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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s what we were up to this past weekend here in the warm and sunny City of Lights:

1) Off to the Market

We headed out Saturday morning to get a bunch of items from the market for both later that day as well as a brunch we were hosting with friends on Sunday.

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The market is only 100-150m walk, so it’s pretty quick and easy to get to.  It operates out of the local square on Tues/Thurs/Sat for about 4-5 hours, depending on the weather.

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We also swung by our neighborhood cheese shop that sits on the side of the market (permanently), to pick up all sorts of goodness.

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And of course, some flowers were also in the bag, partly because a custom cake going out the next day needed it.  And partly because we wanted some for our table.

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Love how easy it is to get to fresh markets here.  Virtually every neighborhood in Paris has them on varying days – so it’s rare that you’d have to go very far.

2) Just wandering around:

After dropping off the groceries at home we headed out for a bit of a walk around the Marais, a neighborhood just across the Seine from us, so only a couple minute walk.

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While there we wandered down many of the little streets and shops.  Along the way I saw this bike stuck in a building.

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I would have had more food-related photos from our lunch.  But a bowl of increda-hot-soup got kerplunked on my hand during lunch, which sorta damped my mood for photo taking for a bit.

Later on though, I took a photo as we walked back across the bridge to home:

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Gotta love fall weather here.  If you don’t need beach weather as part of your trip, October and May are really about the best times of the year to visit Paris.  The crowds are gone, and it’s just super-pleasant.

3) A Gadget-Full Saturday Ride

The weather was absolutely stunning this weekend in Paris – and Saturday late afternoon provided a great time to get out and go for a short ride.

I had a boatload of devices both on my person, and the bike.  On the bike we had: 4iiii Power Meter (left-only), PowerTap C1 (final production), PowerTap P1 pedals, and the PowerTap G3 hub.  Not to mention three Garmin 520’s and one Edge 810 to record all that power data. Phew!

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Meanwhile, on me we had a Polar A360 and Withings Activite watch, the BSX Gen2 unit, plus a few heart rate straps.

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This A360 is a non-production unit, with the final one arriving Monday or Tuesday to the DCR Cave.  So I’ve been mostly using this one the last few days to get the hang of day to day use of the device, ahead of receiving the production device and focusing my testing there on the accuracy side.

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Still, the display is brilliantly colorful.  Really pretty.

In any case, back to the ride – it was also rather colorful out:

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My route was simply a few loops around the park (Longchamp) and then back zipping across town.  For some reason an exceptional number of pedestrians kept on trying to walk out in front of me.  Would have been a prime ride for the Fly12, but I hadn’t put on a mount for it on my tri bike yet.

I also had fun with what happens when Di2 runs out of battery juice.  As I left at the start of my ride the Edge 810 warned me of low battery, but some back of the napkin math seemed to imply I’d make it (the 5% number below):

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Said math was wrong:

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And then it became right again 2 miles later:

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Seriously, I went from 5%…to 0% (and no more shifting)…back to 5% again.

Paris is fairly flat, and while I had a few hills, the Di2 system will automatically put it in the easiest gear in the front upon low-battery.  So when I did lose shifting, it was mostly just a loss of being able to pedal harder.

Of course, it probably would have been better if I just charged the battery next time rather than ignoring the umpteen warnings about it.

4) Fun with power leg data analysis

I like it when charts agree.  Or if they disagree – that I know why.  The ride above is a perfect example of that.  Let’s start with the full ride chart, smoothed at 30-seconds to make things easy to comprehend:

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As you can see, the four power meters in general agree exceedingly well (quite frankly, way better than I would have guessed for only a 2nd ride in this configuration).  Though, I did a slew of sprints over the previous days, and a Lactate Threshold test, so I figure much of the settling has occurred.

Now, if we switch over to the Mean/Max graph of that ride, we see one oddity – which is the 4iiii left-only power meter (aka just like Stages) tracks beautifully up until some rather high wattage segments, where it then shows a higher value than the others.

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As a reminder, the way all left-only units operate is that they simply double the left side. Garmin, Polar, Stages, 4iiii, Pioneer, Rotor – all of them the same thing.

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This means that if you put out more (or less) power in certain power ranges in your left leg, then it’s going to impact overall accuracy.  As you can see, below 500 watts, we don’t see any major differences.  But once I creep above that in a sprint, things go askew.

But how can I confirm this?  Well, that’s where I’ve got another graph.  In the below case I’ve got the tool plotting left/right channels separately.  This graph is super-cool because it not only shows the PowerTap P1 Pedals (full left/right system), but also the PowerTap C1, which is an estimated left/right system (like Power2Max & Quarq). Update: I’ve now added in the Precision to the graph as well, you can see they line up spot-on:

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What do you notice there?  Well, you can see clearly that as I go into that sprint I put out quite a bit more power with my left leg than my right (according to the P1’s) – thus confirming what the 4iiii unit showed in the same spot.  Further, while the C1 doesn’t quite as easily pickup the left/right balance, it still shows me left-heavy there.  Do remember it’s a complete estimation for left/right balance on the C1, versus measured on the P1.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting – and kinda fun to share since it’s now easy for me to plot this kinda stuff.

