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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s what I’ve been up to the last few days.  As always, it’s been a wee bit busy.

1) A Saturday Long Run

I headed out mid-afternoon on Saturday for a bit of a run around the city.  I didn’t set out with a particular route in mind, but rather just kinda made it up along the way.  Adding to that, for fun I turned on live tracking on the Garmin Fenix3 and tweeted out the link for those that wanted to follow along:

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Which, a number of you did:

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I ended up heading towards Bastille and then taking the elevated pedestrian walkway as it cuts clearly across the city for a few miles.  It’s an efficient way to get to the park, at least when it’s not a nice warm sunny day (then it’s just a mess of people slowly walking and blocking the trail).

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From there I did a loop around the Chateau Vincennes before working my way back home:

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Of course, along the way it poured on me a few times.

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All in the run was about 14.4 miles (23KM), taking me 1hr 47mins. Not too shabby for a Z2 long run.

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2) A Valentine’s Day Dinner

After wrapping up my long run, I made a quick trip down to the restaurant supply store.  While normally the realm of Friday Date Night for us, The Girl was busy working on more cakes than I could keep track of.  So I got delegated restaurant supply store duties.  On the bright side, that also means I could pretty much buy anything else I saw while roaming the halls. ;)

After wrapping up our respective efforts, we headed over to a friend’s house for a Valentine’s dinner.  The meal consisted of awesome homemade carnitas tacos.  He had slow cooked the pork to make super juicy pulled pork, and then mixed in little bits of chorizo.  There was also some deep frying involved too.  Astounding stuff.

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And of course, there was house-made guacamole, a house-made crème fraiche, and last but not least, his salsa.  Basically, it was awesome.  Following that we sliced and diced one of The Girl’s Valentine’s cakes.  She was testing some new flavors on us (equally awesome, some sort of black cherry with white chocolate cream cheese filling cake).

She also made the below cake for a customer, which has quickly become one of my favorites.  On the CupCakery’s Instagram I created a nifty 360° video of it.  Woot!

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3) A Sunday ride with some new gadgets

My goal for Sunday was to make headway on a number of cycling gadgets that have been hung up in the review process with lower levels of cycling the past few months due to work/travel.  First, I got out the new PowerTap ANT+ high speed data cap, and swapped that onto one of my PowerTap hubs:

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Oh, I also had the Pioneer Power Meter system in play too.

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And in the mix was Vector as well.  Add everything to the bike, and this is sorta what things looked like.  Minus the stuff you can’t see on my wrists or elsewhere, like the Fenix3, WASP, and Fitbit Charge HR.

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Then I went out and wandered for about 90 minutes or so (longer than shown above, as I had split things across two ride files).  The weather was generally kinda overcast and gray for much of the ride.  Though, it held off on raining.

I finished up the ride along the Seine on the road closed on Sunday.  Generally trying to bike on this road is fruitless, however in the winter on a crappy day you can usually make do since there’s less wandering pedestrians/dogs out.  I keep hoping they’ll close this road down for the entire weekend (i.e. Friday at 8PM till Sunday at 10PM).  Perhaps one day…

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As for my tests, well…it wasn’t my most productive day.  In general, a lot of things went wrong.  Some of them my fault, some of them probably not my fault.  Either way, I didn’t quite get as much data as I wanted on as many devices as I wanted.  So while I wouldn’t go as far as saying the ride was a complete ‘throw-away’, it comes kinda close.

I think that’s one of the things many don’t realize – is just how hard it is to get 3-4 power meters and 4-6 head units to cooperate on every single ride the way they should (I had six in total recording on this ride).  Doing it indoors is much easier, but neglects getting the real data outdoors where most power meters fail today (temperature, terrain, etc…).

4) Unboxing a few more things, including the IOLite

Aside from unboxing the final production version of the Garmin Fenix3 (full on video here, for those interested), I also dove into a few other items, including the IOLITE swimming heads up display for your swim goggles.

