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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s what I was up to this past weekend, the whole of which was actually spent home in Paris. Woot!

1) Packet Pickup for the Paris Half-Marathon

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On Saturday morning I headed up to the Bois de Vincennes to pickup my packet for the race.  The expo is held in a convention-ish sorta building that’s basically in the middle of the floral gardens.  Which makes for a nice distraction when the line to get in stretches 100m from the front gate:

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Once inside, they even had a massive aid station poster – allowing you to visually re-enact all steps of the aid station pickup process.  I could actually see this being fairly valuable if you were a first time runner and not familiar with how aid stations worked.

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Of course there was the packet pickup itself (very efficient).  And then after that they had a reasonably impressive expo.  I’ll give European races credit in that in general the packet pickup expos tend to be much better done than US races of the same size.

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I thought it was interesting that as I left the expo they had chip scanners setup.  This is often done near the pickup area instead, so you basically can see that your chip is working (usually tied to a TV screen that your name flashes).  In this case, no TV’s, so looks like for some sort of internal testing.

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Finally, on the way out of the park, I stumbled into a peacock.  It was free to wander wherever it liked.

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I waited a minute or so, to which it then opened up its feathers.  Really impressive.  The photo doesn’t come close to doing it justice, it’s just cool how the whole ‘system’ works – no electronics required.

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With the peacocking having…puffed…I figured that’s kinda the highlight of my day, so I headed on home.

2)  Running the Paris Half-Marathon

As one might assume by the packet pickup notation above, I did indeed run the Paris Half-Marathon this weekend.  It wasn’t really treated as a race on my schedule, more just a training run that I happened to have signed up for a long while ago.  So don’t have any expectations of PR’s or the like.  Just a tour of the city on a sunny Sunday morning.

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I’ll post some (likely entertaining) comments on the run tomorrow.

3) Enjoyed the nice weather

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This weekend in Paris was absolutely beautiful out.  The weather was 60-70°F during the day (15-21°C), and mostly blue skies.  So on Sunday after the race we just bumbled around the areas near our house for a short bit, enjoying the weather and the summer-like crowds.

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The river areas were packed with people, mostly picnicking.  The river is still running a bit high, but thankfully all of the quay areas are above water, so lots of sitting grounds.  You can see across the way the quay completely packed with people.

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It was by far the warmest weekend of the year, and felt like spring just kicked off.  Oh, and thankfully for us in Europe, we didn’t do the whole daylight savings time thing this weekend.  Ours doesn’t happen till the end of the month.

4) Unboxed a bunch of stuff

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Had a bit of a backlog over the last week or so with new stuff coming in, so caught up and unboxed it Sunday night.  There was the V.360 action cam, which records in 360°.

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I actually brought it a few weeks back, and then somewhere in that timeframe they sent another unit over with a note saying the first unit had some sort of Bluetooth defect which meant I couldn’t connect to it that way (which would have been sad).  Good to see them proactively sending out replacements.

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In any case, toyed with that a bit.  Though, until YouTube carries through and delivers on their January promise of supporting 360° videos in the player, I don’t expect much pickup of the space.  Once that happens, then things will get interesting quickly.

That said, I’m actually reasonably impressed with some of the functionality exposed through the app.  I love that I can connect it to an existing WiFi network, and then access it that way (plus direct WiFi connect like a GoPro/similar).

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There’s also some other random stuff in the unboxing pile that’s not so much for reviews, as supporting reviews.  I bought this handheld gimbal for the GoPro Hero4, which might help me get clearer/less bouncy shots while running of watches (I’ve tried ones with counter-weights, but that hasn’t worked that well).  Primarily of instant pace videos which y’all like so much.  We’ll see how well it works in real life for that.  I’ve previously done a bit in post-editing to correct for it…but that’s a pain in the butt.

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Even if it doesn’t quite work for what I want, I’ll give it credit in that it’s really cool to play with for other scenarios.  I think this is an area that hurts other action cam makers like Garmin, which don’t have this depth of 3rd party accessories that filmmakers often use.

Of course, as seen above there’s other goodness in the unboxing pile such as the final production version of the Polar V650 (which also started shipping last week to consumers as well).  So that officially finds a home on the bike starting this week too, likely for release of review the first week or so of April.  It’s a bit trickier to review bike products due to lack of bike when on work trips.

5) Things of future note

I actually don’t have a 5th random item this weekend.  Aside from doing exciting things like cleaning the office/studio/cave space quite a bit, it wasn’t a crazy packed weekend.  Though, I don’t remember a lot of free time either.

