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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Welcome to May!  And with that, the five random things I did this weekend to kickoff the month.

1) Unboxing 38 pounds of heavy duty stuff

I shared the below photo on Twitter on Friday, of a new system that’s going to help me hold manufacturers accountable for some of the claims they made – a bit more Mythbusters style.  The system is comprised of four components and was custom made over the past three months.  It’s controlled entirely by a computer (thus 5 components I suppose)…and is pretty darn awesome.  I’ll give another hint at what it might be later this week.  But for now I’ll let you ponder the below.

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2) A 20-mile run, toying with more TICKR RUN and Polar V800 goodness

Another weekend, another long run.  I really need to start coming up with some ‘new’ long run routes.  I was on a roll for a while, but ended up defaulting this weekend back to just running to Versailles.  In doing so, I’d first have to dodge the throngs of people out enjoying the beautiful weather along Les Berges.

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A few miles later I was mostly clear of people, and after a couple miles and about 700ft of climbing I was out in the forest just cruising along.  This gave me plenty of time to toy around with the running smoothness and efficiency features of the Wahoo TICKR Run HR strap.  It was easy here because it’s closed to cars and as you can see, virtually nobody around.  Plus with little ups and downs I was able to get a clear understanding of how those affected the numbers. Ultimately I’d stash back away the phone once I had a ton of photos/screenshots, but I never stop during these runs. I just keep on TICK’ing…

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I’ve also increased my usage of the V800 in recent weeks as Polar in turn provides more frequent and more and more final-looking firmware.  Thus all hopefully leading to a full review later in the month, pending them finalizing stuff.  Below, while running on flat ground (hence the incline metrics being null).

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I did eventually make it to Versailles, and headed out into the gardens behind it.  I stumbled on a wedding while out there.  And, unlike most wedding photos I see in the city in front of the house, this one was actually legit.

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The easiest way to tell a legit wedding vs a photo-op is whether or not people have other wedding party members.  If there’s nobody else, then it’s likely just a photo-op.  As I’ve talked about in the past, it’s incredibly popular for newly married couples to travel throughout Europe and go to a bunch of major cities and get photos taken with rented dresses/tuxes.  On average, I see probably 3-6 couples out our window.  I can pretty much name off the dresses and photogs by now.

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It’s also not as well known that it’s virtually impossible to get married in Paris unless you actually live in Paris (or, are willing to spend a fair bit of time here pre-wedding).  Thus, there’s no ‘destination weddings’ in Paris, unless it’s more for show than actual marriage ceremony.

In any case, with them behind me I kept wandering into parts of the massive estate that I hadn’t seen before.  Even some farmland back there.

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I’d eventually finish up in the town center, where I usually do.  There were a bunch of these ads around.  By the end of the rather hilly run…I felt just like Prince William looked below.

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Thankfully, I had only to get on a train to go home, being a one-way run and all.  Too bad I didn’t pay more attention to the station managers telling folks to simply get on the train sans-ticket.  Sigh.

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3) Unboxed: Sony AS-100 Action Cam, Drift Ghost-S Action Cam, K-Edge Garmin Edge 1000 mount

While I was spending some time at Clever Training a few weeks ago, I went ‘shopping’ in the warehouse.  About the only thing I brought back was the Sony AS-100 Action Cam.  It’s simply the newest version of the past edition I’ve been using over the past few months on and off.  I’m working on a spring Action Cam recommendations round-up, and wanted to have a chance to see what’s changed firsthand.

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At the same time, I also went ahead and ordered one of the newer Drift Ghost-S units, since a few of you have asked about it.  I’ll give them credit for their box design.  Every single thingy has its own little compartment slot that snuggly holds it.

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That box above contains all of the contents below.

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I’ll be playing with it a bit more over the next few weeks to see how well it works, and how it fits into the landscape.  My current plan is more of an Action Cam roundup with my thoughts on each of the major players in the market.  Detaiing out what each ones does well (hardware/software/quality/functionality/etc..).  Rather than trying to do individual full in-depth reviews of them all.