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This is the same system I tried out in beta last spring/summer, detailed here in this post.  They’re now shipping devices, and sent one over on the off-chance that I’d actually go somewhere with swimmable weather.  Ironically, that happened unexpectedly near immediately.

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Now while a number of triathletes like to put down the product, noting folks should just learn to swim straight, I actually think it has a different market.  That market is long distance openwater swimming.  No, not the comparatively wimpy triathlete version around a dozen brightly colored buoys in a triangle – but the ‘go swim for numerous miles across a channel’ variant.

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For that, this is where I think the product is best suited.  In my tests during the beta, it worked quite well.  It allowed me to follow a straight line without any sighting required.  Ideal if you’re in a situation with heavy swells or poor visibility.  There is also a pre-planned route mode too, allowing you to plot a GPS course ahead of time (the device uses GPS).

In any case, hopefully the next bullet point below will allow me to get in some testing on the final production version this week.

5) Flew to Johannesburg

After wrapping up my bike ride, I packed up a small roll-aboard and headed out the door to the airport.  I’d first take a quick hop north to London:

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And then from there I’d board an Airbus A380 for the 10-11hr flight down to Johannesburg.  I’ve got a bunch of work stuff there all week.

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Aside from running, I’m hoping to be able to squeeze a few openwater swims in early-morning on a few days before work.  I tweeted out asking for openwater suggestions, and a number of you had some good ideas (which seem mostly concentrated on two locales).  I definitely appreciate the options – huge thanks!

Have a great week ahead all!

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88 Comments

  1. Cameron M

    Try to get to cape town if you can!

  2. Peter

    Any chance to see that long run’s track with the fenix3 on Connect?

    • Sure. Here ya go:

      Garmin Fenix3: link to connect.garmin.com

      I also had the Epson 810 on, but I just realized I left the watch in my suitcase at the hotel, so will have to post the link a bit later.

      Cheers.

    • Peter

      Thx :) Have a nice week there!

    • rabbit

      What do you think about the accuracy of the f3 track? Isn`t so good, or? But I don`t know the
      environment.

    • Mike

      I have run almost exactly the same route many times with a 620 and have never seen a track anywhere near as clean as that one.

    • The track file is pretty solid. It’s a tricky route, one that cuts through buildings, into tunnels, and is generally complex. There isn’t too much I can nitpick with on the accuracy of that file.

    • rabbit

      Thanks. Without knowing the environment, it isn`t easy to interpret the accuracy – because of that, I have asked…

    • Ben_I

      Hi Ray, I notice at 1hr 23min you have a sharp decrease in ground contact time, an increase in vertical oscillation yet pace, cadence, elevation are reasonably constant. Any thoughts on what has happened here?

      Like many (and after reviewing your recent post), I’m trying to work out if the running dynamics tells me something of importance.

    • It’s funny, my coach noticed that as well. I’m honestly not sure what occurred – it should be perfectly flat ground at a consistent pace.

      What I don’t know is which HRM-RUN strap I grabbed. So it’s possible it’s an older HRM-RUN strap – though I’m pretty sure I updated the firmware on them. What’s tricky is to know if that was a strap oddity or a watch oddity.

    • Ray, I am interested in the Epson 810’s track and its accuracy – and maybe a review, too.

    • Here’s the same run from the Epson 810 (HR and GPS): link to go-wellness.epson.com

      I don’t know why it shows the HR as dropped out for some chunks in there.

    • Will

      When do you think your Fenix3 review will be up because i am getting one for my birthday and I would just like to know a few tips and tricks before I get it.

    • I’m currently aiming for the first week of March.

    • Scotchbeef

      What do you think of the training effect field?

      I can never get mine as high as 5 even when I workout damn hard! I’m not convinced it tells you anything useful.

    • I’m not a huge user of it to be honest. I’ve never quite seem a huge level of reliability there, or in many of the recovery type metrics.

    • I was quite glad to see you posting a 5 on the training effect. All my runs on the F2 have given that level, regardless of my run and with the key stating ‘over-reaching’ I was beginning to wonder what to make of it, or whether I was doing something wrong.

