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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

First up, since I don’t have a ‘Week in Review’ post this week, if you didn’t catch the latest podcast episode that went up late Friday, here’s the skinny:

We dive into left-only power meters, Apple Watch ECG expansion, early Garmin MARQ & Samsung Galaxy Active data related to swimming, and new podcast name ideas! Plus we talk about how the big Zwift live TV event went last week as well as some more tidbits from my Mallorca trip.

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Or, you can listen to it here on the podcast page. With that, onto the remainder of my weekend:

1) Flying home from Mallorca

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In order to start the weekend properly, I needed to get home first. Friday evening’s routing would take me from Mallorca to Zurich, and then after an efficient one-hour connection there, I’d fly home to Amsterdam.

Somewhat surprisingly, my super-cheap economy ticket was unexpectedly upgraded on both flights. Each time as I went to board they had a new ticket for me in ‘business class’. I say that in quotes, because for most European carriers, domestic (intra-EU) business class is the exact same seat/spacing/etc as economy class, they just simply block the middle seat.

Still, I’ll take it – since apparently the reason I was upgraded was the flight was booked 100%! They did warn me upon boarding the first flight that I wouldn’t get a business class meal since it wasn’t catered for that. Though, they did offer me food once in the air. Given I had just eaten at the airport, no biggie.

On the second flight it was almost the same story – though no warning about lack of food. Ironically though, it was the exact same plane/crew as my first flight. As I got onboard they said ‘Hello again!’.

Of course, the best part about flying Swiss (the airline) is the free chocolate towards the end of the flight. No matter if you’re in economy, business, or first…ya still get a free chocolate!

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Oh, and I was happy that my bike came off the conveyor belt in Amsterdam fairly efficiently as well. #Winning

2) BBQ Weather!

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Ok, it’s not pizza oven weather yet, but it’s definitely grilling weather. Of course, that first required a bunch of random tasks around the backyard to ensure we’re cleaned up and ready for spring-time outside enjoyment.

Once that was done, we had some friends come over to enjoy the evening. Obviously, we started with a proper charcuterie board. Albeit, not one with any Dutch cheese. Once you go French cheese, it’s hard to change directions. But, we did have all Dutch locally made dried sausages on there…and then of course Italian meats too.

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After that, it was ribs time. Frankly, it’s always ribs time. But especially so when you don’t have to freeze your ass off standing outside checking on the grill.

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And lastly, wine time. Because wine and ribs were made to be together.

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Also, our friends brought over an air fryer for some fries (and to convince us to buy one too, I think). We’ve never witnessed that invention before in real life. Apparently it’s all the rage everywhere. Being so focused on the pizza oven situation, that I haven’t had time to properly geek out on other food items. Now that we’ve been inducted into the air fryer club, I could be tempted to procure one. However, for the moment I need to keep my eye on the prize: Pizza oven.

3) Pancake Pow-Wows

I headed off Sunday around lunchtime to meet with some folks from a company who were in town. Naturally, we had Dutch pancakes. I’ve shown pancakes previously on many occasions, so I didn’t think to take a picture of the pancakes directly. Though, I did take a picture of the outside of the place across from Central Station.

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It’s actually become a nice little spot we’ve started to frequent if we’re over that way, or if I’m taking the kids out for an adventure around town. I rode the VanMoof bike over there…and yes, I still mostly find it annoying. One of these weeks I’ll wrap up what I want on it and cancel my subscription to it.

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The weather was beautiful again though, and I stopped and took a few photos along the way. The trees are just starting to bloom/flower/etc in various parts in the city, including in the canals:

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This weekend was astounding for spring weather, so warmer days are soon on the way!

4) Data Processing

Less you think that everything is exciting in the world of weekends, sometimes it’s just blah work. One of those blah things is offloading data files from devices and taking a look at data. In some cases I’m sending onwards to manufacturers issues I might see with pre-release devices.

I find that when I send an issue to a company, it’s best to basically send them everything they could want to know about the issue. From the original data files to the circumstances, to photos and videos of the issue. It’s a million times harder for an issue to be dismissed when you’ve got a short 15-second video showing it happening.

