5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

It’s been a crazy busy last week, and this weekend was no exception. So let’s dive right into it!

1) Cycling The Tulip Fields

Friday afternoon The Girl and I grabbed our bikes and headed 1-2 hours south. To tulip fields we headed. While most of the major fields were in their prime 1-2 weeks ago, we still got to see some very solid tulipage! Here’s a picture I shot of both of us just riding along:


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Starting the weekend off right with @bbmaker for a nice warm afternoon ride through the tulip fields! ‍♂️‍♀️ #tulips #tulips

A post shared by Ray Maker (@dcrainmaker) on

The photo was shot with the DJI Mavic Air, which easily fits in my back jersey pocket.

Of course, we also shot a lot of random cell phone photos as well. Can never have too many of those:

2019-04-26 15.51.21-1 2019-04-26 14.27.16

The weather was perfect for the ride, though definitely a wee bit windy at times. Especially since it was virtually all headwind, all the time. Which, I suppose I should be used to by now. And I am I guess, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Still, getting out and riding with The Girl made up for the headwinds. Also, we had a brief moment of cyclocross:

2019-04-26 16.17.03

So yeah…that happened.

2) King’s Day Celebrations!

2019-04-27 12.57.18 HDR

This past Saturday was King’s Day in the Netherlands, which is roughly on-par with festivities as Independence Day in the US.  There’s copious amounts of grilling, beer, and general trouble.  In the case of the Netherlands, most of that somehow seems to occur consolidated onto boats on canals – which, makes it even better. The weather wasn’t super ideal when we got deeper towards the city’s canals, so a bit spartan at that time of day still.

2019-04-27 12.54.47 HDR 2019-04-27 13.17.25

One of the coolest traditions though, is the whole city seems to turn into one giant ‘everyone’s’ market where people stake their claim to a few square meters of street and sell all sorts of random things. It’s like one national yard sale, except people line up side by side on specific streets or parks, usually having about one dinner table’s worth of goods on a tarp or blanket. On this day, there is no need for a selling permit or license, you just have to get out early and claim your space! Here’s what it looked like in Vondelpark:

2019-04-27 11.30.36 HDR-1 2019-04-27 11.30.33 HDR

Throughout the city everyone is allowed to sell their used goods, but there are specific areas of town that are designated as “kid zones”. In these areas the kids get priority and they are supposed to be the ones selling their own used toys/clothes/etc. (which is usually incredibly cheap), or they can set up a game station, or food and beverage sales (for example, we mostly saw pancakes, hot dogs, and lemonade). We picked up a few things for 2-3 euros that would normally cost 50-60EUR new. And parents are happy to get toys out of their house. Though, I guess we failed ourselves at that scheme.

The kids are super crafty, as there are plenty of games  – most of them seemingly created from leftovers found around the garage. Usually you pay a Euro or so to play, and then have the chance of winning some sort of prize – all in good fun.

2019-04-27 11.32.15 2019-04-27 11.38.52-1

Definitely one of our favorite days of the year here for sure.

3) So…much…writing

7 In-Depth Product Reviews in 7 days. That’s what I’m in the midst of. Typically, I do about one a week, sometimes less. But it’s not just 7 written product reviews, but the detailed product review videos as well – each of which usually takes 4-8 hours to film and edit.

In many ways, finishing up these 7 reviews in time for the various embargos will be roughly akin to that British Airways 777 that lost engine power while on final approach to Heathrow, ultimately landing on airport property, though not entirely on the runway. Like that, I’ll make the airport – but there might be some skid marks along the way. I suppose any landing you can walk away from…is a good one.


Because I can’t show you what I’m writing, you’ll just have to know that thousands upon thousands of words were written. The longest of the reviews right now is at 8445 words (and the accuracy section isn’t yet added). The least wordy one sits at 5002 words, again, minus the accuracy sections as well.

4) An Evening Lakeside Run

I went out Saturday evening for a short run, about 40 minutes. This one was a fully structured workout I had made beforehand. There frankly wasn’t a ton of specific structure to it in terms of an ideal training benefit. I was more focused on the technology side of things. It was a 10-minute warm-up, followed by a 5-minute build, followed by 4×400, then 4x200m

2019-04-27 19.51.23

The secondary goal was avoiding angry cows. Really big cows:

2019-04-27 19.47.35 HDR

This section of the lake park allows these large fuzzy cows to roam free, including on the bike and running paths. I’ve seen them a number of times, but tonight was not that night. Instead, I just saw a lot of bunnies. Like, someone’s been busy number of bunnies.

Oh, and the run was nice! Ended up at 38 minutes, and would have tripped it over to 40 minutes, but was running a bit behind – so just finished up things then and called it a night.

