Week in Review–March 1st, 2015


The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

DCRainmaker.com posts in the past week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com this past week:

Sunday: Week in Review–February 22nd, 2015
Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend
Thursday: Fitbit Charge and Charge HR In-Depth Review
Friday: DCR Behind the Cave: The CLUG bike mount system

It’s gonna be a busy post week ahead though with MWC (Mobile World Congress) on tap, that’s for sure…

Garmin FR220 & FR620 rebates:

Garmin has begun a $25 and $50 rebate for those purchasing the FR220 and FR620 from today until May 31st.  Honestly…this is a poor deal.  Had these been $50 off (FR220) and $100 (FR620) rebates…well, they’d still be a poor deal.  But at least in the right ballpark.  But why are they a bad deal?

Well, one word: Vivoactive

At $250, the Vivoactive does almost everything these two watches do – but also a gazillion times more.  It has Connect IQ, which means that you can leverage 3rd party apps on it (the FR220/620 don’t).  It has activity tracking, whereas the FR220/FR620 don’t.  It has swimming, golfing, music control and many others.  The FR220/FR620 do support training plans, but I suspect we’ll see that implemented via Connect IQ on the Vivoactive anyway – either by a 3rd party or by Garmin themselves.

I could go on and on…but I think you get the point.  About the only thing these two have that the Vivoactive doesn’t is that you can put one on your wrist today.  But realistically that’s just a temporary problem that ideally will be solved by the end of the month once the Vivoactive starts shipping.  But…that’s just my two cents.

Garmin FR220:  $25 rebate ($225 price after rebate)
Garmin FR620:  $50 rebate ($350 price after rebate)
Dates:  March 1st-May 31st

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet:

1) Riders protest at Tour of Oman due to popping tires: Yup, the whole peloton just up and stopped under a bridge and called it quits.

2) But…why did the tires pop? Leonard Zinn of Velonews dives deep into the subject.  Like…really deep. (via Caley Fretz)

3) Boston cyclists make do with impromptu snow  tunnel: Definitely a pretty cool shot.

4) The Onion: New Nike ‘Why you run’ device: Simply awesome piece. (via Jeff Dengate)

5) Swatch introduces new fitness-focused smartwatch: I’ll try and see if it’s on the floor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) on Monday and get a bit of hands on time perhaps.

6) Tanita (maker of ANT+ scales) commits to Connect IQ app: Not much more detail than that in this tweet – but still, good to see for those owners of ANT+ scales.

7) How to make yourself poop (you know…at a race): Or, before a long training run.  Your choice.

8) Course Confusion Leads to a Surprise Winner in Half Marathon: There’s an incredible amount of irony in that it was actually the “Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon”…only to have the (presumably) Mercedes-Benz Pace car go off course. (via Randy Cantu)

9) UCI formally requests Astana’s Pro Team license to be withdrawn: While there have been a number of tweets and headline type stories about this, this particular post is the most detailed by far.

10) Diana Nyad’s One-Woman Swim Show: I’m not sure I can really explain this in one line.  It’s an actual theater show (remember, she’s the one to swim from Cuba to Florida).  Just click.

Crowd Funded Projects of Athletic Note:

I regularly sift through Kickstarter and Indiegogo (plus a few others on occasion) looking for sports projects.  If you’re unfamiliar with projects, read my detailed post on how I decide which projects I personally back.  Note that as always with crowd funded projects, assume the project will be late and will under-deliver on features. Thus far, on the numerous products I’ve helped ‘fund’ (except a leather bike handle), that’s been the case.

Pebble Time Launched: No big deal…just a million dollars in roughly 20 minutes on Kickstarter…and about $11 Million more since then.  I spent some hands-on time with the watch today with founder Eric, really impressive how responsive it is.  I’ll have a post for Tuesday with a bit more detail.

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one liners is perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?

Garmin FR15 firmware update: Changes to calorie calculations, other bug fixes.

Suunto adds Sport Tracks sync: I had tweeted this out last week, but figured I’d mention it here as well.

Suunto adds TrainingPeaks Sync: Starting on Tuesday, Suunto will also roll out support for automatic sync to Training Peaks.  This is similar to the support they added a year ago for Strava and last week added for Sport Tracks.

