5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

I have now had two weekends at home in a row!  And both of them had mostly great weather.  Here’s what we were up to the last few days.

1) Accuracy Testing on the 4iiii Precision Dual-Leg

Thursday I got the 4iiii Precision Dual-Leg all unboxed and installed on my Cervelo P3C, along with doing some brief test rides.  But it was Friday that I finally got a bit of a longer test ride on the trainer to see how things were looking.


You’ll remember this is the long-awaited dual version that 4iiii had initially set out to sell years ago, before then deciding to focus on the single-leg version for the past year and a half or so (which turned out solid – my review here).

So on that bike I’ll have a PowerTap G3 hub in the rear wheel, the 4iiii Precision Dual on the left/right crank arms, and then soon a pair of PowerTap P1 pedals.  However, I managed to strip one of the P1 battery caps last week, so can’t swap out the dead battery quite yet.  These were the original battery caps from last fall, before they switched to more strip-resistant caps last December.  I’ll also plop on the latest LIMITS power meter on one leg too, just…for the heck of it.

In any case, the first 4iiii dual tests looked pretty consistent with the PowerTap G3 hub, and within 1-2% across a moderate spectrum of wattages (100w to 400w).  Once I’ve got three functioning power meters on there, I’ll start publishing more results.

2) A Petite Pumpkin Party

2016-10-22 10.35.56

Remember last weekend when we headed out to the farm to pick up pumpkins?  Well, now those pumpkins had their first use.

We held a Halloween party at our apartment, for both little people and big people…in costume.  All triathlete friends of ours, about a dozen in total.  Oh, and one dog:

2016-10-22 11.15.10

The Girl cooked up everything from quiche to pumpkin pie:

DSC_3218 DSC_3302

There was also other goodness brought by others, including these nifty IV/blood drinks…yes, alcohol included:

DSC_3294 DSC_3299

Good times!  And, there’s a pic of us in costume on The Girl’s Instagram page.

3) A Very Long Swim

Back in late June when we went to the South of France for a few days, the Baby got some brief pool time.  However, this weekend was her first legit pool time.  She went with two other babies from the pumpkin party (plus their respective parental units).

She successfully completed her first underwater swims, which involved a distance of approximately 2 feet (less than a meter).  Meanwhile, the parents swam around for what was probably a grand total of 7 meters in this whole excursion.

2016-10-24 00.59.52

The challenge with babies this young is simply they get cold too quickly, so the entire swim session lasted maybe 15-20 minutes before it was time to get out.  So definitely not enough time for one parent to go off and do legit swim laps while the other hangs with the baby before swapping.

Plus, I counted 12 people* in the 25m lanes, so…I’m good, thanks.

(*Yes, I know, better than the usual 15-20, but no, not enough to entice me.)

4) Five Guys and Wikipedia

2016-10-23 13.00.16

Given we swam such an enormous distance and for so long, we had to replenish our calories.  There’s no better way to do that than Five Guys burgers.  The chain opened up their first store in France a few months back (in a non-touristy but trendy area), though their second store is set to soon open on the Champs-Élysées.

2016-10-23 12.11.31

Five Guys was originally from Arlington, VA (the greater Washington DC area), and I’d go there every 3-4 months when I lived in DC. While their burgers aren’t huge by some standards, they are made to order and incredibly tasty.


Burgers have been all the craze in France over the last couple years, with tons of burger shops popping up.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of them truly do suck.  It’s the one culinary area that somehow the French aren’t quite pros at.  My most common complaint being most burgers just lack flavor somehow.  Plus, they often like to make them more petite in width, but vertically taller (which is the worst possible thing you can do for a burger). And generally the burger-bun situation ends up a soggy mess…. not good!

In any case, Five Guys was great!  We didn’t go all Americana and order our own fries, but rather just shared some among the five adults.  The oldest of the three babies also tried one fry, an endeavor which lasted her about 30 minutes.

2016-10-23 12.51.07

After Five Guys we swung through a kids store, and I noticed they had Wikipedia on a shelf.  Peculiar I thought.

2016-10-23 13.07.10

But it’s actually a board game though, available in English as well as other languages.  Go figure.

5) Running in the Rain

After chowing down on Five Guys, it was time to head out for a run. Not immediately of course, but a few hours later.  In retrospect, I should have gone closer to immediately than later.  It was beautiful blue skies out earlier, but about the time I started my run, the blue turned to grey.