5) Brunch at our place:

Finally, up on Sunday was brunch with friends at our place.  It’s been a while since we hosted something more than a pizza party (albeit, really good pizza).  The Girl went into overdrive creating all sorts of awesomeness.

For example, she made this blueberry molasses bunt cake:

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And then a goat cheese and leek quiche:

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We supplemented that with all the goodness we got from the market.  For example, my favorite green-label butter.  This is a super-special salted butter that’s well beyond your typical saltiness level.  Combine that with some baguettes I picked up that were still warm…so good!

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On the cheese front, we had lots of options.  Goat cheese, gruyere, Shropshire Blue, and then a brie with figs and nuts in the middle.

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Not to mention a small farm’s worth of various meats:

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But don’t worry, we had some fruits.

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Plus, there was orange juice in the mimosas.  That counts, right?

All of it was awesome, and I’m already begging The Girl to make another quiche and blueberry creation.  As neither survived the day to become leftovers.

So there ya have it – a few more food photos from our creations, something a bunch of you asked for last week. Smile

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

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49 Comments

  1. Neil Greer

    Love the food pics, making me hungry for a trip to France, although the confiture could do with an upgrade

  2. Mike Robinson

    I’m surprised that you can get an English cheese like Shropshire Blue in Paris….;) In my experience the French assume their cheeses are the best in the world and I’ve never seen anything but French cheeses served in France!

    In fairness, the range and quality of French cheese is fantastic so I don’t really blame them for being so nationalistic about it.

  3. Garry Curley

    Right, where and how do I book a weekend with you guys? Training, technology, sightseeing and food, pretty much my 3 favorite things/

  4. Andrew

    Hello Ray,

    What is this tool that you are using to plot all that power data?

    Thank you,

    • It’s a bit of a custom tool that I’ve been working with some awesome folks to develop. My hope is to at some point down the road once ready, open it up to others for comparisons (it supports comparing all sensor types, and GPS tracks).

    • Andrew

      Sweet!

      The world needs such a things as this!

      Please keep us posted.

      Thanks

  5. jcbenten

    Nice training table…

  6. That guy again

    Hi Ray. You did ‘lose’ shifting. Not ‘loose’ shifting. That’s a whole ‘nother thing.

  7. Tom

    Ray,

    I’ve always been interested in your Di2 retrofit…. Did you do the work? How difficult was it? That would be a fun article though it’s probably been a couple of years.

    Tom

    • In my case I just dropped my bike off at my LBS and they took care of it. That said, over the last year or so I’ve gotten more familiar with things and feel like I could do another bike myself if I had to. I’ve actually gotta swap out the juncture box (to bigger) here soon and do some tweaking to the shifting to clean it up a bit via software (constant swappage of cranksets and slight differences in spacers there has made it less than ideal).

      Which reminds me… I should go plug it in….

  8. Jeff T.

    Green label super salty butter is one of the best things about France. Every once in awhile I can find a variant here in NYC and, when I do, my meals consist of baguette + butter for a few days until I eat all of it.

  9. Tommy

    You must be loving the fact that Sundays are no longer spent packing and getting on an airplane to spend the week in some far corner of the globe. Ahh, the joys of retirement!

  10. Grant

    And i bet the weekend was more special knowing you’re not rushing off anywhere this week! I have to say I wouldn’t mind an invite to your brunches if they are like that either. :)

  11. Julien G

    Ray – not sure what these bikes in the walls are. I noticed one on Saturday on ‘les berges’ just at the entrance of a bridge closer to Notre Dame. Had not noticed it below, but been a while since I went running on Les Berges. Until the time change, preferred to go to Bois de Boulogne. But not the best after dark :)
    Any way, bikes in the wall had a sign below saying Ride in Peace. Love it. You might see it before me, you seem to go there often.
    Unlike you I run without a camera – but when I am back will take one. Looks great. Whatever it is.

    • Julien G

      Actually – if you search ‘ ride in peace street art ‘ in google and view images there are a ton. Looks great !!! Not sure what the results are in bing :)

  12. Blueberry molasses bundt cake? Crikey, what chance you can get The Girl to share any of her recipes?

  13. chris

    Adding the the obligatory joke about Ray not having weekends anymore…

  14. Øyvind P

    The power leg analysis is quite interesting because your L/R difference is quite significant, yet the overall P1 power is consistent with that from the C1. Do you plan on doing a similar comparison on smart trainers (e.g. the Tacx Neo)? If a similar consistency can be expected with the total power from the trainer PM then combining data from the trainer and a one-sided PM could give information on L/R balance, provided that any other differences can be accounted for.

