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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Woot, a weekend back home!  Lots of goodness the past few days, which have included a holiday here in France on Monday.  I’m starting to get the hang of having holidays every two weeks – that’s my kind of style!

1) Me, the pool, and my closest of friends

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With a triathlon on my schedule for late July, I’ve redirected some of my training effort into the pool (it was previously rather run-heavy).  Of course, as I’ve discussed before, that means battling it out in the lanes with a million people at once.

I did discover this past Friday evening though that if I go right at the 4:30PM evening opening time it was only 4-6 people per lane, versus about 45 minutes later it was 10-12 people per lane.  Thankfully I think school vacation starts here shortly, which means the pool is open all day long, so going earlier in the afternoon should help out.

Post swim on the short few hundred meter walk home I hit up our favorite boulangerie for a hot baguette.  Not all of the baguette made it home…

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2) A hot evening run

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After doing a crapton of walking on Saturday during the day walking errands (my activity counters put it at about 8 miles), I was ready to brave the hottest day of the year and head out for a run.

My run was only about 11 or so miles, and thankfully just easy Z2 pace (roughly 7:30/mile in this weather) – so it was pretty enjoyable.

Even better was that The Girl decided to come along on bicycle, sorta like when I accompany her on a bike sometimes when she’s out running.

The most skillful moment of the ride was when I managed to midflight refuel her from my CamelBak while I was running and she was riding (obviously, we couldn’t stop!).

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As we got back to the house, the areas along the river were absolutely packed with people.  This past weekend, and perhaps next weekend, will be the most packed that the river will get all year for evening lounging & picnics.

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The reason is that after another 7-10 days many of the students will leave the city, and then shortly thereafter many Parisians do as well for the summer.  So while the tourist numbers will dramatically increase in about 5 days, the local numbers will decrease.  And it’s mostly the locals that hang out at night along the river with self-made picnics.

Here’s a photo I took at the end of my run from the bridge near the house:

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3) Enjoying restaurants around town

If there’s any problem that’s not really a problem it’s that we live in a locale with a plethora of restaurants.  As such we sometimes fall in the rut of eating from the ‘usual’ places because we know the food is good there (or, more likely, know the owners).

This time though we ventured out of our little bubble a short 20 minute walk away to a solid restaurant across town for dinner, enjoying part of the meal inside and then as a table opened up the remainder outside in a bit of a courtyard.  Totally awesome food, and definitely worthwhile adding to our ‘favorites’ list.

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In a rare twofer of restaurants on a weekend we also went out Saturday morning to breakfast (super-rare for us actually).

But, there was one minor problem getting there: The Queen

See, she decided to visit “our” flower market, which meant that the streets were all a little bit hosed up. And more importantly, the metro stop where we planned to board was closed.

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While we probably would have waited around to see her, we didn’t actually know how long she was going to be there – and didn’t quite want to wait forever.

Later on that day I swung back through to check out the newly unveiled signpost honoring/renaming the flower market after her.  This is the market that we pickup our Christmas tree from each year and then stick it on a bike for the short ride home.

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After circumnavigating The Queen, we finally made it up to the small diner for breakfast.

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While I recognize it could be hard to tell from the photo below, my dish was incredible.  It’s oddly enough the only one listed in English above on the menu: “Pancake, fried egg, pancake again, fried egg again, crispy bacon and Bourbon butter.”

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Oh, and I got a hash brown on the side (it’s the giant hockey puck thing).  It was brilliant.  The whole thing.  Just pure maple syrup filled awesomeness.  Most definitely going back.  A lot.

4) A long ride to the French Open Finals

Sunday morning was long-ride time.  The ride was scheduled around 2ish hours (so, not terribly long), but all in it ended up being closer to three hours simply due to getting to/from the better training areas.

On the way outbound as part of an extended warm-up I passed Roland Garros, where the final matches were set to play a few hours later.

