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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

After having spent a little over a week stateside for Interbike and a few other meetings, it was time to head back to Amsterdam for another week at home. Here’s what I was up to over the past weekend while still being a wee bit jetlagged.

1) Hopping back across the pond

Of course, the first step in the weekend was actually getting home. Which almost didn’t happen, and required a few more hops than I’d normally prefer. The one (and only) downside to having Interbike in Reno/Tahoe now is that it’s harder to get to. There are simply fewer non-stop flights to Reno than there are to Vegas (where it had previously been held). Whether it be international flights or domestic flights, there’s just not as many places that fly nonstop.

In my case with Star Alliance, that meant I had to two-hop it somewhere. So my routing was a 6AM flight from Reno to LAX, then a mid-morning flight to Houston, followed by a late afternoon flight to Amsterdam. It coulda been worse.

And it almost was.

The flight from LAX to Houston went fine and was even early…until we landed in Houston, at which point a thunderstorm came through and triggered a ground stop (and evacuation of all employees outside on the ramp). That’s normal for lightning, and lasted about 25-30 minutes. My connection was only 35 minutes long to begin with, but my connection flight was delayed as well – so that wasn’t a huge issue.

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However, nearly two hours later and were still sitting on the tarmac in the middle of nowhere. That’s slightly unusual in that the airport had long opened up, and that we were actually a 787, so typically airlines will give higher priority to large aircraft over smaller ones (since more people are impacted). Apparently someone didn’t get that memo and we watched every other small United plane go to their gates. Obviously, there are reasons for everything…usually.

In any case, I had the run of my life to make my flight. I’ve never run that hard in an airport before – or even during most track workouts. It was roughly a mile-long run and I was the last person to board, as they were working to de-board me and give away my seat to a standby passenger. Yikes!

He was displeased I made it. I was thrilled.

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The rest of the flight across the pond was uneventful…mostly because I fell asleep and remember almost nothing. Except, the landing, as it was crazy windy. Here’s a look at the beaches as we came in over the coast:

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Looks like a sweet day to fly a kite!

2) Apple Watch Series 4

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Now technically, I didn’t do much on this one. Rather, The Girl did.  She went off and picked up my Apple Watch Series 4 at the local Apple Store.  She pedaled across town shortly after they opened to pick one up, but was then given a different reservation time to come back and actually retrieve it.

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At this point you may be wondering why Apple didn’t just send one to me. And the answer is slightly more complicated than that.  Typically speaking, Apple doesn’t “send” review products out for big launches like this.  Instead, Apple likes to bring reviewers in and walk through the products in more detail where they can ensure everything goes smoothly.  Things like ensuring there is an also-new phone attached/paired to that new Apple Watch.

(Note: There are exceptions to this, such as when Apple simply mailed to me a Nike+ edition last year to review as well. But usually for big-time launches they like to keep things nice and close.)

In principle, I don’t have much of an issue with this. There’s good reason for companies to ensure reviewers get their questions answered and start off on the right foot.

But in practice, this actually doesn’t make a ton of sense for me personally.  Since I don’t take free travel from companies I review (nor do I keep devices), I’m paying for travel to another place just to pick up a watch. A watch that I’ll inevitably buy a copy of for long-term use anyway (I’ve bought every one of the Apple Watch units thus far). Assuming I’d be going to Apple’s London offices, that means I’m paying for round-trip airfare.  By the time I add in taxi/train costs from the airport on both sides (along with what is usually a last-minute ticket), I’m in the ballpark for a new watch anyway. And that assumes I don’t end up staying over the night.

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So fiscally speaking – I’d rather just use that same cash to buy the watch once, rather than for throw-away travel (no offense to London of course).

As for why not ordering it to simply arrive on Friday? Oh, I tried that and even stayed up late one night to do it, but by the time I managed to get through the ordering process, the first date wasn’t till early October.  Of course, by Friday afternoon a few hours after The Girl picked up the unit, it showed my online order as having shipped. I’ll just return that unopened one to the store here when it comes in…tomorrow.

3) Got no luggage, gym time

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Saturday morning I was all set to go out for a run.

And then I remembered I had no running stuff.  All my luggage was still somewhere over the Atlantic, following along one day behind me as it didn’t make the connection in Houston as well as I did. Somehow I don’t have an extra pair of running shoes right now. Which reminds me, it’s time to order another replacement pair of shoes – they’ve got too much mileage on them.

So instead I just hit up the gym for a core/circuit workout.  It’s funny, I didn’t even wear a fancy GPS watch. I just had on the Vivosmart 4, as I’m working to wrap-up that review. All other current GPS watches were in my suitcase.  Not that I’d need a GPS watch indoors, but rather, I just find the display a bit easier/simpler than the activity bands that don’t have always-on displays.

