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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

It was a hot one this weekend! Climbing over 90°F (32°C), it’s a good reminder of why I’m here…versus the rest of Europe at temperatures that would keep an ice cube properly chilled for longer than I’d want to be.

Still, with only about 3 weeks left in Australia (plus a few more days in Singapore), we’re definitely going to be bummed to be leaving.  But I promise ya things are definitely gonna get interesting once we get back…that’s for sure!  Some big changes in store.  In any case, here’s what I was up to this weekend.

1) In Search of Kangaroos

Saturday late morning we headed over to a nearby nature preserve for a bit of a wander. Using the term ‘hike’ would be overkill, so more of a walk would be appropriate. It’s the same spot I went running around a few days prior, and was recommended by a DCR reader upon our arrival here.  It’s known for its massive number of birds, but it’s also got a boatload of kangaroos.

Typically you’d see the kangaroos closer to evening or morning, when not hidden in the bush seeking shade.  But we were feeling overconfident, so off we went anyway.  Entering required going through Jurassic Park like fencing gates. We can only assume dinosaurs roamed inside.

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Shortly afterwards we came upon some turtles. Regrettably, the turtle part of the turtle was no longer there.  Not sure who had them for lunch.

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And then we saw kangaroos. Err…sorta:

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Actually, shortly after that we found some alive kangaroos.  Or rather, they went hopping by. Faster than I could get out my camera.  So, here’s a picture of the trail instead:

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The rest of the walk was just nice scenic trails, minus the kangaroos. No worries, we’ll take The Peanuts out again some evening to see them at dusk.  The night I went for the run was incredible – once deep in the reserve it was like being in Africa with wildlife sitting by the lakeside as the gigantic orange sun set behind it. Really cool.

2) To the hardware store

The next week or two I’ve got a slew of products to unbox, and at present I’m not terribly pleased with the options that the rental house here has for tables and surfaces to shoot unboxing shots on.  None of them look awesome.  And when photos look wonky, it drives me crazy.

So I went to a discount store called the ‘Reject Shop’ a few days ago and managed to find a mat that actually works as a trainer mat. And that works perfect for the random influx of trainer and indoor cycling gear I’ve had lately:

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But it doesn’t really work as well for close-up unboxing shots.  So while headed back from a short hike adventure with the kiddos we stumbled past a store called Bunnings, which is basically like Home Depot.  I was looking for some sort of surface that would be big enough to fill the camera frame for unboxing shots, and not be distracting or wonky. Or expensive.  Probably wood based, potentially some sort of tiles, maybe a counter-top.  I was open.

While searching for this I found out that they have gigantic drive-in lumber sections here. You can actually drive your car right into the store and right up to the lumber you want, then load it straight in.  Why on earth doesn’t this exist in the US?  Brilliant.

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Also, they even have free coffee!

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I then got distracted by the BBQ’s.  They have BBQ’s with glass lids, so you can see what’s going on inside.  Seriously, I’ve never seen such a thing. At least not in France – is this common in the US these days?  Oh p.s. – they were crazy expensive.

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In any case, I ended up getting these roll-out mats which are subtle enough that they’ll kinda fade away.  But they’re only $2.99 each, and so three of them to cover any big table is super cheap. And I can take them with me when I’m done for future hotel-room unboxings.

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Here’s some random box contents on it:

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See, not too shabby.

And in case you’re wondering, this is where it was shot:

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It’s kinda the wrong time of day to take photos, because the sun is managing to hit on the table in a funky way through some trees, but an hour or so either direction and I’m all good.

Makin’ lemons outta lemonade I am. Although, I can’t really complain about having to move my unboxing table outdoors where it’s sunny and about 90°F (32°C) today.

3) A night run to the river

You know you’re either an endurance athlete or have kids when your Saturday nights are spent running.  In my case after the kiddos went to bed I headed out for a night on the town…in my running shoes.

I decided on a simple hour-long run, squeezed in between putting the little ones to bed and making dinner.  I’d follow the mostly well-lit path into Fremantle, and then continue on along the Swan River and the port toward Perth.  After which I’d cross the river once, and then double-back over again a short bit later on another bridge.  I always like making a little lollipop at the turn-around points of my run if I can.  Just something about straight out and back GPS tracks that I find visually unappealing.