Lastly, the K-Edge Garmin Edge 1000 mount came in.  This mount is slightly longer than past mounts, accommodating the Edge 1000.

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It had perfect timing, since I hope to see a unit to start poking at later this week (retail availability is still slated for early June however).

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4) A few hour ride

Sunday I headed out for a bit of a ride.  I’ve been playing with the Garmin Touring a bit lately on some of these rides – just using it for the navigation piece really.  I’ve never actually done a review of the unit, though I understand it well.

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I had no problems with it navigating me on my giant lollipop of a course, including when I specifically went off-course for a few blocks at a time, it figured itself out without my needing to tell it otherwise.  It doesn’t however like European roundabouts.  There wasn’t a single roundabout on my route (no matter how small/non-existant or massive) that it didn’t get upset at and warn me about being off-course.  Though, by time I exited the roundabout it was happy again.

My favorite portion of this particular 40-mile route is a section that cuts across large fields usually full of flowers.  It tends to be super-quiet, often with only a couple cyclists.  A portion of this area was used in past Tour’s, so there’s sometimes some markings on the ground in July ahead of the Tour and the final stage.  And since it’s pancake flat with so little road traffic it is a bit more fun to just hunker down in aero position and grind-on.

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However, I found another reason it’s one of my favorite sections.  And that would be that out in the field there was a photo-shoot going on.  And the model was mostly definitely going for no tan-lines.  My route actually kinda came around from their side and by time I got my camera out at 20MPH and made the turn I was a bit far away.  I was tempted to go back for a photo, but was on a long stretch of even sustained power for some power meter tests I was doing and didn’t want to hose it up.  Thus, I took one for the team.  You can thank me later.

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Don’t worry though, I’ll give you Lui instead.  It’s covers adorn most of the tourist buses here in Paris, and is sorta a French version of Playboy.  Fear not, the below image doesn’t show anything of Rihanna as the text is over the essential parts.  Though, only on buses (newsstand’s billboards are not covered) and actually not all the time on buses either.  It’s somewhat funny when I’m doing action camera tests on the bike and get stuck behind the buses.  I often wonder whether or not people would pick up on it in videos (queue all of you rushing to past action cam videos…).

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5) A dinner picnic in the gardens

After a day of riding The Girl and I headed out around town to have a dinner/picnic.  This time we selected the Tuileries Gardens, which affront the Louvre.  That’s the Eiffel Tower out in the distance, about 1.5 miles away.

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We found a spot between a few statues and then watched the sunset with some homemade goodness.

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A perfect way to end the weekend!  Tomorrow it’s off to the rather warm Dubai for a few days this week (was 101°F today…eek!).

So with that – thanks for reading all!

36 Comments

  1. Julien

    If you are in Dubai, there are really nice cycling group rides organized. Also, there are shop renting road bike since I suspect you wouldn't have your gear ;)

    Just give me a shout.

    Reply
  2. Stuart

    If you fancy a traffic-free ride (and/or a run) in Dubai on Wednesday evening you should head up to the Autodrome. You can rent a bike there also. Use of the Autodrome itself is free from 6pm to 9pm, and there will be plenty of folk there (ranging from keen roadies and triathletes to parents with young kids). Room enough for all.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      That's really cool...and very tempting. Would also allow me to do some fun action camera testing (I assume standard road bikes)?

      How far would that be from the Dubai Creek area?

      Reply
    • Julien replied

      Probably 20 to 30 mins taxi ride, depending on traffic (which in Dubai can fluctuate quite a lot).

      There are also other training happening (swimming and running). You can check the Tri-Dubai group website for the schedule.

      Reply
    • Stuart replied

      Speak to the guys at Revolution Bikes (+971 4 369 7441) re bike hire. I believe that they are only renting road bikes (ie not mountain or tri bikes). You can use their bikes on the Autodrome or elsewhere (such as the nearby 85km Al Qudra bike track through the desert).

      Reply
  3. Stefan R.

    I am in Dubai today, no worries It is dry warmth, very clear skies, not too bad. Hope it will be like this all week.