Just as an example of one set of files I was working with was from last Wednesday – my ride on Cap de Formentor. Typically I like to download all my data sets at the end of each day, but that didn’t happen for all my workouts last week. Or at least, it didn’t happen in full for every device on that ride/etc.

For example, I pull all the files into the DCR Analyzer. Here’s the non-exhaustive list for that ride:

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Keeping in mind that each of those Edge units was connected to different HR sensors or power meters, which is shown in the Analyzer as well:

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However, I did have an oddity with the HR strap I was using this day, whereby the Edge didn’t seem to record anything except a static value. I didn’t catch it though mid-ride, since it wasn’t a high-priority item for this particular test. Though certainly, I wish I had noticed it.

In any case, here’s that HR graph. I’d say the Samsung did the worst (in purple), followed by the MARQ (in teal). For example, at 1:11 (that big gap in the middle), that’s the lighthouse turnaround point where everyone gets off their bike and takes pictures and stuff. It apparently took 3 minutes before it realized I was stopped. On the flip-side, the Samsung (in purple) never noticed I started one of those climbs. So there’s that for ya.

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Meanwhile, elevation wasn’t horrible actually, and very similar across devices – save the Samsung which had a slight offset on it – but again, not horrible. Offhand I can’t remember if the Samsung Galaxy Active is using GPS or a barometer for elevation data.

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Rinse and repeat for each of the workouts I did, in some cases creating multiple sets in the Analyzer depending on which devices are public versus which aren’t, and then even further if different devices have different announcement dates. And then, in turn, remembering who I need to e-mail about what come Monday morning (and in some cases, if a device has multiple issues, how much time I’m going to spend on which issues to send them).

5) Run with P2:

Sunday afternoon I took out Peanut 2 for a ride. Well, she was riding, I was running. The weather was great, and I felt like a run. I wasn’t quite sure how far I was going to run, but I set a rough course and would see how it went (both her, and me).

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As I got to the rowing basin though, it was great: I had a tailwind. So much so that I could let go of the stroller and a single very light push would carry her for a solid 10-15 seconds before she lost momentum. Then I’d give her another push and she’d keep cruising along. It probably helped that I was back to using the BOB, which has astoundingly awesome rolling resistance. Also, I love all the places to stash things like my camera, water bottle, and extra reference GPS watches up top on the handle.

It can be a tiny bit finicky to get the front wheel aligned absolutely perfectly straight in locked mode (and it usually seems to need adjusting a few runs later again), but it only takes 2-3 seconds to adjust and then see if you’ve got it nailed.

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I had purposefully selected to go have a tailwind alongside the rowing basin, and then come back in the forest – that way I’d be a bit more protected from the headwind. Not only did that work, but we also got to see some of the big fuzzy cows alongside the trail.

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All in the run was a nice 8 miles (12.9KM) – roughly an hour, so about the perfect length for a casual run. And P2 was happy as well, as she usually is on any sort of wheeled creation. Though astoundingly, she didn’t fall asleep once. Perhaps because she was too busy yelling ‘bump’ for each bump on the path we’d hit.

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

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40 Comments

  1. the Family Joules

    Data processing…

    Probably not the best place to comment, but this week I wanted to use the DCR analyzer to look at a new PM I just got. $5 for one day is OK, but it doesn’t allow enough time to iterate…test, look at data, test again. I did not want to sign up for an auto-renewing $29 for a year. 3 days or maybe a week for $10 would be more palatable. So I did not sign up or use it.

    Still rooting for the pizza oven.

  2. Scott E

    yeah- air fryers are the bomb. Definitely should get one.

  3. Robin

    Hi Ray – speaking of elevation, how are you finding the elevation readings on your FR935? Mine almost appear to be random, although I do note a general decrease over the course of the run while running on the flat.

    On the bright side however, I did complete the 2000m climbing challenge on Strava in March, despite only one run having any sort of appreciable elevation gain (although certainly not 2000m worth)!

    • Richard Mercer

      I have the exact same issue with my 935. It generally starts really hight and gradually adjusts over a run or ride. When I do a loop it’s pretty obvious that the start and end are way off.

    • I’m usually pretty good with elevation, though, in the Netherlands it’s honestly not an issue where I live since everything is a giant pancake. Still, most of my mountain spots have been good.

