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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

The last weekend in February – already?!?  I feel like February just started last week, and now somehow it’s basically over.  In any case, here’s what I was up to as we split our time in both Paris and Barcelona.

1) Running to the Statue of Liberty

Saturday morning I headed out for a run along the river, past the Eiffel tower, onwards to the Statue of Liberty.  It makes for a near-perfect 10-mile run round trip from the front door.

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The Statue of Liberty here in Paris is actually a smaller scale version of the one sent to the United States by France.  Note there’s also a smaller edition yet in Luxembourg Park (also in Paris).

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It was a beautifully sunny day out, and while a touch breezy, it was a nice temperature to run in.  No complaints!

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Oh, and of course, still running gadgets.

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So much data collected.  Still not sure what to do with it all yet.

2) More boxes came in

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Of course more boxes came in…don’t they always?  It’s roughly one box a week from the US forwarder these days, plus random stuff from within Europe.  Friday’s shipment included the interesting Arofly “power meter” I’ve hinted at lately.  Looking forward to getting it installed later this week when I get back from Barcelona.  Oh, and the Xplova combined bike computer/action cam came in too.

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I put both of the above products in the camp of: Either they’ll be awesome, or spectacularly horrible. There will be no middle ground. Just a gut feeling.

Notably, the FedEx man has officially given up on delivering boxes to me.  Instead, he just gives them to the Paris Souvenirs shop below our apartment.  I believe he does it because it doesn’t want to deal with going up the elevator and then subsequent flights of stairs (the elevator doesn’t reach our floor).

On the flip side, it’s not all bad actually.  The souvenir shop folks are super friendly, and they’re there all day long until crazy late.  So if we’re out of town or just ran to get lunch or something, they accept the boxes for us.

Fear not, the UPS guy still loves us, and delivers to us.  And he’s cool enough to actually check both the Studio/Office as well as home addresses, despite what the package says.  Also, he’ll try a few times during the day at both places in case one fails.  He’s awesome.  Oh, and as for La Poste? Ha, any French person can easily answer what I (and they) think about La Poste.

3) A fancy dinner at friends

Saturday evening we headed over to our friend’s house for a relaxing dinner.  Both of us have small babies, both born within a few months of each other, and both expats from Canada (well, The Girl, not so much me), and both triathletes.  So they were well qualified to be our friends.  The fact that they were foodies was really just a bonus.

They cooked up a storm of all sorts of fanciness, largely from this amazing cookbook that I’d never heard of before (Trois Fois Par Jour, which translates to Three Times a Day):

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It’s all in French (Volume II), though maybe you can find it in English somewhere (I only see Volume 1 in English on Amazon).  Either way, the recipes they selected – including a barley risotto with duck confit, and a pistachio based pesto sauce like bruschetta were awesome.  Though, only my risotto picture came out.

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There was also a lot of wine consumed.  Because…France?

It’s pretty much cheaper than bottled water here.  Thanks guys for the amazing dinner!

4) Flew down to Barcelona

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Sunday mid-day The Girl, The Peanut, and I all boarded a plane for the short flight down to Barcelona.  It’s about 75 minutes, so nice and quick.

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This week kicks off Mobile World Congress (aka MWC).  This event is typically more mobile focused, but in recent years has seen more and more wearables hit the scene.  Last year we saw a number of mainstream fitness companies (i.e. Garmin) announce new offerings here.  This year we’ll see it flip back more towards the traditional phone makers who are now peddling wearables as well.  So companies like Huawei, which introduced two new Android Wear watches yesterday, or LG a week or so ago.

But I usually find other tidbits from smaller start-ups here.  For the most part this isn’t a big show for me.  It’s just super easy to fly to from Paris, and the weather is nice here.

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So I’ll stay in town for much of the week and use the area to get other product review stuff done that would normally be tricky in Paris this time of year (namely openwater swims).

5) A chilly openwater swim along the beach

Speaking of openwater swims…after getting settled at the Airbnb, it was off to the beach.  While we’re staying further from ‘downtown’, we’re only a block away from the beach.  A happy compromise I’m more than willing to make.

The water temperature here at the moment it quite swimmable, at a nice warm 13°C/56°F.  Interestingly, the sea temperatures are actually done by NOAA satellite.  Who knew?  Of note is that my watch matched the temperature within 1°.  Not too shabby!

My route was a meander from one pier to another one a ways down the beach.  The water had a fair bit of swell in it, something not easily seen from shore, but once you get beyond the piers, it becomes more noticeable when the tall buildings and horizon disappear from view often.

