5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past few days!

1) Worked my way home from the ANT+ Symposium


First up was getting back from Kananaskis, Alberta (it’s in Canada, home of awesome maple syrup).  I was there last week at the ANT+ Symposium catching up with many companies and their products, as well as being a keynote speaker.


Like most years, I’m rarely talking specifically to ANT+ items, but more sports technology in general.  I should have the hour-long video keynote posted in the next few days for all to watch and enjoy (or, serve as a way to fall asleep).  This year I started off with a bit of a perspective on smart watches and the Apple Watch in terms of sport and fitness.  Then I dive into platforms and the issues of standardization, before finally going through a variety of thoughts on topics like power meters, activity monitors, and my top areas and products of sports tech to watch over the next year.

(Thanks to Alfredo for the pic above!)

2) Stopped in Dallas for a quick swim

Next, after waking up at 4:45AM to catch my first flight to Dallas, I landed in DFW for a 6ish hour layover.  While Dallas isn’t exactly the most direct route back to Europe, it was the one that landed me back home in Paris earliest (as a side note, I typically would have flown United back via Chicago, but thankfully given the nightmare that was on Friday, I lucked out there!).

While in Dallas I decided to hit up a good ole American pool.  In this case, the fee was a whopping $1.50.  Woot!


I say ‘good ole American pool’ because it’s the one sore point of living in Paris, the pools there are pretty much a complete loss when it comes to actually getting a workout in – just far too crowded with no control of lane speed assignment.

Here however in the land of Texas I had about 25 or so lanes to choose from, with only a couple of people in the pool:


It was beautiful:


I would have stayed there all day long, but I had a slew of other tasks to accomplish in my time in Dallas, so off I went, eventually putting me on an American Airlines 777 for the flight back home:


I took some time on the near 10-hour flight to knock out many things, including work on the Suunto Ambit3 In-Depth review, which you should see publish today as well.

3) Spent some time at the restaurant supply store

For what used to be a weekly task going to the restaurant supply store, I haven’t quite done so in a while.  Either The Girl or one of our employees has done the chore of supermarket sweep.  But with supplies needed, we headed over Saturday afternoon for some fun in the store.


We were there mostly getting supplies (Champagne primarily) for partying at the CupCakery next Saturday, where we’ll celebrate our second birthday/anniversary.  If you’re around these parts next week, simply print out the below and bring it in, and get some free goods.  If you’re not around next weekend…sorry!

BirthdayInvitation_English BirthdayInvitation_French

While The Girl was off picking out on the other side of the store she left me in the French cheese section (huge mistake that was).


And yes, there’s separate sections for French cheese and Italian cheeses, as well as a tiny little itty bitty section for American cheeses (i.e. Wisconsin Cheddar).


I also went off to locate bacon.  We ran out of bacon recently – it was a near national incident in our little apartment.  Along the way I got distracted again in the ham section:


Speaking of distractions – you know those Dyson Airblade things you see at places?  They started stocking them.  And holy cow, I didn’t realize they were that pricey!


Also in the same department would be professional grade crepe machines:


And my favorite of all – the hot dog and baguette holer machine.  Yes, it will stick a hole in a baguette and then heat the baguette from the inside.  Meanwhile, the little container holds the hot dogs which then get stuck in the baguette.


For those curious, you can see how that all comes together in the below photo I took during the Tour de France this year:


Yes, brilliant once you stick condiments in there too.  And with that, you’re all hungry.  You’re welcome.

4) Deeply tested out the Withings Aura system, unboxed Jabra wireless HR headphones

This one is also known as ‘Getting caught-up on sleep’, as you can see below:


Well, despite what you see above it actually didn’t track the sleep in my daily metrics, it’s as if it didn’t exist. Perhaps I just slept too much and broke it.  My bad.

Of course, that answers the question of: What on earth happened to my Sunday?  I suppose eventually you have to catch-up on sleep when the most sleep you get for 3 days in a row is 4 hours.

In unrelated news (but because I’ve run out of spots elsewhere in this post), I unboxed the Jabra Pulse.  This pair of headphones is just making it to the market and will record your heart rate via your ears.  The company uses Valencell technology, which is a good sign in terms of accuracy.



It then transmits it out via Bluetooth Smart – so any app that supports Bluetooth Smart can read the heart rate signal.  Additionally, you can listen to music at the same time and control the audio from the headphones via a customizable button on the side.  Good stuff!  I’ll be testing them out over the coming weeks, so expect some thoughts later this month.

