5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

And here’s how the first weekend in July went down, onwards!

1) Celebrated July 4th (yes, in France!)

When it comes to holidays that we miss while living in France, there’s nothing more American or distinctly American than the 4th of July (Independence Day).  Sure Bastille day is next Monday, but somehow BBQ has not yet become as popular for the French as in the US – thus missing a key ingredient for the festivities.

Nonetheless, we did our best.  Which, ironically started with first watching the French play in the World Cup.  And that in and of itself might have been the national holiday.


The only catch?  They lost.  Sigh.

So, with that deed done we enjoyed the rest of the evening celebrating everything and anything American.  Starting with pulled pork, Heinz Ketchup and Doritos.  Oh, and some cupcakes.


Of course, despite all attempts to keep it Americana, most of the group has transitioned into mixing between beer and wine.  Well, probably more wine.  Lots of wine actually.  Nevermind, the style of party was Americana, even if the alcohol was French and Belgian.

2) Ran around the city…

Saturday afternoon I went for a bit of a jaunt around the city.  A simple 12-mile run at an easy pace.  Unfortunately, as was the case the entire weekend the weather generally sucked during the day – lots of rain.  As a result, not a ton of interesting things to take photos of on the outbound portion.  Though, I did grab this fairly well framed impromptu photo on the return:


I made my turnaround the Statue of Liberty replica, which seemed appropriate for the weekend.


At which point I headed back towards the Eiffel tower, off in the distance through the rain.


Interestingly the Eiffel Tower actually has a little buddy right now.  This little guy was put up a few weeks ago, though I didn’t slow down/stop to find out its back story.


Instead, I turned around and continued towards École Militaire and the glass Monument to Peace that sits in front of it.


In doing so however, I was attempting to see how much I could see of an event going on this weekend – which, takes us to item #3:

3) I ran into some horses jumping at the Eiffel Tower.

Earlier in the week I had seen these banners up all around the city, and especially on the main boulevards.  The banners showed a picture of horses with wings jumping over the Eiffel Tower.  Unfortunately, the banner wasn’t terribly clear on what it meant (even our Parisian friends couldn’t make sense of it).  Thankfully, a reader and friend here happened to e-mail me on Thursday and explain it all.


The event was horse jumping, and they had setup a giant swanky plaza right on the Champ de Mars in between École Militaire and the Eiffel Tower.


While you could buy tickets for the swanky section, I was actually able to run around the perimeter and easily stand anywhere I wanted to right along the fenced area.  For better or worse, due to the rain there was almost nobody there – so snapping a few quick photos before heading onwards was pretty easy.


They had giant screens up all over the place, and it so happened that while I was there two different American Women were competing, at least one of which had qualified onto the next round.


As I was leaving I noticed two things.  First was a sand smoother machine, appropriately dragged by…horses.


And the second was that just like a race expo they had a number of tents with horse related things you could buy.  Just in case you stopped by the Eiffel Tower and needed a saddle for your noble steed.


4) Went to an international track meet

A bit later after getting back from my run I headed about 20 minutes north on the train just beyond the edge of the city limits to Stade de France, which is the national stadium of France.  It’s held everything from the World Cup to Lada Gaga.


Tonight though, it’d be holding a Diamond League track meet featuring a slew of Olympians including Lolo Jones.  Lots of interesting history in this meet series.

A reader that stopped by the cupcake shop on Friday made me aware of it, and then we headed up together with another friend.  It worked out great, and best of all was the ticket price was only 20 euros!  And that’s for great seats on the first row of a balcony:


We watched a slew of events starting around 6PM until 10PM.  There were major international star-studded events, but that was also sprinkled earlier in the evening with France-regional events (unclear if it was high school or college, but appeared high school).


Around 7:30PM or so they did a parade of the top athletes that were there, electing to go with a Brazilian themed approach for the parade:


It was impressive/cool/fascinating/something to see a bunch of teen girls going absolutely crazy over one of the French athletes (along with much of the stadium), but especially them.  It was like being at a Justin Beiber concert (note: I have no such firsthand knowledge of that however).


