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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Quite the busy weekend, here’s what I was up to!

1) A Training Triathlon

Saturday morning it was time to go slightly out of town to knock out a training morning.  It was a swim/bike/run brick, ahead of the Paris Triathlon in about two weeks or so.  I’ve managed to get a small amount of openwater swims in lately, but not often paired with a bike or run.  Whereas I’ve had a number of bike/run bricks, usually trainer-based for the bike portion as they are more efficient given I live in the city.

In my case, I wandered about 25-30mins outside of Paris to start my swim:

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR9024.

After doing a warm-up, I looped back to the start to start my brick.  It’d begin with a 20-minute swim:

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR9028.

From there I’d transition to a roughly 45-minute bike ride, which had 3×10-minute harder intervals built within it.  The first few minutes pre-interval was somewhat easier, which worked out well as it allowed me to make the short trek on bike/running paths up to the Bois de Vincennes triangle.

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Once at the triangle, it was open season.  Or rather, open riding.  Hundreds of cyclists were out pedaling away around the car-free loop of roadway.

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Next, after I was done riding I locked up my bike and started my run.  I was running a wee bit late (ok, a lot late), and thus had to shorten the intervals slightly unfortunately.

The nice part is I combined a small chunk of straight trail along with a bit of roadway to make a mini-triangle for my run repeats.  You can stay off to the side of the green line on the road, and it’s free of fast moving bikes.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR9056.

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Finally, post-run I still had another 25ish minute ride to get back home.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR9062.

For those curious, here’s the link to my Epix multisport activity file.  The swim is pretty rough track-wise (compared to the swim buoy GPS recorded file).  Though, by the same token the Ambit3 I wore on my other wrist also shows a rather rough track file during the swim.  I suspect the fact that I was in a slight valley, compounded that I swam very close to the edge which has dense trees overhanging the water – caused issues.  I’m not terribly worried, most people don’t swim below trees, but it’s all I had to work with (or, get flattened by river barges).  And I’ve seen better/normal performance on other swims with Epix.

2) Cooking at Le Cordon Bleu

Immediately upon returning from my brick I rinsed off and went straight back out the door to the famous Le Cordon Bleu.  The school runs not only their high-end long duration cooking school, but also a number of shorter classes.  These range from a few hours to a few days.  For today, my parents and I would be doing a pastry class making Éclair and Choux.  The class would run about 6 hours and be totally hands-on.

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The whole thing was pretty awesome.  They don’t give you the recipes, but just the ingredient listing.  Instead, you take notes on how to complete the recipes.  At first you’re thinking ‘Just give me the printed recipe for later please’, but after listening to the chef you realize how intricate and detailed much of the instruction is.  It’s like an Alton Brown book where they tell you the ‘why’ behind doing something.  And yes, my handwriting is horrid.

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The instructor speaks in French, and then a translator converts it to English.  Being one that works with translators on a weekly basis in my regular job, this was by far the best translation experience I’ve ever seen.  It was incredibly fluid.

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Really cool stuff.  Here’s a small gallery of what I created:

If you’re into food, I’d highly recommend taking a class there (plus, you get to keep the apron and towel).  They’re roughly in the same price range as other cooking classes offered here in Paris.  Some of our friends have taken few day courses as well and thoroughly enjoyed them too.  The Girl and I will be taking a 6-8 week wine class over the rest of the summer as well, for example.  But we’re looking forward to picking out a few other cooking based ones here and there.

3) The PowerTap P1 Unboxing Notes:

Ok, so this technically was last weekend.  But it’s alright, because I’ve been using it the last week (including this weekend), so it still sorta counts as ‘new to you’ this weekend.  So yes, I unboxed the PowerTap P1.

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I’ve also got the PowerTap C1, but haven’t quite mounted that to a bike yet.

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I’ve gotta say though – I’m loving the simplicity of the install of the P1. In many ways, it’s what everyone wanted Garmin Vector to be in terms of ease of swapping bikes.  Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier.  Just put it on with a standard hex wrench…and done. Well, technically you’ll press calibration once on your head unit.  But that’s it.

Love…love…love that.

As far as accuracy goes – it seems to be good thus far from eyeballing it on numerous head units at once.  I’ve been collecting a ton of data over the past week, but haven’t really had the chance/time to sit down and run the comparison numbers.  Perhaps if there’s interest I’ll just post the files and some of you smart folks can see what you think until I have the chance to do the analysis myself.

My guess is that I’ll have this review out by mid-July, about 30-40 days or so after I’d have received the unit.  Luckily I’ve had a fair bit of cycling lately to capture data on.

