Week in Review–July 18th, 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.  Sorry, been a bit slammed this past week or two with travel:

Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend in Corsica
Thursday: 2015 Paris Triathlon (draft-legal!) Race Report
Thursday: The new Polar Loop 2 and also new $19 Misfit Flash Link Activity Tracker

The DCR Podcast:

Here’s the low-down on what was covered this past week in the DCR podcast:

– My initial thoughts on the GoPro Hero4 Session after a week of use
– A few more thoughts on the Garmin VIRB X/XE as it starts shipping
– Power meter advice for those that routinely switch bikes and travel
– A few snippets on the Watteam PowerBeat power meter
– Getting data overlays from non-Garmin devices to the VIRB cameras
– My ‘rules’ for uploading YouTube videos with bike camera data
– Replaying action cam video back to control your trainer

And perhaps now even more important than all of that, is that there’s apparently a new drinking game based on the podcast (seriously). Awesome for the win.

Thanks for listening! Subscribing and rating in iTunes is much appreciated, and be sure to send in your questions via the voice mail widget at the bottom of the podcast page!

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) Tour de France Froome Data Leak Analysis: If I were to specify one point that might demark the unraveling of a long story that’ll take months to play out – I’m going to guess this point is it.  Without question a must-read for anyone who follows pro cycling.

2) Martyn Ashton – Back on Track: Great to see him back on the bike again

3) The daily cycle of shooting photos at the Tour de France: Definitely some fairly exhausting days there.

4) New Toyota Tacoma comes with a GoPro mount: Though, in looking at it – it seems kinda a lame location.  Ideally it would have been much cooler to have one low down near the front and rear bumpers.  Anyone can stick one onto the windshield in 15 seconds.

5) iFixit teardown of GoPro Hero4 Session: Always fun to see iFixit teardowns of products.  Note that it’s definitely more entertaining to read the commentary on the right side.

6) Tour de France Power File Analysis: That’s week two, plus the first week is here.  There’s also a crapton of athletes uploading to Strava – though I’m not seeing an obvious landing page consolidating these (I get a daily PR e-mail of the 10-20+ files uploaded each day).

7) Paris to allow cyclists to skip red lights: Booyeah!  Makes a ton of sense on these types of intersections.  Looking forward to seeing these signs added.

8) For optimal athletic performance, sleep naked: I’m guessing one could come up with some solid pickup lines based on this bit of trivia. (via Randy)

9) Team Sky confirms non-round chainrings inflate power numbers: Deep in one of the articles on the Froome data fiasco is a minor note that confirms what some more tech-savvy folks already knew: non-round rings trip up power meters. (via Tom A.) Note, more information on the subject here.

10) Hammerhead bike direction device starts shipping: You’ll remember back almost two years ago this hit crowdfunding sites, but lacked any real data to prove they were going to ship immediately.  Now, they have. (via Mark R.)

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.

Tune: Running Technique data gathering pod: The company has reached out to me about possibly getting a sample.  If they are able to do so, I’d be happy to chat more about it.

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?

Shimano Action Cam App: Well then, holy balls, they actually released it…a year later.

Garmin Edge 20/25 Firmware Update: A few minor tweaks (and adds) as the device starts shipping.  For those curious, I did use one on a ride two days ago – here’s the comparison files.

Garmin Epix Firmware Update: A few new features, various fixes.

Garmin Vivofit2 Firmware Update: Various minor improvements.

Garmin Vivofit firmware update: The same various minor improvements.

Polar V800 Openwater Swimming Update: Pretty much as the name implies! Plus a few other tweaks.

Polar Flow updates and new features: Lots of new little items on both the website and app.  See their updates page for all the details (PS: Why don’t more companies have an updates blog? Seems like the best way to broadcast new awesomeness.)

Thanks for reading!


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  1. Josh

    Ray, I’ve been enjoying your podcasts while on my long runs which are now approaching 20 miles, culminating in 40 mile weeks. I was wondering if you have any plans to review the many different nutrition options such as Clif energy food (not sure I understand how one could eat pizza flavored stuff during a run but they seem popular), gels, chews, sports drinks, etc.
    Of course this is something where many people have their favorites, but perhaps bringing on any friends of yours who may have some background in sports nutrition to kind of break down the different foods could be a cool topic for your listeners.
    Have a great weekend and thank you for everything you do for us.

