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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

With the three-day weekend wrapping up (even here in France), I figured I’d round out what I’ve been up to.

1) A brilliant outdoor pool swim

Friday was a bit of an odd day for a Friday, somewhat more busy than I’d appreciate for something that was supposed to usher in the weekend at a more relaxed pace.

As I was coming back across town Friday afternoon in between meetings my route would take me just past a massive pool facility just a few meters outside the city limits of Paris.  The facility sits on a small island in the middle of the river and includes a 25m indoor pool, a 50m outdoor pool, plus a bunch of other recreational pools.

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It’s the 50m outdoor pool I was most interested in.  Despite having known about the pool from other readers for some time now, it’s hardly a close option for me.  There’s no easy way of getting there via Metro.  And via bike or car it’s at least a 30-minute ride.  So this would be my first time there.

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I was quite lucky in that I only had to share my lane with 4-5 other people the entire time – and astoundingly they actually followed the lane recommendations for speeds/styles.  So it was pretty rare that I needed to pass someone.

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This might make for my favorite pool thus far in the area. And as we go into summer, I could make the effort to come over here and burn a few hours just relaxing on the pool deck after a workout – thus it wouldn’t be a totally outsized spend of time.

2) Some unboxing

There was a fair bit of unboxing going on this weekend. Lots of random things came in (or I picked up locally), from the Jawbone UP3, to the Garmin Epix, and Vector2.  I took care of the Epix first, since I wanted to run with it Saturday during my long run.

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I’ve got some first impressions in the next section after my run – but I’ve been using it on all activities thus far.  You can follow both various activities I’ve posted as well as other thoughts on my existing Epix post down in the comments section.  Rough timeline for an in-depth review is late June.  I’ve got a bunch of interesting travel locales over the next few weeks (much of it in the mountains) – so it’ll make for good testing grounds (trail-specific).

I also unpacked Vector2, though didn’t quite have the time to install it on my bike before my Sunday ride.

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We had to get the Cake Studio prepared for some events on Sunday (which also then meant that I couldn’t really use the DCR Space either during that event).  No worries, it gave The Girl and I a reason to not work all weekend either.

3) A City & Trail Run to the French Open

After unboxing the Epix and getting the firmware updated, I headed on outside.  My schedule called for one thing, and I totally misremembered it as something else by time I got to running.  So I ended up with a rather vanilla 1:25min run than the slightly varied run that I was supposed to do. Sigh.

I started off with a loop around the island before heading across the city through all the major tourist sights.  From the boats on the River to the Louvre, from Concorde up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe – I saw it all and more.  This was probably at the verge of being just too busy a route for this time of year.  Though I lucked out on traffic lights and it was pretty smooth.

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Once I got to the end of the Champs-Élysées I made a loop around another giant traffic circle and entered into the forest.  My goal here was just to wander a bit and burn some mileage in the trees. While many trails appear on Google Maps, that’s really only a fraction of what’s actually in the park.  For the most part I was on on the unmarked ones, just bumbling around:

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You lose a bit of speed this way – but since my run was HR driven anyway, it didn’t really matter too much.  Plus, it was a beautiful day out (albeit perhaps a bit warm by local standards).

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When I was done, I took…uhh…an armie?

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While having the mapping capabilities on the Epix is cool, the unit just didn’t feel as ‘polished’ as the Fenix3 or FR920XT from a user interface standpoint. It’s just tiny little things with it there that you notice when operating them side by side.

My finish line was roughly the French Open, which started this past weekend.  We don’t have tickets this time, though to be fair we aren’t actually in Paris much between now and then.  Below is one of the practice courts used across the street.

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But you know what’s the best thing about the French Open? Free orange juice. Seriously. From Roland-Garros there’s a Metro station next to it that I take right back home, making it great for a one-way run.  Up top though they were giving out large glasses of cold juice, and even bottles to take with you.  Brilliant!

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With that, I headed down under and got aboard for the quick trip home:

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Cute seats there…

4) A Sunday Brick

Sunday morning I loaded up the bike with all assortment of gizmos and headed out for a ride:

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The ride was fairly straight forward for me – just an out and back to Versailles, about 2ish hours all-in:

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The last 25-30 minutes were a string of 6-minute long intervals. Because this last 25-30 minutes also happens to be in the city, they ended up a bit more fartlek like.  So some were 5:30, and others 6:30, just however it fit around lights and such.

