Training, race sign-ups, getting crapped on, and new product odds and ends


The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur between travel and putting together the Suunto Ambit review.  As such, my usual weekend wrap-ups got slightly side tracked.  So for those that enjoy the non-product review side of things, here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to.

First up, a lot of brick workouts.  It seems like I’m doing brick workouts almost every other day.  But, that keeps things interesting, so I’m happy with it.

My brick workouts average between 70 minutes and 2 hours.  And they tend to fall into one of two camps:

A) Long bike (trainer), short run
B) Short bike (trainer), medium run

The long-bike/short-run scenario usually consists of about a 75-80 minute bike ride, followed by a 30 minute run.  The bike segment has a bunch of building intensity for about 35 minutes, and then dives into long sets.  Yesterday’s was 2x16m each.  Saturday’s was 3x12m.  Note unlike this outlined workout.  I was pondering yesterday which one was worse.  I haven’t quite decided, but I think I prefer the 2x16m ones, since it feels shorter (yes, I know it’s technically shorter) – despite the individual sets being longer.

The other brick, a short-bike/medium-run scenario involves a very similar 30 minute build on the bike, but then straight out into the run for more intervals.  Repeating sets lasting about 9 minutes long where the pace stays roughly in 10K race pace territory, though it’s governed by heart rate.

Of course, along the way I occasionally take photos.  Usually if I’m grabbing photos for a review.  In the below case, I was working on the Ambit review – so I had my camera with me.   Now that it’s gotten a bit warmer out they’ve setup these giant outdoor tent/patios in some sections along the river.  That in and of itself isn’t terribly entertaining.  However…



…this guy at the side of the structure was.  The water comes down from up top, and spits out…uhh…him.


The Girl actually snapped the above shot, as I traded the camera with her mid-way through the run so she could get some watch shots on her wrist.

Speaking of The Girl, we went out for a nice ride together Sunday afternoon.  It wasn’t a training ride, more just a meander.  Thankfully, the roadway along the river is actually closed again on weekends for pedestrians/cyclists.  During the winter they apparently decide it’s not worth it to close, since nobody will be out there (too bad, I would have been!)


Here’s The Girl on her bike:


Which is a very different aero position than when she tries out my bike:


We wandered along the river, and then that split and we were along a smaller river/stream of sorts.  It was nice and quiet and fairly pretty with all the green again.


I often ran down this way during the winter, but it was usually wet and cold.  And all sorta barren and brown.

In fact, the color was not unlike the random flying creature that crapped on me mid-ride.  I didn’t even realize it happened.  Just looked down at one point and saw it there.  Seriously bird, seriously?!?


On the way back we saw a boat headed into the locks to get dropped down a few feet:


It’s funny, I never even realized there were locks right there.  While you can see a path in the photo below, it’s actually private. The running path is up against the upper wall, and the view is sorta blocked.


We both enjoyed the fact that the Captain actually took his took cats out for a walk while the water was drained.


From there, it was back towards the house.  We hit up what we call ‘The Model Bridge’, simply because we see model photoshoots there semi-often.  Which is different from the fashion models outside our window.


Once back at the apartment we successfully navigated not one, both BOTH of our bikes into the tiny elevator.  And both of us. Definitely a successful elevator ride.  No cyclist left behind.


About the only thing left behind recently were a few trees outside our window (in fact, the tree below  is just offset to where the fashion models were in the above link).

Apparently some of the trees here have some sort of disease and they have to cut them down.  They did about 4-5 on the stretch in front of our place.  That’s understandable.

What wasn’t understandable is why they had to start cutting them down at 7AM.  First, the beeping crane and basket to get up really high to access the limbs.  Then, high powered chainsaw.  Followed by none other than the wood-chipper as they shifted a full-on tree through there.  And of course since this all occurred while blocking two lanes of traffic, you can layer in a never ending barrage of cars angrily honking.


In other news…

A bunch of stuff came in.

Or rather, stuff I brought back from the US last week.

Actually, sorta a compilation of both.