  2. Neil

    The TUNE looks rather pricy! I wonder how it will stack up against the Runscribe?? Runscribe provide far more metrics than TUNE are promising, for far less. I
    Ray – I understand from Tim at Runscribe that you may received, or be due to receive, a device from them? I’ve had mine for a few months, and it’s really helped get my cadence up to 180 range, and onto my forefoot.

    • Eli

      Tune looks more like sensoria (link to sensoriafitness.com) just using the insole instead of the socks so may be better (the socks can only handle so many washings). Going by the kickstarter page they sort of mention having an accelerometer but seem to be basing most information the collect on the insole sensor which seems to only be left and right of the ball of your foot and the heel. Runscribe knows that information without the insole so guessing it can do the same thing (it knows the angle your shoe is and can tell when the shoe is on the ground from its sensors)

      A large amount of this depends on the implementation as how well the software works is in many ways more important then just tech specs of what it measures

  3. Walter

    Hi Ray,
    In this week’s podcast, you give a brief summary of your impressions of the Powertap pedal-based power meter, and seem to recommend that above the Vectors for someone who needs to move the pedal between bikes a lot — is that primarily because the P1s don’t need a torque wrench to be installed? Put differently, would your recommendation differ for someone who’s interested in left/right balance (even though I’m aware we don’t really know what to do with that info yet), but only occasionally (rarely) needs to move them between bikes?


  4. Jono

    Sports Technology Firmware Updates

    Android Garmin Connect now lets you attach TWO devices at a time!

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      Where did you see this?

    • Dave Lusty

      It may allow you to add them, but if it’s anything like the iPhone one you’ll go insane trying to make them both sync!

    • Jono

      I saw it in the version 2.13 “WHAT’S NEW” on the play store. For serious, it did connect a FR920XT and a vivofit (thoe not perfectly).

      It was more a comment about Ray’s nigh uncountable Garmin devices (even when you only include those with bluetooth)

  5. Dave Lusty

    Ray, what’s your take on the Ant+ security issue raised in the Froome article? Will we see the pro riders switch wholesale to BTLE as a result of this, or perhaps see a security feature added to Ant+? Not owning a power meter I’m not sure I understand how one could recalibrate a competitor’s PM on the start line, I was under the impression calibration was a process rather than just setting a number but it would certainly be a clever cheat to make someone ride slower or burn themselves out too fast.

  6. Balazs

    Since the last time you reported on firmware updates TomTom also updated the firmware for their Runner and Multisport watches (both for the normal and for the cardio) to v. 1.8.42.

    (Still eagerly waiting for the Garmin Epix review!)

  7. stuart

    Hi Ray

    have you seed this

    link to indiegogo.com

    I’m not affiliated to them at all but I do a lot of open water swimming on my own and looks like a good idea, though would probably prefer if if could be on the body somehow

    • David Lusty

      This exact thing was demoed at the Southampton boat show in the 80s. Almost identical design too (CO2 cannisters have not changed in capacity or shape in many, many years…). It failed, and I would expect this to fail as well. Fundamentally it’s not a safety device, since the user would still drown, just closer to the surface, so it doesn’t replace a life jacket, impact vest, buoyancy aid etc. The bag offers no support and so in real life usage would be much like holding on to a football (soccer ball for the US market) which will become tiring in seconds. The lift to the surface is by design uncontrolled. Any diver will tell you that even with empty lungs this still poses a risk from even shallow depths (that first 10m is the most dangerous as air halves in volume).
      The only use case I can see this fitting is therefore open water swimming since it is demonstrably no use for other sports where much safer methods exist. If you’re open water swimming, a buoy like Ray uses is not only more useful since it has pockets, safer because you can be seen but it also has less impact on your swim since you don’t have to strap a massive plastic thing to your wrist.

      Sorry, I know this sounds negative. I like the concept but realistically there are good reasons this product isn’t widely available. That said, those stupid inflatable keyrings for boaters (waterbuoy) seem to be catching on in the face of all reason so maybe this lot will get lucky too :)

    • stuart

      Fair comments and certainly you have more experience than me

      I do not think being critical of ‘safety equipment’ can be construed as negative at all

      What’s the point in safety equipment if not 100% correct for prupose

  8. Meh

    Ray: could you by any chance be able to encourage a Tune preview earlier than later? I have a lot of interest on that gadget, but I do not trust their marketing fluff one bit. (though their marketing certainly is spot on…)

    I have some health issues that prevent me from sustaining good running technique after about 40-50 min of running. Some device for helping with technique would be essential, certainly worth the 199 they’re asking.