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I’d continue on out of the city in a rather non-direct manner to Versailles, which would be my turnaround point.  The place was swarming with visitors on this warm and sunny day.

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After returning from Versailles I hit up Longchamp to start 2x10min at a higher intensity (about 300w roughly).  This area is perfect for it because it’s closed to cars and just has a gazillion cyclists going around one-way.

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After knocking out the 2×10 sets I was essentially done.  The only challenge is that it’s still a 25 minute ride back home from there.

I decided to take a short detour (really, only about 200 yards) on the way home to the backside of the Eiffel Tower (normally I’d be on the other side) to check out the French Open on the big screen TV that was setup on the lawn.  A gigantic tennis ball also hung from the tower.

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There was a court setup here as well, not for official competition of course – but just there.  Last year this was held over at Hotel de Ville (right near us).  I’d be curious if historically this is at Hotel de Ville, or the Eiffel Tower.

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Oh, me…and my bike:

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Definitely a nice day for a ride given the warm weather.  Though, I need to find me some better routes again.  Probably time to start taking the train out of the city and riding around there instead.

5) A light show

Finally, while I chugged away Sunday night on my Polar V800 In-Depth Review, a thunderstorm slowly rolled over the city.  The lightshow would last about 3-4 hours for the ‘main set’.  While I was pretty heads down in typing most of that, I did take about 15-20 minutes out of it to try and get a few photos from the window, as well as propping up a camera on the roof.

The below turned out to be my favorite:

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Thanks for reading!

26 Comments

  1. blondin

    You should definitely ask a financial sponsoring from the city of Paris.

    You are far the best tourist tool of Paris I know. You almost convinced me to live again in Paris (almost).

    And I definitely love the architechture of the swimming pool.

    Best,

    Reply
  2. Hey Ray, you didn't go have a look at the start of the Roparun? It's a yearly relay race of 520 km in the Pentecost weekend from Paris to Rotterdam (NL) to raise money for people who suffer from cancer. Because it grew very big over the years they decided to add a second race starting from Hamburg (560km). There were 328 teams this year, with 25 people on average (max 8 runners, cyclists, drivers, medics and caterers). Maybe something for you to have a look at next year. See more info here: link to roparun.org and here link to roparunlive.nl

    Regards
    JP

    Reply
  3. maxbre

    Compliments to the Girl for the Ferrari-red bike and compliments to you for the awesome photo of the thunderstorm.
    Ciao!

    Reply
  4. Rob

    I can't imagine what swimming in a pool that crowded must be like. Not to brag, but here in NC the city pool that I frequent rarely has every lane full. Though it's usually 5:30am, so maybe that's why?

    Reply
  5. Wow... that last photo is excellent!!! And that storms were really incredible...

    Also. Did I notice Di2 shifters on your bike? Whats that plastic thing towards the end of the aerobars, beside the shifters?

    Reply
    • Josh Johnson replied

      I believe Ray got Di2 so he would test it with the Edge 1000, and the button thing is a remote for the Edge 1000. link to dcrainmaker.com

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, Josh is correct.

      It was actually nice getting to use the Di2 system for the first time on normal terrain this past week. All my past usage was in the mountains, which honestly wasn't that much different since once I started a climb I rarely shifted much. Whereas with rolling terrain around Paris it was a whole new experience.

      Reply
  6. Mary Jo

    Will there be a full Di2 impressions piece in our future? Hope so!

    Reply
  7. Hey Ray,

    Great post! I had to laugh about the swimming. I have also experienced that all over Europe. My wife is French, her family lives in Grenoble, every time I've swam there I share the lane with 100 people. Thankfully they are all long course meters, I couldn't imagine it otherwise. It is the same thing as Germany and Austria, kinda nuts. I read your blog all the time and I'd like to thank you for sharing all of your experiences with all of us. It makes a big difference, I travel a lot for work and some of my friends asked me to start a blog also, I started it but don't post as often as you do, but you certainty have helped me a lot by what you have posted. I LOVE the Notre Dame picture. It is quite amazing, just the other day I was telling my wife that I wish I could take a picture like that one, but I never seem to have my DSLR when storms happen like this.
    Keep up the awesome work!

