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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

It was a hot one this weekend!  The temperatures were more like June and July than the beginning of April. Yikes!  Nonetheless, here’s what I was up to!

1) Visitors to the cave

With the Paris Marathon and Paris-Roubaix both this weekend, there were a flurry of sports folks in town for both events.  I mean, like 40,000 or so for the Marathon…plus family and friends.  With that came both industry folks as well as readers like yourselves.

So I had a number of visitors over the last few days, which helped in keeping the DCR Cave nice and tidy.  Thankfully during spring-time it’s pretty easy to keep clean.  It’s the fall that becomes a disaster with trainer season (see this picture in an old newsletter for that!).  As a side note – you did know there was a weeklyish newsletter, right? Oh…and The Girl writes it.

However, for what I believe to be only the second time I actually remembered to take a darn photo of someone.  Folks always take photos of the cave or of me, but I seem to always forget to take one of them!  Mission accomplished:

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Nice to meet everyone that stopped by!

In general, as long as I’m in town I’m happy to give a tour of things.  You can use the little contact form in the upper right corner.  See ya around!

2) Running with The Peanut

Saturday mid-afternoon I plopped The Peanut in the running stroller and headed out for a wander.  With it being so nice out, it would have been impossible to run anywhere in the city center with a stroller.  So instead I headed out of the city on one of the river paths.  After the first 2-3 minutes of dodging people in the city center, it was clear sailing for miles.

Side note: I may have forgotten to mention that The Girl put together an entire page with all of the baby/child gear we use, including some tech stuff.  And non-tech stuff.

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Ten miles to be exact.  Though, she lasted about 7 minutes before falling asleep.

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She woke up a few miles from home and enjoyed smiling at random strangers going by.  Oh, and she was wearing an Apple Watch Series 2.

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She had decided that the FR935 I had lying around (in neon green) was her new toy, and so I swapped it for the un-powered Apple Watch.  Astoundingly it actually fit her wrist on the last hole.  She kept on checking it, along with an occasional lick.

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Oh – and in case you were wondering, I put two little rubber blocks on the stroller to hold watches.

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These two watches were just being used as data collectors for heart rate data (from a chest strap and Scosche arm-band).  That data, in turn, was being compared against other watches on the wrist (optical HR).

3) Prepping for a party

On Saturday The Girl and friends spent most of the afternoon prepping cakes, cupcakes and related goods for a party on Sunday.

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There was also a bunch of wine floating around.  And cheese.  And meat.  And other baked goods from nearby bakeries.

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The ratio of food to people was most certainly out of whack (in favor of food), but no worries, it was a great way to spend the remainder of the afternoon and early evening.

4) Riding past the marathon

Sunday morning I got up early by Parisian standards and headed out for a ride.  It’s nice that at 9AM the roads in the city are largely empty (slightly aided by the Paris Marathon shutting down the other half of the city).

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I had what I believe was the very first person to recognize me during a ride in all my years here.  Oddly enough, I had just passed over a wonky speed-bump on a road mostly only used for cyclists/pedestrians along the river.  In doing so I ejected one of my water bottles (the first time ever).  As I circled back one of the two runners grabbed it for me, addressed me by name and said to have a good day.

Crazy!

So to whomever it was – thanks for saying Hi, and thanks for grabbing the bottle!

I made pretty solid time out to Versailles, where I turned back around and came back a slightly different direction. I’ve been altering my return routes lately, just for the heck of it.

As I got into the city I detoured a few blocks closer to swing by the Paris Marathon (a trip down memory lane for when The Girl and I last ran it together).  I snapped a few photos as I made my way home:

For marathon running weather, it was pretty miserable actually.  Temps up to 77°F (25*C), all in direct sun, with not a lot of shade on the course.  Eeks.  It’s one thing to have those temps in the summer and expect them, but in early April? Not so good.

Congrats to all those out running! I’d have stopped and gotten ice cream instead, so props to you!

5) Sticking some watches on the roof

I wrapped up the weekend at sunset on Sunday by kerplunking about $2,097 worth of watches on the roof, all held on by a single 10-cent lanyard.  Don’t worry, they weren’t mine.  It would be the last act of their loan from Garmin before they head back on Wednesday.  I use the lanyard because the seagulls and pigeons like to try and take them.

