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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

A nice relaxing weekend back home in Paris – here’s what I was up to!

1) Paris Roller

For some three years now I’ve seen the Friday night festivus that is Paris Roller.  It’s when every Friday evening hundreds to thousands of folks on inline skates go out for a tour of the city.  The event even has its own police escort, as well as a route that is published for each week.

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The route varies each week, but somewhat often goes by our apartment, as well as occasionally by the CupCakery.  It usually contains two parts, with a break in the middle.

While it’s been at least 11 years since I’ve last strapped on a pair of skates, I figured I’d give it a go.

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The route and its thousands of people (at the start anyway) made its way across many major sights in Paris over the course of what would be three hours (ok, that was a bit longer than I expected).  For example, Opera:

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It stops approximately every 5-8 minutes though to let everyone else catch-up, otherwise it’d be just like a giant marathon race around the city.

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And then there’s the 15 minute or so break at the half-way marker to replenish your nutrition.

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The only bad part? Cobbles (and all of their cobble-like cousins).  These suck on inline skates.  Well actually, you know what sucks more than cobbles? Cobbled speedbumps on a downhill section of beautiful pavement.  Yup, that sucks more.

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But – otherwise, outside of that it was quite a bit of fun.  I even popped on Periscope for about 8-10 minutes and did a section live there.  Cool stuff!

2) All nighter baking at the studio

It’s definitely great when one of the biggest fashion labels in the industry wants to order thousands of cupcakes for a series of special events. But…that also means it’s all hands on deck, and those hands would also include mine.

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When I got back from Paris Roller at 1:15AM, the girls were well underway in baking for the early morning delivery.  Actually, they were baking for not just the early morning fashion delivery, but eventually another separate set for that day’s worth of cupcakes at the CupCakery, plus some wedding cakes.  Now normally all of the cupcakes are baked in the tiny CupCakery location daily, versus baking them over in the Cake Studio.  Simply because it’s easier to do all the baking in one place, versus moving the cupcakes each day the approximately 650m between the two locales.  No matter where they’re baked though, everything is fresh each morning.

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But each location is otherwise equipped identically to handle orders as we see fit.  That said, we don’t typically have on-hand all of the daily cupcake toppings/ingredients at the Studio that we do at the CupCakery (inversely, we don’t stock most of the custom cake-specific stuff at the CupCakery, since we create those at the Cake Studio).  Thus my job for the night was mostly that of a gofer.

Meanwhile, they just cooked away into the night.  I think they wrapped up around 4AM or so.  I had hoped to capture the entire thing on a time-lapse and speed it up, but alas, the VIRB XE randomly crapped out on that front a few hours into the night (an annoyingly common theme at this point).  Thus, I’ve only got some still shots from the video before it died.

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Thankfully, the ladies were pretty good when it came to all the prep work, so eventually my job just dwindled down to getting the Autolib at 6AM or so for our delivery.

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Also thankfully, we’d done this same dance three days earlier, and the locale we were delivering to was super-easy from a delivery standpoint in terms of unloading and being all on the same level with easy dedicated delivery parking spots.  Some places we deliver to are a nightmare without delivery spots or up multiple flights of stairs.  In any case…we’ll do it all over again tomorrow.  Fun times!

3) Sunset run around Paris

After The Girl and I finished delivery that morning of the order (and made sure the aforementioned wedding cake was on its way as well), we went to bed for a number of hours – arising sometime early afternoon.  While I’m not entirely sure where the time went between mid-afternoon and evening, we eventually ended up going for a bit of a sunset run together:

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We’d wander through the Paris beaches, then the Louvre, before heading back.

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Afterwards we hit up Leon’s of Brussels.  We’ve seen it numerous times around Paris, but have never been.  Their specialty is mussels, and their prices are quite good.  Obviously given it’s a huge chain restaurant our expectations were low, but since it’s only a 10 minute walk from us – we figured we’d just see how they were.

