Mailbag, Questions & FAQ open post!

WeeklyMailbagIconI was sitting down this weekend working through a bunch of unread mail and I realized that there’s lots of interesting tidbits that are probably good FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) items.  Some of them are technology related, some are training related, and some are simply Ray related.  You know, exciting stuff like what color the pillow covers are on my couches (mostly red, but also some soft new white ones).

In the past I’ve put together two types of posts to cover questions:

Slowtwitch Sports Technology Mailbag:  I post this over on Slowtwitch and answer your sports technology related questions on a theoretical weeklyish basis.  I haven’t posted since the fall, primarily due to two reasons.  The first being that I just simply ran out of time in the day.  And the second being that I was finding that most of the questions coming in were answered a number of times over.  This was likely the resultant of simply reaching the critical mass when it comes to questions about the product set and ‘which product’ to choose.  Now that there’s a slew of new products in the last few months, I’ve been compiling some great content to start pumping out posts there again.  Now, that doesn’t actually solve my ‘not enough hours in the day issue’, but, it at least motivates me more since it’s cool new stuff!

The Rare Non-Gadget Mailbag: This mailbag comes out every once in a blue moon.  This mailbag has virtually nothing to do with technology.  Last time I covered training plan questions, why not to follow what I do when I pack my bike, cheap trainers, and other randomness.  I think in the past before they were ‘rare’, I even talked about when I Sous Vided eggs.  I usually take these questions from various e-mails, Tweets, etc that you send along.  In a lot of ways, I suspect that some of these posts/questions may be just as interesting and fun as the gadget ones – if not more interesting.  For me, they tend to be a bit more fun to answer as well since the topic areas are all over the map, quite literally (i.e. what’s my favorite vacation spot).

The challenge of course though is the simple reality that you can’t find half the content I write.  Heck, I can’t even find half the content I write some times.  Some of that is technology driven, and some of that is simply that I’ve written so much stuff about so many things that it can be hard to get simple, concrete answers.

So I started working on a FAQ of sorts.  Similar to what I did for the Washington DC Training FAQ I put together. (Wait, you didn’t know about that?  Sigh…no worries, it happens.)

But this FAQ is gonna cover everything that’s a…well…frequently asked question. To give you taste of some of the ‘Blogging’ category I started filling out, here’s a quick sample screen clip:


In whole, I’ve broken down 50+ into the following topic areas:

About me (Background, how I got here, etc…)
Blogging (The Blog as a whole)
E-Mail and comments
Sports Technology & Product Recommendations
Swim/Bike/Run Parts (What I use)
Reviews (Ins and outs of the reviews)
Travel (All sorts of fun stuff)

But, that’s all I could think up as far as major categories.  Given how much awesomeness you guys came together with on the $800 bike post, I realized I really enjoy getting a bit more two-way conversations going on.

So, here’s your chance to contribute to the giant panda sized FAQ.  And, probably to a bunch of mailbag posts as well.  Things that are more technology specific in nature I’ll likely put into an upcoming mailbag – but things that I think lots of folks would benefit from (even if it’s which running shoes I use – New Balance 817’s) – I’ll put in the FAQ.  In other words – any question you’ve got, go head and throw it out there.

Got it?  Good.

Let’s hear what you’ve got!


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  1. w

    I don’t think this has been answered before: what do you do for a living? Ie where do you work?

  2. Hi Ray, I always wonder, are you an engineer? If so, what kind?

  3. I allways wonder how you manage to take the pics “on the go” (ie, while running or cycling) Do you stop when you decide you should take a photo or you simply take the camera along, grab it and shot while still running/pedaling? Isn’t that annoying from a training perspective?

    Keep the good stuff up

  4. Hi Ray,

    Why won’t you buy The Girl a Bunny? Easters coming up and that would be a great time time to surprise her.

    You know the saying, “Happy Wife, Happy Life”.

  5. Carter

    I will be in DC for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler…can you recommend a favorite restaurant or two?

