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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Another crazy weekend in the books, one packed with lots of photographs for upcoming reviews and various product posts in the short-term queue.  Here’s what was on the agenda!

1) Indoor trainer rides…over and over again

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I spent considerable time on and around the trainer this week.  Really more than I would have preferred to.  Most of it was related to power meter testing, and getting various units installed, uninstalled, and settled.  For a number of power meters on the market, there’s a ‘settling’ phase before things normalize and start to agree.  This ranges from a few short 30-second sprints, to a few rides.

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Unfortunately for most people, they don’t actually have a way to know a unit is settled.  Similarly, unfortunately for me I keep on trying until everyone in the family agrees and has settled out and report roughly similar results.

I’d point out that trainers are much in the same camp here.  For example, the CompuTrainer requires a 10-20 minute settling period.  And in my experience the Wahoo KICKR is in the 10-15 minute range.  All of which make chasing reasonable agreement between power meters rather…tedious.

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Of course, it’s important to know that attaining perfection actually isn’t the goal.  For example, I *shouldn’t* see the Garmin Vector match the CompuTrainer.  If it does, someone is wrong.  That’s because it’s upstream of the CompuTrainer, so in theory, Vector should always be highest and the CompuTrainer lowest.

Additionally, when looking at something like Stages or the current 4iiii Precision (left-only for a few more months), then I need to take into account my current power balance.  I’m generally right-heavy, which means that these units will underreport power.

Oh…and then there’s temperature considerations too.  Thankfully, assuming I don’t bother to turn on the heat in the DCR cave, it remains pretty constant day in and day out.

So the net of this is that I had some ‘official’ trainer rides that were on my schedule that I completed.  But I also had 2-3 times that much time on three different bikes on just trainers alone this weekend dorking with power meters.

2) A dreary afternoon long run

Saturday afternoon I went out for a simple long run around town.  Just down the river and back a dozen or so miles.  The weather was sorta threatening to rain, and indeed, about half-way through it sprinkled a bit.

I meandered through the Louvre, which was packed with people.  Tourist season has started in earnest this past week, fueled by Easter holidays which here in Europe grant most countries either one or two additional days off (Friday/Monday).

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From there I headed down to the quai and ran along the river as much as possible.  This area isn’t quite as popular with tourists, so it’s a bit easier to run at pace here.

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Though, oddly I ran into an antiques market here.  Such pop-up markets are incredibly popular in Paris, but I hadn’t seen one in this location before.

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I overshot the Statue of Liberty a little bit, before eventually doing a quick loop around the base of her and began to head back towards home.

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It’s at this point the weather was looking least-awesome.

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As I wrapped up on the run on the quai in front of the DCR/Cake Studio, there was some sort of fashion shoot going on. It always amazes me just how many people they have present at these for what is basically a single model and a single photographer.

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But even by our daily watching of movies and fashion shoots out our window (there’s at least 1-2 a day), this one was pretty big for non-video aspects.  In any case, long run wrapped up and in the books!

3) Went to a beef mecca

Friday evening I met our chef friend (tip: everyone should have chef friend) near a famous butcher shop in Paris.  The place is known for their aged meats.  The outside of the shop hints that there might be something a bit unique or special about the place:

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But it’s not until you get inside that you realize this is the epicenter of beef awesomeness.

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Oh, and some other meats that don’t matter.  Because it’s all about the beef.

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I should point out that some cuts were kinda-sorta crazy expensive.  How about 250€ per kilo ($120USD per pound) for these cuts?

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For better or worse, those cuts were not in our budget.  Instead, we went with a different cut that worked out to about 25€ a person.  Which while expensive is about what you’d pay in a restaurant for a steak in Paris of forgettable quality.  Plus, when our awesome friend is preparing it with sides, it’s even cheaper than going to a restaurant.

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I ended up going to the fromagerie to pick out a few cheeses.

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I went with a Langres Fermier and a Bleu of Montagne et Poire (Blue cheese with pear).  Never tried them before, and I feel like I need to try out more cheeses than my usual go-to suspects (Rocamadour, chevre, and Saint-Félicien).

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Definitely a great way to spend the evening! Oh, and for the record, that’s not just my plate – that’s for all of us to share!