5) So…much…shooting

I generally try and mix things up when it comes to reviews and where I shoot stuff. So I roughly have things divided up into a few locations for this week’s reviews, and one of those locations for Sunday was the track. The track is essentially across the canal from Olympic Stadium, and it’s great how quiet it is virtually all the time. Sometimes there are some football games in the interior, but there’s fencing such that balls don’t hit people on the track.

2019-04-28 14.13.11

In my case though, I was shooting off to the side. I was even using the Arsenal camera utility thingy I mentioned buying last summer. This was actually the first time I’ve used it for any real purpose (beyond just toying with it). I was specifically using the ability to livestream the video to my phone and adjust focus. My camera (Nikon D500), doesn’t support any sort of continual focus for video, so you have to set it and hope for the best. So this saved me a bunch of time.

2019-04-28 12.21.32 2019-04-28 12.21.39

Then later I spent another hour getting various shots off to the side with the automated 3-axis slider. Syrp finally released firmware and an updated app for the slider pieces I bought years ago, that makes them match the newer units they have. At this point the older system is awesome and a million times faster to use. I didn’t use the Arsenal thingy here as I was just doing it all manually.

2019-04-28 13.30.56 HDR

I’d rinse-repeat this whole thing a bunch more times all day Sunday. Doing mostly photographic/video shooting stuff in the day, and then editing of videos/photos after the light had gone, and more textual writing as well.

With that – my 32-minute timer for this post that I’ve allocated has buzzed, and I need to get back to finishing those 7 reviews. Texts are all done (minus final accuracy sections), now just photos. Soooooo many photos to take.

Thanks for reading – and see ya back here tomorrow!


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  1. Frank-enstein

    7 reviews – – who’s got ideas?

    • 3 already done last tuesday…..so the 3 watches you suggest + AN Other :)

    • Wahoo Roam is one of them I’d imagine. Wahoo Rival is still MIA and seemingly given up on at this point. A Suunto 5 which is replacing the Spartan Trainer.
      And the 3 Garmin watches you mentioned.

      The question is whether Ray considers the sensors to be an in depth device review. I’m going to guess at 530, 830, 945, 45, Roam, 5 plus one other but I’m definitely not confident on that other. There is evidence for a 245 but I just don’t see the point in such a device, in the same way as a new 7xx seems pointless at this stage.
      Looking forward to seeing the reviews and announcements though.

    • Frank-enstein

      As of November Wahoo’s was still saying they’d enter the tri watch market soon; though agree with ur conclusion.

      I would think that Nor West money is better deployed to KICKR quality and customer support at this point.

      Give me a calibration-less ala Tacx that works.

    • RTellis

      There’s a great big 235 sized hole in the line up right now and a 245 would be very welcome. The Vivoactive 3 doesn’t fill that gap, I know because I bought one to replace my 235. The touchscreen is great when I’m sitting at my desk but is horrible while running.

      The 645 is a much better running watch than the VA 3 but is more expensive and has a lot of features that your existing 235 user isn’t going to use and isn’t willing to pay for.

      I agree though that there will probably never be an update to the 735. Which of course means that one will be announced tomorrow. ;)

    • I can’t see Wahoo launching the same day as Garmin (assuming one of them does do a watch launch tomorrow!))

    • Dave Lusty

      @RTellis I hadn’t considered the lack of buttons, that clears it up a bit for me. I’m not sure what they’d leave out of the 645 to make it cheaper though – pretty much everything in there is standard these days.

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      Fenix 5 plus is on sale in USA. Maybe Fenix 6 is coming?

  2. Ray Wright

    The whole sports tech community appreciates the time you put into your reviews. There are others out there, but you are the gold standard.

    I try to support you when ever I can.


    • JP. Shorts

      Is that you Ray using a different surname?
      Sneaky ;)

      Totally agree with this
      Gold standard and massively appreciated


  3. David

    Suggestion for a second in reviews. While it would only be applicable for things with moving parts it would give very valuable information – cost to repair.

    Example Powertap P1s. Bearing repair has to be done by Powertap and costs €250
    Favero Assimos – €80 and you can do it yourself.

    Would influence sales a good bit and maybe make manufacturers think more.

  4. gingerneil

    No prizes for predicting what the reviews will be covering!! But 7 – that more than have leaked so far. Going to be lots of reading and commenting done this week I predict! :)

  5. fl33tStA

    how looks the structured workout in Garmin Connect Phone App, i couldn’t see the details, they are completly missing, only in the Connect Web i can see for aexample my target pace for running?


    • Post-workout I don’t see anything in GC that aligns what I was supposed to do, to what I did. But in GC I can see under Training the specifics of what I created. Is that what you’re asking?

    • fl33tStA

      didn’t know if we mean the same, but got confirmation, that Garmin will fix it true next GCM update :D

  6. Michael Adrian

    Many thanks for the Amsterdam insider tips! We visited the city two weeks ago when picking up a new bike (N+1, you know), did the Ronde Hoep and finished the day with some crazy pancake action at Meerzicht Farm.