As for comparisons vs Vector (functionality-wise), the main thing is that Vector has more metrics (via Cycling Dynamics and other stats), whereas the PowerTap P1 is a bit more vanilla there.  Price-wise the P1 is a chunk cheaper however ($1,199 vs $1,499).  At the moment, I’d probably give the edge to the PowerTap given the ease of moving bikes – since I don’t find the Cycling Dynamics data as useful in terms of training/racing (it’s more of a geek thing).

4) The Paris Air Show

Every other year Paris hosts the Paris Air Show.  This is one of the biggest events in aviation, and is the epicenter of all aviation news for the year.  On the off-year, the show is instead held in the UK in Farnborough.  Since moving here it’s been on our list of things to do, but realistically that’s only been one other chance given the every other year aspect.  And that other time we were out of town unfortunately.

The show is about a week long, but only the last three days are open to the public (Fri/Sat/Sun).  The first portion of the week is instead just business-only.  However, those three public days are well advertised throughout Paris.  Just about every bus stop, Metro station, and back of the bus has had posters for it.  So it’s a pretty big deal.

It’s a quick train ride and then a short shuttle bus ride to the entrance.

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Once there we wandered through a number of ‘static’ exhibits (basically things not moving):

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It’s everything from commercial to military.  Planes to missile launchers.  Speaking of which, what precisely is the career path that leads you to being a helicopter turreted cannon sales person?  Not the helicopter, not the bullets…just the turret.  That’s what this man does.  Just turrets…and only turrets.

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At the same time, the air show is happening above you for some 6 hours!  Every 10 minutes there’s a new plane taking to the skies.

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The crowd airshow favorites were very clearly the Airbus A350 and A380 (commercial), along with the Airbus A400 (military).

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Now as cool as the show was, we came away kinda disappointed.  See, all of the large aircraft that had been there all week had decided to leave on Thursday night & Friday morning  – before the public days.  This included virtually all of the large aircraft that were parked to be walked around (the flying show planes above were not able to be walked around).  For example: The Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Airbus A350, Airbus A380, Boeing 777, Boeing 787 – all gone.  All had flown home before the public days.  These were quite honestly the planes I wanted to see up close (well, really underneath) the most.  As nice as the flying show was, I wouldn’t bother to go back again – once was enough.

5) Fête de la Musique

Finally, we wrapped up Sunday (Father’s Day) with a dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (Comme Chai Toi), followed by a wander around our neighborhood.  It was the annual Fête de la Musique, which is when hundreds of musical acts pop-up all across the city for free concerts.

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These take the shape of large acts on structured stages, as well as tiny one-person shows on an alley street corner.

Or even, as it were – marching down the street in front of the house:

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And in some cases, a sing-along type act where you picked out your song from a booklet:

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What’s cool is that all of these were within three blocks of the house.  Seriously.  And actually, if you were to draw a three-block radius from the house, all of these were within just one quarter of that circle.  Pretty much every street corner.  So cool.

With that – hope everyone has a great week ahead!

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68 Comments

  1. Joe

    That water doesn’t exactly look like something I would want to swim in. Hopefully you didn’t swallow any of that by accident while training!

    • I have to agree. The running trails are gorgeous but that water looks awfully bracky.

      Do you take any special steps to preserve your health, Ray, when swimming in the water around Paris (or any other major city for that matter)?

  2. Tommy

    What do you do with all the bike computers and other accessories on the bike when you go on the run? Do you have to unhook all of them and carry them in a pack while you run? I can’t imagine just leaving them on a locked up bike (but then again, I live 10 minutes outside of NYC so maybe I am alittle negatively biased).

  3. DCT

    It’s impressive what you get done in a weekend. If one cuts out the filler and plans ahead, it sure is possible to accomplish a lot.

  4. Andreas

    Ray, is it possible to connect the P1 to the Polar V650?

  5. The comparison to Vector is only valid IF the Vectors happened work. I’m running old software without Cycling Dynamics cause the latest versions doesn’t even give me reliable power or any numbers at all. Lots of people have the same issues judging by garmin forums and word of mouth… Glad to see that there’s a cheaper option soon. Very interesting!

    • As a general rule of thumb I’d be hesitant to base anything on Garmin Forums, since for the most part only people with problems check forums.

      For example, I’m not seeing any issues with power on my Vector pairs (I use a few).

  6. Peter

    Semi-random question, but how is your French coming along? Since you are taking cooking classes, how about language classes? A bientot!

    • It depends on the situation. In food, no issues.