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Because it was a night run, taking photos while running is generally a losing proposition.  So I only stopped once to take a single photo on the bridge.  I had mentally forgotten the train track bridge was there, otherwise it would have been a cool pic of the giant cargo ships in the port. Certainly if the train had come by, that’d have been cool too.  But of course, it came by immediately after I stepped off the bridge.

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Still, it’ll do donkey. It’ll do.

And like last week, the best part about running at night is the winds die down and the heat from the sun goes away. Oh, and it’s just nice and quiet.

4) Final product shots for the FR645 review

In between a few other things I got around to shooting some of the product shots I need for my Forerunner 645 In-Depth Review, which is slated to drop sometime this week.  The units started shipping out last week, though I’ve been using the watch since December.

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Garmin had initially planned on shipping that back in late January, but software held things up a bit. On the bright side they continued making units and stockpiling them, so virtually all backorders from most major retailers were fulfilled last week (at least on the Black/Music variants).

At this point the only thing that would hold-up my review would be if Garmin isn’t going to make available Garmin Pay or the music streaming apps quite yet. Internationally iHeartRadio doesn’t work, though I played with it on the FR645 the last time I was in the states (and can again next month when I’m back in the states).  So I’m actually waiting on Deezer, which does work internationally.

Then there’s Garmin Pay, which doesn’t appear to be turned on yet for everyone (though it’s already working on the Vivoactive 3 that came out last fall).  Of course, the main limiter for most people on Garmin Pay isn’t actually Garmin, but rather, their banks not being linked up. Someday perhaps.

I will say though that it’s been amazing here in Australia with contactless payments. I haven’t taken out any cash since all the way back in Adelaide the first week at the Tour Down Under (purely to buy from some market food stalls)…the second week of January!  And I haven’t used a physical card since around that time as well.  Everything just tap to pay with my phone.

In all my travels around the world, I’ve found no country as 100% universal in contactless payment as my time here.

5) DHL shows up on a Sunday and a Holiday

I mentioned this in a tweet a few days ago – but I’m continually impressed with DHL here in Australia.  As I write this, it’s Monday morning, and the DHL guy just came with a box of goodies.  That might sound normal to you, but in reality, it’s not. See, it’s a national holiday.

And in fact, he also came yesterday, but we were playing at the pool.  That day?  Sunday of course.

Maybe I’m just skewed from living in France where I can barely get my DHL guy to deliver on a weekday consistently, let alone the thought of a Sunday or a national holiday. Wow!

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As for the box itself, it had a handful of things in it from my US forwarding address. The more exciting stuff is coming tomorrow via FedEx…but they don’t deliver on holidays or Sunday’s here.  Though at least the package has cleared customs at the airport nearby.

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Most of what came in today’s box wasn’t so much DCR-related, though I did get the Stryd Live that I bought last month in there. Woot!

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And this RunSocial treadmill speed attachment I bought as well. It basically broadcasts out your speed like a footpod would, so apps like Zwift and such can make it work.

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A 10-second test seems to indicate that it’s fully capable of tracking my finger speed in Zwift:

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Given it’s a tiny bit higher in price than the Stryd Live pod, I’m not entirely sure why someone would buy it over the Stryd Live…but then again, maybe I’ll decide that having something semi-permanently attached to the treadmill gives more accurate data or something. Or I just wanted to buy another gadget. I don’t know.

And with that, my long-ish holiday weekend is complete.  I didn’t really take-off Monday, as I’m spending most of the day trying to knock out the text for the FR645 review. It’s gonna be a textual day. Or something like that.

Thanks for reading!

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69 Comments

  1. Colin Hayes

    I see you have the Kickr Climb in the background on the first picture in section/point 2. Looking forward to your updated thoughts on it.

    • Yup, it’s not slated to start shipping till April, and at present I’m kinda mixed on it.

      I find that it’s not an awesome experience on Zwift right now on iOS, but is actually quite good on other apps. Zwift engineers are working through why I’m seeing what I’m seeing, though they seem aware of the issue, which isn’t technically a CLIMB issue, but rather a Zwift-specific issue on the stability of gradient numbers (which CLIMB blindly follows).

