Week in Review–March 30th, 2014


The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

DCRainmaker.com posts this past week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com this past week.

Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend
Tuesday: Suunto Ambit2 R In-Depth Review
Wednesday: Mio adds wireless Shimano Di2 integration, ANT+ trainer control, and more to Cyclo bike units

Newly available pre-order items of note

I don’t normally include pre-order items in the Week in Review, but there are two items here that people have been asking daily about, and they are finally available for ordering.  The others I added in simply because some might find it useful and usually I do mention new models of existing units in the Week in Review from time to time.  Everything below qualifies for the DCR reader 10% savings on your cart through Clever Training with DCR coupon code DCR10BTF, plus free US shipping.

Polar V800 now available for pre-order: This is planned for early May delivery.  As I noted in a comment yesterday on the V800 post, understand that there are a lot of unknowns here as far as upon-launch features.  Thus, I’d look at this more as saving a place in line than outright committing.  Further, also note that swimming metrics (indoor/outdoor) will not be available at launch.  Finally, my full in-depth review will be once I have final production software/firmware, and then, likely a few weeks following that.  Given the lack of clarity, I want to be absolutely sure what I write about is what you’re getting.

Mio Link dual ANT+/BLE optical HR strap for pre-order: Delivery is planned for mid-April.  Tons of you have been interested in this, and I’ve been using it since late December without any real issues.  I’ve done rides, runs, and random other activities. All good stuff.  My only real complaint at this point is the charging cable magnets are a bit non-powerful, so it’s best to get it charging and not touch it.  Beyond that, I wish the unit would go into standby after a while, since I often forget to turn it off and then I am always charging it.  But, those are relatively minor.  I’ve got final production units on the way to me, and I plan to write an in-depth review sometime in mid-April or so.

TomTom releases new black TomTom Runner unit: Just a minor FYI, in case you were looking to go all stealth-mode. Multisport also gets dark option as well.  Previous in-depth review here.

Garmin releases new ‘dark khaki’ colored VIRB Elite: This should make the Garmin action camera not quite look so gigantic.  Black is slimming, right?  Err…sorry, ‘dark khaki’ is slimming, right? (click drop-down to select ‘dark’ edition).

As always, thanks for supporting the site!

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet:

1) Brim Brothers re-affirms August date for delivery/launch of cleat based power meter: While definitely a long time coming, it’s good to see the date has basically remained the same from when I heard it last summer/fall.  Pre-ordering info is being re-confirmed. No exact pricing however.  I’m sure once we get closer I’ll be able to do more hands-on work like that of a year or so ago.

2) Samsung Galaxy Gear2, Fit, and S5 launched for pre-orders: Just a heads up that you can indeed pre-order the units through a wide variety of cell phone companies. I’ve placed a pre-order for the Fit and Gear2, and will be testing them out once they come in. I’ll be re-attempting to order the S5, once the ATT site cooperates with me and doesn’t try and change my phone plan…

3) The fallout from Ironman Canada in Penticton: A good piece by Dan Empfield on the current situation going into the second year post-Ironman Canada being in Penticton.

4) A banana holder for a bike: No, really, it holds a banana while you ride. I’m not sure what to say.  Outside of that, the bike holder/storage shelf combo thing shown down below is actually pretty tempting.

5) ANT+ launches new dual chipset with Nordic: This should help many device makers wanting to do dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart in a single chip. Today, the primary option is two chips side by side.

6) Power file analysis: Milano-Sanremo: Good stuff with portion by portion breakdown/analysis of the Movistar rider Juanjo Lobato.

7) New study on how to properly nap: Yes, seriously. Interesting stuff. Check out the infographic, helps break it down quick and dirty style.

8) New York Freedom Tower Base Jump Video: Obviously, this has made the rounds for all sorts of reasons (namely, being illegal).  You can skip ahead to roughly 2:45 for the jump. Though, I thought the landing piece was most interesting.

9) Marine Biologist (that likes sharks) that wants an incredible job?  Remember when I did the shark diving trip? Well, this is like that, except all expense paid to live in Fiji for a year+. Seriously, that’s crazy. Sounds like awesome training potential if you ask me, hopefully some reader is qualified and can take advantage.

10) How to create your own training camp: I’m a sucker for ‘How to’ guides, and this one from Slowtwitch is solid.

11) Running in Paris is now considered cool: Interestingly, I’ve actually seen a significant uptick in runners this spring compared to last year, or the fall prior. Way more runners than normal, even on bad-weather days.  As for running attire from Parisians? Well…lots of work to do in the fashion department.

12) 31 of the most exotic pools on earth: Ok, I need to start checking some off the list. (via USAT Triathlon Facebook page)

13) Magazine mocks runners with brain tumor: Given that title, it’s probably best to just read the whole thing.  It’s a mess.

Crowd Funded Projects of Athletic Note:

Most of this content used to be found within the main section, but I figured I’d just call it out up here and make it easy to find. I regularly sift through Kickstarter and Indiegogo (plus a few others on occasion) looking for sports projects. Note that as always with crowd funded projects, assume the project will be late and will under-deliver on features. Thus far, on the numerous products I’ve helped ‘fund’ (except a leather bike handle), that’s been the case.  And finally, me simply mentioning them below is definitely not an endorsement, it’s just me mentioning they exist.