And shortly after the below photo, from grey to rain. Still, it was warm enough it didn’t much matter. I made a simple loop along the river, with a brief excursion to and through the Louvre.


I had on both a Garmin FR35, as well as a Fitbit Charge 2 (with ‘Connected GPS’…aka…my phone), plus a Suunto Spartan Ultra tracking GPS and reference HR on a strap.


All were sorta in the same ballpark for GPS, though, slightly more than I’d like to see.  More on that tomorrow I hope.  It was interesting to see the not uncommon chest HR strap wonkiness that often appears on cooler fall days in the first 5-10 minutes.  I think too many folks forget about those days with optical HR.  It used to be one of the most common search results for the site, but with optical, has since faded.

In any case, a nice run in the books.  Nothing special or terribly long – just pleasant.  And wet.


With that – thanks for reading folks, and have a great week ahead!


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  1. Martin

    Hi Ray

    Will you be doing your autumn gps watch recommendation post in the near future. Thanks

    • It’ll be in mid-November, I tend to do them just before the Black Friday type sales.

      I’m also cooking through a bunch of units that I want to get reviews out for:

      Suunto Spartan Ultra (next)
      Garmin FR35 (after that)
      Fitbit Charge 2 (following FR35)
      TomTom Spark 3
      Apple Watch Series 2
      TomTom Touch band
      Pebble 2 HR

      Those are sort of the priority on the wearables side. There are of course other non-wearables/devices that are also in the queue too.

    • Chris Noland

      Going to be interesting on what you recommend. This year I am telling people to get something other than a new watch. With new Garmin connect 2.0 they you posted about a few weeks ago is not supported on current tri watches. The 920 should be replaced soon and I guess the Fenix 3 hr since it is not supported also by the new capability. Seems strange not to have a new 920 before the holidays

    • Justin

      Do you think we will be seeing a new version of the 920?

    • I suspect there will be some really solid deals out there this Black Friday, just not on brand new stuff.

      I think if someone isn’t hyper-focused on having all the latest Connect IQ things, then like most years there will probably be some worthwhile goodness. As usual, I’ll have all the analysis up on a dedicated sales page.

      I don’t think we’ll see a new version of a FR920XT anytime soon. Historically Garmin hasn’t announced new 9x0XT’s at CES, so I wouldn’t expect that there either this year. I’m also hearing (in general) concern from companies around CES being too crowded for device announcements* this year. So companies may scatter this more broadly over the first few months of the year.

      *Note: It’ll be bigger than ever in terms of companies present, but they just may not all announce their new stuff during that very specific week (because it gets buried).

    • Hi Ray again,

      regarding the Spartan review that is coming up, I and a lot of WatchusSeek forum users would appreciate if you mention any battery issues and GPS issues.
      I know that maybe you have not encountered any but most of us have, and yes Suunto has acknowledged them. I don’t know if you do have more that one unit, or if the unit you had for review was provided directly from Suunto, but a lot of commercial units have a lot of issues. That said and to keep it short, if you had more that one unit it would be great to test them both on GPS and battery life.

      Thank you very much for all that you are doing and keep it up!

    • Dembo

      Well, the Forerunner 735XT is supporting ConnectIQ 2.1 (link to developer.garmin.com) and benchmarks much like the Chronos line of watches. It seems to be Garmin’s current triathlon watch – yes, a “populist” triathlon watch but still among the best triathlon watches they released. Running times might be an issue for Ironmen who don’t want to use UltraTrac and currently there is no bike mount which makes sense given that Garmin promotes the optical HR quite heavily. Last but not least: If it is enough for a #3 in Kona, it is definitely enough triathlon watch for me (check Lange’s wrist: link to cdn.triathlon.competitor.com)

    • Chris noland

      my challenge is if someone asks me to recommend a solution they want to know it is going to last a few years… I don’t have any garmin’s watches to recommend to someone that wants long performance… the 735 is interesting but no barometric pressure and short life it is only good for upto 1/2 ironman’s. I was hoping the 920 was going to get replaced two months ago as I think the 920 came out in September a few years back.

  2. wuqingwie

    looking forward to read the review of Spartan Ultra.

  3. Tim Grose

    One of the things would be good to test with the 4iiii compared to the seemingly similar Stages (and indeed any PM) is the range of the signal. Been a lot of reports with Stages of drop outs especially when paired with the triathlon type watches on your wrist and out on the tribars. Does a device exist that can measure ANT signal strength in “real time” ?