    • Colin Hayes

      Thanks Ray – Hopefully just teething problems. I’ve had approval from the better half to go for one when its released but I may wait a little longer to see the reviews and user experiences for the first few months. Spring time is coming in the UK (apparently ) – so I will be able to get outside a little more rather than using the turbo.

  2. Colleen

    I always enjoy the 5 random things post, and now I feel like I should start making lollipops on my out and back runs.

  3. hugobene

    Hi DC,
    would you please make a little review of this treadmill speed sensor. Will it conect to a polar v800? It could be the answer to mesure speed on my treadmill. Milestone, polar and stryd are so off. To get speed with marks on the belt of the treadmill and count them on video for calibration can’t be the answer.
    Thx

    • I had a V800 ready to be packed, but somehow it didn’t make it into my suitcase. Right now it’s broadcasting as a clean BLE footpod, seemingly per specs. So in theory it’ll work to the V800.

      I do plan a review, but honestly not sure if I’ll be able to do that this month here in Australia, since my treadmill access is a bit more limited than I’d like.

  4. brent

    You often get a fence like that to keep the wildlife of the road. In particular kangaroos which are nothing more than a fast moving suicidal car wrecking machine. Wombats are also a menace as although not as large are considerably solid in build and can also wreck a car.

    We certainly don’t get DHL deliveries on a Sunday or public holiday where i am. Perhaps its a city thing.

    • I think the fence in this case was actually keeping animals from getting in, specifically some types of foxes or something. There was a sign on the gate saying they actively use poisons that will kill dogs and cats, and is harmful to humans.

  5. Kyle

    I bounce around treadmills as I travel and the consistency is always questionable. I was thinking using a Stryd Live would help me ensure accurate speed and distance via my garmin 920xt no matter what treadmill I am on. Any other better solutions that are already available to purchase at this time?

  6. David

    I’m also keen to see if you post a follow up review for your ‘RunSocial treadmill speed attachment’ thingy.

    I know this is old technology but one advantage would be the cost of one device for multiple users. And I would expect accuracy would be noticeably higher.

  7. The Real Bob

    So when does the girl get to work out! I have two kids, one on the way. But the second kids was a big change. When you had one, going for a workout was no big deal. Its easy to watch one. But having two you get into the “her time” and “my time” challenges. I found this drastically affected my workout time. like, on a Saturday morning, if I want to go our for a 4 hour bike ride its kind of a big deal. I am asking my wife to take the kids for 4 hours while I go ride. Now, my wife does say anything and is pretty cool, but I feel the fairness of it. Plus I feel guilty not spending time with my kids while biking, like I am missing something. Kids are such a head game.

    So to try and keep it fair I do most of my stuff after kids go to sleep. But biking at night is not a great option, so I tend to run more lately.

    Do you run into these issues, or, because its your job I guess you get to pull the “its my job” card. I can imagine since it seems like the girl is more of an athlete that you could run into this option more than most.

    • The Girl and I alternate a bit, she tends to go out more mid-day (she’s not as much of a fan of solo night runs).

      I also have the flexibility to structure my workouts a bit more than most people, so I roughly try to get them done on weekdays as part of my normal ‘working hours’ (i.e. 9-6PM). I often work later (as I am right now at 11:45PM), but don’t tend to do workouts then. Right now The Peanut comes home from daycare at 6PM, and I drop her off at 9AM, so that’s roughly the plan.

  8. I’m really interested to see a comparison of accuracy between the Stryd, the treadmill stated speed, and RunSocial treadmill speed attachment. I just got a “new” treadmill and the speed it stated was higher than the speed that Zwift showed, which was higher than the speed that my 920XT showed (Zwift and the 920XT both got data from the same Stryd footpod via ant+, but I’m assuming the 920XT was applying its calibration factor).

    • Tim Grose

      You can check in Sensors & Accessories on the 920 for the Stryd what calibration factor is being used. I am assuming you paired the Stryd to the 920? If not then pace was presumably coming from the watch itself based on modelling arm swing rates to pace as detected automatically when you run outdoors. That method is only approximate at best.

  9. Tim Grose

    Curious if this all stuff is coming back to France! ?