5) Did a bunch of walking around the city


Finally, on Sunday (after waking up a wee bit later than planned), we went on a long loop-de-loop wander around the city.  The weather was approaching 80°F, so absolutely stunning for a late September day.

After doing a loop up around Bastille and working or way down the Seine, we were just about to exit the closed roadway when we realized it was about time for it to become unclosed.  You see, it’s only closed on Sunday’s till 5PM, and it was slightly behind schedule at 5:08PM.

We were just in front of the tunnel when we heard the sirens coming through – sending many cyclists fleeing to the edge of the road.


Right behind these police cars was an invasions worth of motorcycles & mopeds, followed by a traffic-jam’s worth of cars.  Just like that, the quiet and peaceful roadway was over.


It’s always been mysterious to me why they don’t keep it closed until longer on Sunday’s, especially since so many people are out enjoying the multi-mile closed roadway section along the river.

After escaping getting runover, we were able to keep on walking down the banks of the river along the normal pedestrian portion.  From there we we passed under Pont des Arts, one of two bridges famous for its ‘love locks’ that folks lock to the bridge.


While I’ve run/walk this section more times than I can count, the water was never quite low enough to notice the handful of locks that were along the bottom of the river in this area.


I found this funny because these locks clearly fell into the category of: “You had one job to do.”, as in, “You had one job to do: Actually lock the lock.”

There were also a few keys down there, though they don’t come out very well.  And I suppose most of them get washed away.  Perhaps the above couples got confused and thought they were supposed to throw the lock in the river, instead of just the key.

Just a bit further down the river from there though we stopped to watch the local police boats do some practice dives.  And, just to relax a bit along the river.  After all – a perfect day for it!


Stay tuned for the week ahead, I’ve got tons of goodness coming up this week.  From one or more product reviews (starting today), to My 2014 Power Meter Buyer’s Guide, and much more!

Thanks for reading, and have a great week ahead!


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  1. Daryl

    So did you just take a taxi to the pool? I could see a list of pools or other facilities close to airports along with logistical info as being something that could attract a lot of hits to the site. Any secrets near O’Hare?

    • In this case I just went with a car rental, mostly because I had a number of other stops along the way to pickup stuff, along with a carry-on roller – so needed a bit of flexibility.

    • M Geeslin

      One ORD secret is the Hilton at the airport will let you use their workout facilities for a small fee. It’s no lap pool but it’s not a bad workout room with shower facilities.

  2. Mucher

    Ha, North Lake College in Las Colinas – just got back from Texas and hitting the same pool last week, I was staying within walking distance. Coming from Poland I share your views on overloaded European pools – although some places here started marking lanes as ‘fast’

    from the airport you could even take the DART rail, it stopa a few minute walk from the college.

    • Mark

      I’d just like to see lanes. My local on a Friday evening has four lanes set up, marked private hire, private hire, private hire, fast. And that’s an advertised public lane swimming slot. Sigh.

  3. John

    I would suggest that the keys and locks in the water are from relationships that failed.

  4. Uwe Hercksen

    The pool in Dallas remembers me on the pool we had here in Erlangen, Germany many years ago. It was a tent lifted by a very small air pressure. But the doors requred pretty much force to close them against the air pressure. The pool in Dallas was lifted by air pressure too? Such pools are very loud, the tent has a very bad accoustic.

  5. runStéphane

    Hi Ray,
    Good read for starting the week. From a nearly Parisian: it’s not the Passerelle de Solférino (in fact la passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor since … 2006; err, I’m still saying “Solférino”) but la passerelle des Arts (or “pont des Arts” officially I think). The passerelle Solférino is one single span over the Seine and ahead of musée d’Orsay.
    Invitations for the CupCakery’s birthday are ok in electronic version too? ;)
    Thanks for writing.

    • Ahh, good catch, you’re right. I was trying to pull it up via an online maps site to validate, but for whatever reason my Internet was super-slow at the time and couldn’t check. Fixing now!

      An yup, electronic is totally good (either printed or saved on the phone on screen).

  6. Gyomu

    If you want to try bigger polls (but a little bit farther from your place) check out “Roger Le Gall” in Paris 12e, the Nogent-sur-Marne pool and the Kremlin Bicetre Pool. All are 50 meters pools and the last two are olympic pools i believe.

  7. Bora

    Interesting stuff as usual, great read. You made me really curious about the Jabra wireless HR headphones. If they function well and can replace the strap or any other separate device for HR, it will be really cool! Looking forward to the week full of new reviews.

    • Sen

      Me too – I was going to buy the Jabra Pulse this weekend, but then decided to hold on until reading DC’s review, since he goes into so much detail.