4) An early dawn, pre-airport bike ride

I often arrange things that really shouldn’t work, from a scheduling standpoint.  This morning’s ride was sort of that kind of timetable.  I did my math backwards from my 10:30AM flight departure time, figuring I had to be at the airport no less than about 45 minutes in advance, accounted for (hopefully) non-existent Sunday morning traffic on a holiday.

I then budgeted a bunch of critically extra time to account for all the unique DCR-aspects of going out for a ride.  Stuff like dealing with 3 power meters connected to 6 different head units.  All stuff that in theory shouldn’t take long, but in practice really does chew up time like paper to a shredder.

I was up around 5:45AM, and out the door around 6:30AM:

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Despite forecasts that would have the remainder of the day beautifully sun and semi-warm, at this point it wasn’t too much above freezing.

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The best part about cycling Paris on the weekends and in particular Sunday mornings is that the whole city appears to sleep in.  Only a handful of cars to work around.  Here’s the view from the Cycliq Fly6 camera looking back after I passed the Eiffel Tower.  Never mind the date, I realized afterwards I forgot to set it on this unit.

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I’d hit up Longchamp to do a handful of loops until my pre-determined ‘must leave’ time dinged.

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From there it was back across town.  Along the way I paused for a few seconds when I noticed one of the major bridges crossing the Seine was closed for some sort of gigantic movie set involving carriages and other equipment from hundreds of years ago:

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After that it was down along the expressway which is closed to traffic on Sunday’s for pedestrians and cyclists.

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Had it been an hour or two later, this section would be covered in walkers, runners and parents pushing kids on tricycles.  But this time of the morning it was beautifully empty pavement perfect for keeping the pace up and finishing up the ride strong.

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After that I headed down to the water to grab a few shots on some bikes that I needed for upcoming posts.

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This included photos of the Verve Infocrank as well as the 4iiii Precision:

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But, more on those later…

5) Flew to Austin

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Immediately after getting off the bike and grabbing a few photos I headed straight to the airport  It’s the ‘few photos’ part that invariably causes me to nearly miss my flight each time.  But arriving at the airport 38 minutes before an international flight is normal, right?

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Fast forward a dozen hours later, and I find myself in Austin, TX.  I’ll be here for the next 48 hours or so, to kickoff a mind-bogglingly whirlwind tour of the US over the course of the week.

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After leaving Tuesday, the next leg of the trip is off to the Bay Area (San Francisco)!

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Have a great week ahead all!

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36 Comments

  1. Ian

    Is the Ultegra crank your usual crankset, or just for the 4iiii?

  2. Francis c

    Love the Reconjet. Hope you’ll have a review soon for it and, as always, love your blogs. Thanks!

  3. Anthony

    Any comments on the 787? I still haven’t been on one yet!

    • It’s my second time being on it. I like it, though even for an avgeek like me, they all start to feel about the same when you fly 2-4 planes a week. Of course, the windows being my favorite feature on it.

  4. Oscar P

    Also looking forward to the Recon Jet comments! And hope you can make it to Vancouver someday soon.
    Have you ever lost a flight due to be working out or taking a few extra photos? 38mins is pretty impressive. I would love one day when perhaps it’s “low season” for you to dedicate an entire post with the tips and tricks for traveling on such a tight schedule. have a great week!

    • Astoundingly enough, I’ve only ever missed a single flight. And not due to photos. A snowstorm actually in the DC area. I had budgeted 2 hours to get to the airport, it took 3 hours. :(. Go figure the flight actually went out on time.

  5. Joshua

    I trust you’ve been to austin before but if you haven’t then do your best to get to salt lick or county line, two of the best BBQ joints. I’d recommend post workout however.

  6. scott buchanan

    Surprised that nobody has mentioned the new look? Is the beard here to stay or is it like me …a can’t be bothered to shave as its the (Easter) holidays thing? 😉

  7. Leila K.

    Haha, you took a 787 to the 787! Though probably not exactly into Austin but still. So welcome back to Austin! Too bad you’re only here for the next 48 hours, though the weather should be great for some riding. If you’re ever here on a Thursday, you need to checkout the driveway (link to drivewayseries.com). I’m curious which job bring you to the US and what your plans are in Austin?