Some of it I just outright bought – like the latest Withings Scale*, the Adidas Footpod and the Poolmate HR. And others companies sent over to get reviewed.

(*Yes, the same scale to which The Girl rightfully asked “Why do they want to measure air quality in the bathroom?” – as it has that feature)


I don’t have any timelines on any of it, except  ‘a while’.  The Queue is pretty deep right now, and for the most part any new products are looking at 2-3 months out.  There will always be exceptions, but for the most part, that’s where things stand.  Only so many hours in the day and night.  Obviously, things already in the queue are in the queue.  I’ll load these into The Queue sooner or later.  Except the Viiiiva, it’s already in the queue – this was just an updated version of it to commence my testing on.  And there’s stuff popping back out of The Queue here over the next week.  French holidays are helping!

In other news, last night I registered for my first triathlon in France.  It’s next weekend, and only about 10 miles away at Versailles (big castle/garden/estate place just outside of Paris).  As many of you know I originally planned on racing the Paris Triathlon in early July, but they cancelled that race due to permit issues.  So, this race next weekend provides a nice start to the triathlon season until I sort out what I’m doing later.

I liked that I was able to register easily this late before a race.  In the US, that’s usually pretty hard to do, as most races sell out quickly.

Two items of note with this race.  First, was registration.  I tend to use Google Chrome, because it has automatic language translation built in.  So whether I’m reading a French site or a German site, the text all looks English to me.  Really cool.  But, sometimes it just doesn’t quite work out.  Take for example, the categories:


In this case, I’m apparently racing in the “Men Not Laid” category (highlighted blue).

In reality, it’s supposed to be licensed.  Here’s the original text:


I have no idea how to get a license, so, I’ll just go with non-licensed.  I’m not clear if it’s like an Elite USAT license, or just a regular USAT Age Group license.  Either way – sans-license!  Err…’Not-laid’!?

Second, is that unlike 99.9998% of triathlons in North America, this one is draft legal.  Meaning that the cycling leg is more akin to the sport of road racing than a time trial.  You can draft directly on someone’s wheel as you see fit.

But as a result of that they do not permit traditional triathlon bikes.  Specifically, any triathlon bike where the aerobars extend further than the brake levers.  So super-short aerobars are permitted (like you typically see in ITU professional level triathlon), but not what you’d see in an long-distance triathlon (half-iron/iron).  Most races in Europe that aren’t half-iron’s or longer are draft-legal.

Of course, the challenge here is I no longer have a road bike in Europe.  I’ve got a triathlon bike, my commuter bike…and near unlimited access to the Velib bike rentals.

Perhaps I’ll race a Velib:


I’ve got a week or so to figure it out.  Plus, it’s only a sprint triathlon.  How much could possibly go wrong in 25-30 minutes on the bike with a new/rented bicycle?

With that…thanks for reading!


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  1. Steve Knapp

    The Girl is back on her Trek! I know you had some issues with getting that fixed, what was the outcome?

    • DC Rainmaker

      They shipped her out a new frame to a shop here in Paris that then put it all together for us. We definitely appreciate the effort (even if it took a bit of time).

  2. Tri-bikes aren’t allowed in Olympic triathlon either. Just take a look at the triathlon events in the London 2012 Olympics: link to

    • Olympic as in the Olympics, not as in olympic distance. Although latter is often true also.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Yup, correct. The Olympic’s fall under ITU from a triathlon standpoint, which is the governing body for the short-course side of triathlon. In fact, the whole Olympic qualification system via ITU process and local-country process is somewhat ‘interesting’…

  3. Seb

    Hi Ray,

    Not fluent in French yet? :)

    “Licensié” can mean “fired”… you know, like “made redundant”. Might explain why you ended up with “Laid” ;)

    Anyway… soooo, new road bike, huh? Looks like you have no choice, poor you :)

    • DC Rainmaker

      My French lessons continue…

      Actually, I often switch back to the French version because my written French is of much higher quality than verbal – so I can usually understand what’s going down.