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Tomorrow I’ll go longer, but I didn’t have a ton of time before needing to get back.  Still, snapped this nifty shot at the water’s edge while trying to get a selfie.  Which, I suppose I technically got – but just wasn’t expecting the wave.

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The above was taken on a GoPro Hero5 Black, which is what I used for the whole swim.  The waterproofing is really key for why I use that specific cam anytime I’m near water.  Just simpler that way.

In any event, The Girl was following along from shore:

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She was just watching for my bright orange swim buoy in between the swells.

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Oh…one funny tidbit: Mid-day Saturday I went to go find my wetsuit and realized that I never got around to getting it replaced after that shark incident last summer.  Well crap.  Definitely wasn’t useable.  Thankfully, my friend Julio has no desire to swim in February in openwater, so I was able to snag his wetsuit for a few weeks.  Wootage!

With that – thanks for reading! And check back later today for the WatTeam PowerBeat Gen2 In-Depth Review, it’s already scheduled to publish at 3PM CET/9AM US ET.

Have a good week ahead!

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24 Comments

  1. Lachlan Brown

    13 degrees C – that’s cold, although The Girl looks colder out of the water.

  2. m9inger

    As much as I’d like an open water swim this time of year, 56 degree water is a no-go for me…way to get it done!

  3. Paul S.

    “Note there’s also a smaller edition yet in Luxembourg Park (also in Paris).” There’s also this one in the Susquehanna north of Harrisburg. Unlike the ones in Paris it has nothing really to do with the one in NY :-)

  4. Guillaume L.L.

    I agree, that is cold for an open water swim!
    FYI the book “Trois Fois Par Jour” it’s a company based in Montreal, QC, Canada. We have it at home. Beautiful book! :)

  5. Erik

    Interesting on your FedEx/UPS experience. I’ve notices that FedEx has dipped significantly in performance in the last several months. Their packages are often late or delayed, their drivers care less, and there’s more wear and tear on the boxes. UPS, on the other hand, has drivers that seem to care and want to be a positive part of the neighborhood (mine brought dog biscuits, took care not to ring the doorbell during nap/sleep time, and stopped and talked for a minute when I told him that my dog had died – his had passed recently too and we shared a moment), packages are on time or early, and drivers will stop by more than once. Have you noticed the same? Has their been a change of ownership or something?

  6. Anders

    Wowowow!!! First potential power meter that might actually be useful for me as an active wheelchair user! :D

    Can’t wait for the review!

  7. Elizabeth

    Glad you discovered trois fois par jour! Funny fact. the lady who writes it used to be a singer haha! The first cookbook came out in english quite a while after the french one given her market is mainly Quebec but she does have an english version of her website with loads of recipes!

  8. Daniel Kinnicutt

    Statue of Liberty instead of Statute of Liberty. Unless she was made into a law recently.

  9. John

    Well the girl looks freezing! and She thinks you’re nuts, by the look on her face.

  10. Kai B

    Hey Ray,

    since you mentioned traditional phone makers like Huawei.
    Is there a chance to see you testing some of these devices (e.g. Huawei Watch 2)?

    Looking for a device that doesnt seem to exist (I bet I am not the only one).
    – handsome watch (fail for M600)
    – with effient training functions (fail for Gear S3)
    – music streaming possible w/o phone (fail for Fenix 5)

    Or am I the only person demanding a watch like this?

    Best
    Kai

    • I’ve shot a video yesterday on the new Huawei watch and some of the details there. Hope to edit it/publish up tonight. Also one on the LG Sport – focused on a size standpoint.

    • Kai B

      awesome … thanks.

      Do you also plan to have this watch checked for GPS/HR accuracy and training (if using Strava for example)?

      Kai

  11. Roger

    If you have some free time ( perhaps on weekend if you stay in BCN ) and want to swim more take a look at

    link to viesbraves.com

    Enjoy this days in Catalunya.

  12. Hopefully you were testing something in open water and weren’t swimming for fun/torture…whichever.

  13. Paul O'Neill

    Hi Ray,

    I still owe you a drink for your advice on TomTom a couple years ago. Let us know next time your in Barcelona!
    We live right where you were swimming in Poblenou!

    Stay safe

    Paul

  14. a2kat

    Hi Ray!

    Thanks for all your time you’re spending on all those reviews!
    What about Arofly? Did you have time to take a look on this device?

    • Yup, first ride…failure.

      Flat-out didn’t work. At least, not well. It saw speed, but not cadence/power. Something that Arofly thought might occur, so a new one is already on the way (think it already arrived).

      Still though, I can’t see any reason to buy it as it stands. It doesn’t allow any export of data, and requires the phone 100% to use and be on your handlebars and active (if you lock the screen, it stops recording).