  6. Hi Ray, I randomly ran across this cut-rate bike trainer accessory that claims to track power, cadence, speed, etc. I wonder if you’ve heard of it and/or have any thoughts on its accuracy? (I have no connection to the product, just ran across it via a different triathlon blog)
    link to

  7. Hmmm, well first question I have for you is- what kind of sunglasses do you wear? I feel like the standard is “rudy project”, but if you have any other preferences too, that’d be great to hear.

    Second question (random/nerd alert)… I’m assuming you work with excel a lot… what’s your favorite excel formula?


  8. I already posted this, but I am going to ask again just because my husband and I are both engineers and interested in similar things. My husband and I travel a lot and we buy gadgets from time to time too. Tied to these likes and as a result of these, I think global challenges are worth thinking about:

    Do you do anything to offset your carbon footprint? Buy credits, etc.? Just curious on your thoughts. Can you give any advice on this?

  9. Just wondering what races you’re planning to partake in this season. Love the site!

  10. I would love to see a post on the best eats in DC!

  11. I would love to see a further breakdown of your watch recommendations (2011 sport watch recommendations)…In each category of the 3 you chose to put in “the runner” category for example which order you would purchase each watch and why or why not…sometimes, we just want to know what YOU would do, and that helps us decide what to do :)

  12. Darka

    Maybe a sport (not gadget) tip section, I could always do with a few hints on improving swimming or running technique

  13. With all your training, you gotta do some racing. What events have you completed and what are your PR’s?

  14. I would like to see long term reviews of iathlete and FirstBeat Athlete.

  15. I think The Girl deserves her own topic area!

    Re: W
    Ray doesn’t have to answer. Just Google and you’ll find out!

  16. Rob

    There’s so much information in the comments sections, actually just a ton of info everywhere, but specifically about the comments, do you have any plans for how these could be made into a searchable part of the site? Also, have you ever thought of having anyone help you with the sorting and sifting of info to take the preexisting info and keep the pages up to date and searchable? I’m not volunteering myself, just an idea.

  17. Rob

    Also, you should get The Girl a bunny. If she is resorting to photo albums of herself taking Sharkey for a walk, it’s really time to do something about that…Also, that triathlon cake she made was pretty awesome!

  18. Lieven

    Are you sure the bunny is not just a proxy for a baby?

  19. How you you find time to work, train and do all the posts? Are you keeping back a time machine review from us?

  20. DS

    What’s with all the panda references?

  21. nWhen you and The Girl start a family together (no rush), will you 1. give up the blog, or 2. give up training time?

  22. Here is something I would like for you to discuss/test. In view of the Equinox “indoor triathlon” bike portion on the Schwinn AC performance, can you discuss/test the accuracy and validity of the console (V1 and V2) for all the metrics they keep track of. It would be interesting to see a side by side comparison of power production (calculated vs. strain gauge … Vector pedals maybe?). Since speed (therefore distance) is computed off the cadence and power meter, it would be important to see how accurate the power info is. AND for the techno savvy/engineers a write up on the way Schwinn is getting the metric (formula and all) would be very interesting.

  23. George

    V800 post:

    Hi,1.) Is live tracking possible while using HR belt simultaneously ?2.) Can you re-load battery while running and using HR belt and stop-watch , i.e. in a race ?3.) Does indoor-running require a foot pod or will the device learn from my runs in GPS mode ?4.) What exactly is the GPS frequency with 50 hours battery life ? What is the frequency with 28 hours battery life, when only using sportwatch, HR-belt and 1 sec. of light per hour ?

  24. Elle

    Hi, I have a Garmin 800 Edge. I plan circular routes or some long routes, but often feel compelled to stop off for lunch! The Garmin switches itself off, or I switch it off to save power. When I turn it back on, the route wants me to start back at the beginning and tries to route me home. Is there anyway to start a circular or long “course” part way through? Thanks. Elle