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Overall, I’d give them middle of the road marks.  Probably more ideal on a late winter night when it’s raining sideways and you have a hankering for mussels.  The mussels themselves were good, though there were a few more broken shells than I’d like to see typically (meaning there wasn’t as much ‘care’ given when cooking them in what were likely large vats).

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Still, not bad.  Not something I’d recommend to a tourist who only has a finite number of meals in town (for that, see my recommendations).  But for those living here, a very reasonable option.

4) New Power Meter Sunday

Sunday morning I headed down to the Cave to do some power meter swapping.  I’d finished up with data collection on the PowerTap P1 pedals (you’ll see that review in a few hours later today), while I had also installed the PowerTap C1 the night before during the bake-a-thon.  That was super-easy since the bottom brackets were the same as what I already had on there:

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Next up was installing the bePRO power meter.  I didn’t really know if this would be a 20-minute thing, or a 2-hour thing.  Given the number of parts in the box, I was a bit worried:

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But, it’s actually easier than it looks, and it took about 30 minutes in total.  With some minor improvements in clarity (and if not taking photos as well), my guess is you’d be looking at closer to 20-minutes for a first time, and perhaps 10-15 minutes for a regular change between bikes (though I’m not convinced you’d want to do that regularly with the bePRO units).

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After that, I did some testing on the trainer to ensure everything was locked in, including a bunch of hard sprints.  Then some more calibration (zero offset, and a rather interesting dynamic calibration option I’ve never seen before by a power meter company).

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With that set and things looking good – it was out into the great outdoors for a first ride:

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I’d head up to Bois de Vincennes to do loops for a while.  It was fairly warm out, but otherwise nice and quiet:

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Following that it was back into cave to check out the data.  I loaded up the files (all three recorded on Garmin Edge devices concurrently) and took a look:

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The PowerTap C1 (Chainring) and PowerTap G3 (wheel hub) aligned spot-on, really well.  But the bePRO was showing a really weird offset of about 38-seconds delay.  I had seen delays while on the trainer doing some spot-tests, but wasn’t quite sure what to make of it at the time.  Now, I’m still not sure what to make of it.  More testing is definitely in order.  I’ll mix around the head units a bit for fun, and do some testing with the WASP as well to see if I can figure out why the delay of game on showing power numbers.  On the bright side, the PowerTap C1 was spot-on with the trusty PowerTap G3 wheel hub.

(Update: I think I know what’s going on here.  In looking at the files it appears the Edge 810 that the bePRO was being recorded on had an offset of 38s from the GPS time.  Why it was off on GPS time on an outdoor ride is beyond me at the moment, but that would account for things.  I’ll update accordingly.  At this point – that’s definitely a good sign!)

5) Openwater swim bricknic

After getting back to the DCR Cave/Studio and transferring all my files off (it’s a bit of a routine, if I don’t do it immediately it all goes to hell in a hand basket), it was off to the market to pickup items for our bricknic.  In this case, it’d be grabbing two bikes and heading about 5 or so miles away, outside of the city limits of Paris, to a favorite spot of mine along the river (not the Seine).

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It’s here that I’ve often gone for shorter openwater swims (usually 20-30 minutes), but also just to enjoy basking in the sun on the steps down to the river.  It’s also favored by an older generation of locals, given it’s a somewhat hard to reach location (only on foot or by bike).

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For today, I’d head out for a 20-minute openwater swim.  Not so much as a workout, but more just because it was hot out, and this seemed like a fun thing to do.

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Of course, I had a bunch of devices on me.  As is more often than not the case, the Garmin Epix gave a swim track that looked drunk, but still gave roughly the same distance as the Ambit3 (other wrist) and Polar V800 (in my swimcap).  I had meant to use the 920XT in my swimcap and the V800 on my wrist, but forgot the 920XT on the charger.

Post-swim we setup our little picnic and stayed a number of hours – drinking into the sunset:

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Yup, that’s how we roll.

With that – thanks for reading!  And don’t forget tomorrow is the Giveaway Extravaganza!  Starting at midnight US Eastern Time, or 6AM Central European time!  Every 2 hours a new giveaway, only lasting two hours each!