After the ride, it was straight onto the run for a 20 minute jaunt around the park and river.

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Here’s three units I took with me on the run. The Apple Watch was sans-phone, so no GPS.

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Then back to the studio where I had just a few minutes to get cleaned up before an event started.  Definitely a tight schedule!

5) Hello Poland!

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Somehow in my work-trip scheduling confusion I didn’t realize that Monday was a public holiday (not just in the US, but more importantly in France).  I’ve been attempting as of late to really ‘force’ my work trips to not start on a weekend.  When you travel every week, and you lose every Sunday afternoon/evening to being on a plane – you realize you loose a fair chunk of that weekend relaxing time.  Same goes for balancing late-night arrivals. I’ve historically always booked the absolute latest flight into a city, which works well in terms of maximizing time at home.  But arriving at 12-1AM (or later) each time also tends to make for a long week.

I generally have fairly good control over my work trips (be it dates, hotels, or flights), so it’s mostly just a matter of making everything fit for a given trip against other commitments.  Of course, this gets trickier in places that don’t have weekends aligned to European weekends, such as in the Middle East – whereby showing up on a Monday or Tuesday is much later in the week.

In any event, not realizing that Monday was a holiday I went ahead and booked my travel out Monday afternoon to Poznan, Poland.  It’s not terribly difficult to get to this town, but it is a bit of a time-suck since you’ve gotta connect elsewhere in Europe first.  Of course…this was all before I realized that Monday was a holiday. Sad panda.

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Still, Poznan is new to me – and getting in at 5PM allowed me a bit of free time.  I brought along my newly arrived Phantom 3 Pro, getting the hang of that a bit quite out a ways from town in the middle of nowhere.  Lovin’ it thus far.

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The integrated Lightbridge for streaming (I can even do Live Streaming in HD straight to YouTube live). And the 4K quality is impressive, albeit taking approximately forever on my laptop to create a short (and likely boring) video of the small pond I flew around.

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In any event – on the sport front plenty of running by the looks of it around here, so that should make for a good workout Tuesday – I believe I’ve got some solid intervals on the docket.

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Have a great week ahead all!

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84 Comments

  1. jd67

    Really jealous of the fantastic weather – much better than the wind and rain I had to battle on my Sunday morning ride here in the UK. Good to see that you’re getting some miles in with the Polar V650. It’s a bit of a tease that you can’t see the display to make a comparison with the array of Garmin devices. Is that deliberate or is the screen really that reflective?

    • Nah, not deliberate – just the nature of photographing a bunch of devices at once outdoors with reflections. Invariably one or more would have been harder to see.

  2. Mucher

    hey, welcome to Poland!its Poznań , not Poznon by the way.

    . If you’Re lookiing for places to run, Malta island and its surroundings would be your best bet. And theres one od bigger Tri events in Sierakow , some 30 miles out this weekend in case you are still around.

  3. Can’t wait to see the Epix review. I wouldn’t have the guts to travel with a drone to a former Eastern Block country with an American passport!

  4. Leo

    After visiting my Florence and my Finland, it’s time for my Poland. Pity it’s Poznań and not a bit souther, that is, Wrocław. Have a nice time in Poland!

  5. Krzysztof Kołosowski

    Welcome to Poland!
    I’m glad that you’ve had some time to visit us :)
    I really recommend visiting Wrocław if you got some time – there are some good connections between Poznań and Wrocław. Also, I would love to go for a run with you :)

  6. AndiT

    Another typo:

    ‘you’ve gotta gonnect elsewhere in Europe’ > that should be connect

  7. gingerneil

    Appears like the F3 is reading on the low side – that seems to be pretty standard for lots of users. How did the GPS track look after the run ? Is it safe to assume its cutting corners, especially in the tree sections ?

    • Oops, I need to upload the brick data. Will do that shortly (it’s a bit of a PITA because the .FIT files with the power data with Cycling Dynamics trip up the MyGPSFiles site and cause it fail loading, so I’ve gotta manually convert them all to .TCX files).

