’d have get a pilot’s license and do all that other documentation with training certificates, repair manual, maintenance record, …
      Gee …

  10. Chris

    Here is an upgrade from the DJI Phantom… link to copterkidsllc.com These guys shoot some incredible footage!

    • An upgrade? That’s a full on commercial aircraft! I’d expect to get frequent flyer miles!

  11. Ian Mostyn

    15c for a swim sounds about perfect to me. In the sunny north of England we didn’t reach 10c until June and my warmest swim was only 17c (and I was overheating at that). None of my races were over 15c but if you want to enjoy swimming openwater this far north you have to get cold adapted.

    • Anders Majland

      I was in Barcelona a few days in the middle of January. Didn’t have my wetsuit with me (or even swimming trunks) so was only in for a bath and not a swim. Would have loved a few km along the beach.

  12. John B

    What are the chances the LeMond Watt Box will be compatible with my RevMaster Pro?


  13. Joan

    Will you have time to do a “meet and run” with your Barcelona readers when you come again? We could hit

    • Potentially, I’m still sorting out my exact schedule a bit. Conferences like MWC are tough because generally I walk around all day, and then write non-stop till 2-3 in the morning. :-/ A morning workout might be possible, but I’ve gotta do at least one, if not two swims (openwater) for testing then.

  14. Rudy

    Ray, that’s hot chocolate the way it’s meant to be.
    Not so common these days.

  15. Raymond Wright

    I got the Watt Box a couple of weeks ago and promptly stripped the threads out on the Revolution. Fixed with Duct Tape. Only a couple of rides so far and no comparison (getting the Vector this week), but I did see the spikes like you did. I ended up getting a Bontrager cadence only sensor. Works fine. Nice to finally have speed and power on the revolution.

    • Victor

      I just got my Watt Box and stripped the threads as well. Must be a design fault with the metal being way too soft.

  16. Martin Gibson

    I recognise that ‘view from the hotel’ – it’s the W I believe? Setting off for an easy 10k along the beach tomorrow morning. Will start from the lobby at 6am if you’re up for it. Look out for the red “tri bristol” t-shirt & green shoes.

    • Yup indeed. Wish I was staying there this week (again), but unfortunately by time I got around to booking, rooms were nearly $2K…a night! Crazy talk!

      Would love to join you, but i’ll likely still be sleeping, since that’s just 3.5hrs from now. Eek. :(

  17. Fabio M.

    Hi Ray, sorry for this late question: i’m going to buy the wattbox because i really hate the powerpilot but i love the revolution. maybe during this year a firmware update or something similar has improved its precision. i’m a bit worried about this but i don’t know if this ‘smoothing’ is present even in the power pilot. have u ever tested it?


  18. Fabio Mussi

    hi ray, have u any update about the wattbox? i’m going to buy one here in italy but in the f.a.q. section in the offical site they write about a second version that could be updated with wireless connection. but it’s only a ‘future version’ and the faq document is old.

  19. Fabio Mussi

    thx Ray.

    so, in your opinion, with a lemond revolution trainer (that i love) the watt box could be a good choice?

    i’ve the lemond power pilot but its software is horrible. export a workout to strava/garmin/training peaks requires a 5 step procedure and a lot of patience and it has no lap function… but the precision with watts is good for me. with the wattbox the precison should remain the same..or i’m wrong?

    thank you for the support

    • It’s a so-so choice, but more importantly, it’s not really bad anymore I don’t believe (or certainly isn’t updated).

      I’d agree that your options are kinda limited at this point unfortunately.

  20. Anna Pelesikoti

    Hey! I was just reading about the wattbox on the lemond website. Have you done any further testing on it? I don’t have a power meter (and I’m kinda broke) so keen to understand if you think it is worth it (as I already own a lemond). Thank you!