    Please keep these great inspirations coming, so I can convince my wife of more trips to the Netherlands!

  7. andre

    Your automated slider looks cool. I guessed you got one of these when I saw the intro of one of the Garmin Edge 530 video review. Very nice! Did you watch the MKBHB gear tour? link to youtube.com

    • Indeed, his gear tour is amazing. So much gear there I want (but the ‘Accountant’ overrides). But there’s also lots of elements of things that he and I do somewhat similiar. Him with $75,000 cameras and me with $1,500 cameras.

      I’ve had the slider a long time (maybe 6-7 years ago from a Kickstarter), but rarely used it as it was frankly a pain in the butt. With their Gen2 products they’ve released an app and such, and once I bought some of the smaller units to pair to my main Syrp, it could leverage those. And then finally more recently their firmware updates have made it super easy to use. Previously it would take me 10-30 minutes to get a shot fully setup, before I pressed record for 15-20 seconds. Now I’m down to about 60-90 seconds for full shot setup.

  8. ReHMn

    Hi Ray,

    I have seen your activities, so a few related questions:
    How it is possible, that your running pace on track is slower than urban or any other trail/track pace?
    BB posted a comment, that she was chasing you, but usually, lightweight girls are running faster than tall guys. So where is the truth?
    I like that Urban Arrow cargo/children bike. The one on your post is own or rented?


    • I presume you’re looking at Strava? The challenge with that is that Strava will summarize my pace, so it isn’t showing my actual intervals. I was doing faster work on the track than on the trail.

      Generally speaking, the height and weight of athletic doesn’t have much to do with their top speed on the track.

      In the case of the Urban Arrow – we rent it.

  9. Jimmy

    Hey Ray,
    I’m sure that you’re busy finishing reviews.
    Would it be possible for you to post a timeline for when embargoes will be lifted? Without revealing any product info, of course.

  10. Rene Amador

    Hi Ray,

    Simple question – I’m interested on what type of headphones you were wearing on the structured run?


  11. DJH

    No cow or bunny photos??!

  12. Feiko

    That oeverlanden sign is on my usual running route, and if you had read the small sign below it, it is not only the big cows you have to dodge, although the other wildlife is pretty friendly as long as don’t go into the bushes on the right side of the running path.

  13. Steve Warshauer

    Wondering when you will issue your review of the Garmin Marq Athlete watch. Garmin says they will begin shipping in 7-10 days on their web site. Would like to see how you compare the HR monitor on that watch to the Fenix 5x Plus which is not great at all. Also want your take on whether it is a significant upgrade from the Fenix 5x Plus in features. Thanks much as I love your site, YouTube videos and your Podcasts with the LLama.

  14. T MO

    Great Writings.
    Have you ever looked int the WHOOP Recover Monitor?
    keep up the Great WorK – Awesome
    T MO

  15. Ihsan

    I think it’s Fenix 6

  16. Andrew

    How did the Garmin navigation handle the cyclocross both pre and post running out of tarmac?

  17. Kevin

    Hi Ray,

    Seeing you riding in the sunshine reminded me of when you mentioned the potential DCR Summer Open House / Ride / BBQ / getting drunk in Vondelpark. Is this still a possibility?


  18. Julien

    …no… is that guy on the back really doing what I think he’s doing? haha! Nicest shot of the day ;-)

  19. Ray, I see you mention the D500 and its focus. I don’t know how many DX lenses you have, but I recommend you look at the Nikon Z6 for video; compared to all Nikon DSLRs that I’ve used, this one actually does _very good_ video. And it’s still a Nikon, so transition should be rather trivial (modulo the lens question, of course).

    • Yeah, I’m super tempted by the Z6, especially with the upcoming ATOMOS support for ProRes RAW.

      My only hesitation though is I really want 4K/60, as it gives me way more slowing down options than the 4K/30 I (or the Z6/Z7) have today. :-/

    • Hmm, a quick internet search says that right now, in full-frame, only the Panasonic S1(R) cameras have 4K/60fps. Have no idea how well that system (lenses, etc.) works. Seems that 4k/60 is much more easily available in smaller sensors.

      All I’m saying, a Z6 is reasonably priced (especially with the very recent drops in price), and compared with a D500 it feels years ahead in video. I mean, focus actually works :)

  20. Raul V.

    Ray I’m curious if this routeplanner makes the same mistake that made the 2 of you having to push your bike: link to en.routeplanner.fietsersbond.nl
    It’s made by the Fietsersbond (cyclists’ union). You should become donor (is that the word?), they are important as the voice of all cyclists… advising authorities, signalling shortcomings etc. They were instrumental in changing the plan to close the Rijksmuseum underpass for bikes.