    I have a Stages PM myself and recently got a Tacx Neo. I see many people recommending configuring software to acquire power data from the Stages PM, to get readings consistent with outside riding, but I would much rather record all the data to get extra information. I intend to do some comparison between power from the Stages and the Tacx Neo myself, but lacking a true dual-sided PM as a control I reckon it’s difficult to say anything conclusive.

    • Yup, I’ll cover power accuracy on a per trainer basis as usual.

      I’d agree with your second paragraph that if you have a one-sided power meter, it may not be the best idea to enable power matching.

  15. John Russell

    So, I usually read your Blog for the bike information, but the leek/goat cheese quiche (crustless) looks inviting: have a recipe or link to that one? The rise on it is higher than most crustless quiche recipes I see. Thanks

  16. Oh man, I need to get back to France. The fourth picture, with all the colorful market deliciousness, yummmm.

    Really though, hope your weekend was enjoyable, with not having to worry about packing and jetting off somewhere :)

  17. Chris

    Someone posts this every week, and this time it’s me.

    WHHHHHHYYYY did I read “5 random things I did this weekend” while already hungry?!

  18. wai chong

    My fav butter for Bullet-Proof coffee: Green label super salty butter.

  19. Federico

    Hi Ray,
    which software do you use to compare different power files?
    Thanks

    • It’s a bit of a custom tool that I’ve been working with some awesome folks to develop for solving some of my problems. My hope is to at some point down the road once ready, open it up to others for comparisons (it supports comparing all sensor types, and GPS tracks).

  20. DS

    That is my favorite market, favorite cheese shop and favorite place to grab a baguette, though I’m sure you know to walk up the street to Kaiser if you want a croissant or pain-choc. Once in a while, there’s a guy at that market selling fresh milk that will make you slap a UHT cow.

    I’ll have to try the green-label butter. I’m about to finish the beloved beurre aux fleurs-de-sel de Camargue that I smuggled home.

    I see you’ve got some Bonne Maman confiture. It’s worth finding some Christine Ferber, to learn what Bonne Maman wishes she could be.

  21. Mike Hensen

    As all have stated, but none succinctly, Green with Jealousy

  22. Mathias

    Hi,

    I see yiu are dtill testing the edge 520. When can we aspect the review?

    Grtz Mathias

    • I’m not sure to be honest. I’m well past the point of testing, just a case of finding time to write it up. Overall I love the unit. Almost done entirely converting to using them for product testing, just have one minor caveat with the BePro pedals where it won’t find the crank length option. But otherwise, great!

    • Bruce Burkhalter

      Any chance of posting the ELEMNT review around the same time? Those look to be the two on the Xmas list for a lot of people. Ok, well, at least me. :-)

      Keep up the good work!

      Bruce

  23. Tom

    Ray as you are a Parisian now are you able to provide advice on Paris?

    IE I will be in the 3rd App Rue du Renaud next year in August are the any places you suggest I should check out in that area(food wise) ?

    and

    Should I learn a little bit of french to get around or can I be an ignorant annoying Australian ?

    Regards

    Tom

    • Scott E

      Tom, Paris has a long history as an international crossroad for trade and diplomacy, and touring is straight forward with the minimum of French keywords in my opinion. I recall working out directions with a German national when we both found ourselves semi-lost in the suburbs of Paris using basic hand gestures and partial pocket maps. The fun is in stumbling across awesome places to dine when you at least expect it. One of the reasons it’s fun to follow Ray’s adventures.

  24. IEEE Spectrum article on GPS overestimating distance (Why Every GPS Overestimates Distance Traveled).
    Probably something of interest to you Ray!

    Cheers!

  25. John

    I love the Marais. My favorite hole in the wall soap shop is there. I get lot’s of girl friend points by going to it.
    And btw, the food looks fantastic!.

  26. ian dg

    love the site. useful. ty

    i’m finding its success is a problem, sometimes pages fail to load and take a long time to load – seems to be due to the number of comments for sure on several posts eg polar m400 and maybe also the ads on the right.
    often the comments are not related to the posts which makes it hard to read them to gain experience of people.

    I think a good idea would be for you to host a forum linked to the site now you have more time

  27. Tim L

    Ray, you mention that you were wearing multiple heart rate straps – how many can you wear at once? I suppose you can two chest straps; one bluetooth and ANT+, and a third optical HRM – what’s your actual set up?

    • Typically the max would be:

      1) One on left wrist
      2) One on right wrist
      3) One on upper arm (i.e. Scosche), certainly could do one on each
      4) 1-2 chest straps

      That said, my norm when testing optical HR sensors (wrist based):

      1) Scosche on upper arm
      2) Traditional chest strap
      3) Optical sensor in question on wrist

      I strive to do everything ANT+, since it’s a gazillion times easier from a workflow standpoint for me to deal with processing.

  28. Maddy

    Oh, again these yummy food photos. Love them, thanks
    ! I need to plan vacation in France, their food is sooooo good!

  29. Alice

    These adventures of yours involving more of Paris and more of glorious local food – are the “icing on the cake”. Thanks, Ray!