As a technical aside, I didn’t bother to start an actual workout on the watch for the session (which is an instructor-led group session and lasts about an hour).  I was curious later on to check out the heart rates and noticed just how much lower/less it tracks the heart rate when not in workout mode.  I have done a couple of my recent sessions on it in actual workout mode and the heart rates were ‘proper’ (e.g. upwards of 140bpm or so when appropriate and matching other units I was wearing).  However, in this case it rarely reported my HR that high, despite definitely being very high in some cases.

I suspect there may be some smoothing that is done when not in workout mode, as it probably assumes that anything in that higher HR range is an incorrect spike. Anyway, figured I’d share that tiny tidbit.

4) A few YouTube videos

Turns out my GoPro Hero 7 Black ‘16 things to know’ video was fairly popular. As of this writing, its got about 220,000 views on YouTube since Thursday morning.  Though, I suppose in some ways it’s somewhat funny because as popular as that video is on YouTube for me, views on the site for popular content/devices tend to go even higher for the first few days. I suppose it’s all relative.

In any case, a bunch of folks wanted more audio comparison footage. So I took a moment to get that published first on Friday evening. I had actually finished it all the way back in LAX on Thursday morning, but neither airplane WiFi or thunderstorms in Houston would allow me to upload it till I landed back in Amsterdam.  So, if you missed that video – here ya go:

It’s always funny what videos do well or not. That one has done well for me, it’s over 21K views in the last two days and has an abnormally high like/dislike ratio (in favor of likes). But personally I actually don’t like it. It feels disjointed to me – probably because the ‘storyline’ of it is shot in a bunch of places/times. I almost didn’t publish it at all. But I did because I knew people were waiting on it, and it seems like folks like it.

The second video I put together over the weekend was a giant compilation of test/sample clips. Most of these are comparative in nature (showing side by side between a Hero 7 and a Hero 6), but some of them are just plain fun.  For example, if you’re into cycling I’ve got about a 90-second clip showing the start of one of the Cross Reno races at Interbike. I suckered Jonathan from TrainerRoad into mounting the camera on the back of his bike.  After which he suckered himself into deciding to lead-out the first few minutes. So it’s an awesome bit of footage (starts at 10:19 in the below video). Also, don’t miss the beer-hand-off in that section too!

Funny tidbit for Final Cut Pro folks out there: That GoPro Hero 7 library is coming in at 550GB in size. Mind you, that’s just the footage I actually used – that doesn’t include the vast majority of the 120GB of Hero 7 video clips I recorded, which didn’t make it into the library itself.  Anyway, thought I’d share.

5) Hello Ravioli

After the kiddos went to bed on Sunday night, The Girl and I pumped out some fresh ravioli. The Girl had made the pasta dough, filling, and sauce earlier in the day, and now it was time to stick the parts all together.

For the filing, it was a slow-roasted pulled pork, and apples, with a touch of rosemary and wine. Then, with more apples, she sautéed and diced them up super small (also from our apple-picking adventure). Those apples would then be used within the sauce/broth, which she made from stock and white wine, some of the jus and then a touch of rosemary from the garden.

Here’s us putting them together.  We used the KitchenAide pasta maker attachment to make the sheets of pasta (seriously, I’ve used the crap out of this thing over the last 15 years), and then just simply handmade the ravioli.

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As always, anything to do with making food pretty, The Girl’s comes out better than mine:

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And afterward, we ate them all:

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Fear not, we had more than four ravioli each. It’s just that four looked prettiest in the bowl. After that, things got out of hand from a ravioli photo standpoint.  And thus, our night was complete.

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

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41 Comments

  1. Your total foutage was 120GB and only using a small amount of that caused the data size to get to 550GB? Need one of those multi TB drives if you used all the footage?

    • The 120GB was only the Hero 7 footage, not the Hero 6 footage or the GH5s footage that pull into the videos. The secondary challenge is that each time i do side by side comparisons, that’s actually rendering that yet a third time in 4K for that ‘view’.

      As for why it bloats that much, I’ve not enough of a FCP expert to understand entirely. I do suspect it has to do with the way ProRes conversion works.

    • guess the explains the need for “Delete Generated Library Files” function

  2. Sam

    We made ravioli too! But ours had a spinach, cashew, and herb filling (food processed of course). Love that KitchenAid attachment, we have a set of three for various stuff we eat the most of. Dried pasta just doesn’t compare. For that matter a lot of premade foods are garbage compared to the fresh stuff, you just need to spend the time to figure out how to make it. How’s that test kitchen coming? I’m waiting to see recovery food classes taught by the girl.

    • Yeah, we’ve got the triple pack as well – though honestly, I almost exclusively just use the sheet roller. A smattering of times the fettuccine cutter, and non-times whatever the other one is. Either way, love them!