As is often the case, the night ended with the 100m sprint – albeit on the other side of the stadium.  Still, astounding how fast they move.


5) Went for a very wet and muddy bike ride…on my tri bike.

Despite the weekend seemingly being packed already (and really, you’ve only seen about half of it) – I headed out Sunday afternoon for a bit of a long ride.  Of course, the weather was definitely not cooperating from the start.  The above taken only about 1.5 miles from our apartment showing sheets of blowing rain.


Eventually I got out of the city and to a newer area I hadn’t been to before (headed towards Fontainebleau).  I was following a route that the local tri team had published/done the weekend before while I was on an airplane.  In parts it goes through the forest on non-car roads that were quite nice.


But on other parts I was on muddy dirt roads that made the below dirt road photo I took look downright royal.  The other roads weren’t actually routes, but rather at one point more like mountain biking single track…downhill…with cobbles.


Just in case we weren’t clear, I was on my triathlon bike.  Below, a brief photo-stop along the way after clearing out of a section of forest in front of some fancy place.


Unfortunately, about half way along I hit this little bump and immediately got a flat.  Turns out the speed-bumps for cars that didn’t exist were way sharper than I thought.


So, got out my flat kit and fixed it up.  The only bummer was that the preceding section of travelling was heavily sand based (as you can see).  Thus no matter how hard I tried sand was getting everywhere after swapping out the tube, resulting in more sand getting inside the wheel.  Not ideal.


I’d actually flat once more, this time reasonably close to a train station.  So while I had about 10 more miles to go, I ended up calling it good here since even if I kept on refilling my tube with CO2 every few miles, I was tempting the gods in getting stuck in the forest somewhere if I popped the other one.  Here’s what the bike looked like at the train station:


And here’s how things looked post-train swinging by the shop.  The Girl took the photo of my legs absolutely caked with mud.


Don’t worry though, I got it all cleaned up:


Hope everyone had a great weekend! Thanks for reading!


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  1. Stepan

    Bike cleaning in the bathtub, what a great idea. Saving…. done.

  2. ben

    your wife is a saint letting you put your bike in the bath

  3. hollyoak

    Well that was a muddy bike ride ;-) Do you have the link for that bike route?

    • Yup, here’s the original Strava route I mirrored: link to strava.com
      And here’s the ‘Course’ on Garmin Connect: link to connect.garmin.com

      The differences are:

      A) Original route included an extra 20ish mile loop once you got to Fontainebleu (I skipped it in my course)
      B) At the very beginning for the first mile or so I use a slightly more efficient routing for cyclists simply because I know the roads pretty well here
      C) Otherwise they should match.

    • hollyoak

      Thanks! A bit of a spin but it seems to be worth it…on a nice day ;-)

    • Anthony C

      Whoops, that appears to be the very same route I created and did with some cycling friends from the Paris Cycling Group on the weekend you mentioned! I created the route using the ‘popularity’ feature on the Strava route-planner. I was also taken by surprise by the downhill cobble sections (also wet when we did it!) and have no idea why that particular section was popular (perhaps mountain bikers?).

      And, yes, we had punctures also but not where you did! Feel free to join us on one of our regular sorties, if you are not too put off by the Fontainebleau trip (created as an alternative to the usual Chevreuse outings)

    • Haha…hi Anthony!

      No worries on the route, it made for an interesting adventure. Oddly enough I likely would have joined you guys on that morning had my flight not landed at the same time, would have been fun.

  4. Blake Helms

    I think your bike looks grateful for the shower!

  5. Angel

    Great idea, a shower for your bike.

  6. Jeff

    What’s your standard flat kit? I’m wondering if you carry a bunch of patches and deal with that mess, or a couple of tubes.

    • I just have a spare tube and CO2 cartridges. For a ride like this two tubes clearly would have been better. Never really been into the patch mess – easier just go swap tubes. If it’s not pouring sideways with sand I can usually knock out a spare tire change very quickly.

  7. Robert

    My better half would kill me if I had a bike in the shower!

  8. Jay M

    Don’t you hate it when you can’t tell if the young’ins are high school or college!

  9. Patrick

    Onward noble steed!

  10. Scott E

    Oh, the stories that bike could tell…..

