5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

As those astute DCR Twitter or Instagram followers may know, I’m now in California for a few weeks. A lot of weeks actually.  And actually not just in California.  Later today I’ll take a quick trip up/over to Kansas to give a keynote at the Connect IQ Summit.  And prior to this weekend I was busy at the Specialized Wind Tunnel and recording with Recode for their super-duper tech podcast.  We had a blast!

In the meantime though, here’s what the weekend has been up to ahead of Sea Otter later this week here in Monterey.

1) Running along the ocean

2017-04-14 11.52.00

Saturday afternoon I headed out for a 10K run along the ocean in Pacific Grove.  It’s one of the most amazing sections of roadway on earth, with spectacular scenery.  From birds to sea otters to seals and more.  Sometimes even the random great white shark (yes, I actually took that picture at the start of the triathlon).

Today though, it was just quiet, sunny, and pleasant:

2017-04-15 18.50.20

I did a simple out and back with a small loop at the turn-around point to mix things up and go briefly off-road.

2017-04-15 18.49.29

I’m certainly looking forward to many more runs along the coast and into the mountains of California over the next few weeks.  Hard to beat!

2) Visiting the Fishes

Of course, no visit to Monterey would be complete without stopping by the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I mean, just look at the awesomeness of this place:

2017-04-16 10.12.04



Oh…there was one exhibit I was not going to partake in:


Hell’s no! We all know how that ended last time.

Thankfully The Peanut was free, cause otherwise it’s pretty darn pricey at $49 a person!!!  Still, they do amazing work in both conservation as well as in their exhibits.  Definitely worth the stop when in town.

3) Karma’s a…uhh…back.


Remember the GoPro Karma drone?  It was recalled back in December and then started shipping again in February.  I stopped using it after the recall, but I finally got mine returned shortly after that (I figured if they never ended up releasing another drone it’d be a fun historical piece).

This week I used my Best Buy refund credits to pick up a new one.  I’m hoping that GoPro has something planned as far as new features.  They hinted at new Hero5 features last week in some communications, so I’m optimistic that we’ll see something (anything!) for Karma.  It’s had no software updates since launch last September.  For those keeping track, the DJI Mavic has had 8 updates in that same timeframe (almost all packed with new features).

In any case, the other thing that was actually of more interest to me was the new GoPro Karma Grip extension cable.  This was announced way back in September, and finally started shipping last week.  It allows you to separate the GoPro Karma gimbal (non-flying) while doing sport activities and stash it in your backpack.  It’s a really cool concept to minimize the size of things.

DSC_0994 DSC_0997

Though, at $99USD price it’s officially the world’s most expensive USB-C cable.

I’ve gotta find a cool unboxing setup at our AirBNB spot here in Monterey, since at present almost everything usable is pink.  As for the GoPro Karma Drone, my unboxing video of that is here, so no reason to re-do that.

4) The Peanut’s First Easter

With Sunday being Easter it was The Peanut’s first Easter.  And lucky for her she had one set of grandparents around, as my parents met us down here for the week.


Given she’s still pretty small, it wasn’t so much an Easter egg hunt as it was more of an Easter egg toss…with her tossing the eggs out of the basket and then shaking them.

Whatever floats her boat!

Speaking of food and animals, my Dad got the Weber all riled up for some goodness over the weekend, which included this awesomeness:


Or said differently, I had a pretty Weber photo that I wanted to use, and this seemed like a good place for it. Mmm…so good.

5) The Watches Are Back Outside


Finally, the watches are back up on the roof.  Actually, the deck.  Well, the deck handrail to be precise.  Our AirBNB turns out to be a great place for testing watch battery durations.  You’ll remember last weekend I put three different Fenix 5 units (5/5S/5X) up on my roof to see how long those batteries would last in standard one-second GPS sampling mode (non-GLONASS, with wrist HR enabled, no phone).  Here’s the results of that goodness:

Garmin Fenix 5S: 14:23:29 (claim is 14hours)
Garmin Fenix 5: 23:36:06 (claim is 24 hours)
Garmin Fenix 5X: 24:41:31 (claim is 20 hours)

This time around though, I’m aiming for the UltraTrac version.  I’m curious to see how long they go when I optimize all the settings for an ultra-long battery adventure.  The official (updated/revised) specs for UltraTrac are:

Garmin Fenix 5S UltraTrac: 35 hours claim
Garmin Fenix 5 UltraTrac: 60 hours claim
Garmin Fenix 5X UltraTrac: 35 hours claim

Right now they’ve been up there a bit over 24 hours and here’s where they stand (battery percentage on upper edge in right photo).  Left to right: 5S/5X/5.