Thanks for reading, and have a good remainder of your weekend!


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  1. Bachoo

    Wow. The internets must be slow out there. The Onion Nike thing was from last August.

  2. Matt Hoffman

    May want to note that android tickr x support is released.

  3. Gunnar

    I’ve used a Pebble watch since they first came out, but I don’t see the allure and excitement of the new Pebble. Doesn’t seem to do much more then the original. What I’m really excited about is the Vivoactive!

    • ComPH

      I agree with you 100%. I specially like the battery life of the Vivoactive, it has Connect IQ for expandability, and in the battery aspect it sounds better than the Apple Watch (even though that one will no doubt have ton more apps – most of them useless). I have the Pebble, and beside ton of crude watch faces, it has some decent apps, but most of them are buggy enough to need work-arounds, including the iSmoothRun which is at the moment my favorite. For me, if the Vivoactive is as good as Garmin products usually are, it will win.

  4. Michael

    You forgot this brand new indegogo campaign called Checkpoints Race: link to igg.me

  5. Cam

    How far away is the in depth Garmin Fenix 3 review?

  6. Will R

    The bit about the vivoactive beign capabable of controlling music is interesting. Is there potential that this type of functionality will be added to the Edge 1000? Seems like it’d be a great and welcomed feature for the edge series devices.

    • Scott Buchanan

      > Is there potential that this type of functionality will be added to the Edge 1000?
      The mind truly boggles!
      Out of interest what scenario do you envisage an Edge (1000) coming into contact with music?

  7. cj

    So Garmin has somehow managed to shoot themselves in the foot with the vivoactive being somewhat superior or at least equal to the FR220/FR620 and at a lower price?

    • Neil

      For me, the touch screen is the showstopper. In Ray’s video, he has to swipe several times to get it to react. I also assume its awful in rain, or when wearing gloves without special finger tips.
      I’ll wait for a 220 replacement with proper buttons that has IQ support. Kind of like a 920, but without the multisport bells and whistles (I only run). That would be awesome.
      Either that, or a proper Android smartwatch with on-board GPS and a full-featured running app that more or less implements the full functionality of a 220.
      With regards to the vivoactive being able to control music – this is a waste of time if there’s no on-board storage for the music itself! I’d love a watch with at least 1Gb of storage that I can listen to using BT.

  8. Adam

    Hehe, regarding the course confusion story, I remember a similar thing happening at the London Marathon some years ago.

    In the 2004 wheelchair race, a Mexican by the name of Saul Mendoza was out in front coming up to the hairpin turn at The Cutty Sark (~6 miles in), when he followed a police motorbike through an inexplicable shortcut rather than going right up to the end of the hairpin and back. Apparently it cut about 200 metres off the course, but he somehow escaped disqualification and was awarded the win ahead of British Paralympic legend David Weir. I haven’t seen any race vehicles cutting through there since, so I can only assume it’s been recognised as a stupid practice! I had to look up the details, but I can’t find a video of the incident.

    At the time it seemed entirely the right that he should be awarded the win, because he finished with such a comfortable margin and the incident wasn’t really his fault. However, now that I look back it seems somewhat amiss that someone should be awarded a win having not completed the full distance regardless of the circumstances, but perhaps that says more about my changing prejudices than anything else!

  9. David Carey

    Hi – interesting comments about the Vivoactive. In your product recommendations, you still have the 620 has your go to running unit. Do you foresee that changing with the Vivoactive?

  10. eli

    Card game for gamification of hiit exercising: link to kickstarter.com

  11. Bachoo

    I pre-ordered a garmin vivoactive from CT. But am having some 2nd thoughts. First i am not a huge fan of touch screens. In looking at the video in seems ok. I prefer physical buttons. Also I have no interest in the golf application. Plus they seem to keep pushing back the date. Early April now?

    My question is as such. In the garmin connect IQ the same on the 920xt? Or is there anything different.

    • There are slight differences in Connect IQ, but those at this point related purely to screen size/dimensions. That’s logical since obviously some devices are rectangular, and others round, square, etc…

      And of course, some devices have additional sensor capabilities – like the barometric altimeter.

      (I appreciate the support via CT!)