    Experience of using a TreadTracker is that it gives very stable pace on a gym grade treadmill in Zwift Run without you on it, is somewhat more variable with you on it (say around 0.5 kph compared to my Stryd which is more like 0.2 kph) and even more unstable on a friend’s “cheap” treadmill which rather bobs up and down. It did however tell us that the reported speed of the treadmill wasn’t actually too bad and so, if nothing else, it is a useful gadget for one’s kit bag if you must have gadgets (guilty there!). Of course it does not do cadence so if you want that you either wear a foot pod anyway or you use a fancy treadmill that works it out for you in which case you probably don’t need a TreadTracker as such treadmills will transmit out pace for the likes of Zwift to receive.

    Also try the TreadTracker in both Zwift and RunSocial. The latter seems to smooth the received data to give a rock solid pace whereas Zwift does not.

    • The trainers will be shipped back prior to my going back home. The CLIMB I’m TBD on. I have enough baggage allowance to get that back without fees, so that might go back since the release date isn’t now till April. Everything else though has to go back…it’ll be a mess to pack.

      Good to know on your experience with the TreadTracker – much appreciated!

    • Matts

      I would also be interested in a basic review of the TreadTracker. I have a 935 watch. I’ve been trying to talk myself into a Stryd, but since I’m getting some outdoor power data with the Garmin power I don’t (currently) need it for that.

  10. Jon

    My mind is blown by the glass lid on the BBQ. I had no idea such things existed either.

    After doing a little digging, at least of the manufacturers (Schott) claims this about the consumers surveyed “Bottom line? They loved the window. 54 percent said a glass grill lid helps monitor food and flare ups, and 31 percent said it improves the overall BBQ experience.”

  11. Gerald

    Grade works fine for me, very useful for pacing.

  12. Josh

    Drive in lumber, free coffee and glass top grills? My next trip to home Depot is going to be so depressing…

  13. Is TreadTracker able to evaluate the slope or only speed? For our company this device it can be interesting. We prescribe running speed but we are never sure if treadmill speed is reliable. Some are and some aren’t. it its working fine this device could allow us to validate the treadmill speed.
    Thank you

  14. matt savage

    Hmmmm…. No mention of that Gravat. I hear its the Wahoo killer…

    • I believe I highlighted it in either last week or the week priors 5 Random Things.

      I don’t see it as a Wahoo killer, though perhaps different markets. I do see it as a finger killer though. If I manage to finish my review without cutting off my fingers picking it up, I’ll be astounded. If I do end up smashing my fingers off fully, I promise to hire a sky diving plane and drop it out the side with a GoPro attached…and post merely that as my review.

    • cassie

      so sorry for what happened to you,we are sincerely want to do something to compensate your hurt fingers. we are looking forward to your specialized review.

  15. Mark

    Menard’s (much better than Lowes or HD) in the states has drive through lumber yards, haven’t seen any free coffee, though.

  16. DaveH

    Really like the idea of the speed sensor wheel thingy. If it’s accurate (and I’m never convinced my footpod is working properly) this could be a great way of getting consistent speed across treadmills.

  17. matt

    seriously, drive in lumber yard! I found Oz was at least 15 years behind the times when I lived there in 2010, but that idea is genius!

    • xl-m

      I thought drive in hardware stores (for the lumber and bricks section) are an american invention? In Germany we have them for about 15 years and now they are pretty common.

    • Phil

      Menards has some drive in lumber in the US. But they keep the more common hardwoods and dimensional lumber inside like a typical Home Depot.

      If you go to an actual hardwood dealer in the US, it is not uncommon to drive up to the lumber and load it directly in the car.

  18. Phil

    The important question is, did you manage to fit in a sausage sizzle at bunnings?

  19. Dan Kothlow

    I went to a drive in lumber yard in Maine many years ago. It was a local store, not a big box one.

  20. Milt MacFarlane

    Think your about buggered Ray you might have got some of that Kangaroo kack into your blood and almost an Aussie, ahh Bunnings on Satdy morning for a Sausage Sanger more proof mate
    link to youtube.com

  21. Alex

    It was only a public holiday for you Sandgropers over in the west… the east coast observes Labour Day on the first weekend in October.