    Reply
  8. Scott Nickell

    This picture of the mid flight refueling is great. link to dcrainmaker.com

    Reply
  9. Remco Verdoold

    Hi Ray, could you please post the camera settings from the Notre Dame photo?
    Good food, glorious food. Very important to enjoy life.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Thanks!

      It was a 13-second exposure with the Canon 7D, ISO100/F3.5 and then all the way zoomed out on the Canon 10-22mm wideangle lense. I simply sharpened in LR after, and then slightly brought down the highlights to remove the overexposure from the long exposure in the clouds.

      I was essentially just shooting photo after photo in the same spot on a tripod strapped to some bars on a window. It was constantly lightning out, but sometimes it would get blurred out by other backlit cloud bursts, etc...

      Last night it did the same again, but unfortunately much of the lightning was hidden by clouds before 1AM, and then after 1AM the church lights shut off.

      Reply
    • Remco Verdoold replied

      Thank you very much, I tried yesterday here, but guess did not think of the ISO setting after visiting the caves of Han sur Lesse (still at 1600) same 7D.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, that was actually the biggest driver in getting the nice deep darks out of it. Of course, it takes a tripod with that sort of exposure time. Also, remember to set the time delay to 2-seconds if you aren't using a remote trigger (so you don't get any vibration from pressing the button and taking your hand off).

      Reply
  10. Samuel Prokop

    You should give the Brasserie St Regis on Ile St Louis ! one of my favorite spot around Notre Dame.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, I enjoy going there sometimes. Mostly because they're super-friendly.

      Reply
  11. Anon

    Where's the bike helmets for you and the girl!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I wasn't cycling in that photo, I was running...

      As for cycling, we both wear them when on tri bikes. But like the vast majority here, don't tend to wear them doing errands on bike share bikes. In this case, she was riding about 8MPH (my running speed).

      Reply
  12. Martin

    What kind of camera do you use during running and cycling? Still the Panasonic Lumix TS3?
    In between, you made a lot of pictures with the Virb. Why did you stop? Your recent pictures, especially from the Pyrenees, look awesome.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, TS3 still.

      I mostly stopped using the VIRB for photos because my reviews the last few months have been all watch-focused, and for that the VIRB isn't great with taking pictures of watches while running.

      And yup, the Pyrenees are all TS3. Thanks!

      Reply
  13. Jay M

    That pic is awesome!

    Reply
  14. Emily

    Hey Ray, welcome back! This is the best season to hang out in Paris :D
    I'm just wondering if you do some giveaways sometimes? If so, I'd be very much interested in having a heart rate monitor watch for my running. :)
    Keep up the great work and have a nice week!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Thanks!

      I often do giveaways, roughly every month. Later this month there will be a rather large one...sorta becoming an annual event...

      Reply
  15. Franck

    Yep, agree with Blondin...being an expat French (a long time in DC), you are also able to bring out the best (without being overly technical) of a city you seem to be genuinely enjoying...kudos and yes, get the Ville de Paris sponsorship, you deserve it! Best, Franck

    Reply
  16. Kelsey

    I agree with the earlier commenter- where is the Girl's helmet!! Doesn't matter how fast she is riding, only matters how fast the car/other cyclist/anything else is going when it crashes into her!

    Reply
    • EB replied

      As an adult 'the girl' is able to understand the risks/benefits of wearing a helmet and should be free to make her own decision.

      She may well cycle more carefully and compensate. Helmets are not tested for impacts with cars anyway.

      Heckling people for not wearing a helmet runs the risk of putting people off riding bikes, which is associated with its own health risks.

      Reply

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