    • GregTR

      You can download TCX files for each brick segment from Garmin Connect. If that’s what you meant by converting then my apologies, otherwise it might save you a bit of time.

    • Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing to date. Rough workflow:

      (Attach each device via USB then iterate through the following)
      1) Copy .FIT files to folder dedicated to power meter comparisons, naming with device name/purpose
      2) Download .TCX file for Polar devices from Flow
      3) Download .FIT file from Suunto devices from Movescount
      4) Download .FIT file from Pioneer site (if applicable)
      5) Upload Garmin .FIT Files to GC
      6) Download Garmin.TCX files from GC
      7) Ensure everything is in properly named folder on Dropbox
      8) Use MyGPSFiles to point at Dropbox share
      9) Share out and hope I didn’t forgot everything

    • GregTR

      I feel your pain! Thanks for doing it, I don’t think people realize just what kind of time commitment we’re talking about here.

  8. MaciekZ

    Hi and welcome to Poland! :)

    I hope you can and will share your reasons to come to my city ;) If you’re looking for some nice places to run and/or bike in Poznań, I can recommend the following:
    * Lake Malta – it’s the most known but sometimes crowdy, the Poznan Halfmarathon and 10k race (Maniacka Dziesiatka) start and finish here, other than the asphalt road around the lake, there’s also some nice forest paths leading towards the New Zoo and Cybina river
    * Lake Rusalka – my favorite, lots and lots of beautiful forest paths, you can make a longer trip to the Lake Strzeszynek, there’s also an athletics stadium nearby
    * Park Cytadela – a lot of runners go there, you can do some running and sightseeing at the same time ;)

    If you’re willing to go a little bit further out of the city, there’s also:
    * Wielkopolski Park Narodowy
    * Puszcza Zielonka

    Best regards,
    Maciek

  9. Darren

    I’d also be interested in how you felt the F3 compared in its distance measurement. I’m seeing shorter measurements in the open, and significantly shorter on trail with tree or many bends – often around 7% less – compared to a 910, 220 and even a smartphone. It’s verging on not being fit for purpose, which is a real shame as other than not being able to measure distance correctly(!) it’s a fantastic piece of kit!

    It’s appears to be how it interprets/ fits curves to the data as the actual data points seem similar. I hope this is the case, and not a failing in the new GPS antennae, as it least then it should be fixable in firmware rather than hardware.

    • In city environments I’m typically not seeing much (if any) difference between units. In trail environments I see more variance (though not as much as some others – usually 1-3%). Fwiw…it does sound like the fix is very close. More details there soon…

    • GregTR

      It’d be nice to see the TCX data for the trail run and see where you lost the 0.2 miles on the 11 mile run compared to the V800. Depending on the number of turns you had in the woods your Fenix 3 is just as (in)accurate as the rest of them.

    • Within the MyGPSFiles link for the trail run you can click to download the original files: link to mygpsfiles.com

      (I’ll be working on getting my last few days worth of activities up and on some sort of dedicated page for them here in the next few hours…I’m so close to just hiring a developer to make some sort of power/GPS comparison site, since I’m not super-happy with all of the options to date).

    • GregTR

      Thanks! I’ll take a look tonight when I get a chance! The track does not seem as challenging as some of the trails I’ve seen given that it’s a city trail with not as many twists and turns as you would get out in the wild.

    • Ok, data mining complete…

      I’ve simply creating a landing page for all my Epix GPS comparisons, which I’ll update every few days as I use it: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Eventually that’ll be rolled into my in-depth review, but this will save me the time of having to do it twice since copying that table into my review is just a single line of code. Enjoy!

    • Joe E

      Ray, sorry but in ideal conditions the F3 under reports distance by 1%-3% consistently. Your picture above even shows that. It cuts corners almost always even on fully open routes with turns. It is not acceptable for this level of product and cheaper alternatives like the TomTom out perform the F3 for distance and track accuracy in all testing I have seen.

    • I’m not entirely sure that cutting across a dense city and trail running is ‘ideal conditions’.