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37 Comments

  1. Ivan ivanusic

    Hey Ray,
    Can you give me gpx files of your swim session from all watches to compare it?
    Thanks

  2. great weekend, as always. Thanks for sharing your awesome experiences with us.

  3. Hello Ray,
    here my bePRO test, perhaps you may find it useful: link to massarob.info
    Watch out for any misalignment between the mark on the pedal and the reference to apply on the crank levers, especially on the right side pedal which may result more difficult to install properly. A good check to spot misalignments and/or a rotation compared to the one set during the dynamic calibration is to observe if Pedal Smoothness and/or Torque Efficiency are unusual. This can be done via GoldenCheetah, for example.
    I’m still using them but not reporting any other graph or data, my conclusions are pretty finished too.

    • Indeed. I’m actually fairly impressed with myself on how perfectly I got them to align, as well as doing multiple dynamic calibration tests and validated everything was good there.

      What’s odd is the lag. I just don’t understand it, and have never seen anything like that before on any unit (hence why I’m going to switch around things). I’d expected something like you noted of spikes/dropouts if incorrectly installed. Whereas lag is more of a processing thing. Really weird.

    • simon

      if you were recording them in ‘the cave’ with no GPS coverage and therefore no master clock to sync to – maybe the internal clock of whatever garmin you used had drifted 38s ?…or does the garmin lock to the PC clock when you did an earlier sync and the PC was 38s out….

    • Yeah. It was outside, so in theory lined up. Still, very interesting theory. I’ll double-check time stamps when I get back, but typically its aligned to elapsed time.

    • Frans

      Ray, you probably have noticed it yourself by now, but the start time of the trainings is 38 sec apart. The C1 .fit starts at 15:10:42 and the BePro .fit at 15:11:19. So, if the program mapped them based on the start time it goes wrong.

    • Indeed, odd that the GPS unit would be off. One of the reasons I noted above that I’ve gotta check on that one. I’ll update charts accordingly.

    • Frans

      I mapped them in GC: biggest difference is the L/R balance. C1 49.5% and the BePro 43.7%; the rest is in the same ballpark. Worth checking the allignment and calibration of the BePro is still ok. 49.5% seems more realistic than 43.7%. But hey, you are the man doing the in depth reviews, you know what to do ;)

    • Hello Ray,
      yes that lag is very odd! I never experienced this with bePRO (or any other PM when compared to another one). I had your same concerns about the plastic shell. I expressed that in my “mini review” too and being in contact with Favero they hve been kind enough to explain more details about that, e.g. that it’s an extra protective shell and everything inside is molded in one piece, with the positive and negative sides of this choice, of course.
      Having 2 Stages and 1 Vector ATM I’m impressed by bePRO being waterproof even during and after some torrential Summer rain showers; with a Stages I guess I’d have had some problem, a dead battery or the need to open/dry it after the ride. Even tough the last shell/sealing (I’ve received a new unit after a failed one, very FAST delivery by Stages Europe) are looking improved on this side.
      So far so good with bePRO as long as the dynamic calibration is regularly checked: an unusual shift to the left in balance it’s often the result of a misaligned right pedal and vice versa even if it’s more common that the right one is the one (getting) “loose”. My only problem is they are inflating my real and recently set (checking MMP curve) power values by a consistent and constant 3-5% in the same way I experienced with o-symetric rings (known inflation) when I was using them (2013).

  4. fraser

    Hi Ray!

    In a german forum a user had also problems with his bePRO (pedal coming of, crazy power-numbers). But a shop testet it with no issues at all. At the moment, I’m not totaly convinced. We’ll see. Waitng for your final verdict.

    Plus: I think I’ve found your secret open-water spot. But I want tell, if you want it as your secred hide-out. ;)

  5. Angus

    So do the Powertap P1 pedals still win over bePRO & Garmin Vector when it comes to switching between bikes?

    Nice post-swim recovery food – esp the hydration!

  6. NY-Attorney

    Can’t wait to see the review of the Powertap Pedals. That will help me decide between the Powertap pedals and waiting for the xpedo THRUST E pedals. As I am a large man over 200 lbs., Garmin Vector is not an option for me.