DSC_0985 DSC_0986

(The backlights were only on for the 8-seconds required to take the photo in the dark)

Hopefully, they finish though before my flight, since they need to go with me.  I suppose in some ways if I took them with me that might balance out some of the ‘easiness’ of not moving.  On the flip-side, it’d kick up the battery burn rates by having them be inside at the airport/airplanes and so-forth.  We’ll see….

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


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  1. tfk

    do the 3 watch test but also add a tomtom runner 3 (ie a 4 watch test). Look at the overlaid GPS track afterwards and see if you notice anything unusual. (Must be fully open to the skies)

    • Yeah, I don’t think I brought with me a TomTom unit, though maybe one found it’s way into my bag of goods.

      Typically I’ll see some movement in GPS tracks while sitting on a roof/etc for most units. I don’t tend to see much correlation on accuracy between how much fuzziness it does in a static location and how it does during tracking with movement.

      Realistically though to do these tests in a more accurate manner I’d want to have the watch swinging on a rope-tow like system around a large field or something. Basically to keep it moving and force it to constantly update GPS. Regrettably, I lack such a field.

    • Greg P

      I wonder if you asked a nice farmer if they would set the watches on the end of an irrigation boom for a couple days… i.e. rotating occasionally around a massive field.

    • Drew

      Sounds like you need to make friends with a farmer and put the watches on the outside of a waterwheel – that should do the trick. link to en.wikipedia.org

    • MJL

      Since we’ve gone full agrarian with this thread, maybe it’d be possible to attach the watches to a few different sheep within the same herd.

    • That’d actually be more usable data too – since I suspect irrigation stuff doesn’t move 24×7, but only during certain times during the day.

      Now…only to find a farmer….

    • MJL

      I have infinite trust in the global reach of this blog, Ray. I bet half a dozen sheep herding (shepherding?) ultra-runners have already read our comments. :-D

    • reuben

      You should use the already online and tech-savvy shepherd James Rebanks (twitter.com/herdyshepherd1)

    • Eli

      I like the sheep idea more. Then you can test the optical heart rate too

  2. Mark

    National Aquarium > Monterrey.

    I visited them both within 12 months of each other – my mom was living in Baltimore, then I moved to Sacramento. I hope you visited when you were living in DC, I didn’t find a post ;)

  3. Mike S.

    Hey Ray,

    Are you going to be down in San Diego?

  4. Barry

    The wife did the Pacific Grove tri a few years ago. The swim was not-so-lovingly referred to as the “kelp crawl” due to the amount of seaweed they traversed, to the point of being able to grab handfuls and pull yourself along. The course also had the (Olympic, anyway) swimmers do a lap, come all the way out of the water and run around a post, then go back in for lap 2, which just seems cruel and unusual to me. But then, being a cyclist, the swimming and running parts could both qualify as cruel and unusual as far as I’m concerned. :)

  5. cc

    Which Recode podcast?

  6. Michael Coyne

    When will you do the FR 935 battery test? I know it’s supposed to be the same internals as the Fenix 5 standard sapphire, but I’d be curious if it faired any differently – as you’ve said before antenna placement/obstruction can matter a lot (for tracking), and I would imagine that would also be true for how much power it eats up trying to get a good GPS signal too.

    Thanks again for the tests and awesome pictures. Cheers!

    • Tim Grose

      According to the FIT file, my run outdoors today with a 935 saw a 7% drain in 80 mins. Extrapolating that gives about 19 hours which, even allowing for some rounding errors here, at least is in the ballpark of Ray’s tests.

  7. Derek

    Are you running Big Sur marathon next weekend?

  8. Carlos

    Try Compagno’s Market in Monterey. Delicious sandwich shop. Visited many times when I want was at language school there.

  9. Brian

    Curious as to whether you’ve tried using a plain old USB-C extension cable with the Karma grip? I’d like a cable extension, but not willing to fork over $100 for it.

    • No, it’s on my to-do list to order one via Amazon and see how well it work (a plain extension cable).

      My guess is it’ll work just fine, but that you’d still have to sort out the whole ‘how do you mount it’ piece on the unit, plus the stability of said cable.