      As I’m sure you’re following, Garmin has already said there’s an issue with certain scenarios (mostly trail focused), with a fix coming shortly. As I showed in my in-depth review though, it doesn’t impact every run though, as I had 15-20 activities where by GPS distances were virtually identical between numerous devices (mostly non-trail though).

      If I look at that track on the city portion, there are some places where the Fenix3 stumbles, but also some spots where the V800 stumbles (such as around Louvre).

    • Joe E

      Fair comments, I did go back an re-review your data for some of the activities you presented and you do seem to in some cases get better distance performance that I am seeing, and others have reported. I also notice in the tracks I looked at that you provided that you do not seem to get the consistent corner cutting I see in my tracks with the F3 and I have seen in many other examples in good GPS conditions (clear sky view and no adjacent buildings or obstructions. I wonder why you seem to be getting better GPS performance with the F3 than many of us are seeing.

    • Kevin

      Couldn’t agree more regarding the fenix 3 accuracy. The watch is so good in many areas, but absolutely deplorable GPS accuracy. Happy for those who are not experiencing these issues, but for those of us that are, this is enough to consider other brands (this coming from a long time Garmin user)

  10. MAGNUS

    I really want a Phantom 3. I have yet to pull the trigger on any drone but with the release of the P3 I feel it’s the best bang for my buck.. I was eying the IRIS+ but lack of iOS support was a deal-breaker for me… For now I guess I’ll just have to entertain myself with the Feiyu Tech G4. It’s awesome.

    • Indeed, those two items are probably my favorite toys. :)

    • falconeye

      Cool! You really got the P3. This would be my favorite toy to play with too. Unfortunately my girl decided, that it is more important to buy a new dishwasher. So at least she has now a new toy for her entertainment. :-(
      Do you think the phone is enough, or is it more or less necessary to use a tablet? Is the display readable when the sun shines from behind?

    • I’m content with the phone, though I think that something like an iPad Mini would be ideal. Whereas I feel like a full size iPad might feel a bit heavy.

      In my case, right now I’ve only had cloudy-ish kinda days flying. Hopefully though over the next 7-10 days I’ll get some sun in the various locales I’m headed to (I hope for more than just the purposes of drone flying).

      Fwiw, video from last night: link to youtu.be (it’s very brief, just toying with things)

    • falconeye

      No jello, stable and nice landscape. Ok, a little bit more sun would be not bad. For me it would be interesting, how the camera of the P3 works in situations with lowlight or even at night. I would like to do panorama fotos at night. But of course you need high ISO and long exposure times and a very stable platform. People say the P3 can make fotos up to 4 seconds exposure time. But I doubt this is really realistic.
      Wish you a lot of fun and good vids for your next flights with the P3! (and no flighaway :-))

    • Fwiw, a good little blog to read is Eric Cheng’s. He’s been doing photo stuff forever (previously a lot of underwater stuff, now aerial). He got hired on by DJI a year or two ago, but his blog is still full of fun little nuggets and behind the scenes stuff (and not always DJI related either): link to skypixel.org

      Why I mention it is that he did some long exposure stuff a while back, though I can’t quite seem to find it at the moment. I know I saw a few images on the DJI Phantom 3 forums (official ones) at night too that were impressive. Someone did one at the Space Needle the other night (which I believe under FAA regs is technically illegal now) – anyway, quality was solid.

    • falconeye

      Thanks for the link. I think he was the one who did this cool volcano video in Iceland with two Inspire. And a live stream to “good morning America”. A preproduction P3 was also involved it seems. Very impressive stuff.

    • falconeye

      Here is a link to the best night shots with a DJI drone I could found so far. Up to 6 seconds exposure time was possible with the P3! This would have been really impossible only a few years ago. New possibilities for creative fotografers. But I fear in a few years, it could be totally forbidden to fly at night with a drone.
      link to fotocommunity.de

  11. Peter

    Hi Ray – I’m curious – when you’re out riding around Paris, which are the most popular brands of bikes you see serious cyclists riding. Just yesterday around here in Boulder I was thinking to myself that Trek, Specialized, and Cannondale make up most of the bikes you see. Do French brands dominate?

    • Generally not the more common American brands – so I don’t see as many (or barely any) of the bikes you noted. Usually it’s various European brands that are more accessible.