      However, for example, today getting on the train I needed to be able to read some lady the riot act – but didn’t quite have the proper French to do it. She was an ass, but I lacked all the right terms to put her in her place. I also regrettably lacked a volume of liquid, as I would have probably poured that on her instead.

    • actor1

      bete salaud usually works pretty well. : )

    • Don’t beat yourself up to much, Ray.

      Being able to defend yourself coherently verbally in a conflict situation is about the last skill which you will acquire when learning a new language.

  7. david paquet

    I agree, that water looks kind of “dirty”. Did you eat/drink anything after the swim to kill and bacteria? I hear a can of Coke does wonders

    • The water is fairly silty, so it looks dirtier than it is. Just some random branches floating along. That water is widely used by many aquatic adventures, so no concerns there. Plus, 90-year old women go swimming at that spot.

  8. don

    The biggest two issues with the Vector are:

    1. the extreme fickleness when installing them or turning them on. Even changing the batteries frequently results in one pedal not reporting power. It takes a lot of work to get them running properly.

    2. The very poor battery life

    While you can run on good (Panasonic, Energizer or Duracell) batteries (of the higher voltage) for 70+ hours, after about 25-30 hours, you’ll start seeing dropouts on your Garmin Edge from the Vectors. This is 100% due to the Vectors not sending a strong enough signal due to lowered battery power form the slightly drained batteries. Changing the batteries to brand new ones will 100% of the time stop the dropouts. (And it’s the new part that matters. Simply opening the battery doors and causing a restart will still result in dropouts) You will especially see these dropouts in areas with a lot of wifi signals (but again, changing to new batteries will still fix it). 25-30 hours of use is terrible.

    I do not have the Vector 2’s, so I’m not certain if that fixes the issue.

    • Michael Fiola

      I agree completely Don with your characterization of the Vector pedals as fickle. I’ve experienced the drops and been tremendously frustrated that my limited training time is spent first trying to get the pedals to work and then riding “power blind”. I unfortunately can not recommend them. I already have a full-time job, thank you.

    • Hmm, I haven’t seen the battery issues on mine. But, installation without a torque wrench is fickle. Or rather, just installation in general can be fickle until it settles.

    • don Rhummy

      Well, the vectors will continue to work for more hours but you’ll see random dropouts (power and cadence go to zero even on 3 second power) if you’re cycling indoors near lots of WiFi signals. can you test this on your end with batteries that have at least 40 hours of use (riding near a lot of work signals)? (look at your ride power on golden cheetah and you’ll see it hits zero many times)

    • Odd, I really don’t see that in a lot of testing with two different Vector sets I have. Heck, I even put a WiFi repeater on the bike itself (in the bottle cage area). No issues.

    • don

      Thanks. Maybe I got a pair where something internal is not connected as strongly/tightly? I’ll have to give Garmin a call (although that usually just leads to, “Reset the device…”)

  9. Joan Alcover

    Definitely agree that all the Cycling Dynamics data is more of a geek thing than useful info for most of us.

    I’m waiting for my Powertap Pedals from Matsport and should receive them any moment. Shall be happy to report on their performance as compared to my current set of Vectors.

    Meanwhile just riding hard in the “paradise of cyclists” (Mallorca).

    Cheers.

  10. Carl Lyda

    One of the song titles on the sing-along list is “Taking About the Revolution,” which must be “My Generation”. Right?

  11. TG

    About the PowerTap P1s… what do you think about using them on an indoor-cycling type of bike?

    My gym recently purchased Matrix IC7 bikes with power meters included.

    link to matrixfitness.com

    Unfortunately, the power meter/head unit is a closed system and the manufacturer failed to include an ANT+/BLE chip for communication to a rider’s personal head unit. This means there’s no way to upload the workout to Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc to track progress. As a workaround I was thinking of using the P1s by swapping them onto the IC7 trainer at the gym while I use it. This would mean, however, that I’m removing and installing the pedals 2-4 times per week as I move them between my rode bike and the trainer at the gym.

    – Do you see any issues with such frequent removal/installation?
    – It seems this would be much easier with the P1s than the Garmin Vector2’s. Do you agree? Thoughts?
    – Do you foresee any other issues?

    The original intent is for the P1s to replace the old PowerTap hub unit that’s on my rode bike. But it seems this would be a great secondary role for them.

    Thanks for such a terrific site.

    • It’d definitely be easier than Vector, no doubt.

      Technically I don’t see an issue, but I’d be concerned about that much wear and tear long term. Heck, even doing so on a regular pedal would be a fair bit long-term.

      I’m not sure if they’ve done any sort of testing like that – since you’re potentially talking some 200 times a year (removing them from a bike).