    • Yup. I didn’t see any dropouts with the left-only 4iiii Precision during those tests. The dropouts from what I’ve seen are overwhelmingly Stages focused these days. There was a period about 2-3 years ago where a few other vendors saw dropouts (mostly for folks on aerobars with wrist-based units). But these days, it’s just Stages left.

      Now Stages did release a firmware update back in April that does seem to have solved it for many (most?) people. But it still seems present.

      It’s actually something I’ve been wanting to do, put a Stages unit on a bike and show signal strength in various places with various riders (my WASP units can show it).

    • Tim Grose

      Good to hear. At 1.95m tall (as you may recall) I am quite a good candidate for this test! I’ve had similar problems with my Rotor so would be good to know how all the PMs differ in this regard. Also just responded to a thread on the Edge 820 Garmin forum about problems with that unit and Stages…

  4. Mark D

    I get an initial couple of minutes over-read on my Scoshe Rhythm +. Is that just me?

    My old chest straps used to really suffer on rainy days and indoor trainer sessions, just couldn’t cope if they got too wet, it’s why I switched to the Scoshe.

    • Mostly you. ;)

      Typically if you see optical oddities at the beginning of a run, it’s almost always because it didn’t get a strong signal lock initially on your HR. So then you start running and it goes wonk as it tries to still figure things out.

      I typically wait a few extra seconds to ensure my HR looks correct before I start running. Might not be what you’re seeing (also, ensure it’s snug), but I figured I’d point it out for others.

    • gingerneil

      Mine sometimes picks up cadence if it doesnt have a solid lock. Its fairly easy to spot though as I dont generally hit 170+ bpm 400m into a run! :)
      A quick wiggle of the device – maybe pull it out so there is clear sky between it and skin – usually sorts it. Worst case I have to power cycle – but thats rare.

    • Andrew

      Depending on context, it could also be that the over read is correct.

      As in the cardio systems “alarm phase” over reacting to initial activity before it settles in.

  5. Arnaud

    Waiting impatiently for the Apple Watch Series 2… Any timeframe Ray? ;-)

    • I don’t have a specific timeframe, I’ve mostly been operating on a first-in/first-out for wearables the last month. So the order above is roughly that order*.

      2nd comment above: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • ElDiabloJoe

      Apple is set to release the Nike+ specific Apple 2 Watch later this week (Friday). I’ll be interested to see what “collection of exclusive features baked into the device’s hardware” it contains (besides yet another new watchband) as it is supposed to be specific for running.

      link to macrumors.com

    • Long Run Nick

      My experience with the AW2 over the last 2/12 weeks. 16 runs-over 120 miles. Not bad. Ran with both my Garmin235 and the AW2. AW .04 to .09 longer. HR most runs was close to the 235. Ran some runs with HR strap with the Garmin. On those runs HR was 4-6 beats(average) higher on the AW. I also noticed that the AW app often showed both devices reflecting the same HR when looking at the Activity app results.
      It seems to grab the GPS signal right away. I have noticed my 235 has been a little sluggish getting the signal. Use to be 5-10 seconds. Now on a lot of days close to 1 minute.
      Hey Ray, I hope I didn’t overstep my role as an avid follower with this thumb nail of my experience with the AW2.
      For those waiting for the AW Nike + edition, looks like folks should be getting them around the 28th. It appears the NTC app has had a lot of issues. Hopefully that gets cleared up before folks get their Nike+Edition. Nick

    • Your thoughts are always welcomed here Nick!

  6. Ray

    Have you randomly been keeping tabs on the GoPro Karma Drone situation? Apparently supposed to be available in the U.S. yesterday. I understand selling out online, but it was not even available in stores nor does GoPro (Best Buy for that matter as well) know when it will. I heard mid-November from GoPro but Best Buy has no idea when it will be in stock.

    • Very closely following both Karma and Mavic shipping fiascos.

      I woke up Sunday early to be one of the first to order Karma*, and at the time it said delivery by or before Oct 31st. I’m interested to see today if that status updates. I did pay for overnight shipping.

      The whole lack of inventory thing was somewhat predictable, given how few units that had globally back in September for press stuff.

      Mavic isn’t much better though. They held up shipping nearly a week, and then now have started shipping non-bundle orders ahead of bundles (no combos have shipped yet). So even though I ordered within an hour or so of announcement on their own site, people who ordered last week on NewEgg and others are getting units tomorrow. And as of a few hours ago, they have no idea when the first combo units will ship.