    • Kochka

      I’m french from Paris and I own (with my wife) one Look, one BMC, one Cannondate and one Felt, so half american ;)
      As I know, you can see French, Italian or American brands quite on par. The 3 brands you mention are distributed in many shops around me.

  12. Philippe from Montreuil

    Hi Ray,
    Where is this “brilliant outdoor pool swim” ?
    It seems very nice.

  13. loqueelvientoajuarez

    You betrayed the location in your initial post: an island close to the city limits and far from the metro. One needs to know that the limits don’t follow the périphérique (a metro station every kilometre or so) because both the bois de Vincennes and bois de Boulogne are part of Paris. The former is bordered by the Marne, with an island within metres of the city limits, but you said “THE river”, so it’s Île de Puteaux on the Seine, next to bois de Boulogne. You can access it on foot from metro Esplanade de la Défense or Pont de Neuilly (~ 1 km).

  14. Adam Bussey

    Your hands free picture taking skills are legendary.

  15. Tristan LEDARD

    Ray, next time you need to go to Poland you also can can go to Beauvais Airport, and take a flight from there it’d be faster in my opinion!

  16. Tim

    I’m wondering what gadget took a picture of the gadgets on the wrist and the bike. Whatever it was, it doesn’t use hands.

  17. John

    I’d be interested how things go in Poland as I haven’t had the pleasure of going there quite yet. Just got back from Lisbon/Porto, which was/were terrific though.

  18. How do most Parisian feel when you get on the Metro after a run? I have never gotten on sweaty.

    • They don’t seem to notice (perhaps because come July they’ll stink just as bad). I do usually manage to find the single seat though at the end of each car.

  19. Chris Elam

    Any reason the Polar V800 made it back onto the wrist? Is there an updated review coming from you soon?

  20. giorgitd

    The comparison shot with the Epix, V800 and Apple made the Epix graphics, in this data-driven view, well, a bit, um, dated. Kinda like my FR305. Which I love. But not so much if I bought it in 2015. Maybe the thinking is that all of the data review happens online and that the on-wrist display of data is not so relevant. But, c’mon. This is an afternoon – less! – of programming with a modern sense of graphic style. Disappointing. Not that I was considering an Epix, anyway, but the other newish Garmin products, while not at the head of the field in this regard, are soooo much better than the Epix that its notable. Maybe Connect IQ will fix this, but I’ve been disappointed in the apps available. As Ray pointed out in a recent podcast – it’s a challenge to get developer involvement without suitable compensation…and it shows wrt Connect IQ. I’m surprised that Ray has not yet had a review of Connect IQ apps…

  21. Specialist

    How long are you in Poznan for? It is the European Rowing Championships at Lake Malta this weekend, link to worldrowing.com racing starts Friday but crews will be arriving an training earlier in the week. Might make something to see on your run-around.

    • Already back home…

      That said, my hotel was packed with them (and had all the schedules posted on a massive wall in the lobby). Rather easy to identify being all incredibly tall, even more incredibly fit, and with various national team jackets. Kinda neat!

  22. BeSwiss

    Hi Ray,

    Just wondering and it doesn’t bother me at all (I even prefer it to casino/loan ads), but I keep getting Verve Infocrank ads. That one is not on your ad-blocklist? (I’m on an Irish IP but being in Switzerland)

    • Interesting, I’m not sure if they ever made the list (I usually add them when I publish a review – just a workflow thing). I’ll ensure they get added though.

      Appreciate the heads up!

  23. iamchrisone

    Hey Ray, I’m interested to know what you think of the install of the new the vector pedals. I found that little caps on the end of the pods are not quite as snug a fit as the previous version. So much so that my drive side one came loose, got caught in the chain and sheared off. I’m currently awaiting a warranty replacement for them and I’ll be more careful next time but wonder if you noticed anything similar?