  10. Tobiasz

    Hi Ray!
    Can you do a battery strength test:
    1. GPS + GLONASS, 1s, ANT + (foot strap + RD pod) + footpod + tempe + STRYD, bluetooth off.
    2. GPS + GLONASS, 1s, ANT + (foot strap + RD pod) + footpod + tempe + STRYD, bluetooth on.
    I wonder how they can handle such a load

    • Generally speaking adding in sensors (at least historically with ANT+ and past Garmin devices), has had near trivial load impacts (meaning, it doesn’t impact much no matter how many sensors).

      It might be more interesting though with testing Stryd and Connect IQ app impacts to battery life though (which may be implied in your comment).

    • Tobiasz

      Interesting how long they last under full load except backlighting

  11. Hey Ray,

    First of all, what you have on the grill there looks delicious. Yes, please.

    Secondly, those pictures of the scenery for your run. Just beautiful.

    I’ll have to check out that unboxing video you mentioned. Sounds pretty cool.

    Thanks for sharing,


  12. Jonathan Burchmore

    I have to say I’m really surprised at the life you got out of the fenix 5X. Mine did not seem like it would have lasted anywhere near that long during a recent 24 hour race–I plugged it in after about 13 hours as it was down to 26%. I had GPS + GLONASS, BT disabled, 1sec recording, wrist HR and no external sensors. Firmware 2.90.

    I’ve got two hundreds and another 24 hour scheduled for this year if you want someone to sherpa watches around for long periods of time. ;)

  13. Billeke

    Hey Ray! As always pretty creative and interesting way of testing hardware. Any idea by how much a powermeter (or other comparable sensor) impacts battery life? It looks like my edge computer or fenix watch batteries are always drained much faster when I ride with a PM connected to it.
    But nothing scientific in this. Just observations

  14. Ray

    I posted about my crashed Karma in the Karma in depth review. GoPro has said they’ll replace the broken arms and propellers but it’s all on back order. Waiting game continues for about a month now. On the other hand, I have two Karma Grips. One I bought before the drone relaunch and the other came with the drone. I went running with both of them and they go terribly off tilt. GoPro is replacing both stabilizers. Anyone else having this issue? Will the extension help with this? Beyond frustrated with GoPro but it’s a love/hate deal.

  15. Don

    Could you please, please, please review the new Race Face power meter? Here’s what Pinkbike had to say about it:
    “That’s right, Race Face is entering the power meter market. Their device works with any Cinch-interface cranks, and relies on strain gauges mounted inside the spindle. With a claimed battery life of 400 hours, charging it will be something of a rarity, but when that time comes there’s a USB port that’s hidden underneath a rubber cap. Accuracy is reported to be +/- 2%, and the total weight penalty is said to be 65 grams over a standard spindle. MSRP: Cinch Power Meter Spindle 134 AM (w/o cranks) – $599.99.”

    They seem to lack in detail compared to your reviews (understatement alert).

    I’m guessing it’s left side power only with the strain guages in the spindle because there wouldn’t be any stress (and hence strain) tranmitted through the spindle on the right side power stroke since there’s nothing on the left side to resist it. Am I thinking about that correctly?

    Have fun in Cali

    • Yup, on my schedule for tomorrow afternoon.

      They didn’t make it themselves, but an OEM job. But that’s OK, it’s an OEM I have some confidence in.

    • Don

      Awesome. I look forward to hearing about availability, and hopefully you get some time to get in a quick ride with another power meter to compare it to. Not sure if you’re just getting a quick look at Sea Otter, or if you’ll be doing a full-blown review.

  16. Jeff Forrest

    Any sign of anything new from Garmin at Sea Otter? Was really expecting an Edge 1010 and starting to feel a bit late in the day now as we’re heading into day 3.

    • Nothing new at Sea Otter (nor planned to be announced).

    • Jeff Forrest

      Thanks Ray, guess I can stop pressing F5 now :-)

      Wonder where that leaves the 1000, it’s 3 years old, and well overdue a refresh. Do you think Garmin are concentrating on the 5×0 and 8×0, or do you expect to see a 1000 successor at some point?

      I’m looking to get a new device for a mountains trip in late June, and mostly use the Garmin ecosystem with sync to Strava, MyFitnessPal etc (have Index Scale, Vivoactive HR, 510 currently).

    • I’m not sure I see much value in replacing the 520/820 this year. Or for that matter, even replacing the 1000 prior to this season. Thus, I think if you found a good deal on them, I’d jump.