Oh, as for why I was putting them on the roof, that’s simple: Battery tests.

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Now, these battery tests aren’t perfect.  There are many flaws in this setup, but they do establish a best case scenario.  For example, they don’t take into account movement, so while I set them at 1-second record, there are aspects of movement that can impact GPS accuracy and/or power consumption.  And since it has a clear view of the sky, the GPS has to work less – so it burns less battery than in a forested scenario.  Same goes for optical HR, which while enabled (on), isn’t measuring anything.

Still, it’s useful for determining if the claims are anywhere near the ballpark as established by a manufacturer (in this case, Garmin).

The piece I was worried about?  My GoPro Hero5 Black (very much not on loan).  I already broke one of them a few months ago and haven’t gotten around to calling support, so I don’t really want to kill another (P.S. – I’m pretty sure it’s not my fault the other one is broke).

As for the reason for my worry: I had put it on this nifty 360° rotating egg-timer thingy, as I might put together a short video on the battery tests.  I thought this would make for an interesting rotating shot at sunset.

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Except I couldn’t come up with a good way to attach the whole kit to the roof, aside from some packing tape.  I can’t attach the top of the camera to the roof as it rotates.  Plus, I had attached a small USB battery pack to ensure it’d finish the job (it did).  It was windless, so I was mostly worried the pigeons would peck at it and then it’d slide off the roof into the gutter.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen, so after it was dark I retrieved the camera. The pigeons are most active at sunrise, so I didn’t want to chance it.

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And with that, I leave the watches on the roof, and you for tomorrow.  To say it’s going to be a busy week would be an understatement.

Thanks for reading!

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35 Comments

  1. Viginia Luther

    Thank you so much for the post

  2. Remco Verdoold

    As a happy buggy runner myself I was wondering. Do you run double handed? or only for that particular shot?
    I figured the hard way that using cycling (fingerless) gloves helps to keep grip and prevents blisters.
    Enjoy, and yes usually kids are out in a few minutes :)

    • I run single-handed mostly. That one shot running was an odd exception.

    • Michael Lyons

      I’m guessing you haven’t tried running no-handed? I found a simple piece of equipment on Amazon that lets you safely run behind a stroller no-handed, with a waist strap attached to springs attached to the stroller. It feels so nice to be able to just run without having to change your posture to constantly hold on to the stroller!
      It’s called the Stroll-Smart Hands Free Jogging Stroller Adaptor. There may be other similar products. Best kid-related run purchase I made, other than the Chariot perhaps. Takes some time to get used to (as evidenced by all the negative reviews, usually based on people’s first attempts) but so worth it to be free again!

  3. Stanislav Sokolov

    Hi Ray!

    Just wondered what happened to CupCakery, going to Paris soon and really wanted to visit but tripadvisor says it’s closed?

    • The small shop is closed (over a year ago), after the property owner wanted it back to open up her own shop. :(

      But we still have our second location for custom orders/events/catering and such. But unfortunately it’s not one to be able to drop-in and grab a single cupcake to go. Sorry!

    • Stanislav Sokolov

      Sad panda:( no cupcake goodness for me then…

  4. Dave

    My biggest regret of my visit to Europe was not getting a pic with you when you were kind enough to show us the cave

  5. Michael Dessus

    Hi Ray,

    Also running a lot with the stroller and my 3rd peanut inside… Have Vivoactive and Steps matters to me. Bought a footpod but it’s no use to count daily steps. is wearing my Vivoactive to my ankle the only solution ? So far I run with hand on the stroller but I get tired.

    • Michael Dessus

      Meant to say: “I run with one hand on the stroller but I get tired” :)

    • Yeah, it’s actually the reason I ran one-handed…to still get steps counted on my other wrist. :)

    • Anders

      If you use a HRM-run or something similar with your Garmin watch, which device counts your steps?

    • Michael Lyons

      They make hands-free running straps! I random found the “Stroll-Smart Hands Free Jogging Stroller Adaptor” on amazon and love it (no affiliation, I keep gushing about this thing but only to share the love!). Takes some getting used to and it squeaks a bit but it’s awesome and it would solve your Steps issue.

  6. Don

    I was wondering if you’re waiting for the Android Wear 2.0 update coming out this week for the RunIQ to finish up your review on it.