      However, I leave it to automatically translate other stuff since I work with companies in different countries daily here.

  4. Bryton stuff, awesome hope u’ll get a Rider 50 someday to, that’s the cycling unit that sort of competes with the Garmin 800. But for now cool that u got some Bryton stuff to review, not many reviews out there!

  5. Adam Lewis

    I see you have a new hardware version of the viiiia? I just got mine delivered last week but now wondering what hardware change was made and whether I’m now stuck with a version that may not support future functionality. Part the reason I got it was for possible recording of info ‘offline’ in to a FIT file for upload when online. Can you share any info on the updated version as yet?

    • DC Rainmaker

      It’s a new hardware version to me, but not you. The one I had previously was pre-release, but everyone that has a unit now is final units. The challenge was that I couldn’t get upgraded from pre-release to any of the new firmware version that do the things that make it useful (whereas you all got the updates already).

      They had sent me one, but somehow it got lost in the mail. All good now though!

    • Adam Lewis

      I’ve not yet figured out how you do or check for a Viiiiva software upgrade. I assume its through the app but can’t see where.

      Thanks for the info though.

  6. Ray,

    do you perhaps know where its possible to rent a road bike in Paris (and not break a bank) for two or three hours? I need to do some training. I already found a pool which is decent, but still without luck regarding rentals…

    Do you perhaps still remember where you rented the bike last time? When you were still only a turist in Paris?

    Though… training with Velib is not bad… 25 minutes intervals with extremly heavy bicycle… My road bike at home will feel like a feather when i come back.


    • DC Rainmaker

      There’s a few options. I’ve used this one before: link to
      Here’s a post I did back in May renting a bike from them: link to – I was happy with them.

      But a reader just noted via Twitter another high-performance option as well: link to

      The prices are within 5 Euros, so I may give them a shout too.

      Out of curiosity, what area is your pool in?

    • I tried two pools nearby my place (my girlfriend lives in the 15th). So i browsed the nearby pools.

      Piscine Blomet is a 50m pool (rue Blomet near Sevres-Lecourbe metro station, line 6). Its changing area kindda reminds of a prison. It only has two lanes for active swimming, other is for either teaching or recreation. Off peak time it was OK, not extremly crowded (i was there twice at around 15:00). I would say we were 6 or 7 in a lane. Short fins are also allowed in one of the lanes.

      The other one i tried was Piscine Keller near Pont de Grenelle (where the small Statue of Liberty is). Another 50m pool. More modern than Blomet. Also a bit larger (one lane more). Also quite active and busy, i was there in the morning (we were 8-10 in a lane)… Even if it was more crowded i got better swimming there with less bumping in other people… (no extremlys slow swimmers in my lane). don’t know why, i prefered this one more, though for me it was a Velib ride away. Both swimming pools are 3 EUR.

  7. You are in Europe, the place of great road bike traditions. It is about time you get a decent roadbike with tubulars and campagnolo, real european style!
    Remember the right amount of bikes to have is n+1…

  8. Christine

    You should totally do it on a Vélib! See this article: link to

  9. Michael

    Since you need a road bike, maybe you can do a follow-up on the 2012 SRAM Red Quark Power Meter review and have them resend you the Specialized S-Works.

  10. by the way, as you are in a “not laid” category, you should present similar certificate of health as you had for the Paris Marathon… of course, it should mention triathlon, not only running :-)

    By the way… i wonder if company that rents Velib would refund the fees as they did in the DC case… (link above)

  11. Paul Kelman


    You can borrow my Trek but it’s a 64cm frame (biggest they have).

    Good luck.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Thanks Paul! I’m probably looking a touch bit smaller – more in the 58-60cm range. Thanks though!

  12. I love your blog, Ray, but does the girl write one also? :) Its a chic thing!


  13. Nick

    “Why do they want to measure air quality in the bathroom?”