    I’m mostly worried about the real-world usefulness of the product. I think they really need some outsider to provide some real results, or at least I will be thinking of vaporware until I see something real :)

    How close they are to mass-production is also an issue, as taking a year before delivery is a bit too common with crowdfunding projects. I’ve worked in manufacturing and I do appreciate the efforts that are needed after a “working prototype”, just that there’ absolutely nothing concrete, just a lot of promise to show. An average campaign doesn’t keep the first promised delivery estimate, that’s for sure.

    • gingerneil

      Meh – definitely worth a look.. link to runscribe.com

    • Richard

      Meh and gingerneil, not 100% sure about Runscribe also.
      They too aren’t yet shipping. Nevertheless, they “estimate” that shipping starts at the end of summer (vs. December for Tune). However, the pack of 2 Runscribes is a bit more expensive than a kit of 2 Tunes (more 40$ plus shipping).
      My biggest concern regarding Runscribe is that all data is based on a 9-axis sensor (that’s the same than saying “it estimates the data that shows”). And here I see a real advantage of this Tune device: it collects data based on physical sensors that, as far as I’ve read on several websites, do provide accurate info.

      I too have interest on this Tune device, so I’m with Meh:
      “Ray: could you by any chance be able to encourage a Tune preview earlier than later?” :)

    • Neil

      I was a runscribe early backer and have been using the device for several months now. The data from it ‘looks good’ bit I have nothing to compare it to other than cadence from my garmin (looks spot on) and footstrike feeling. I’ve been transitioning to forefoot striking, and it definitely shows that change. It does need some work – gps integration, the smartphone apps are being redeveloped, and the rechargeable battery pack they added is being redesigned following beta feedback.
      So far I’m a happy user…. But I’d put it in the same bucket as run dynamics data – lovely to look at and interesting, but not sure if it will form part of my core data analysis quite yet. The attached is a quick screenshot from today’s tempo run showing cadence, pace and footstrike type.

    • Neil

      Grr. Sorry, pic won’t upload. Try this… link to drive.google.com

    • Richard

      Hi Neil, thanks for the pic!
      Indeed it looks good. But I maintain my reserves. I don’t know if this Tune is any good (or if it’s better than Runscribe and the other similar ones), but I can’t get past the calculations with axis sensors vs measurements with physical sensors in terms of accuracy.
      A drawback I see on both Runscribe and Tune is that they both need you to run with the mobile phone. Not an actual issue to me, as I already run with it to have music, but for a more Pro athlete it could be an issue.

      Neil, Eli said “Runscribe knows that information without the insole so guessing it can do the same thing (it knows the angle your shoe is and can tell when the shoe is on the ground from its sensors)”. Regarding this, my concerns about the use of accels instead of physical sensors comes into play again and maybe you could clear a doubt based on your experience: when you run on uneven terrains, does the data seem as accurate as on leveled grounds? I have that doubt because if you are running uphill/downhill, the accelerometers will get an angle that could trick the device into thinking that the foot is not touching the ground, something that could be prevented by the physical sensors that know exactly when pressure is being applied. But again, you could better clear me on that doubt because I don’t know if Runscribe has some kind of technique to deal with that.


    • Neil

      Lots of great questions there… First I’ll reiterate that I have nothing to compare this to. As a result, it could all be rubbish, or it could be bang on! For me, consistency is more important than accuracy as I’m not comparing to anything but itself.
      I do most of my miles off road on a combination of trail types and the data looks good. The links below shows a chart for a hill sprint interval session – again, it looks pretty good. It shows pace, cadence and pronation (footstrike to max pronation angle). I’ve also linked the sporttracks.mobi activity for the same run for perspective.
      link to drive.google.com

      link to sporttracks.mobi

    • Eli

      I just backed them on kickstarter, I have no insider knowledge or have the product yet. So this is just a thought experiment so far

      Runscribe will know when your foot hits the ground as the impact will be sensed by the sensors but guessing it won’t really know what part of the foot is hitting the ground first with uneven ground as it may just assume a level plain that intersects the shoe at moment of impact. Anyone from Runscribe reading this?