So, instead, here’s a few ‘futures’ notes:

A) The Garmin Vivoactive final production unit, along with the Vivofit2 units/bands shipped from Garmin to me on Friday, so they should arrive today in my US forwarding box, and then will be here in France by time I get back home later this week.  I’ll plan a Vivoactive post probably on/around March 31st, about three weeks from now.  The Vivofit2 will follow that.  Epix still remains in development by Garmin, so no timeline for review until a unit is in my hands.

B) The next watch review I’ll publish will be of the Epson Runsense SF-810 optical HR/GPS watch.  I’ve been wearing this one a heck of a lot longer than most watch reviews.  I’ll also do a brief roundup of the rest of the units in that line-up, but I’m largely going to focus on that watch.  This will be out either later this week, or early next week (for real’s this time).

C) I’ll be in Bahrain this week for work, though as always I don’t expect much spare time outside the meetings.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Bahrain in the past, so I’m fairly familiar with it.  And, it doesn’t hurt that Dairy Queen is in the airport right outside customs/arrivals.  And yes, they have Blizzards there too.  It’s brilliant.

D) I’ll be watching the Apple Watch presentation later today.  If there’s things that are noteworthy, I might write a post with my thoughts on it.  I know many have asked for my thoughts, so if there’s new information of significance to the sport realm – I’ll consider a post.  Else, I’ll post once the watch comes out next month.  And to be clear, I don’t have a unit today.  And despite a significant rise of visitors to the site from Apple corporate networks over the past few months – I don’t have any direct contacts there.  So I’ll be buying a unit to test like everyone else.

That is all – thanks for reading!

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68 Comments

  1. Matt B

    Unless somehow Apple surprised everyone with GPS built in (and maybe some sort of actual waterproofing), I can’t imagine any serious runner/athlete using it as their main running watch. That said, it seems pretty drool worthy for a day to day watch.

    • Yup, I generally agree with that. But on the flipside, the non-serious runner/athlete market makes up the majority of fitness related purchases today.

    • Matt B

      Oh absolutely. The Apple Watch will be an out of the park home run (in my opinion). For me personally, I really have been looking to consolidate to one watch to wear all the time. After trying the Fitbit Surge for a past few weeks and really liking a lot of it, it just fell short in the running/athletics department: having to recharge too frequently, GPS accuracy issues (in the beginning of runs, unless I waited 2-3 minutes outside), no cycling or workout ability, etc.. I feel like the Apple Watch will just be a *really* good version of that (though will require every day charging).

      So, for a while, the Fenix 3 will be the go to unit.

    • Scott Buchanan

      Reading the feed from the event is pretty incredible. How many superlatives can one person be subjected in such a sort time before their head explodes?
      Not to mention the Apple reality distortion field has been cranked up to 500%…..

      From the MacRumors.com Live Apple event….
      “there is a simple and elegant way to charge it that ONLY APPLE WOULD COME UP WITH. Hold magnetic charger near the watch, it will automatically click into place.”
      [My highlight]

      Errrrr…. didn’t my 2011 Forerunner 610 have a magnetic charger that clicked into place? Not to mention the 2013 Forerunner 620. I just find it astonishing how stupid Apple think people are!

      OK sorry Ray…. just needed to get that out! :)

    • Scott Buchanan

      Sorry, meant to say ‘Take a Bow’ the designers of Garmin’s magnetic chargers!

    • George

      Yeah the hyperbole gets a bit tough to swallow. I really do like Apple any everything, but they do lay it on pretty thick.

      And yeah this magnetic charging is nothing new, my 2010 MacBook Pro did that well before my 2011 Forerunner 610.. Oh wait… :)

    • Chris

      I agree the hyperbole is always in overdrive with Apple, and I’d also agree that the charge method in particular was over exaggerated how cool it was, but it’s really not the same as the Forerunner 620 (which I own). The forerunner uses a magnet and hooks/handles on the sides to guide the watch to line up with pogo pins – so is technically a wired solution.
      The Apple Watch appears to be using a magnet to align QI (or other wireless charging standard) on it. Much like the Nexus 5 phone which has magnets inside it to perfectly stick in place on the official Nexus wireless charger.
      The advantage to the Apple method is the cool 3rd party docks/chargers they will be able to make – eg you could have a really nice piece of hardwood (or machined aluminum, etc) that is completely vertical and you can just take off your watch, casually hold it against the dock and the magnet would hold it in place.
      As a fitness watch I don’t think that’s a big deal, but a lot of people with iPhones and Watches they are willing to pay more for a more aesthetic dock, and this design should facilitate that.
      I have the LG Watch and it docks the same as the forerunner and it’s not an elegant solution for keeping the bedroom looking nice (whereas my forerunner charges in the office/spare room where having more cables doesn’t bother me).