      On the bright side, I have now four units on order two each in different countries/continents. One of them is bound to ship eventually.


    • Ray

      Sounds like you’ll be writing a review before I get the chance to even get my hands on one. A small silver lining in all of this mess! Thanks Ray.

  7. MattB

    I think you mean ‘more strip resistant’ rather than less. Unless Powertap are going for Limits’ version of customer service…

    Also I noticed the 4 PMs on, but “once I have three functioning power meters”… ouch! Says it all really!! ?

  8. Lance

    Five Guys is the BEST! I try to get to one at least once a month. You’re right, their burgers just taste better than others but what I really love is their fries! Glad you guys now have the option of a real burger in France.

  9. CJ

    Your resident hammer head shark did not look too impressed?

  10. Anonymouse

    What’s on your face in the underwater shot? You look like Bane! (From Batman, for those non-comic/movie geeks who may be reading this.)

    • It’s my beard/chin underwater, with the rest of my face above water. Getting good photos wasn’t easy. Actually, it didn’t happen. Almost all the photos came out like crap.

      For whatever reason, I’ve found French pools don’t like turning on/using the lights. So always super dark. One of the reasons I almost always take watch photos at outdoor pools.

  11. Michael

    Hi Ray, on your runs I guess you almost all the time have your phone with you. What do you use to put it in? I see something in one of the pictures around your hip, but curious what you recommend.

  12. gingerneil

    Did you ever get a running stroller? I’m still waiting for your review of the Paris parkrun, with or without stroller! :)
    link to parkrun.fr

    • I see who is not subscribed to my YouTube videos… link to youtube.com

      Unfortunately, it turns out you aren’t supposed to run with babies in strollers until around 8 months or so, apparently due to neck control. Though, our little nugget is a bit bigger than the average nugget, so I’m going to inquire as to what a better metric is. Typically companies use weight rather than age for this type of stuff, since that more closely correlates with physical abilities.

    • Wendy

      My chicken nugget was pretty big – he was close to 18 lbs at 6 months, and were ok-ed to use the jog stroller (by the pediatrician). So, it could be an option.

    • B

      It has to do with neck control/stability of the neck. Apparently jostling in a running stroller isn’t good for young babies because their neck muscles are still getting stronger. When I called BOB about it, they stuck to their age recommendation, probably for liability reasons. Best to speak with your pediatrician, as Wendy recommended.

    • gingerneil

      Sorry Mr Maker …

    • Tim Grose

      Interesting aspect about French parkruns is that no positions are published which think is in keeping with French athletics rules that say only proper races can publish positions. And of course parkrun generally is not a “race” in the conventional sense which then does generally allow you to take part with a stroller and/or your dog!

  13. Paul in Kirkland

    So…here we are in basically November, Garmin has released a 2.0, and still no way to combine results from multiple devices.

    I don’t think they’re going to make their end-of-year promise.

  14. Mike S.

    I checked out the Five Guys in London. They had two locations in some pretty touristy places there as well. I know they are spread out when even my small home town in SK, Canada has one.

    Five Guys is okay but they’re no “In & Out” burger.

  15. Gary P

    Are you planning to review the Redshift ShockStop stem anytime soon?

  16. Kyle Polansky

    Love the detailed report of your weekend swim! You’re 7 meters beats my current swim distance for the week…

  17. Dolan Halbrook

    This summer we stumbled into this place (not all that far from you). They were super nice (even refilling my daughter’s spilled drink for free) and I though their burgers were pretty darn tasty. Give it a try: link to latelierduburgeretducroquemonsieur.com

  18. John

    Overly cold pools were the main struggle I had getting my tiny daughter to learn to swim. We wound up driving 30 miles (48 km) each way to swim lessons at a pool with warm enough water so she wouldn’t have uncontrollable shivering after a half hour lesson.

  19. Steve E.

    I’ve come to a conclusion that the HR strap problem was a result of wearing tech clothing in drier weather, and that disrupting the signal to the strap. My standard ritual is to wet the strap (using a 4iiii strap) around the pod/sensors. And since I usually wear some sort of compression shirt under my top shirt, I’ll wet that too where the pod/sensors are.

    That has worked pretty well for me since I usually have some sort of tech shirt on top of the compression shirt, neither of which gets fabric softener when cleaned.

  20. Goodie

    I’m not sure Lucy is loving the costume but it looks good. A twin from Toronto named Tulum.

  21. Bostjan

    Do you think we will be seeing a new version of the Fenix aka Fenix 4 in CES 2017?