    • Eli

      My guess is that the runscribe can tell exact position of the shoe pretty accurately and can tell what direction and what acceleration the shoe is moving as they have invested heavily on those sensors. This insole thing seems more like sensoria and depends on the foot impact sensors

    • Richard

      Hi Eli! I get the “accelerometers will sense the force of impact” and it should work pretty well, in my opinion.
      And I agree with you that “it won’t really know what part of the foot is hitting the ground first”, however I would add that this is does not depend on the terrain, as at least two variables come into play: terrain level and position of the device on the shoe laces (the angle that the device is on, because shoes are different). Having said this, I’m not sure if, when you press “Run” or “Start” on the app, the device kind of “calibrates” itself to know “ok, this is the default position/angle”. This kind of procedure might eliminate that issue!
      But I would wait for Neil to clear us on this if he could, as he has Runscribe.
      Regarding the other device (Tune) using the insoles, it’s not really an issue for me as I tend to be suspicious of the accuracy of information extrapolated from data collected from the 9axis sensors.

    • Neil

      I’ve dropped an email to Tim at Runscribe – hopefully he’ll spot that and come along.
      Runscribe does not require you to start it using the app, or to run with a phone. It’s fully self contained. It senses the start of the run (you can ammendment sensitivity and timeout) and then starts recording. Data is then stored on board and extracted after the activity using the app. The only config required by the user is to place it on a flat surface and then press ‘calibrate’ on the app. Very very simple.

    • Richard

      Neil, thanks for your clarification. I was not aware that Runscribe could be used on its own!

  9. Jan van Biljon

    Hi you guys Anyone know anything about smart notifications for Android?

  10. Thanks for the heads-up Neil!

    Reading through the thread — I’ll try to address the outstanding questions.

    – You don’t have to run w/ a phone. runScribe has onboard flash memory where we store the FootStep data.

    – We have a 9-Axis sensor (3-Accel, 3-Gyro, 3-Compass). We rely heavily on both the Accelerometer and Gyro data for determining the Gait Events.

    – We report ‘excursion’ based metrics (how many degrees of pronation or stance) between different events. We landed on this in order to deal with the changing terrain.

    – You’re correct that we use the accelerometer data as an ‘estimate’ of Impact Force. It’s definitely not the same as what will be reported via a pressure sensitive insole. That being said, it’s kinda cool to place a runScribe on your heel and on your laces, and see how the Impact and Braking Gs compare between the two locations, particularly with max cushion shoes and/or varying footstrike types.

    Hope that helps.


    • Richard

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for taking the time to come here and clear our doubts! (And thanks to Neil for bringing you here)
      On runScribe’s website you say that “The only caveat is that runScribe does not offer real time data (yet)”. Since you have the inside view, could you tells us if you have some kind of schedule for that? Nothing too precise, just to give an idea :)

      And actually, speaking of inside views, I would ask you to try and do the opposite: view the following question from the outside of runScribe (if you don’t feel confortable, you don’t need to answer).
      I know that they are different (9-axis/only device needed/no realtime data VS physical sensors/device+insole needed/realtime data), but since several of the metrics produced are the same, how do you compare runScribe with Tune, with a special regard to the price of analyzing both feet – one Tune system (system = two devices+insoles at 199 USD) vs two runScribes (at 239 USD)?

      Best regards and thanks again for taking the time to come here chat with us!

  11. Hey Richard,

    We don’t have any insight into your Tune question, since it isn’t available and we haven’t used the product. I can say that we’ve been validating runScribe metrics with university partners throughout development and we’re confident in the accuracy of our metrics.

    With regard to real time streaming, runScribe supports the capability today so we’re not hindered by any hardware constraints. But because we’re focused on delivering new metrics to runners that haven’t been available before, they aren’t part of a standard API. That means we have to work with the smart watch and app folks directly to make it happen. The good news is that the people we’re talking to are really motivated to make this happen, but I don’t have a clear date that we can share.

    • Neil

      Tim – great to see you engaged here. Do you have a time line for pace over ant+ using the standard profile? Many people rely on a footpod for accurate pace measurements instead of relying on gps, and having this through runscribe would be a great addition and save me having to decide between a standard footpod and my runscribe for intervals etc.

  12. Billy

    Any news on when the next garmin edge 810 update will be and will it include strava live segments?

  13. Matt Dreyfuss

    I backed Tune after you posting about it. Bad news is they decided they were not going to hit their funding, so they are canceling the campaign. Good news is they are moving ahead with their product launch regardless, and I got an email this morning thanking me for my support. That thank you will come with a free Tune, so I guess it worked out for me!