    Clearly your toilet is separate from your barthroom…

  14. Nick

    barthroom bathroom


  15. turnthedarncranks

    Just buy the road bike — you know you want it! (Ignore this advice if you own n-1 bikes, and n is, as you know, the number of bikes at which The Girl will divorce you. Then again, if that’s the case maybe she will increase n by one in return for a . . . BUNNY!)

  16. Tom

    Hi Ray, in order to get a license you need to affiliate with a triathlon club, you’ll have to pay at least 100€, it could be double in Paris.
    You will have to provide a health certificate specific to competing in triathlon, but then you’re good for all your other races was it just running or cycling, because your license will be accepted anywhere.
    You can also ask for a personal license on the fftri website: link to

    Most of the races are non draft legal (at least in the Rhones-Alpes area), it’s quite rare to find a draft legal race, and most of the time you can race on a tri-bike.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Awesome, thanks for the detail!

    • By the way…. is an international licence also valid in France, or does it have to be a french licence? Cause i have a licence, which is also valid internationally – at least in Austria and Italy (beside my home country)…

  17. Dennie

    Can’t wait for the Bryton Cardio 60 review to see how it compares to the Garmin 910XT

  18. Chris Thompson

    Nice post. The Girl needs brighter, cheerier kit for safety reasons if nothing else. The “Be one with the pavement black” is not the best.

  19. DS

    Les trees! When I was in Paris a few years back, staying one door down the street from you, they cut down two or three of the larger trees on that row. Bad for the trees, good for our view of Notre Dame.

    I can see from your photos that they’ve been replanted. Whew! You never know with the French. They prefer their pique-nique spots very sunny.

  20. RV

    Being crapped on is never funny. Also extra care during slug season. One time I ran over one and it ended up on my leg (was squeezed from the front wheel), yak. Well when I looked to see what was on my leg I apparently steered a bit and the next slug went in my face. In France they are sold as delicacy, well I skip them.

    I saw the Bryton 60 at the shop where I got my 910xt, so really curious how it holds up to the garmin.

  21. Woo hoo! More Paris content! Keep it coming!

    I actually lived in Paris for a short while after grad school and am returning for the first time in almost 10 years this summer. We’re going to pop in to the cupcakery and hopefully say hi :)

    I’d love to find an opportunity that allowed me to make a similar move. Sometimes it feels impossible with two dogs and the girlfriend… but every few months I find myself looking for position with multinational companies abroad.

  22. Stephane

    Licenciés refers to the people having a license from the French federation of triathlon: FFTRI (see link to ) which is managed by the Ministry of sports. It’s a very ..french bureaucratic thing, there is a federation for everything with a national, departement and region committees/leagues, etc…

    To get a licence.. see link to you usually can get cheaper insurance, etc..
    It’s so incredibly insane to register that they need to do a PDF of it… :-)

    Same things exist for scuba diving with FFESSM (they don’t like PADI too much in general)

  23. JGG

    Thé Versailles triathlon is a very funny race but not with a velib. I Will ne there saturday and i hope that the Water will not be too cold. I can borrow you à trek 4.5 (56 cm) if you want

  24. dECEIT70

    +1 i totally agree with Tom. Most french races you’ll participate in will be non draft legal (S n’ M – seriously, those new race designations…). French triathlon, duathlon and multisport licenses are valid in Belgium too as far as i’m concerned, and for any master swimming, cycling and racing events. It’s quite expensive (100€ plus club fee) but you’ll get it paid for after 3 or 4 races since you won’t have to pay for the extra insurance – and no more need for a less than 3 months old medical exam paper! There’s a virtual triathlon club called the Free Iron Team (FIT!) that allows you to get a license without paying for anything else. Google is your friend!

  25. Shawworld


    Will be at the Versailles Tri for the first time this weekend and looking forward to it. Might bump into you in the water.

    You might want to look at link to

    I am in Croissy so the training sessions are a bit too central Paris, but this is an easy way to do the FFTRI bit and get a licence (in English).

    Great blog.

  26. Hi Ray. Do you have a map of this bike activity outside Paris? I’m looking for nice roads and it seems great :)