      The Kitchen at the studio is coming along! As a DCR Supporter, you’ll in fact see another Cave/Studio update video very very shortly (you were supposed to see it Saturday night, but something else in the Supporter Update got slightly delayed again).

  3. Daniel

    Speaking of buying new running shoes, what running gear (except the technics you are using/reviewing), such as shoes/tights/wind jackets etc are you using? Maybe there’s a summary somewhere on the site?

  4. Robert Villanueva

    Love the ravioli news. I remember a post years ago where you and The Girl made mozzarella. AsI recall, it was a bit time consuming and you may have sworn off doing it again.

    • Still never made mozzarella since…

      Honestly, it’s just not worth it here. We can get extremely high quality mozzarella di bufala (DOP no less) for super cheap, and it’s going to be a million times better than anything I can make.

      There’s actually a fun YouTube channel (link to youtube.com) with a guy who went on a mission to create great mozzarella. And even after all that work and help, the end product was roughly…’meh’.

      (Obligatory note: I’m a huge fresh mozzarella food snob.)

  5. Mr Tv

    I flabbergasted that you only have limited running apparel including shoes. I have like 3-4 pair of active shoes,a ton if shirts, shorts socks, etc.
    I also test shoes for a major manufacturer.

    I even keep spare gear in my car for days when I run after work.

    • Yeah, I have a few pairs of running shorts and plenty of shirts/socks. And usually I have two pairs of running shoes. But for whatever reason right now I’ve only got a single pair of running shoes. I might have an older pair of trail running shoes in a box somewhere at the studio, but nothing that I want to run in.

  6. John

    Ray:

    I have a completely off topic question.

    Since you travel so much which Airplane do you prefer to fly and why? (I noticed you flew in a 787 – More humidity and larger windows)

    Which Airline and why?

    John

    • Growing up about 2-3 miles from the Boeing factory for wide-bodies (well before Charleston), certainly I’d say Boeing. 🙂

      That said, I honestly don’t care much anymore. Perhaps it’s just so many flights. I’ll definitely focus on a widebody over not, but usually I’m more interested in routing/seat configuration.

      I generally fly a United or other Star Alliance carriers, having UA million miler status helps. Though I used to fly British Airways a ton too until pretty recently.

    • John

      I must admit my Boeing preference too. Worked with Everett engineers multiple times. All good people.

  7. BartW

    You didn’t do the “Dam tot Damloop” on sunday?

    • No. We wanted to sign-up, but missed the window back a while ago. 🙁

    • BartW

      Tip for next year, as you probably will miss it again, as it’s sold out quite quick: the transfer bib system. An official way to do the recreational run under your own name.
      Recent years it wasn’t difficult to enter the run through that path and the prices asked by most runners who do not participate is mostly the same as the original price.
      link to damloop.nl

  8. Kaveh

    Hi Ray,

    Just curious – love that slanted bowl in the last pic with the ravioli, do you mind if I ask where you found it?

    Thanks,
    Kaveh

  9. Scott

    I appreciated the random comment about the Garmin wearable not recording HR as often when not in workout mode. When I ride my indoor trainer I don’t use my watch (Vivoactive 3) HR just a Wahoo Chest strap and Zwift, but I have noticed my watch never tracks the HR correctly and was stumped as to why that was until reading this post. However on all my runs outdoors they appear to line up quite well when i’m bothered to put the Chest strap on. Thank you for the heads up I never thought of the record rate being different.

    Cheers,
    Scott

    p.s. any thoughts on the Garmin Vivoactive 3 not staying connect to external sensors? I still have problems with this and even went through the hassle of getting the first Vivoactive 3 replaced because Garmin and I thought something might have been wrong with it, but the new still does the same thing? Any external HR, speed/cadence sensor is constantly being dropped.

    • Hmm, I don’t remember having that issue with it dropping – that’s definitely odd. One thing to try is pairing it on Bluetooth Smart instead (if it’s a dual ANT+/BLE sensor), or even just deleting the pairings and re-pairing them.

      Another thing to potentially double-check is to turn off Bluetooth on your phone temporarily, and see if during that workout the ANT+ sensors stay connected. Might give you a hint if something with the BT phone connection in the background is the cause.

      Else, I’d ring up Garmin and give their support folks a poke to see if they’ve seen it.

    • Scott

      Thank you for the helpful tips. I think maybe the most recent update fixed it. I don’t want to jinx it but it just stayed connected through a workout.

      Sure enough, it was the record rate during a workout vs just normal. I turned a workout mode on and the HR track fairly well throughout the workout.

      Cheers

  10. Kim Robberecht

    Hi Ray,
    Great to see you got an apple watch 4, i’m looking forward to the review.

    Really hope apple (or one app like strava, runkeeper, ….) gives us the possibility to show the speed (km per hour) during a running activity and not only the pace (time for the last kilometer/mile).