  12. It’d be great to hear more about cleat compatibility. Originally these were launched as KEO compatible, but now PowerTap is changing tack and saying that they require a proprietary cleat. In your first ride article in May you wrote that you used your own cleat with no problem, but others did report problems. It’d be interesting to hear more about how KEO cleats work with the P1 and vice-versa if the P1 cleats work on KEO pedals.

    Personally, the P1 seemed like a killer product for users with several bikes but with currently 4 pairs of SPD-L pedals on 4~5 bikes at various locations it’d be a big switch over to the KEO system. I’m ready to do it, but if the P1’s are not really KEO interchangeable then it kills the enthusiasm quite a bit. PowerTap’s current response on the P1 product page is a bit smug (“The P1’s can be uninstalled and reinstalled in a matter of minutes with only an 8mm hex wrench. “), but as we all know some days you don’t have a few minutes.

    Thanks!

    • So it’s interesting. In my May ride, I used what was more or less a brand new pair of standard KEO cleats. It had probably 3-5 rides on them. No issues there during the 5hr ride, or the ride the next day.

      However, on my first (trainer) ride on Monday last week with a different pair of shoes with much older cleats, that didn’t work at all. I was popping out almost constantly. So for that pair, I swapped the cleats to the pair that was included, but I haven’t tried those cleats on other pedals yet (for example, Vector cleats). In looking at the older cleats, they were fairly worn. But they never caused me an issue on other Keo pedals, only on the P1.

      I’d agree, it’s a bit of a bummer that a cleat change was required(?).

    • Thanks for the feedback Ray. It will be interesting to learn if the P1 cleats are functional on other KEO-type pedals. If not, then PowerTap will have really made an odd mis-step.

    • Stig F

      Looking forward to read your assessment on cleat compatibility in your final review. Powertap on Keo, Garmin etc. It would also be good to know why Powertap decided to change the design of the cleats.

  13. Adam

    Any idea if you can use the powertap cleats with regular look keo pedals? If I buy the P1 and install the cleats on a pair of road shoes can I then use that pair of shoes with regular look keo pedals? Or will I need another pair of shoes with regular look cleats…think semi important to know.

  14. John

    I would wager that the sales guy on the turret is a design engineer on that product. Probably an ME. He got roped into it or volunteered. I bet that many real, no kidding buyers show up at this show and so they get guys who can actually answer questions to hang around and well, answer questions.

  15. Scott

    I’m sorry to hear that you were disappointed by the Paris Air Show. As a kid, air shows were my absolute favourite thing in the world. In fact, the military jets that would showed up lead me to join the military myself. I hope that one day I can be as lucky as you and make it to the Paris show (though hopefully with all the big boys sill there).

  16. Hi Ray,

    Thanks for reviewing the P1’s. I’m especially curious to learn if ground clearance of the P1’s (when pedaling through rapid corners) is an issue. Consider the bulkier body I can image you’d scrape the tarmac a bit sooner than with other pedals. When riding road races this is something you don’t want… Thx!

  17. Joseph

    What happend to the in depth apple watch fitness review and the garmin epix review? Have you scratched them out?

    • Nope, working on them. I had waited on the Apple Watch for the announcements two weeks ago, as there were some changes I was looking at. Since then my travel has been pretty high.

      On Epix, I had previously noted late June. Just trying to ensure I cover all the scenarios there.

  18. Paul Kelly

    When can we expect your in depth review of the Forerunner 225?
    Seriously considering purchasing one but patiently waiting for your expert view first. Would love to hear your opinion on it versus the 620 as I’m a little torn. Keep up the great work!

  19. Robert

    It maybe a little ways from your apartment but those are some nice training grounds. But with that many cyclist I know I’d push way to hard all the time trying to catch other riders or trying to stay away.

    That cooking class looks very cool. In a general ball park what did that cost per person?

    Thanks for a good read!

  20. jd67

    I see that you are testing the Polar V650. Do you have a date for the full review, or are you still waiting until Polar widens power meter compatability? On a similar note, do you know when the out front mount will be available?

    • I’ve somewhat given up on the power meter portion of it to be honest. I’m just going to write the review as-is when I get time, hopefully in the next few weeks.

      I’m frustrated with their attitude there to 3rd party power meters. At least Suunto has been making good strides and going house to house to fight incompatibility fires, Polar honestly doesn’t seem to care (insofar as actions go).