    Reply
  4. Alex m

    Power meter accuracy Test? Here's Hoping!

    Reply
  5. scott buchanan

    Hey,
    You mention using your Garmin Edge Touring. At the time of its release there were a number of 'new' features that it was said (if I remember correctly) were to be ported to other units. The one I've been really wanting is the Creation of impromptu round trip routes. Much as I've tried to find out if the 810 will get this I've drawn a blank would you happen to know if this is still on? With the announcement of the Edge 1000 and Garmin's seeming reputation for 'forgetting' previous models I'm seriously thinking of getting the Touring just to get access to this feature if its not an 810 upgrade.

    My sister after living in Paris for 5 years got married to her French Canadian boyfriend at the Mairie (Town Hall). After most of the ceremony had been completed a box came around which we got told was for "donations" to the official (Mayor?) conducting the wedding. Everyone looked at each other in horror thinking how vulgar. Anyway one of the English speaking workers said that as foreigners we wouldn't be expected to offer anything. The Mayor looked decidedly pee'd off at the meagre offering..... eeeek.
    Anyway reception was at the Le Train Bleu in the Gare du Lyon..... well worth a visit for not only the food but jaw dropping opulence of the dining room.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      They talked about the potential for it, but never really committed there. With the Edge 1000 getting the impromptu routing, I think that's a bit of the nail in the coffin for the Edge 810 not getting it. Simply because between that and the handful of other things that they are considering (Segments, Di2), there'd be little reason at this point to purchase the Edge 1000 otherwise.

      That's pretty funny on the donation box. As for Le Train Bleu, yup - have heard quite about it, and always see it when passing through coming off the TGV. Though, haven't stopped in yet.

      Reply
    • Scott Buchanan replied

      Have to say I'm truly miffed at that... yes I can see the logic but makes me and no doubt others feel as if they've got our money so tuff luck. And to top it off the 810 hasn't been exactly been trouble free :(

      Reply
  6. Efraim Shaw

    The easiest way to tell a legit wedding vs a photo-op is "weather" or not people have other wedding party members. If there’s nobody else, then it’s likely just a photo-op.

    Whether

    Reply
  7. Your weekend sounds busy and amazing! I have no idea what that "38 pounds of heavy duty stuff" could be aside from a rainbow heavyweight wrestling champion belt, but something tells me, that's not it. Interesting facts about weddings too by the way. No wonder why there aren't more Paris destination weddings!

    Reply
  8. Ben

    Gadgets and test/measurement equipment? Can't wait to see the result!

    Reply
  9. I don t get it: why they were telling them to get in without ticket? I mean... then they could have had trouble going out...

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      In theory, or, they could just play tourist and walk out the wheelchair/stroller/handicap exit (which is often open).

      Reply
  10. indeed: I mean you can do it.... but I wouldnt suggest it... I ofund the guy to check the tickets more than once, and always in the least probable situations... (that's maybe because I use the metro every day)...

    but my sister have been here for 1 week and she has been checked... so you never know!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, I always pay - and actually go to great lengths to screw with people that try and tailgate me. My favorite is the random pretend-confused pause and swirl with my backpack. :)

      Reply
  11. wai

    With all the new stuff arriving from Garmin, I am waiting to upgrade my Edge 500.. As usual, thanks for the sights and review of stuffs... as for Paris, one of these days I hope to visit the City of Lights.

    wai

    Reply
  12. Ray Reynolds

    Do you worry about selecting pavement or softer ground for your runs? How much?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Nah, not at all.

      If I was doing a trail-run (as a race) - then absolutely, as it's more important there because of all the smaller muscles that you're working that get destroyed if you just go run trails for the first time.

      But since my marathon course (like all the running races I usually run) are on pavement or concrete, I just stick to the same.