  22. Phil S

    Hi Ray
    Glad you had a nice weekend.
    I was wondering about your experience of step counting whilst pushing a stroller.
    My Charge HR used to count all steps, my Apple Watch counts some and my Vivoactive HR counts virtually none.
    I’ve started pushing the buggy one handed just accurately reflect my activity.

    • It’s actually something I’ve got on my two-do list to test specifically one evening. There’s a stretch along the river that’s nice and smooth and I can do walking repeats to see how they handle over say 800m distance.

      I did start noticing that the Garmin FR35 sees my stroller pushes as a bike ride (using auto exercise recognition).

  23. vladimir

    Hi Ray. I want to buy 4iiii Precision Dual-Leg, but after your depth review. When will you plan do it? Thanks

    • I expect late November. Typically I do power meter reviews over the course of about 30-45 days. I’ve got a 10 day trip starting Friday, so that puts a small dent in things.

      On the flip-side, there’s not a ton of other cycling products competing for attention right now (Edge 820, Lezyne, some trainers), but they all kinda ‘blend’ together from a duplication of effort standpoint. So i can get data while knocking multiple birds with one stone.

  24. Xavier

    Hi Ray,

    Maybe I don’t understand the purpose of the Queue tab of the blog, but will it be possible to list the future review you’re working on, or plan to work on, just to be able to decide whether it is usefull to wait for an in depth review before buying a new good. Thanks.

    • That is indeed the purpose. ;)

      It’s just that I found cases where I’d stick stuff up there and then reviews might be months later (or never sometimes), and folks got all bent out of shape in comments there. My original idea was simply a place to stick initial/unboxing pics early on, sorta of a place for folks to chat.

      Maybe it’s just a case of better setting expectations. Not sure.

  25. the little one needs soemthing like this to go swimming in link to funswimshop.co.uk

  26. Fabio

    Hi Ray,

    Any news on the review of the Rotor 2INPower? As far as I understand it has been delivered for your testing just before the power meter recommendation post came out.



    • Baring any issues, I plan to install it Wednesday or Thursday. I had done the 4iiii unit first, mostly because with Shimano the install takes about 3 minutes. It takes slightly more with ROTOR and I didn’t want to have that specific bike out of commission quite yet.

  27. Rob

    On the Five Guys menu board, are the prices in Euros?

  28. Karl Billeter

    “After chowing down on Five Guys, it was time to head out for a run.”

    Not a sentence I ever expected to read :-)

  29. Brit in Daneland

    Hi Ray,
    What is the situation with the P2M NG review. Will you be getting an advanced unit to test or do you need to wait for them to start shipping production units?

    • They were expecting first units in the November timeframe. Like most folks, once they get a production unit, then usually there’s a week or so of QA stuff and they start shipping.

      It sounded like I’ll get one of those first production units prior to them starting shipping, so slightly ahead.

  30. Rob

    Any update on the roll out of the analyzer software to compare different power meter readings?

    • Not sure exactly there. We’ve been working through the registration pieces for seamlessly onboarding new users.

      Right now all the beta users are manually onboarded by myself and the main developer.

  31. Pang

    Hi Ray, love everything you do. Keep up the good work.
    When are we going to see a fenix with a swim hr monitor ? I’m using the fenix 3 with a mio fuse and it’s ok, but it just seems so strange that the techies can’t build an all in one.
    The mio fuse is ok except if you want to sync it. The app is clunky. There’s also the charging issue but it’s better than wearing a chest strap.
    Occasionally, the fuse transforms to CONfused and gives really high spiked heart rate readings.
    Oh, one other thing… any recommendations on an app or foot pod to measure skipping (rope jumping). I bought a Pyle foot pod believing it would sync with the fenix 3 but so far no luck. There’s a rope jumping app available but it does not seem customisable, which is tough for us older folks who need reading glasses. Hence, the fenix 3 is the last step before carrying glasses on the bike, in the pool, and while running.
    Apologies, I seem to have rambled…

    • I don’t expect to see Garmin enable optical HR until they are confident it’s actually accurate. As you noted, for some folks, optical HR (such as on the Fuse), does get confused while underwater.

  32. FrankB

    Am anxious to see your review of the new Apple Watches. I want to use one of the apps on my 3 hour bike rides so I can raise my arm and get the data rather than trying to fish the phone out of my pocket. Also, I want to see your assessment of the GPS the battery drain, and if the optical heart rate sensor has improved.