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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s what I’ve been up to the last few days since getting back home to Europe.

1) Flew home from the US:

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Friday we arrived back in Paris from what’s been a nearly two week long trip to the US.  First, a week for CES, and then another in the Charleston area visiting with friends (and doing a fair bit of product testing).

We did have quite an enjoyable time in Charleston though, and I got some nice running in there, even with what was described to us as crappy weather (seemed mostly fine to me though).

Plus, I mostly managed to snag some cool footage for a post later this week on sports and a look at all the drones out there that capture follow-me style footage autonomously during sports.

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Mostly though, it was nice to be home and just relaxing a bit.

2) An Evening Run Around the City:

I went out Saturday night for a bit of a 10-miler run.  No particular zone nor target in mind, other than just checking out the city via running.

After a a few minutes along the river heading east to burn some early time and mileage I turned back around and headed more towards the busier central areas.  I’d eventually pass through the Louvre, which is always fun for GPS re-acquisition tests as I go through the massive stone buildings.  Plus, the pyramid looks pretty at night.

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From there I zipped straight up to the Arc.  I always forget what a mess it is to run with all the cross streets and people out and about.  This run should tide me over another few months until I forget again.  Though I suppose it’s not bad super-early in the morning.

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After that I headed back down the river for a lazy loop around the Eiffel Tower before eventually racing the boats the few miles along the Seine back to the studio.  The Girl was wrapping up some cakes there.

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Of course, it only seemed proper to refuel with an electrolyte heavy bowl of ramen from our favorite place.

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No doubt one of the best deals in town, and without question some of the best soup in town.

3) A few Paris observations:

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This has been our first weekend back to the city since the attacks, as both of us had been out of the country when it occurred.  There’s obviously been much made in the news media (especially outside of France) about what Paris is like now compared to prior to the attacks.

In general though, over the course of the weekend there wasn’t much appreciably different (visibly) within the city that most would notice.  For example, many US news outlets keep showing pictures of soldiers (in camouflage gear with large guns) around the Eiffel Tower.  Except here’s the thing: That’s not new.

It hasn’t been new for nearly a decade.  It’s the same presence that’s at most other major tourist sites in Paris, such as Notre Dame.  We watch them from our window in their groups of three wander around in circles within the grounds of Notre Dame all day long.

The convoys of 5-10 police vans/vehicles that other outlets have focused on are also not new.  It’s simply how they shuttle around police officers throughout the city, and again have been in place for years.

The only item that was inside Paris that we saw as noticeably different however was the Lebanese restaurant which is no more than 50 yards from our door now has a 24×7 heavily armed police presence.

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No matter what time of day I’ve gone by it, the two officers are there heavily armed and both holding large guns to their chest.  Hopefully things will return to normal soon.  Of course, this certainly won’t stop us from visiting it.  It’s generally regarded as the best Lebanese place in all of Paris, and is our favorite for picking up 1€ bags of pita bread.

Of course behind the visible changes is the shift that can’t be seen.  The attacks have rattled the country and that’s likely to take much longer to heal.

4) Went for a nice Sunday Ride

I was a bit worried the weather would be crap on Sunday, but upon waking up it turned out to be fairly good, even bordering on rather nice.  So I headed out for about an hour or so, just a casual loop around the eastern portion of the city.  I didn’t have a ton of time to spare given having to go to the airport and knock out a bunch of other things before my flight.  Still, I made it work.

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I headed over to the Bois de Vincennes for a loop around the triangle section and then the horse track section.  As one might expect on a decent Sunday, it was packed with cyclists riding loops (yes, I know, my photo doesn’t entirely make it appear that way, but every colored dot you see on the road ahead is a cyclist):

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As usual, I was testing power meters.  In this case, focusing on the Verve Infocrank, which I’m hoping to wrap up the review on shortly.  Having a busy travel schedule in December and January meant lowered bike time unfortunately.

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It was good to see all three power meters seemed to agree quite nicely though.  I had Garmin Vector, a PowerTap G3, and then the Infocrank.  The Verve’s data is uploaded to my Strava activity file for the ride, for those who are curious.

5) Flew to Istanbul

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After my Sunday ride and some Fitbit Surge waterproof chamber testing time, it was off to the airport for my evening flight.  I was headed down to Istanbul for a handful of work meetings on Monday and Tuesday, before I’ll return to Paris Tuesday evening.

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The flight is only about three hours, so relatively short and painless.  Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak in a run while I’m here, like the last time I was down here.  Though I’m staying on the Asian side of Istanbul, so I’ll probably stick to something nearer me rather than try and head back to the European side.

With that – have a great week all!

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34 Comments

  1. Simon

    Review of Fitbit Charge HR….Pleeeeeease..

    • Will

      FWIW, I’ve had mine about 5 days and am absolutely loving it. Tracked it’s HR monitor against my FR220 during a short run this weekend and it was generally accurate, though it did have more spikes. I waited months for it to come out and so very am very pleased with my purchase.

  2. Raynald

    Wow… you make the most with your time buddy! Well done! Have a good week!

  3. Morten

    Hi Ray

    Always fun to read about your weekends.

    Btw: typo at “files miles” should probably be five miles.

    /Morten

  4. Peter Hood

    Riding your Giant Defy! Normally don’t see that bike in pictures

  5. Didone

    It´s nice to get a real perspective on things in Paris. Tks Ray!