  11. darkwave

    The horse stuff was the Global Champions Tour’s Paris stop. Link here: link to globalchampionstour.com

  12. Pablo

    Hi Ray,

    Quick question. What kind of rear bottle mount system do you use?
    Love the dirt ride in the tri-bike by the way.


  13. MAGNUS

    Eventful weekend. And good on you for going out in that weather… Now I feel like a bum for spending the past four days stuffing my face with food and beer without a single run/ride/swim.

  14. Phil

    So I got a new balance runner gps watch at Olympia here in Boston for $23 (they had a bunch). Catch is it comes with the two prong charging only cable. Figure I’ll get a four prong cable and try it out. It’s a backup to my iPhone cycling system so not too shabby.

    On a related note, does anyone know if it’s possible to merge, say, a gps file from a watch with speed, cadence and heart rate collected on a phone?

    • It’s tricky merging files, only because of formatting. Sites like Training Peaks can actually overlay files from two sources – assuming that it’s compatible with TP.

    • Anders Majland

      I use repairfitfile to merge data from different sources before uploading to Endomondo

      An example link to endomondo.com

      – GPS track logged every 5s with Garmin GPSmap 60scx in SaferSwimmer float

      – Cadence from Garmin 910XT (Even with 5s logging the GPSmap has 10 times as many breadcrombs as the 910)

      – Heartrate from mio link logget with Garmin Vivofit (since the 910 won’t log heartrate in swim mode)

  15. johnDoe

    Great bike cleaning bay. Thanks for the inspiration

  16. Silvan

    I really love your site: Some posts useful, all very entertaining. All written in a fresh, positive, humorous, honest and very personal style. I am sure maintaining such a site is a huge effort! Despite the high amount of visitors I assume money-wise it never pays out. So it’s a lot of idealism you put into that. Thanks for that! Cheers from Zurich.

  17. Looks like you are pretty high on Chewbacca scale there Ray. Perhaps you too could benefit from this one… link to youtube.com

  18. Rich M

    Ha – so glad someone else uses the bath tub and shower to clean their bike!

  19. Helen

    A bike in the shower – the horror!!! Shhhh… we won’t tell. I hope you cleaned the shower before your wife came home.

  20. Danny

    Testing the Rotor power meter ? When is the review expected?

  21. Belgian* beer, like u say French beer instead of France Beer.

  22. firsthuman

    Forgot to mention who won the soccer match, mh? HARR

  23. Mr Nofish

    Seriously Ray, are you not afraid of the Style police, rocking silver brake shoes on black calipers and black wheels?

    No seriously serious this time, why two of what looks like a speed sensor of the traditional type?

    Also very suspicious about head units removed in any picture showing the top tube…

    • Style Police: Despite the ability of the French to be fashionable in almost all situations, I’ve found they generally fall a bit short in the fitness fashion department. Thus, I have nothing to worry about.

      Speed sensors: One is a speed/cadence combo, one a speed-only sensor. The speed-only sensor I use for PM testing, whereas the combo sensor I use for random testing and gets swapped for either the BT or ANT+ variant depending on what specifically I’m testing.

      Head units on top tube: Just 2xEdge 810’s. Simply collecting power meter data from the various PM’s on the bike as a backup in case the WASP has issues.

  24. Mike

    I also noticed that you’re running the Rotor power meter on the bike atm. How’s it performing after the latest firmware update? Do you have a feel for when we may see an in depth review or are you going to pull it into an updated buyers guide?

  25. Tyler Haas

    No worries about the Belgian beer; most beer purchased in the US is made by ABInbev, a Belgian company. So you were just on-trend there!

    • Paul D

      True. And as ABInbev owns Anheuser-Busch, Ray’s really drinking a Belgian beer everytime he has a Bud – or Natty Lite – anyway!

  26. Federico

    Hi Ray, when do you plan to publish the Rotor Power in depth review?

    • I haven’t quite decided on the exact date for the review. I continue to have some issues with it incorrectly reporting wattage on one side. :-/

  27. ANDY

    ray any plans for the tour????

  28. welan

    hey ..its’ so cool