  8. Rob

    Wow – I thought you had written off the CompuTrainer!

  9. Dan Lipsher

    Ray, try to hit Las Manitas for breakfast a coupla blocks from the Capitol on S. Congress. Best migas in Christendom.

  10. Jackson

    Did the boiler (at home) come back online?

  11. Chris

    How do you arrive so “late” for an international flight and not have them give your seat away/cancel your ticket? I’ve heard of that happening to several people, when they actually arrived with “plenty” of time. Is it because of your inevitably ridiculous frequent flier/world elite status, or just luck?

    Have a great trip!

    • I check in ahead of time online, so then it’s just a case of showing up before the 20-minute cutoff. There are some places (such as Heathrow), where it’s technically 40 minutes at the checker at the security line.

  12. Anne

    Oh my, the blue de Montagne et poire, I need that. Basically I need to be back in France. I wish I had known about all these sneaky tidbits of roads closed and running paths when I was there! I’m considering it research for the next time I get over there, hopefully soon.

  13. Arnaud

    Ray, Welcome to Austin! If you are staying downtown, I hope that you get to run on around Laby Bird lake. They added recently a beautiful boardwalk on the south side east of I35.

    If you want to swim, check out the Barton Springs outdoor pool. It is spring fed, 68F all year long and very clear. Can’t beat swimming with fish.

    For biking, checkout the dam loop (360->2244->620->2222). That’s 35 miles at the edge of the hill country.

    Enjoy your stay!

  14. Johnny Van

    What are you doing in Austin? Thats my city!

  15. Mark

    Ray, I am an exercise procrastinator and a bit of a niteowl, so often I workout late at nite. I think I have too much gear to remember sort, pack, sync, power-on, tweak, etc. and I have a simple set-up. The workouts you manage with a half-dozen rigs is literally amazing, especially around your career and travels! It’s inspiring. Keep up the great work!

  16. ukexpat

    Ah a proper butcher, how I miss those.

  17. How much luggage do you have with you if you’re showing up 38 minutes before an international flight? Did you bring your bike with you on the trip?

  18. Chris Belyea

    Hi Ray

    Curious as to what you meant when you said it takes the Kickr 10-15 minutes ‘to settle’ ?

    I calibrate my Kickr with the Wahoo iPhone app, or in TrainerRoad itself, and was under the impression that I should be ‘good to go’ after that ?

    Thanks in advance

    • Generally I see most trainers, including the KICKR take a few minutes to stabilize. While I know Wahoo has sometimes claimed otherwise, since my initial review I’ve always done a calibration/spin-down at the 10-15 minute marker and had great results with it.

    • Chris Belyea

      Hi Ray

      Appreciate the feedback – thanks

  19. Stipek

    Ray, how do you fix your tail light to the aero seatpost? I never found a proper solution for that so i can use my tri bike only in summer…

    • In the case of the Fly6, it includes an aeropost adapter thingy (rubber mount system).

      That said, I also secured one using zipties just to the back of the rear bottle rack without the fancy thingy. Used it that way all winter until I took it off for the photos you see above.

  20. Well… regarding late arrival… it depends on the terminal (for BA its usually terminal A, which is less crowded than E or F) and your “priority” status to jump across the lines for security checkin…

    38 minutes would hardly suffice in CDG for the US bound flight, but i don’t think its a problem for UK bound flight… For example… they start boarding UK bound flight maybe max 20 minutes before the flight, while US bound flight almost 1 hour before the flight…

    • Definitely terminal dependent. As you noted, BA at CDG is T2A, and no problems there. However, the Air France flights out of E/F are a nightmare, would never try it there.

      For United flights to the US, I routinely do 45 minutes without issue. The difference is those leave out of T1, which is super-easy to clear in that timeframe.

  21. Ray,
    Any chance of getting in touch whilst you’re in the Bay Area? I know you’re a busy man, been trying to catch you via email!
    Jason

  22. David S.

    In addition to a chef friend, everybody should have a cupcake-baker friend.

  23. Martin

    Any initial thoughts about 4iiii Precision?
    Good, bad, looking promising, needs work….

  24. M

    Pocket bike stand??