      Perhaps it’s one to not read into too much!

    • Kevin in MD

      If you look at the suunto user forums, going way back, you’ll see that it’s imperative to have the proper information in the watch or computer when using firstbeat algorithms. The implementation on garmin watches makes it worse by not giving the use complete control of those parameters. If you NEVER hit 5, I’d suspect one of two things.

      1. Your max hr field is simply too high, this should be an obvious limitation. It you tested it at the beginning of training, it isn’t uncommon for your stroke volume and other factors to have improved and your max hr may be lower.

      2. Your doing what we’ll call typical triathlon training, lots of zone 1 and 2, some 3 and 4, rarely hitting above your anaerobic threshold and zone 5. The calculations are really about how much time you spend at high %maxhr and less about long workout. The training effect number is an exponentially weighted moving average, so you pretty much need to crack zone 5 for extended intervals or shorter intervals spaced relatively close.

  3. Jason Raath

    Welcome to Jo’burg Ray. Hope you enjoy your stay here. Don’t work to hard tho, there’s plenty of other better stuff to do here :)

  4. Simon

    quick question about the fenix3, how much battery the run consumed? My gf is very interested in the live tracking (so she can stalks me :).

    • It’s usually not too much, since it offloads the GPS onto the watch. I’d have to double-check again though, since I didn’t keep too good a tabs on it this time.

    • Simon

      thanks, if is it possible could you test it with android and iphone for your full review. I know it’s not the central point of the watch but is the only thing that could convince me to upgrade from the Fenix 2 :)

      Have fun in South Africa :)

  5. TomTom

    I look forward to your in-depth review of the Fenix 3. Any idea when this might appear on your website, Ray?

  6. Josh

    Curious to know if you fly coach or business in all of your travels?

    • It depends on how far I’m going, and who’s paying. For most work trips over 7-8 hours, my employer pays business. For anything less…not so much.

      The team I’m on is high-travel (usually 250-350K miles a year), and most of what we do is flying in at the last minute and flying back out again. This morning I landed at 6:55AM, and will work all day (well, that’s the plan anyway). It’s actually unusual that I’m here more than 24-36 hours, as is the case this week.

  7. Jason (Jigghead) Raath

    Depending on where you’re staying and your level of mobility, try Emmarentia dam to swim

  8. Bryce

    I didn’t see the 4i power meter on the bike. Do you plan on doing a full on review of that item?

  9. Garth Armstrong

    Not sure if you got this as an option for some open water swimming.

    link to heia.co.za

  10. charles le gall

    It’s “crème fraiche” for the food and not “crème fraise” wich mean “strawberry cream” ;)
    By the way the tacos look delicious and the cake is awesome !

    Good trip in SA

  11. cj

    “comparatively wimpy triathlete version’ – I suspect you better brace yourself for some grumpy wimpy triathletes comments then?

  12. Mike

    You must not have more than one Twitter account / handle then DC because if you did (and you have version 2.9 of GCM), you would not have been able to Tweet your activity out to us. If you have more than one Twitter accouunt, version 2.9 of GCM broke that functionality. Really is quite a bummer.

    • It used to break on previous versions with two Twitter accounts. Has it ever worked with two Twitter accounts?

    • Mike

      Incorrect (at least for me). Prior to version 2.9 I could select any of my three Twitter accounts and it would work just fine. Version 2.9 does not allow for thi and in fact “locks up”.

      So are you saying it is not supossed to work if you have more than on Twitter account? That would be a bit silly so I doubt it. or are you thinking it never has worked with more than one? If that’s the case, I ust have been n anomaly …………..

    • Interesting. I know the first year it was out, it didn’t work with two Twitter accounts. I eventually gave up on associating two accounts on my phone for that very purpose (to use GCM).

    • Mike

      Well if you think about it …. maybe place a bug in their ear b/c right now anyone with more than one Twitter account has only one of two options ………… delete all but one Twitter accounts (that doesn’t sound very reasonable) or just don’t use LiveTrack (again- not very nice).
      Thanks!!!!