      In most cases when folks see elevation issues on watches, it’s usually due to the barometric altimeter holes being blocked. A 15 or so minute warm soapy water bath usually fixes that.

      On the flip side, there have been some cases with just dorked altimeters.

  4. Ricardo Lucas

    Casa Ferreirinha – Vinha Grande

    A portuguese wine, great choice! How was it?

    • It was good!

      I honestly have no idea how it ended up in our kitchen, only cause I don’t know much about Portugese wines and typically stay with things I know more about (French/Italian/Argentina/South African wines primarily). I suspect it was a gift from a previous dinner or something, but good stuff for sure!

  5. Ryan

    Such an inspiration as a father, husband or human! Are you open to do motivational speeches on how you manage and live your life? Casey Neitstat style ?

    • I do speeches (tomorrow in Barcelona in fact), though, it tends to be more tech focused.

      I’m not entirely sure what to say about life management. I suspect Casey would do a better job of that than I. 🙂

  6. Stephen M.

    I’ve always been nervous about traveling with my bike (mostly from a checked baggage perspective and in an attempt to reduce baggage fees)

    I recall you posting on this several years ago; giving a few tips to avoid bike fees. But I’m curious if you continue to be quite lucky in limiting your baggage fees or if you’ve been dinged on the oversize/sports equipment fee?

    • I’m still pretty good. I didn’t pay in either direction this time around. And going to/from South Africa I didn’t pay either.

      I think I’m probably at about 80-90% no-pay rate right now. Every once in a while I’ll get dinged a fee, but it’s rarely both ways, in some cases it’s when I had way to much luggage to begin with. So to the agent, this was just icing on the cake.

  7. Mark

    Ray – Can I ask how old P1 / P2 was when you first started taking them running with you and out in the cycle cargo trailer?

    I ask as a fairly new parent keen to get them out with me!

    • Hey Mark,

      Typically the standard age for baby in the running stroller is about 6 months. They should really have good head control/ neck strength first! So some babies might take a little longer. I wouldn’t “push it” any sooner. Also we found a good way to work into the running stroller/runs was to lower the back rest for the babe, so they are more reclined! You can also buy some “snuggies” that the baby lays on and there is a sort of halo head cushion that helps comfort the babe in the stroller. You have to remember that the Bob seat is like an open board the the baby is laying on (not a lot of cushion or support) and they often start to slouch/ drift off to one side when they are really small. You can pack some blankets in on the sides too to help keep them upright and make them super cozy!

      As for the bike, we were lucky to have the Urban Arrow for P2. We were able to put her down in the bucket on a child reclined seat. That way she had lots of head and neck support. But still, she didn’t go in the bike until about 8 months! and then didn’t graduate up to the bike bench with her sister until around 1 year old. Remember if you’re using a helmet, you’re adding extra weight to the baby’s neck/head control!

      I would say the stroller is a better starting ground than the bike, and treat the workouts with a new babe the same you would if you were a brand new athlete! So, slowly increase the times/distance in the stroller running. Perhaps even start with a run/walk program. If the babe is in the stroller crying you aren’t going to have a great workout anyways, so best to start off slow and let both parties get used to it. And pretty please be very aware of the chin to chest angle the baby is positioned in during the workout!

      Hope that helps!
      The Girl

  8. Raf C

    What’s the forecast for the pizza oven? Purchased or soon to be? DCR Nation awaits a pizza oven review this year!

  9. James Eaton

    That bike bag looks near identical to my Pika Packworks bag. I love that bag – relatively small (versus other bike bags) and near bombproof.

    • Yeah, it looks pretty much the same.

      This is the bike bag review I wrote some 8+ years ago now: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Still the exact same bag as then. I know that the dude/company behind the bag has gone through like three companies. Some weird stuff or something according to the grapevine. But keeps emerging as a different company with the same product. Or selling the IP off or what. Either way, same-same. 🙂

  10. Tyler

    I’ve always preferred the fixed front wheel on running strollers, be they double or single.
    I find them just as agile as the rotating front wheel variety, and much more stable while running.

    The weight is mostly on the rear wheels, so it takes only a slight down pressure on the handle (if any) to allow for cornering.

    • Yeah, with this one I lock the wheel, but can unlock it when I want to use it for slower-speed stuff.