    • Chris

      oops!’ Other wireless charging standard’ should have read ‘other proprietary induction charging system’ – forgot I was talking about Apple for a second…

    • Yeah, a lot of hype in some moments there for things that plenty of other products have had for quite a while.

      There are no doubt some very impressive things on the other hand, so not to discount that either. But like many things, Apple will undoubtedly be hailed as the ‘inventor’ of numerous technologies or ideas that have already been implemented in products previously.

    • Larry

      I believe the original magnetic cords have been part of some Japanese rice cookers for a very long time. Predates Apple’s “invention” as used in the MacBook by many, many years.

    • Bachoo

      Haters gunna hate.

    • Ha ha ha. #AppleHaterIdentified :P

      Sorry for making joke, btw

  2. Thomas R.

    Hi Ray – do you mind sharing your Paris Halfmarathon activity from GC? In advance, thank a lot :-)

  3. Chris

    Great timing on the VivoActive update! Any idea when they will start shipping to the public?

  4. Benjamin Hesselberg

    Hi DC
    Have you opened the V650 ? What HR monitor did it come with ? The H6 or the H7 ?

    • In my case for the interim, they didn’t send me a boxed unit, just the V650. I’ll get a boxed unit sent over before I publish.

    • mahead

      Polar says it’s H6:

      Polar V650 with heart rate
      V650 cycling computer
      Polar H6 heart rate sensor
      USB cable
      Adjustable bike mount
      Polar V650 Getting Started Guide

      link to polar.com

    • Benjamin Hesselberg

      I know. But another user got it with H7 and if you look af update.polar.com. It says:
      “When used with the Polar H7 Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensor you’ll get the benefits of Polar Smart coaching features”
      Not very smart to box it with a H6 then……

      Link:
      link to updates.polar.com

    • I can’t see any benefit to them including an H7 in there though, since the H7 does analog, which the V650 doesn’t support that protocol anyway. It only does BLE, which the H6 is perfectly sufficient for.

  5. >> And despite a significant rise of visitors to the site from Apple corporate networks

    Steady Ray – don’t let them draw you in and offer you some crazy package to be an Apple employee! We need your independent advice to spend our money correctly! Then again if they do, and you do, then I can’t think of anyone better placed to make the Apple watch a success in the sports world…

    • Don’t worry…not gonna happen.

      Well, unless they get all crazy. I want sharks with lasers on their heads…

    • MattB

      Uh oh….. Something tells me Apple don’t have to make do with giant mutated sea bass. :(

    • Dave lusty

      Yeah that new HQ is actually a shark tank, the trees in the renderings were just to throw us off the scent long enough that it’s too late to stop Tim and his laser wielding Sharks! Perhaps their plan is for Ray to be the one arming the Sharks, he would appear to have the skill set by the look of his bikes!

    • Anonymous Coward

      We need your independent advice to spend our money correctly!
      Let’s start with a Microsoft Band review ;)

    • ;) Perhaps…

      I was thinking about the Microsoft Band last night a bit, it’s funny though because I guess I just can’t see a scenario where someone that’s an athlete first (over office work/notifications) would actually use one. Just starting with the display, which is completely unusable when wet (though, pretty). And then we get to day to day stuff like it’s super clunky on the wrist.

      I played with it on quite a few runs back in Nov/Dec, but haven’t touched it since.

    • Marios

      I am in 100% agreement. The Band is not for athlete-first people. I went to the Microsoft store in San Francisco and asked one of the store employees how does the screen handle sweat/water. They were like, “lets check it out”, and brought out a glass of water and some napkins. The screen didn’t register *anything* as long as a tiny bit of water was present. The employee seemed dumbfounded and I was like, no thank you! :-)

    • Anonymous Coward

      Out of all the wrist wearables out there, the Band had the most promise: optical HR, GPS, decent battery, apps. Yes, the display feels a bit awkward, even after getting used to wearing it on the inside of the wrist.