  22. JasonW

    If you want to see heaps of Kangaroos, Pinnaroo Cemetery is a great location for it. Not as bad as it seems, it is more a memorial gardens, as I think they cremate rather than bury there, but I have never failed to see ‘roos in the dozens on the lawns. It is just off Whifords Ave, so either drive or train to Whitfords. Craigie pool is just down the road too, Outdoor 50m, kids pool and a wet play area. Great on the days it looks like we’re going to get this week…

  23. BruceL

    Ray, I assume that’s Thomson’s lake in the photos, you came all that way from Freo and didn’t call in! It is nice to run in there at this time of year though, just watch out for snakes.

  24. Mark

    DCR i saw above you’re heading to Singapore soon. Any chance you’re meeting up with your followers here?

    • Definitely want to do something. It’s a bit tricky in that I’m there mid-week, versus a weekend (land the 26th, leave just after midnight onthe 30th). So not sure how many people would be up for that. :-/

  25. James

    I dunno about the wombat comment. Wombats are good at taking out your front suspension and/or sump, and then running off into the bush. Echidnas on the other hand if you don’t dodge (not that you wouldn’t try anyway) they will leave your tyres full of punctures

  26. I see you have the Kickr Climb in the background on the first picture in section/point 2. Looking forward to your updated thoughts on it.

    • Yup…trying to work out some issues with Zwift on it right now. Currently they’re saying April for shipping, so may wait for the various entities to sort things out before publishing a review.

    • Ed Ng

      I watched a video review from your Aussie colleague (are we allowed to name other people in here directly?) and he showed a clear lag in the response of the KICKR. Was that the issue you’re talking about that happens only/predominantly with iOS devices? Or are you speaking of a totally different issue, and/or was he actually using a PC, so the lag is completely characteristic of the CLIMB in all use cases? I was EXTREMELY disappointed at the laggy response shown in his video over the esses because I know for a fact that the trainer itself (actual resistance) is significantly more reactive than the CLIMB’s fork control in the instances shown in the video with my own setup.

      -Ed

    • Different issue than Shane (and of course, always free to mention Shane!).

      My issue is that the grade Zwift sends via iOS will be so variable that I’m all over the place. On Richmond’s little steep climb it gave me a -1% at one point halfway-up the steepest portion.

  27. David Tucker

    Have to been to Caversham Park? If you get there first thing in the morning the kangaroos will be all over you!

  28. Dave Waterworth

    Hot, 32°C isn’t hot it’s warm 🙂

  29. Nathan B

    Hey Ray,
    Other than the ability to upgrade into a fully fledged Stryd, and being dual band, is there anything the Stryd Live does that the MilestonePod doesn’t?

    Looking for something for Zwift run when I go to the in-laws once in a blue moon, and for pace/cadence on my 935 when running and holding onto the pram.

    Cheers

  30. David Tucker

    It’s a bit of an adventure to get there but I think it’s really worth it. One of the most fun days I had while living in Perth for a summer.

  31. Mark Kline

    Reading about the care you take for a good photo background makes me conscious of what is usually un-noticed: how good your photography is. When you never notice the photo itself, just the content, that is a sign of a lot of work behind the scenes.

    Good job. Keep it up.

  32. ERIC GUNNERSON

    Good lumberyards will let you drive your vehicle into the back and will load your wood for you. The nicer stuff is often inside.

  33. Chris Capoccia

    RunSocial attachment makes sense to me for people with one treadmill but multiple shoes/runners. instead of worrying about having to move a pod around between shoes or buy multiple pods, just attach this to the treadmill and be done.

  34. Sunny

    … I used my Stryd live the other night on the treadmill and had the tread set to 10kph, Zwift connected to Stryd live, showing as 9.4 kph 🤔 so I thought I needed to calibrate, then I read this comment, “no calibrating needed” …my brain hurts, could be a Sunday night thing and I’m just not getting it….

  35. cassie

    Hello ray, this is cassie from Magene,so sorry about your wounded fingers, are they recovered ?we are working on the solution to solve the problem , in order to prevent another accident. If there is anything should do for you to make up our negligence,feel free to let me know.

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