      It then has a small fine tune adjustment twisty knob thingy that allows me to get the wheel pointed exactly straight (or to counteract any imbalances elsewhere).

  11. Raymond Wright

    DCR/GPLama Podcast comment: This is just my opinion, but I could care less about Zwift live streams ( though I was a Zwift early adopter and am still a big fan) and esports in general. I know that this is a ‘thing” now and warrants some coverage, but watching someone else do a sport that is normally done outside while they are stationary inside strikes me as odd.
    There again, my son-in-law will watch streams of people playing video games for HOURS.

    • Yeah, I don’t suspect we’ll cover it a ton. It’s more interesting to see when there’s breakout moments like this (national TV broadcast), versus just day to day stuff. Or, when the whole weight doping thing happened.

  12. Mário Simas

    Nice to see that you are enjoying some good red wine from Portugal 🙂

  13. Milt MacFarlane

    Hhmm looks like THE Pizza oven is becoming an issue again OR is it getting warmer to attempt the chores, set out in the contract

    • The Girl

      Milt,
      The contract is still taped to our fridge door… sad and lonely without any new traces of ink crossing out items. The man mustn’t be THAT motivated for pizza.
      What can I say. The terms have been laid for almost a year now…

  14. Dennis Van Eeuwijk

    Ray any word on the suunto orbit gr dennis

  15. Andrew

    If you think the BOB Revolution is easy to push you should try and track down a used BOB Ironman. So much easier. Best running related purchase I made since having kids.

  16. Lars B

    Hi Ray, which bike bag are you using on flights?

    PS, enjoying the podcast a lot! Please pronounce names and technical terms well for us non-natives 🙂

    • Figures…the day after I post something. Interesting. And definitely not ideal the way they handled it at all.

      Though at least it basically seems to come down to “know how to use a quick release wheel”, which, I suppose as a cyclist is kinda second nature.

  17. Karim

    Hey DC – as always HUGE fan of our site/blog. Keep it up.

    Curious, is that a Peka Packworks (made in Utah) — I had the same bag and many times did not get charged for a bike as they never recognized it as a bike. Loved it.

    Do ever do a reveiw of stuff you use regularly not tech related like travel bags–very curious about the new Topeak travel case.

    Anyways safe travels.

    • Super close, it’s this case: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Which is basically the same exact case, just under a different name from nearly a decade ago.

      I do occasionally review things non-tech (like this case). My challenge with the Topeak case is that it’s easily spotted as a bike case. To me, I want to avoid the fees (as I did this weekend). If I’m going to not avoid the fees, then in that case – go big or go home. 🙂

  18. Tim

    Any chance we could get a checkbox to show each gps point of the uploaded file(s) on the map of the dcr analyzer with a visible dot? (instead of just showing the lines that connect each point) Can be helpful when looking at some gps tracks.

  19. Nick

    Careful with that particular stroller:
    link to washingtonpost.com

    • Indeed, someone also linked to it up above too, coming out a few hours after my post.

      Interestingly, I’m somewhat mixed on this one. Setting aside all the political stuff in that for a second, let’s look at the issue.

      A) Obviously, I think the way the company has handled it is mostly crap. Though, I kinda understand what their thinking is.
      B) Assuming I’m reading this right, basically the issue is that someone could get themselves in a situation where the front wheel detaches if they don’t latch the front wheel correctly. At that point, ‘bad things’ could happen. However, where I struggle with this – is why that’d be a recallable event. The same is true of any bicycle, which uses the exact same latch mechanism. It’s just a quick release wheel, used the world around. If I don’t properly tighten my quick release, then I could hit a bump and “really bad things” happen.

      So in that scenario (again, assuming I’m understanding the issue correctly), I kinda agree with what BOB is saying in terms of ‘People not following directions’ is the issue. After all, being able to remove a front wheel is useful for transit. The WP article (which I normally like) seems to get too distracted in the whole political aspect to clarify whether the quick release issue is truly user error or a poorly designed system.

      Or maybe I’m missing something.

    • Also, I certainly understand that someone like me knows how to use a bike quick release skewer far better than the average stroller pushing public might. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but just in a ‘that’s the reality’ kinda way.

    • Nick

      So something like the McDonald’s warning that hot coffee may be hot…