      Reply
  13. JeremyinUAE

    Hello DCRM,

    If you are in UAE this weekend there are some trail runs lined up (25 k on Friday or 24 k hilly on Saturday). It's 38c by 9:00 ish in the morning. Welcome to the desert. I'm in University Sharjah if you come out this way. Check Dubai Trail Runners FB page for info about the trail runs. Or email me for more info.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Ahh, bummer gone by then. But definitely very tempted in the cycling thing. :)

      Reply
  14. JeremyinUAE

    I meant University city Sharjah - outside of Sharjah proper.

    Reply
  15. That is so different about people in Europe trekking around to take photos! I hate being still, so I don't think I would do too well in frumpy clothing running around and getting my picture taken. I guess I don't know why I model then....hm!

    I stumbled on some bridal portraits at my alma mater last weekend! So precious!

    Reply
  16. ken p

    btw, that "little farm" @ Versailles was a vanity project built by none other than her highness, madamoselle "let then eat cake" Marie Antoinette.

    link to en.m.wikipedia.org

    Reply
  17. Mike Richie

    Ray, I'm always amazed at what you manage to stuff into a weekend, and I'm glad it included playing with the new Wahoo Tickr Run. Actually, I'm really interested in the Tickr X, but also all the features of the Run. I gather from your post that you can get the "running smoothness" real time, is that right? I'm looking forward to your full review. Has Wahoo given you any more information about the Tickr X's availability, by the way? Their website and Facebook page are pretty quiet. If they can get a public Ant+ profile for the "running smoothness/dynamics" data, the ability to store your data (and therefore get HR as well as other data for swimming) and support a variety of sports (probably only half my fitness time is spent in the tri sports) as well as both Ant+ and BT HR broadcasting, I can't see why anyone would use another strap. Well actually I can, but I do think it will be very popular if it all works. By the way, Clever Training does not appear to have any of the Tickr products, do you know if that will change?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Correct, running smoothness is realtime.

      Yes, on the TICKR X Wahoo is stating late June. But, I think that's very optimistic - because I get the feeling they don't quite have a feature-set nailed down there. Realistically I think we'll see it in the fall (perhaps by Interbike). Just my guess knowing Wahoo long enough and where they are timeline-wise and historical products.

      Clever Training doesn't today carry any Wahoo products (minus a few things leftover). Long story based on a disagreement around the DCR coupon code. Ultimately though, I'm optimistic things will change soon...

      Reply
  18. Dan

    Looking forward to the action cam shootout!

    Reply
  19. Nancy

    Also looking forward to the action cam roundup! Are you planning to include the new Shimano unit that's supposed to come out this month?
    Thanks for all your great info and entertaining articles!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      'Supposed to' being the operative word.

      I'd love to be able to - but I don't have a unit. And requests on my behalf via ANT+ and others have gone unanswered. But, I'll have someone ping them again and see if we can shake a tree. Maybe an apple will fall out.

      Reply
  20. Tony

    Hi ray,
    Quick question. When you do a long 1 way run, why don't you catch train first, then run home, to allow for easy post run food/stretching etc - aren't you a bit sweaty for the train? Is there a reason you run out, and train it back?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Mostly mental reasons. I don't like running long to the house since I don't actually know how far I'll go. My long runs aren't based on distance, but time. So a 2:30 run (as it was this time) could be 18-21 miles depending on weather/terrain/etc. And by time I get anywhere near the house at the 2:00ish marker, I don't want to give me any reason to stop if I'm tired!

      Also, in this case the route to Versailles is actually much more challenging than coming back - since it's net gain on elevation.

      Next, is that towards the end of the run it's much more work to dodge tourists than at the begining of the run. While that sounds silly, if you see where I run from my house - the sidewalks are packed with tourists.

      And finally - let's be honest, being stinky on a train in France is completely normal. :)

      Reply
  21. Russ Harper

    Just a quick question DC, where do you carry your cell phone when you run? Do you have some sweet secret pouch of some kind? I can't imagine anywhere to put it when in shorts and t shirt. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      For long runs it just goes in my CamelBak, for shorter runs I simply use a phone arm band (it's what most people use). I use the cheap fabric Wahoo Fitness one. I know there are fancier ones and all, but I've used it for years and it just works fine.

      Reply

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