    I love the picture above with the white handlebar tape. I see the Bontrager Transmittr remote, a product I truly love, so I imagine that review is coming soon as well. Awesome.

  7. gingerneil

    Looks like a great weekend. Would The Girl be happy to share her cupcake recipe ?! :)

  8. Tim K

    Ray, I know you don’t go all in for high dollar bikes/frames/wheels, but I’ve been curious. Does a high $$ frame with all kinds of stiffness benefit real world power?

    I’m thinking you could use the delta between a pedal based power meter and a wheel based power meter to find out. If all this stiffness due to super-duper grade carbon fiber frames is real, I would think the difference would be smaller on the $$ frame.

    The actual relative values aren’t as important (I think) compared to the pedal minus wheel value of the $$ frame and then the pedal minus wheel value of a cheap one. With enough testing to understand the difference between the values of pedals vs wheels one any one bike, I would think the delta on a different bike would be due to the frame.

    I don’t know if you have any access to a cheap frame vs some new tech expensive frame, but I’d find it interesting at least.

    • It’d be an interesting test. I think it’d be one that I’d have to do with basically brand new bikes, to minimize issues with stuff like impact of cleanliness of chain, etc…

  9. Scott

    Ray, Is that a Shimano battery on the downtube of the Cervello? Did you make the jump to Di2?

  10. Azure

    Way to go, CupCakery!!

  11. Have you ever tried strapping a “swim cap” type GPS device onto a safer swimmer?

  12. don

    the PowerTap P1 pedals (you’ll see that review in a few hours later today)

    You can’t write this and then let 3/4 of a day go by without putting that review up! I need to read it now. (Just joking)

  13. Sorry! Wine class got in the way!

    Just clicked publish, simply waiting for final set of photos/screenshots to upload. My guess is it’ll show up in 2-3 minutes.

  14. Paris, so if we were to visit Paris for a couple of day, what are the tourist things you have to do and who much would it cost?
    Like you said, “Not something I’d recommend to a tourist who only has a finite number of meals in town”

    • That’s tricky. When I look at tourist type things (i.e the Eiffel Tower) – most of those are well covered by books, etc…

      That said, my favorites would be things like doing the Bateux Mouche at night (not during day) for 12EUR, hiking to the top of Sacre Coeur, going to Luxembourg Gardens (free) and the Tuileries (free), and then doing a picnic on the Champs de Mars (park leading up to Eiffel Tower). Same goes for getting lost one afternoon in gardens of Versailles near the pond (just go away from the crowds until you’re alone – it’s massive). I’m not a huge museum person, though one thing that’s definitely cool is the Catacombs. The line can get long, but just get there early and suck it up. You’ll never see anything like it.

      For food, here’s my recommendations: link to dcrainmaker.com

      My favorite is the first French one in the list there – and many DCR readers have enjoyed it and noted as well. Just super-reasonable and incredibly good. A locals kinda place.

      Of course – if folks give some heads up I’m usually happy to go for a run/ride if I’m in town.

  15. Sophie

    Hi,

    Which camera/s did you use for your shots for this post? (apologies if it says elsewhere, I can’t see it!)

    • No problem!

      1) Paris Roller – iPhone 6
      2) Studio baking – First two are DLSR (Canon 7D), rest are iPhone and VIRB XE screenshot
      3) Sunset run – VIRB XE
      4) Power Meter Sunday – Mix of VIRB XE and GoPro Hero Session
      5) Picnic – VIRB XE for water/bike shots, iPhone for rest

      Generaly speaking if you hover over the images:

      VIRB####: VIRB XE
      G####: GoPro Hero4 Session
      IMG_###: Hero4
      ####_IOS: iPhone

      Enjoy!

  16. Steve

    Hello Ray, Have you ever looked into the virtual reality indoor software trainers (example Zwift)? I go nuts on a typical trainer indoors when the winter is cold and dark, and it would be great to get into something that makes it fun.

    Thanks
    Steve