  24. Alex

    Hey Ray, I may be the guy that you had to pass in that pool! (then again, I tend to swim in the grand’ma lanes on the left… :p)
    Now you have to do a review of Longchamp’s bike track – 5 minutes from that pool – and might as well go running in Bois de Boulogne as well – just ignore the brazilian “chicks”…
    That combo is my backyard/playground 5 days a week and I love it! ;)

    • Yup, I’m a huge fan of doing loops at Longchamp, you’ll find it in many of my posts. And, for long runs I often make it over there to run in (such as in this post). :)

  25. john

    Hi ray,
    Where it’s that 50 m outdoor pool, I will like to try it!
    thanks

  26. martin

    hi ray,

    i was wondering which fenix 3 you have worn during your run. Was it the Grey or Silver Version?

    BR

  27. Love your armie ! I haven’t tried out the pool yet but heard great things about it. Loved the pictures. My weekend was spent in Southern France… and despite all the long weekends this country has had the past 5 weeks, made it an even longer weekend. Took advantage of the great weather to hike & run.

  28. MikeDozer

    You are testing Epix in Poland? I am doing so in Puszcza Notecka 60km from Poznań. If you want detaled maps of it which works nice with Epix i suggest Topo 100 link to gps.astronet.pl

  29. MikeDozer

    And i forgot about little comparision of accuracy (Z3Compact, Etrex20, Fenix 2 and Epix) in one of the trails in Puszcza Notecka

    link to mygpsfiles.com

  30. AndiT

    Any thoughts on the debacle that was the Endomondo site ‘update’? Everyone seemed to hate it, myself included, and now they temporarily re-enabled the ‘classic view’. Is this UA trying to mess up a great and functional website, or was this ‘upgrade’ planned before the UA buy-out?

  31. BillM

    Looks like garmin omitted the usa plug adapter for the epic. I got such an adapter with my 910xt and its a nice option to have even if not used very often by me, of course I can also charge mobile phone etc from that usb plug.

  32. Uberdude

    Anyone else jealous of getting free orange juice?!!

  33. Alex

    Anyone else having issues with Garmin Express not uploading to connect?

  34. Anders Majland

    That pool looks real inviting. I’m visiting Asheville, NC at the moment and the nearest pool i’ve fond is a 25 yard indoor at YMCA. But the water is fine and there is not that many people – i’ve been there 3 times the last 2 weeks and every time i’ve had a lane all by myself – so no complaining.

    But have you heard about the upcoming kickstarter project for earplugs for swimmers ?
    link to ear-labs.ref-r.com

  35. Zak T

    I am mostly a runner, but getting into the triathlon arena. very interested in the garmin FR225 that is yet to be released. now that garmin are planning to add HR sensor to the watch body itself rather than a chest strap. would you get a Garmin FR225 or fenix 3?

    • It depends a bit. As mostly a runner, the FR225 is a solid option, but if you’re dabbling in cycling or swimming for triathlon you’ll find it lacks any other sport modes – making it kinda a non-starter there unfortunately. :(

      It will track your outdoor bike mileage, but you’ll have to manually set it to ‘Cycling’ afterwards on Garmin Connect (and, it’ll mess with your PR’s for running on the watch itself). You can also set it to MPH/KPH though, should you want to do that.

  36. Huso

    i was in warsaw and krakow last week for 6 days. beautiful country but man it was freaking cold for a may. i wonder how the polish survive the winter.

  37. April

    Will you be doing a review of the jawbone up3?

    • It is indeed on my list, I just haven’t had a chance to crack it open yet. The only thing though that I wonder is given the newer variant is a few weeks away – I might just go that direction.

  38. ubrab

    Ray,

    Do you have a link to your bike route to Versailles and back? Tried to search using keyword Versailles, without much success.
    I’m looking for something other than Longchamps, especially for long rides out, and living in the 15th I’m well located for a bike ride to Versailles.
    On a side note: Running in Bois de Boulogne is really a game changer for me in Paris: it’s a welcome change to the Quai de Seine runs that don’t offer much variety and nature, unlike le Bois. Plus, I’m not sure if you’ve ran there a bit, it does provide the occasional…entertainment? along the way!

    • Yup, here ya go: link to strava.com

      Enjoy the route, it’s one of my favorites (for both running and riding actually). Nicely hilly, and depending on what you do once at Versailles, there’s tons of options for extending it (i.e. a loop around Versailles proper, heading out in the forest, etc…).

    • ubrab

      Thanks Ray, much appreciated. Can’t wait to try it out (especially that steep climb in Meudon!)