    • Turn The Damn Cranks

      Ray — On the fence whether to pre-order the Vivoactive or get an M400. Any word on when your review of the Vivoactive is likely to hit? (At last check I think you were waiting on a final production unit?)


  12. Robert

    I can’t see the FR620 surviving a 30 month life cycle, especially being undercut by one of their own products let alone emerging products from competitors, although it’d do me as i do use r-r data with firstbeat athlete. I’d expect to see a FR630 announced later this year to take advantage of the newer features available and expected by the buying public. For me that would hopefully be evolution of the 610/620 family line, touchscreen, connect iq, cycling support and activity tracking and instant pace from the footpod.

  13. robert

    Regarding the rebate, do garmin UK/Europe ever run such schemes? I’ve never seen one if they have. I guess probably not as our retailers are not tied to map prices like America

  14. phensel

    Thank you for the news !
    I´m a ambit2 owner and I´m using the Movescount sync to STRAVA. Thats a mess because it doesn´t sync any indoor activities at all.
    I´m wondering if the new, introduced sync support for sportstrack/TraningPeaks have the same limitation?

    • Aaron

      @phensel – I can only speak for SportTracks.

      We sync all workouts perfectly – indoor, outdoor, GPS or not, all summary info, lap info and detailed recordings of sensors.

      We also import indoor pool stroke info and length info, and will import your entire workout history if you choose (something TP can’t do?)


  15. Tyler

    Serious question – you really believe the vivoactive will get its act together in regard to apps (and availability) to actually be superior to Garmin’s other watches?

    Garmin has always struggled with software, and this thing seems half-baked.
    Without tying into android or ios developers, I don’t see anyone coming to their rescue on the software front.

    Longtime Garmin fan, but the Sony Smartwatch 3 seems like a better contender.
    Microphone for voice commands, onboard music player and storage.

    • Tyler

      Though Sony has a terrible record with their smartwatches, and early comments seem to indicate this one isn’t built to last.

    • I’m curious how it’s half-baked at this point?

      No doubt there will always be bigger draw to Android/iOS devices, but the same was said for Pebble. There’s a certain amount of value in having sport-focused apps on the Vivoactive, from sport-focused companies. Meaning, I don’t think there’s much demand for an Angry Birds Connect IQ edition, whereas there is for a Stryd power meter running app.

    • Tyler

      Well, considering how slow Garmin has been to make meaningful changes to Garmin Connect, my confidence in their ability to deliver software is low.

      Having a walled garden app store unique to them really limits any development appeal.
      Looking at apps in there currently, I don’t see much of appeal. They need to have more apps available at launch, or people are going to be in wait-and-see mode, like I am.

      And while I know its a fitness device, if they are trying to be a true wear-full-time smartwatch, they need to have apps that integrate well to smartphones and daily life, as well as space to store them.
      Its not at all clear to me how the music player will work, and that’s a critical application for many in and out of the fitness world.

      They aren’t competing solely against fitness devices with this one.
      And they could certainly lose their hold on the fitness market in another gen if they don’t get this one right.

  16. Chris

    Longtime reader and perpetually a sorta triathlete who found your blog a while back when looking for gadgets when I started running and swimming but now read mainly because I enjoy your weekly “5 things” and other parts of your blog just as much – wanted to pass along that after hitting Notre Dame and crypt museum, the the wife and I went to the cupcakery today and loved our Nutella cupcakes – was a nice treat just after our vivofits registered 25k steps for the day! Bonjour!

  17. Jack

    Hi Ray,

    Are you still planing on doing an article on the future of fitness trackers this year. I’m really looking forward to it.



  18. Geezer

    Regarding the Mercedez Benz race story reminded me of a race I ran long ago. The irony in my case was that the race was put on and hosted by the local city police department. The lead group which I was in followed the directions of the police officers, which were wrong. It was a 10 k and about 4k in, they actually stopped the race and had everyone return to the start to do it again. Luckily for me, I was actually training for a marathon at the time, so running a 4 k repeat followed by a 10 k race effort was right up my alley and I ended up winning the “second” time. One of the only race trophies I have ever received. Nice blog, I wish mine looked half as good, but I’m just learning all the tech stuff. Geezer recently posted….link to oldguyrunning.net