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A reasonably productive weekend the last few days have been (well, except on the pizza oven list). Especially for some upcoming new products. Here’s what I was up to nonetheless!
1) Arts and crafts project:
A couple weeks ago the DCR Cave/Studio construction folks received something on some giant pallets. They were the double-wide pallets. I’m actually not sure what arrived on them, I just saw them up against the wall to be taken away after a workday was complete.
So I rescued them.
I had some other plans for them for the fall, but decided I’d put them to use a bit sooner (and hope that some other construction pallets will come in). A quick trip to the nearby hardware store for a few cans of paint and I was having an arts and crafts Friday!
Actually, I started the first red coat of paint on Thursday afternoon, but then wrapped it all up with the black coat of paint on Friday evening.
This is what I ended up with:
It’s a good start. More work to be done.
2) Getting watches all updated
It’s been a while since I ran (or rode or swam) with the COROS Pace multisport GPS watch. I got the final version a while back, but late spring into early summer was jam-packed with both Suunto 9 and Garmin Fenix 5 Plus testing. Given I only had two wrists, time and wrists were dedicated to those two watches dueling it out. Well, that and Eurobike stuffs.
Now though, August is nice and relaxed (sorta) and I wanted to get the COROS Pace all up to date, so I can get a review out the door on it. Thus, back to putting more miles on it.
They had some firmware updates since my last workouts with it, most notably in July bringing in ANT+ sensor support, adding .FIT/.TCX/.GPX/.KML support, and fixing some issues. All good stuff – and you’ll remember I’ve been very clear on my position that without data export, I’d consider it an absolute no-go. So it’s good to see those in it.
A quick glance however at the file in the DCR Analyzer though shows it’s not at all properly formatting any of the .FIT file data metrics (zero things enumerate). It does get some of the .TCX file export data files correct, but incorrectly plots the distance in imperial versus the standard meters as well as incorrectly plots elevation and cadence.
I still think the biggest challenge though for the COROS Pace is the same thing I’ve said since the beginning: The price.
At $299 it’s more than the well-respected Suunto Spartan Wrist HR Trainer at $279 (and often far less on sale), with plenty less features or platform/site than the Suunto has. One can quibble about the barometric altimeter it has that the Spartan Trainer doesn’t – but elevation correction afterwards solves that for most people anyway. Then that also ignores that Garmin’s older watches like the FR920XT are $229, and often sub-$200. It doesn’t have optical HR, but it has everything else under the sun including app support.
The challenge COROS has here is that it doesn’t have the features, reputation, site, or platform to outclass Suunto and Garmin (or even Polar’s V800 – also at $299) at a higher price point. If we were talking $199 or even $229 or something – then that’s a much different discussion.
Still, plenty of things to chew on in the in-depth review sooner or later.
3) Out for a run
Saturday afternoon once the COROS Pace was marginally charged and firmware updated, I headed out for my run. I was aiming for roughly 90 minutes worth, which I figured would 11-12 miles depending on the winds. For runs longer than an hour, I generally try and avoid the city center, since I find the stop-and-go nature (and dodging around city things) to be more tiring than the run itself. But this time I decided to split it up. I did the first 45 or so minutes in the city, and then the remainder in the countryside. It’s awesome how easily one can do that here.
I actually started for the first few kilometers in a long park, and then back onto city streets. I did have to make one stop at a canal crossing though. Without question the longest I’ve ever had to wait at one oddly enough:
After that it was all the way across the center of the city to the other side, just barely skimming through the touristy areas.
Then from there I navigated myself to the river for a quick windmill shot:
While construction continues on the new DCR space – I had some pretty important technical details to focus on: TV’s for the trainer setup. Yes, plural.
Obviously, you can’t just have a single TV when you have two side by side bikes, right? Cause how would two people be on Zwift with a mere one TV? Nope, pas possible!
So I headed over on Saturday to double-check some stats when the construction crew was done for the day. They’ve been there 7 days a week most of the time doing stuff, so finding little gaps to poke is always a bit tricky. In fact, if you’re a DCR Supporter, you got a sneak peek at the upstairs construction portion in the form of a walk-through video The Girl and I shot last week (check your e-mail if you didn’t catch it!).
In this case though, I was mostly just trying to ensure that 2×40” TV’s actually fit and made sense in the area I had. So I got the specs of the TV’s and then outlined them on the side of the wall (well, the under-wall) for a quick check (the yellow-taped outlines in the corner):
And indeed I confirmed this would fit well enough. I couldn’t realistically go any bigger though, as it’d start encroaching on another space portion that I need for something else (primarily once you consider camera angles). But this allows me to buy the two TV’s and then start using one of them in the meantime for other things in the studio until construction is done.
5) Riding around the airport
Sunday late afternoon, while the kiddos were off on a play date, I headed out for a loop around the airport. One might think this would be a short affair – but the reality is that Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is massive! And while there’s a tiny bit of extra mileage near the start to get to the airport, we’re only talking about 3-4 miles. All-in, this ride was about 50KM! And that technically isn’t even the real perimeter, as I shortcut some sections where I could have gotten closer to the perimeter fence (and thus added a number of extra miles/kilometers, especially on the northeast side).
Nonetheless, it always seems like a fast ride to me, even though about half of it is into a headwind. There’s only a couple of stoplights to worry about, with the vast majority on well protected/dedicated bike paths (which of course in the Netherlands are like high-speed expressways for bikes).
The best part though is runway 18R/36L, which only has a tiny little canal between you and the planes – with no fence at all. So I rode the length of the Polderbaan with nothing but air between me and landing aircraft. Tons of people were out watching as well, plenty of families:
Just prior to me joining the runway I missed a landing Boeing 777. Instead, during the long stretch I was alongside the runway (the bike path only meets up for about half of the 12,467ft length), I got a few useless regional jets (blah, boring). But then at the very end I got a KLM 787, right before I turned away from the runway:
It’s not quite the same in weight or size as a 777 (let alone an A380), but….it’s a heck of a lot better than regional jets. So, I’ll take it!
You probably stumbled upon here looking for a review of a sports gadget. If you’re trying to decide which unit to buy – check out my in-depth reviews section. Some reviews are over 60 pages long when printed out, with hundreds of photos! I aim to leave no stone unturned.
I travel a fair bit, both for work and for fun. Here’s a bunch of random trip reports and daily trip-logs that I’ve put together and posted. I’ve sorted it all by world geography, in an attempt to make it easy to figure out where I’ve been.
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2019 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s 2018 Gear Guide too.