    • As a work paround couldn’t you share via email to yourself, then copy the link into the Twitter account you want to use? Not ideal but it should work…

  13. Martin

    Do you find the silicone strap that comes with the F3 to be any more comfortable than the strap included with the F2? The metal clasp on the F2 band can dig into skin, and the silicone band looks like its smoothed out a bit.

  14. Ian S

    Enve 3.4 wheel? What are you thoughts?

  15. Jeff T.

    Are you wearing wetsuit/scuba gloves on the bike!? An interesting idea if you are.

    • Nah, just winter bike gloves. For some odd reason I couldn’t find the matching glove for really anything this weekend. This was the only one that was close. Though, as I found out outside – I somehow managed to grab two left hands. I was too lazy to go back in, and just flipped the glove over and called it done.

  16. Markus

    Can you share a Pic with your Girlfriend wearing the Fenix 3? The Watch looks really huge, and i’m not sure if it fits small wrists.

    TIA

  17. AECSUSN

    I noticed you mentioned the Charge HR for your Sunday ride, are you noticing better HRM results from it than the Surge?

  18. sllee

    Are you still planning a review for the charge hr? Safe travels!

  19. Bob

    How was the weight of the F3 compared to the 920XT? Did the weight bother you at all when running?

  20. Bart

    Nice looking watch, is there anything so far that bugs you about it?

    • Other than not having a quick release kit, not really. Some folks don’t like the lack of little map you can load onto it. But personally I never found that all that useful.

    • Ray this is really not a “little map”. Using MapSource you can load into fenix2 a lot of vector map-parts of different regions/countries with paths/trails/mountains peeks and POIs. This is very usefull when you dont have to check a paper map every trail crossing etc.
      Would love to see such feature on fenix3. Using connect iq this will be possible but hard to code.

    • But it really is a little map. But realistically I’d bet the usage is a fraction of a 1% of purchasers (if that). Instead, by leveraging Connect IQ it makes far more sense because it can be made more easily accessible to more people. We’re already seeing some apps that are going in that direction, so this isn’t a stretch.

    • PhilBoogie

      I saw that the memory on both the F2 & F3 is ≈ 25MB. Won’t that be a limitation for maps?
      link to buy.garmin.com

    • You’d be surprised what one can fit within 25MB. ;)

      If you look at the detail in the F2 timeframe, that was plenty of space for Etch-a-Sketch style maps of a limited area. I do agree that for mapping purposes, it would have been nice to have a wee bit more space to load more colorful maps. But I suppose that’s what they have the Epix for.

  21. Peter Felix

    Have you published a race list for 2015 yet? Clearly just nosey and curious what you have planned for this year.

    Enjoy RSA!

  22. Mark

    Ray, nice pace on the long run. Considering I had a very similar workout on the docket this week and it took me almost 45 minutes longer! Are those the updated DS trainer you’re wesring? How do you like them. I sometimes wear the DS sky speed but I’m looking for something with just a bit more cushioning for longer runs.

    • Andree

      Looks like DS trainer 19 to me. Not the new 20. DS series are a real working horse series by now. Nice run btw Ray!

    • Devon

      I’ll be getting the DS Trainer 20 today and will report back after some time on the roads.

    • Devon

      Hey Mark – as promised, I just wanted to report back after a handful of runs with the ASICS DS Trainer 20. It may be worthwhile to mention that I’m coming off the Brooks Ravenna 4 as a day-to-day running shoe. With that said, the DS Trainer is much lighter, firmer, and secure feeling than the Ravenna. That’s not to say the DS Trainer is uncomfortable by any means, just a slightly different build than the Ravenna in my opinion. Specifically, the toe box is more snug, but after a slight “break-in” period the shoe feels much better. I noticed a more responsive, “foot-to-ground” feel with the DS Trainer. Also, my heel locks in much better with the DS Trainer over the Ravenna. Overall, I’m impressed by the DS Trainer and find it to be a more welcome running partner for easy to tempo paced runs versus the “one size fits all” feel of the Ravenna. I have invested in a shoe with some more cushion and support for runs lasting longer or slower in pace. If you have any specific questions, just let me know.