    • jd67

      I really like the look of the V650, and being a long standing user of Polar products (and because of reliability issues I’ve had with a Garmin 510 in the past) would like to stick with them. However, Polar really need to get a grip on the software and support side of things. They seem more interested in churning out new products than delivering functionality that is long overdue. This lack of regard for customers isn’t going to win them many friends and doesn’t seem a sustainable business model to me! Regrettably, I think I’ll need to look again at Garmin as I’m fed up of waiting.

  21. Tagg LeDuc

    Curious about the watch you are wearing when you were in the water (2nd picture)? It looks like a Garmin but I don’t recognize it? Is it something new?

  22. Tobywankenobe

    Sure, all he does is sell turrets, but if it’s a really bad-ass turret…

  23. Mauricio Ricci

    Good afternoon.

    First of all I want to congratulate you, great job.
    Can you help me, my wife wants to change the Garmin 610, it already has for a Garmin 225, because she does not like to wear the belt. the cardiac frequency.
    It will be a good return? or you indicate some outo Clock?
    Grateful.

  24. Mark Ward

    Will the P1’s be available as a single pedal offering at launch too do you know?

  25. Theo Lakerveld

    Ray,

    Do you know anything about the availibility of the P1 pedals in Europe? I couldn’t find an (online) store that sells them yet. Clever training doesn’t have them on their site either.

  26. Gabe

    Hi Ray – I’m seriously considering the powertap pedals – any discount code ? Perhaps if u contact the sales dept we’d put in a sale on your behalf!

    So this seems like the best solution to swap power meters between two bikes. Is it the same pedal wrench to remove pedals? Park tools pw4

    • Just in time Gabe!

      As of yesterday you can now pre-order the PowerTap P1 pedals and PowerTap C1 chainring units from Clever Training. In doing so you’ll save 10% with DCR Reader Coupon Code DCR10BTF. In addition, you’ll get free US shipping. Note that I have also recently received final production units of the P1 and C1 that I’m now testing for my in-depth review. I expect the P1 in-depth review in mid-July.

      PowerTap P1: link to clevertraining.com
      PowerTap C1: link to clevertraining.com

      Thanks for the support of the site via Clever Training!

      Oh, and a pedal wrench is not required (actually, it won’t work at all here), just a simple hex wrench.

    • Gabe

      hah – i placed an order today :) Thanks Ray

      Just an email from the PowerTap Support Team regarding the cleats.

      ————————————————————————————————————
      The P1’s are not Look keo cleat compatible. We will supply our own cleats along with the P1. These look similar but are different. Despite the reviews out there, we suggest people with the P1 pedals use only our cleats.

      Please use our cleats that come with the P1.

      —————————————————————————————————————-

      So that’s kind of a pain if i wanted to leave a set of keo pedals on one bike just when i dont care to swap the powertap pedals on the bike.

      Hopefully they can sell some dummy pedals –

      Ray can you check if the PowerTap Cleats are functional on the Look KEO pedals?

    • I’ll try it tomorrow when I’m back down at the cave.

    • JackD

      On that note, any update on a UK/EU discount?

    • Gabe

      Another follow up by PowerTap

      My Question –

      I would like to have another set of pedals (non power) to use when i dont feel like swapping out the pedals.

      Seems like a bigger hassle.

      Will you be providing additional cleats and non power pedals?

      —————————————————————————————————————–

      I hear what you are saying and you will have access to purchase extra cleats in the near future. These will be available on our website.

      As for the pedals, we are working on some pedals that do not have the P1 Power Meter installed.

  27. Sean Donnelly

    Looks fun. Nice weather in Paris at the moment so I doubt that water would be too chilly?

  28. Joan Alcover

    According to the “Questions and Answers” section of the Powertap P1 pedals support siste

    link to powertap.com

    This is what I read about the compatibility of the pedals with LOOK KEO cleats:

    Our pedal/cleat system, while very similar to the Look Keo style interface, should be used with the cleats we are providing. We have tested our pedals with Look Keo cleats and found that our cleats performance with our pedals is superior to that of the Look Keo cleats.

    You will need to use the cleats that are provided with the pedals. Although they look similar to the Look Keo cleats there are subtle differences that will leave you with a less that optimal engagement

    So, it seems that LOOK KEO cleats will work, but not “optimally”

  29. Alex

    I recently had some GPS issues whilst in a valley under a heavy canopy link to strava.com

  30. antonio francese

    Hi,

    Just one question, How do you enable, on garmin connect, some activities (like the link you put “https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/809902551/5” ) in order to be visible by anyone (even without having an connect account) ?

    I tried to do it without success except allowing all the activities.

  31. Wow, what a weekend. Heroic. I’m amazed that The Girl can keep up. She must be Wonder Woman too.