    • Ian S

      I dusted off my Apple watch 2 to try the new OS the other day. Be interested to see what the Watch 4 looks like but I suspect that my original conclusion won’t change yet – Apple makes the best smart watch which covers occasional fitness use and someone like garmin will continue to make the best watch for someone who’s more than an occasional fitness user. No doubt Apple will continue to get closer though, be interesting to see if someone can move me from my 935

  11. Antoine

    I was in UA20 Thursday evening as well and I’ve got to say that the thunderstorm in Houston was pretty impressive. At least the flight was not too bumpy !
    Anyway glad that you made it and always great to read your articles

    Cheers
    Antoine

  12. Mark I.

    I picked up the Apple Watch series 4 last Friday. I have put it through 2 workouts so far, making this more initial impressions than consistent results. I had spent the past year with a series 3 (now worn by my wife). That watch was a good companion for HIIT workouts and occasional runs. I recently added pool swims to my week, and discovered the lap counter on the Series 3 works really well. The series 3’s hiccups usually were the brief dropping of HRM readings during HIIT, and long pauses to start workouts when I guess the onboard RAM was struggling with multiple apps open.

    I’m still learning the nuances of the series 4. I can tell you that the screen size increase considerably improves the user experience, from larger text size on some screens to more complications (selectable apps on the home watch face). WatchOS 5 brings a better user experience to both watches. The auto workout detection (new to OS 5) on the series 3 did not kick in on a HIIT workout, but then I read that auto detection only works on certain workouts that don’t include HIIT on the list. So that’s either a literal-to-workout-type feature or a feature fail. It did auto-detect my workout ending on both watches and asked if I wanted to end the recording. The series 4 (again, only two workouts worth of data) seems to have fewer HR recording drops. I wouldn’t be surprised if this remains the case relative to the series 3 as it has both a new OHRM configuration and the back of the watch is using more conductive materials (marketed to improve LTE phone calls, but I could also see it improving HRM recording). Interesting side note is that there is no messages complication yet. Funny since that is a native Apple function and one of the more heavily used Apple Watch apps. I assume it will show up in watch OS 5.x. But for now you have to press the dial to then get the sea of apps, then select the messages icon to initiate the app. Watch commands are super-snappy. Battery life so far seems comparable to the series 3 when similarly used. Haven’t tested the LTE function. I didn’t have it on the series 3. I found on the series 3 that watch phone calls (paired to my iPhone 8 Plus) were never reliable, with gaps is speech both transmitted and received. I’m hopeful watch-paired calls are better on the series 4 and that my first untethered phone call experiences will be better than what other first-gen LTE watch callers have reported. Looking forward to Ray’s review.

  13. André Berger

    Since you’re reviewing the Apple watches, will you also review the Withings Steel HR Sport? I think it looks like an interesting watch, and I would be happy to see a review of it.

  14. Those raviolis look delicious. Did you make from a recipe/book? Any links available?

  15. Des

    Dang, now I want some pasta.

  16. Ian

    Any idea when you’re likely to post your Apple watch review?

  17. Gianluca Musumeci

    I’ve bought all Apple Watches since launch apart from series 1 (0-2-3-4) and actually with 4vI realized how much bad wrist sensor in my Garmin Fenix 3HR is. I usually train (body building, CrossFit, hiit, run, bike, swim, tennis,ski) measuring heartbeat with Garmin HRM on Fenix and Apple Watch. For short bike bike runs, like moving inside my town, I only use the wrist sensor, and Fenix is really really bad. A few minutes ago I did some steps to go to my floor: watch 130 bpm, Garmin 80. While Hiit-ing yesterday Apple Watch 4 had quite perfect coincidence with the heart rate shown by HRM.
    I also have the idea the calories calculation on Garmin is too much low. I would like to know what DCrainmaker thinks about it. I also bought a heart band and which transmits ant+ and Bluetooth to use it with my Bosch Nyon eBike System. On a fast ride with motor turned-off, Garmin had 300 calories (heart band), Nyon 650 (same heart band), Apple Watch (wrist sensor) 630. I don’t know if Fenix 5 plus has a better wrist sensor or a better algorithm to calculate calories, but I am very angry with Garmin. They sold me a VERY BAD product (a for more than a year I had abnormal barometric values, for Garmin I was living at 15000 meters altitude…). Probably I will stick to Apple Watch as a main fitness platform, mainly for calories calculation with MyFitnessPal. Actually I think that series 4 is a very sensitive fitness sport, very close to needs of daily sport people. In the night I use an Apple Watch series 2, so I don’t have batteries problem (I swap them before sleeping): the sleep analysis on some good iPhone apps is really MUCH BETTER than the silly one on Garmin Fenix 3HR. Regards.