    What´s your take on the optical hr on the fitbit charge hr? Just waiting for your review to close the deal on one.

  6. Robert

    Sullivans Island nice!! Fresh pralines at slave market irresistible!!

  7. Cardiff Arms

    Through all the recent activity in Paris I’d been wondering about your perspective. Thanks for sharing a level-headed viewpoint.

    The potential and aesthetic of the Garmin VivoActive now has me on the fence regarding the Fitbit Surge. The reported flakiness of wrist-based optical HRM in general has me thinking that a non-optical wrist-based tracker plus a Scosche Rhythm+ (or alternative) will be a better option. Your pending Surge review will undoubtedly help tip the balance one way or the other!

  8. MattB

    That’s a great photo of the fishing trawler. Hope you get a bit more time to see Istanbul this time around, it’s on my bucket list for sure!

  9. Eduardo

    You forgot to add…

    6) I watched the Seahawks turn an awful game into a Packers nightmare!

    • What an awesome ending indeed!

      (Technically speaking it finished up around 1AM my time, which might not make it the weekend anymore…)

    • Eduardo

      Yep, you are right, it finished past 1AM (also my time). You can cover it in the next 5 random things for next week… 🙂

    • David

      But it’s a 3 day weekend.

    • Lew

      I’m pretty sure any MLK day observations in Europe would be uncommon at best. Even in the US many private companies do not make it a holiday, so many don’t get anything but a normal weekend.

    • David

      I realize that. But Ray has been liberal in his definition of a “Weekend” in the past. I was just giving him an out if he wanted to include the victory in the weekend.

    • It is true, in most cases this would have made the round-up. In my case, I was sadly only watching it with Twitter updates, as the hotel didn’t have TV coverage of it, and I wasn’t having much luck with any streaming services.

      Fear not, the Super Bowl will most definitely make the cut. Well, unless they lose. In which case there’ll be no mention of it.

  10. Scott

    At first glance, I thought Ray was in the cockpit and literally “flying” back to Paris.

  11. Luka

    I would have invited you to Georgia which is next to turkey but unfortunately I’m not in country 🙁

  12. Scott Layher

    I am heading to Paris in a few weeks. Thanks for the timely post on resturants, a running route right passed our accommodations and security situation. Serendipity for sure. Also we will be stopping for cupcakes. I can hardly wait.

  13. Mike N

    Welcome to South Carolina! After reading your weekend review about Charleston, I realize that I should stop whining about the weather here and enjoy the “winter.” I was just telling my wife that I’ve had enough of these 40 degree days, I’m ready for summer. Today it’s in the 60’s and beautiful sunshine…I got in a run and a bike ride.

  14. Welcome to Turkey. I’d love to take you for a ride.

  15. Nice detail on the remote control on you Giant Defy (how you mounted it)!
    Did you have to get used to it (how you place your hands, how you have to operate it)?

    • Only took about a ride or less for me. You can customize the buttons a bit, but I just leave it at the default. To be honest, I don’t tend to change the options a ton during my normal rides. Really only when I’m doing something with mapping when I want to swap back and forth.

  16. Lara

    Glad you knew to go to Istanbul, not Constantinople… 😉

  17. Great trip! I was in Istanbul a few years ago. Beautiful city! I was amazed to see the differences between cultures in the same city.

    After checking a lot of reviews online I decided to buy a Fitbit Surge, and a HR for my wife. I trained weights today and cardio. I checked the heart rate against the elliptical and it was 8 point higher then my Surge. I arrived at home and tested my surge with my Relion Blood pressure monitor, and it tested exactly like my Surge and HR. Really liked my purchase. Thank you for your postings. Love your blog!

    Now I am trying to find a tracker that will help my son’s competitive soccer fitness and speed program. I heard that Adidas has a good one.

  18. Hmm that things looks like a Vietnamese Pho
    Thanks for sharing, now I have to go eat something 🙂

  19. Joe

    That bowl of ramen looks suspiciously like phô 🙂

    • While similar in looks, it’s very different. First, Pho is across the street and down two restaurants. And second…it’s not Pho. 🙂

      (Actually, third, Pho is usually much wider noodles).

  20. Marcel

    i have to go to Paris for several days in march, but as i am in training for the rotterdam marathon, i need to continue the runs. As i am staying near st Cloud, Do you think the track round hippodrome de longchamp (bois de boulogne) is perfect for some tempo/interval runs ? ( i do not like to run next to the traffic fumes near the seine for example), but maybe this track is used by bikers ?
    Or maybe the 400m or so track in the middle of the seine between the eiffel tower and pont de grenelle ?
    Thanks in advance for your tips

    • Hi Marcel-

      Longchamp is a good place to go (for bike or running), but I honestly wouldn’t do it for intervals, since it actually has a big ole hill in the middle and at night it’s not lit.

      Your other thought – along the river, is actually where we often do them. That area – Les Berges is awesome now, and all closed to traffic for running. Basically the entire stretch between the Eiffel Tower and Museum d’Orsay is flat and along the river, so plenty of distance for mile repeats if need be. Plus, it’s lit at night and even a bathroom about half-way.

      Also of note: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Enjoy!

    • Marcel

      Thanks!
      ok Longchamp during daytime and les berges anytime.

      maybe i will visit the cupcake shop to fill up the carbs 🙂

      rgds
      Marcel