    • Devon

      My bad for not mentioning this earlier, but two more items to note: one negative that I’ve found is that ASICS, in general, seem to breathe and release heat much less than the Brooks I’ve run in. This hasn’t been a problem yet, but may be as the temperatures start to warm up. Finally, my pair of shoes size 10.5 weighed in at 9.6 ounces.

  23. Christian Deysson

    Hi Ray. I cannot tell you how much I like your blog. Suffering from acute gadgetitis I’m looking forward to every new installment. Having lived in Paris for 7 years I just love following your runs und rides across town. Some I’m walking and hiking a lot with a Garmin Vivosmart around the forests of Southern Germay (and waiting impatiently for the Fenix 3 to come to Germany, I thought I’d send you a connect request on Garmin Connect. Hope you don’t find it too obtrusive. Enjoy your stay in Johannesburg and let’s have a track or two from there… Cheers from Heidelberg, Germany! Christian

  24. Thomas

    Hi Ray – can you comment on the weight of the F3 when using it for running. F3 is 80g vs. 60g with 920XT. Do you feel the difference?

  25. Neil

    Hi. Would you be happy to share your HR zones ? Above you say it was a Z2 run, but I see the avg HR was 158bpm – that would have been smack in the middle of Z3 for me. Have you used any theory/online tools to set your zones? I’m using 5 zones, maybe you are on 4…. ?

  26. panos

    i have noticed a little white pod on your right shoe, do you test a new device ?

  27. The Vector is 40-50w higher in its power reading in that screen cap. Any reason?

    • The data pages I’m on at that moment in time are different. On the 510 that screen happens to be showing NP (190w), versus the right was showing 10s and 30s power.

      If you look at the bottom of the 510, it shows 30s in the left, and 10s on the right. They’re within 5-10w of the same numbers on the 810. Which, is normal for a metric like that to be slightly offset.

  28. Greg

    Sooo Jelous that you can actually ride outside! It is a whopping 2 degrees F with 20mph wind here in the Northeast, so biking outside is well…crazy! Stuck to the kickr, but getting some serious cabin fever to be out on the bike.

    Though I did find out its a good time to buy cheap bikes on ebay!

  29. anytime you will travel to Nigeria let me know and I will put you in the best possible conditions to train swim/bike/run!!!!!!

  30. Michael K

    The HR-strap (design of the strap) in your video Looks different than on the pictures on the Garmin Homepage (link to buy.garmin.com)

    How come?

  31. Huso

    I’m watching you?? that’s kinda creepy lol.

  32. Tosin

    Can’t wait for your Charge HR review!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

  33. Marcel

    Yeah I checked out the live feed for a bit :) Nice too see how it updates regularly. How do you set that up? With an app? And the polar M400 supports that too, right? The Fenix3 is overkill for me.. But the polar is ugly :( Still, the new notification-support with a phone make it interesting, and livefeed even more so. Was fun guessing where you were going.

  34. Amesh

    curious why you chose the non sapphire F3. I picked up the glass version myself, but mine tends to show fingerprints and smudges quite a bit. Do you know if the Saphire version is better against fingerprints?

    • It was just the demo unit they sent over to try. The Sapphire unit should arrive early next week to me to try as well (it would have arrived to my yesterday, but alas weather in the US hosed up my forwarding shipment).

  35. Ivan Diaz

    Hi there Rai,

    I used today my Fenix3 for the first time coupled with my home trainer (a bkool classic).
    I successfully paired the speed/cadence sensor and the heart rate strap.

    As you might see here:

    link to connect.garmin.com

    The sensors disconnect after some time. The bkool software did not show any disconnection at any time with neither of the sensors.

    If I wanted the Fenix3 to work with the heart rate strap and the speed/cadence sensor, during the ride I had to go to set-up and “awake” / “connect” both sensors again. This is weird… Any ideas there if I can avoid these disconnections?

    Thank you and best wishes from Madrid
    Iván D.