Magnet-less bicycle sensor: VeloComputer magnet-less wireless bicycle sensors for speed, acceleration, grade of a slope and cadence.  This is another iteration for Velocomputer, but this time, I think they’ve got the concept right.  The unit can be ordered in either ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart, and follows both standard profiles (finally!). I’ve commented to them that a dual product would make more sense, and the chipset they’re using is capable of it.  Personally, I’d buy it in a second if it was dual (actually, I’d probably buy a bunch of them).  But, that’s just my two cents.

Helmet that’s connected to water to keep you cool. Interesting concept. Not a lot of pickup yet on the project though. (Thanks to Andre for sending in)

Revolights Arc: A Smarter Approach to the Bicycle Taillight: The company is back at it again after their previous Kickstarter launches, this one is tied to their Shark Tank appearance a few weeks ago.

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one liners is perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?

Site/Firmware Updates:

Adidas Smart Run GPS Updated: Improvements to GPS accuracy and signal acquisition, and a few other items.

Polar Personal Trainer Updated: Mostly a bunch of fixes for the website. Kinda surprised honestly that they’re spending any time on it versus focusing on Flow, but, certainly can’t complain!

Sport Tracks Mobi Swim Features: Last week Sport Tracks online added in a bunch of swim features. This post outlines why they think everyone else’s swim analysis kinda sucks.

Garmin Fenix2 Firmware Update: Updated to 2.50, adds swim alerts, bunch of other fixes.

Garmin Express Updated: Unclear on exactly what was added. Though, it did change the icon for the Fenix2 from a car GPS, to an unknown car-fitness-cycling icon. Why they couldn’t just get the correct Fenix2 icon is sorta odd.

Garmin VIRB Edit updated: Massive list of new features and functionality.


20140323_013113000_iOS 20140324_184451000_iOS

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20140321_224208000_iOS 20140321_224217000_iOS




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Windows Phone:

(No sports related Windows Phone updates on my phone this week).

Thanks for reading all!


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  1. Oliveri Medina

    Hey, Ray!
    Living now in Paris, I thought you might want to check out this film. It is based on the Team Hoytt story.

    link to dailymotion.com


  2. Brett E

    Hey Ray any idea when Garmin is going to roll out the new version of Connect for non-Vivofit users?

  3. Sebastien Gagne

    Here is a link to the Kickstarter for the bike rack mentionned with the banana holder : link to kickstarter.com

  4. Richard Kaufmann

    I commented on velocomputer’s indiegogo page that they needed to do what you said: support dual BLE/ANT+. But more importantly, I also asked for a dual reward level — one SEAT and one HUB sensor. I’m still scratching my head why they wouldn’t have done this!

  5. Steve

    That banana holder is just the thing to go with your frisbee caddy so you have a snack while out playing frisbee!

  6. Havelaar

    VeloComputer’s sensors are tempting. No more slipping spoke magnets in the descent…
    But there are 4 of them and their functions do not seem to be identical.
    If I get it right, the Hub BT sensor will deliver speed and acceleration, whereas the Hub and Seat Ant+ sensors will only deliver speed. And then there is the Seat BT sensor, which seems to deliver cadence and incline percentage but no speed.
    I can understand that Ant+ sensors are limited, as they can only deliver information covered by an existing ant+ profile, which does not seem to be the case for acceleration & incline percentage. But why can the Seat BT sensor not deliver speed and why the Ant+ sensors no cadence?
    Also, I wonder what the use of acceleration might be, as it should be easily deductible by any app form speed data anyway.
    For now, I’m not sure what sensor(s) would pair best with the Samsung Galaxy S5 & IpBike.

    • My reading of the VeloComputer.

      The Seat is only capable of cadence and incline and mounts on the seat. Presumably it works out cadence for based off the small movements of the seat it would be interesting to see what happens when you really try and keep the seat still while pedalling also indoors on a trainer…. It would be interesting if it worked out if I was seated or standing as well which would be an interesting number while climbing and could be doable from the same data.

      The Hub is doing speed and acceleration only and mounts on the hub.

      Hardware wise they are both the same but the firmware is different. One set of unified firmware would be far nicer especially if it did ANT+ and BTLE as well as the ‘seat’ and ‘hub’ functions. Code size I would say is the only thing preventing this….

      ANT+ as you say you are restricted to what is in the standard protocols so nothing for incline and nothing allowing higher precision speed and hence better acceleration. They could add this with customer ANT protocol stuff as well as working to get the profiles extended.

      BTLE they can again use the standard protocols for speed and cadence having them separate may cause issues with badly written software expecting them together. They have chosen to add the incline as a custom BTLE protocol. I am not sure if the high precision speed can be done with the standard BTLE speed setup or if they have had to go custom for this as well.

      ANT+ or BTLE should work with an S5 and IpBike for the standard speed and cadence. Reliability and stability wise ANT+ is still better then BTLE I would be shocked to see any issues. BTLE I still have as beta in IpSensorMan for good reason although it’s still Google that need to fix some stuff really…

      For the more advanced features to be supported in IpBike or any other third party software they need to provide the necessary details on the bits of custom protocol they are using for people to be able to code against. If they do that then I could theoretically add support to IpBike although I am not saying I ever would but incline would be more likely than the speed stuff.

    • Havelaar

      Thanks for the clarification, Ifor

  7. Dave F

    Do we know yet where the battery life came in on the final Mio Links?

  8. Ray, have you checked out Spruzza Mist?
    link to spruzzamist.com

    I’ve been following them since they first started about a year ago…finally making it to production now. Super excited about this one. 🙂

  9. Tom

    So which swim function enabled watches could handle the 1 km pool (#7 in Chile)? I’m guessing none and it’s more of an open water swim.