  7. Paul S.

    “So I had a number of visitors over the last few days, which helped in keeping the DCR Cave nice and tidy.” You make your visitors clean the Cave? Great idea!

  8. Michael Coyne

    For testing UltraTrac battery life, do you think it would be reasonable to extrapolate from say an 8 hour test? I’m slightly concerned after seeing the comment on either the Fenix 5 or FR935 review (I forget which) where he only got 28 hours out of it.

    Looking forward to the regular battery life tests results! Also sounds like the Peanut is already helping test, even if it’s just by testing the lick-proofing of watches.

    Cheers!

    • It’d be really hard to compare/determine UltraTrac battery life from that of non-UltraTrac. Mostly because of the nuances involved in how UltraTrac works.

    • Michael Coyne

      I meant if I were to do 8 hours of UltraTrac and record the battery percentage before and after, then extrapolate. So UltraTrac to UltraTrac

    • Jonathan Burchmore

      Ray, have you done any detailed testing of the tracks and distance accrual of the fenix 5 series in UltraTrac mode? Unless it performs better than in previous watches I don’t see how the battery life really matters.

    • I haven’t done much in UltraTrac yet. That said, it’s something that Garmin says they have actually changed in the Fenix5 by incorporating the gryo data feed.

    • Jonathan Burchmore

      I think it would be really interesting to see side-by-side comparisons with two fenix 5 devices, one with UltraTrac and another with 1sec or Smart recording (or maybe even 3, one with each setting).

    • Michael Coyne

      I second this. Also one Fenix 3 or other non-gyro UltraTrac as well to see the difference the gyro makes.

  9. Ken

    ½ of my GoPro/Virb mounts are custom made as they don’t make what I need (balloons are not in their mainstream). I’d suggest a clamp & a suction cup mount to jury-rig something that will stay.

    • Yeah, I think I’ll just glue a mount up there for future use. This was sorta in the camp of ‘what do I have around the house to make this work right now without walking back to the studio while I’m on Dad duty.’

  10. Marty

    Hi Ray, for the watch test especially the ones with touch screens I would be interested to know how many still functioned correctly after being in direct sun for more than 10 minutes. As Shane Miller found out recently with the Garmin 820 the touch screen didn’t work so well after being in direct sunlight during the australian summer after 10 minutes.

    • I’ve had no issues there with touchscreens in heat.

      And oddly enough, actually rode with Shane in Australia this January, using an Edge 820. It was over 40*C that day, and no issues there. I think by time we rode it as down to 36-38*C (we both rode earlier in the day with Edge 820’s too): link to strava.com

      I know that he had a unit swapped out at some point, or a firmware update or something and that resolved his issues prior to our ride.

  11. Gary Clements

    Hi Ray, was expecting you to run Sunday. It sure was hot, and you’re right, no shade at all. managed a pretty miserable time with all the ambulance dodging, but made it round. lovely run, but virtually no crowds. After London Marathon and even Brighton, that was a major shock.

  12. JBS

    (from another happpy buggy runner)

    Have you (or anyone else reading this) had any sucess with using any running power meters when running with a buggy? Should be a perfect use case for a running power meter, but the target segement might be small…

    (My bike power meters is super useful when cycling uphill with kids in a trailer, looking to achieve the same when running with the kids)

  13. First timer here. I have to ask – how do you fit so much into one weekend? Haha.

    I visited Paris years ago. I want to say when I was in college. It was an incredible experience. My wife has always wanted to go and now you have me wanting to go back!

    The Paris Marathon has to be a pretty special experience. I would love to run a half or a full abroad. Turn it into a vacation for the family.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Dave

    • Both are great races to run. The weather tends to be a bit better tourist-wise for the marathon, though it’s much quieter as a tourist during the half-marathon.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  14. As I slogged my way round what felt like a marathon in the fiery furnaces of hell I did wonder if you might be along the route somewhere. Definitely the toughest marathon I’ve ever done, including previous years in Paris. Well done to everyone who took part.
    Wish I’d thought to get in touch about a tour of the cave though. Next time!

  15. Neo'

    I have never been in Paris. Wife wants to visit Paris. I love Paris!
    Perhaps, one day I will be able to visit Paris and ran the marathon.

    Nice post!