      The killer Microsoft Band tri app would be a race-specific pacing app: something that tells you that you’re blowing up on the bike (HR/pace too high), and that tells you that you need to push it to make it to the course cut-offs. A co-branding/marketing opportunity for MS & WTC: The Microsoft Band Ironman Edition™, with the exclusive Course Advisor app :) Obviously not for the Garmin crowd, but would be useful for the thousands of first-time IM racers.

  6. David

    I’ve often thought that you should make a “saddle” monopod to hold the camera fixed relative to your wrist. I think that would probably be better than a gimbal, since your “target” is going to still be moving somewhat.

  7. O. Duarte

    Hi Ray,

    I am interested on the Vivoactive, particularly if it would work with Scosche Rhythm plus during swimming. Do you have any plans on trying both together during your review?
    The operator’s manual from vivoactive
    says the device can’t record HR data while swimming, but it’s not clear if it’s due to the Garmin’s chest strap or if the swim function doesn’t allow it at all. Thanks.

    • I suspect it won’t pair with a HR strap during the swim mode, but, I’ll test. Typically though that distance (from wrist to upper arm), would be too far for ANT+/BLE data underwater. The Mio Link is really the best bet there.

    • O. Duarte

      Ray, your assumption was correct, it doesn’t pair with any HR strap while in swimming mode. That was reported on Garmin’s forum by a lucky buyer who got his unit already.

  8. What a pleasur to live near Ile Saint Louis and to enjoy the sun !

  9. Peter

    I was hoping that one of the new items you were unboxing was a Garmin Edge 520. Or even better, and Edge 505!

    • Alberto

      The Epson 810 is a hit in Japan. Is one of the new models that everyone is talking about/wearing extensively. My friends here have moved almost all from Garmin to Epson, you know, “made in Japan” sells a lot here…

    • Aside from Made in Japan, I’d be curious on why the move, since feature/functionality wise they aren’t in the same ballpark (unless you really want an optical sensor).

    • Marios

      Ray, I don’t know if the 810 will be my next watch but I can tell you for sure the to me the number of “features/functionality” is not my number one reason to buy a watch.

      I am a runner, I do speed workouts and I regularly log 60-80 miles per week. What I care about the most are the basics:
      1) light weight / small size
      2) reliability (firmware, waterproofness)
      3) accuracy (both instant pace for intervals and distance for long runs)
      4) screen readability during workouts
      5) battery life

      The rest of the stuff like VO2max estimators, recovery times and other Firstbeat-provided “features” are not necessary (to me) on a watch as I can always see those offline after the workouts.

      In that sense, and to me at least, the 810 could be a pretty viable candidate. It’s small and light and does the basics (including HR on wrist for convenience). If accurate, that would be all I need. I have looked into the 220/620 in the past but all my friends who have them post miserable tracks on Strava with regular reception fails (I know you disagree on that’s my opinion).

      I am still looking for a “runner’s running watch” and maybe the 810 is the one even if it has 5 “features” :-)

    • Good deal. For those items that you list, the 810 does quite well. :)

  10. Marios

    Am I the only one excited that Ray is about to post the Epson 810 review? At least on paper, it’s a runner’s running watch. It looks rather small and lightweight (60gr I believe) and it includes wrist-based cadence and HR. If it is accurate and uploads to Strava etc. (no data prison like FitBit) then it could be a very interesting player since the FitBit Surge is so inaccurate in high HR and the TomTom Cardio don’t do cadence (display at least).

    • Bachoo

      Count me as interested. I’m curious about the 30hr battery life claim. I know they’ve signed up Meb K. At first I thought their price point was too high.

  11. Bachoo

    Without going down the path of “what’s next for review” do you think you will do a Timex One GPS review at some point?

  12. uk_reader

    Hi Ray – I read your reviews when I’m looking for good info. and I’ve recommended your site to others. I went to use the Amazon UK link to buy, thinking it would support you but it just goes to Amazon UK std home page. Maybe I missed something? I can’t see a paypal “donate” but I’d be happy send you a few quid just as a small thanks for all the quality content. I’m afraid I can’t run to diamonds – although I get the impression you do it for the love of it rather than reward!

    I’m posting here as it is the most recent post and its sort of generic. Apols is there is a better thread/contact method. Cheers.

    • Hello UK_Reader (as I sit here now in London for a few hours)

      The Amazon UK links are auto-generated based on the US SKU’s. Every once in a while the SKU’s don’t match for whatever reason. Unfortunately, I can’t individually change them in the database per country.