  8. Paul Horsley

    Try the 2012 50m Olympic Pool at Stratford London, in the weekday mornings if your ever this way, I often swim in there around 7.00am at different mornings, and am yet to share a lane with more than 3 people, and there has been times when I’ve had the whole lane to myself for the whole session. bliss!

    • Scott Buchanan

      Went there soon after it opened to the public but found you had to book sessions which kinda gave the impression that you had to be out at a certain time regardless of the distance you wanted to swim.is that still the case? Also how much are the charging? Got my pass refused!

  9. MartinF

    Somehow I missed Jabra had these headphones coming out. I have my Scosche heart rate monitor and just had to replace my Jaybird BlueBudX after loosing them. I’m looking forward to your review.

  10. Hi Ray, I was at the ANT+ conference, I saw the keynote and enjoyed it so much, thank you. My dream ? submitting you a product of ours for review and passing all the checks !!

  11. Love looking at industrial grade machinery. So restaurant equipment sores are one of my favorites.

  12. Kyle

    Curses! I guess the airblade is out of the budget for my bathroom at home, back to washing hand towels.

  13. Wyatt

    “Kananaskis, Calgary” is not a place–Kananaskis, Alberta as well as Calgary, Alberta certainly are though :). .

  14. Dave

    Looking forward to the power meter buyers guide!

  15. That cheese section looks heavenly!

  16. Paul E

    That pool is just down the street from where I used to live in Dallas. :)

  17. Scott Turvey

    Yay, 2014 PM review!

    BTW, cheese comments spot on

  18. Storkbite

    Speaking of Ant+… is the iPhone 6 Ant+ capable?

    • No, only via some 3rd party adapters (like 4iiii Viiiiva). Wahoo is now considering building a Lighting ANT+ adapter like their previous edition for the 30-pin connect.

    • Miro Lehky

      Lets hope they do more than “consider”. With the Edge 1000 and other gramin units unable to connect to hotel wifi the ability to sync via an iDevice is quite handy.

  19. Jay L

    Hey Ray, whatever happen to your secret test rig?

  20. Matěj Novotný

    Hi Ray.
    Is it possible to watch video of Your speach on ANT+ symposium anywhere on web?

  21. Bart Bouse

    Did you give up on the Jabra Sport Pulse headphones? Was looking forward to a review or more comments on this. I could only find one review on the internet which indicated wonky heart rate readings on a half marathon. What has your experience been? Thanks.

  22. Jose del Cueto

    Any news on the Jabra SPORT PULSE? Works with the V800 and/or Ambit 3 as a HR sensor?

    • I’m cooking on it still, sorry!

    • Peter Page

      Ray, I have had the Jabra Sports Pulse headset and am using it with Endomondo and an iPhone 5 in a waterproof sleeve in a pocket. I have done 14 runs between 30m and 1h 30m with it. So far I have had three or four times when the Bluetooth Smart gets disconnected and then reconnects shortly afterwards. A couple of times the strap has snagged on my clothes when moving my head and the earpiece has moved or dislodged and I have had to push it back in. When this happens the recorded data shows a flat spot or other obvious disturbance. Otherwise have been very happy with it. I am keen to see your comparisons on accuracy compared to other devices as this is all I have.

  23. Steven H Larsen

    DCR – you da man!
    Looking forward to the Jabra Sport Pulse review. When’s it coming? :-D

  24. Matt

    How is the HR accuracy of the Jabra Sport Pulse?

  25. Jose del Cueto

    I have also the Jabra Sport Pulse and I am not so happy with it. I use it wit a Polar V800. The BT get disconnected sometimes also, but lose the pulse signal very often. On the music / phone side works perfect. I try several adjustments with the plastic inserts but do not get to have a session without interruptions in the HR.

    Ray: Maybe you can give us some light on the adjustment or maybe get in touch with Jabra for a update.


  26. paul loren

    Hey Still no review on the Jabra Pulse’s??? I saw some girl wearing them in the gym the other day and when I asked her about them she had no idea they had HR sensor in them!!!

  27. erik

    Also keen to see the jabra review.

    Have bought these myself, and have had som issues with Bluetooth Smart disconnecting on its own. Found out that pairing with NFC actually secures the BS drop out issue, better than bluetooth pairing (android, LG G3). No idea why.

    Read the review at runblogger.com who found a poor accuracy on the HRM, compared to ANT+..which is interesteing as Jabra claims 99.2% accuracy compared to EKG.. I haven’t done the comparing myself yet.

    So please hurry uuuuuuup ;)