      The good news is though that as long as you end up on the Amazon UK homepage using that link (or the one below the Amazon logo on the right side of the DCR page), you’re good to go and I’ll get credited for that session. There’s no confirmation of any sorts there, just magic. ;)

      As for a Donate button, it is indeed something I keep meaning to look at. I’ve gotta add it onto my to-do list again.

      Thanks for the support, I appreciate it!

      (Oh, and enjoy what appears to actually be a blue-sky day here…)

  13. Sirapat Konkham

    Hi Ray,
    I saw you have Pioneer Power Meter in the picture. Are you going to do In Depth of that power meter anytime soon?

    • Sirapat Konkham

      Cool and i think you should do ibike Newton too. Also saw that the in depth of powertap sholuld be update to be just powertap too because that mostly just review of Joule. That just my opinions. Thanks you so much for many reviews. :)

    • Unfortunately my time is sorta limited (I do have a day job), so I kinda update where things make sense. I use the PowerTap in virtually every one of my other reviews, so at the moment I’ll probably focus on newer and most requested entrants for now.

  14. Richard

    I’m delighted to see that you have stopped spelling aid with an e on the end!

    Cheers, Rich

  15. Harrison Zucker

    Super jealous of all the goodies you get to test.

    If you EVER need an intern to help, I would love to volunteer.

    Being in college, I have too much time on my hands anyways….

    Thanks!
    -HZ

  16. Don

    Did you notice the new HTC Grip fitness tracker, due out Spring 2015, has GPS, so it can just sync with your phone after a run. No need to take the phone with you. Though it can display messages, control some phone features if you do take a phone with you. Also, IP57 waterproof. Looks like it may be pretty cool for the semi-serious runner/fitness crowd. $199. No HR, but compatibility with Bluetooth HR devices.

    link to htc.com

    • Marios

      It looks interesting but won’t it have the same capacitive screen problem as the Band?

    • Don

      A google search doesn’t bring up any fitness trackers called “the Band”. Do you have any details on that device?

    • Marios

      Here is a link to Microsoft’s product page:
      link to microsoft.com

    • Don

      Oh. THAT Band. Funny that it didn’t come up as a fitness tracker. Too smartwatchy, without being a smartwatch? Yeah, I had looked at that earlier. I forget what turned me off to it. If the Sony Smartwatch 3 had ANT+ (as some of their phones do) I’d be interested in that.

      I think wearables need one more gen in the oven. Even the Apple Watch. Especially the Apple Watch, since the Apple Watch S will probably come out in 6 months making this one obsolete… :)

  17. Mrlebowski79

    “As one might assume by the packet pickup notation above, I did indeed run the Paris Half-Marathon this weekend. It wasn’t really treated as a race on my schedule, more just a training run that I happened to have signed up for a long while ago. So don’t have any expectations of PR’s or the like. Just a tour of the city on a sunny Sunday morning.”

    Hmm I hate to say it, but this sounds pretty douchey, airy or flippant;)

    • No, it’s called setting expectations. Too many people make assumptions based on a simple lookup of a time. I’m simply saying upfront I wasn’t to set a PR, or race hard. Partly because it wasn’t planned that way, and partly because my body spent the previous 2 weeks rejecting just about everything I ate (which is why you might notice I hadn’t run in over a week).

  18. David

    This is the part I’m interested in:
    “I’ll post some (likely entertaining) comments on the run tomorrow.”

    I actually love your race reports. (I figured something was up with this race, as your time in Strava seemed slow for you.)

  19. PaulinPortland

    Absolutely no-one picking up on that gorgeous, yellow, Fiat 500. Nor even the peacock. Methinks some people could do with taking a step back from the technology every now and again….

  20. Kiek

    Hi Ray ,

    I have some question of Race activity , which can select from history or downloaded. But once I press run in history , the sort of way point show arrow guilde me run , but I saw no response on the arrow &distance remains 0 km the arrow never move even I out of track. I try second method in my history , press track back it’s possible to how the indication to guilde me on right path,what if I download course gpx file provide from my friends, I couldn’t show the arrow indication guilde as “race activity ” react. Any solution ?thank

  21. Pakiza Sultana

    Life is full of sorrow and happiness. Happiness never come at its own. We can handle the things as per our own need and facility. I have myself got the opportunity to stay in Paris for few hours. It is city of joy and peace. We should not destroy our world for ourselves. We must know how to enjoy within our limit. Thanks for sharing the amazing Paris way out.

  22. I am going to Pairs next week for a short business trip & seeing your picture reminded me how I enjoyed last year when I was there during the summer! :)