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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

It was a hot one this weekend! ‘Perfect’ to do a triathlon, and spent most of the time outdoors. Here’s a quick look at what I was up to.

1) Swim Time

Friday afternoon (which was sorta a weekend bridge holiday in the Netherlands and much of Europe), The Girl and I headed swimming. We went to De Mirandabad, the same sprawling pool/water park complex we’ve been taking the kids to lately. Except this time it was for legit lap swimming. I’d be headed outdoors to the 50m outdoor pool, while The Girl stayed inside in the warmer 25m indoor pool.

Unfortunately the facility doesn’t appear to allow pictures to be taken on premise (assuming I’ve translated the 23 ‘no camera’ signs correctly), so here’s a picture of the facility from Google Maps:

image

For me the swim was part device testing, and part just pool time. Obviously adding a lone swim day 48 hours prior to a triathlon isn’t going to significantly (or even insignificantly) change the result of that swim. But, it was a nice sunny day and I figured my arms could use some memory assistance.

And like I said, I had some stuff to test.

It really is a stunning facility though – and only about 8-10 minutes from the DCR Studio. I’d love to know if folks have other favorite nearby outdoor lap pools. Even better if they are ones I can actually take photos at.

2) A Visit to Delft:

Saturday we rented a car sharing car, Fetch. It’s basically like a Zipcar. They’re electric plug-in cars that are sprinkled about the city, you simply use your smartphone to unlock it. We had discovered a different car share service last year, then that service went out of business. Hopefully this one lasts longer. We do miss our old trusty Autolib from Paris.

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I can at least confirm that this car is perfectly good at keeping the car cool enough for proper cupcake transportation:

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In any case, we were going down to Delft, about a 30 or so minute drive away depending on traffic, for a friend’s 4th birthday. It was a great warm day (but not yet crazy hot). First we spent a few hours in the park with the kiddos, there were a few families in attendance  running and riding around.

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And then afterwards we walked into the city center of the picturesque little town for lunch.

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We didn’t do much in the way of tourist stuff there, since the focus was on hanging out with our friends and their kids.

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And once we got to mid-afternoon with a bunch of tired toddlers, the goal was extracting ourselves from the town before meltdowns occurred. With or without ice cream. I think we still owe The Peanut some ice cream, come to think of it.

3) Making sure my tri bike still worked

Saturday night after getting back from Delft I headed down to the DCR Cave to put my Cervelo P3C triathlon bike through some quick validations. Mostly, I wanted to validate that it still worked. I hadn’t ridden it since last fall when I was doing some aero testing bits, and I wasn’t quite sure about the state of the bike.

I had purposefully added air to the tires on Friday, to see how well they held. While it was slightly lower than I wanted (just barely), it wasn’t enough to make me want to swap out the tubes. What could go wrong in a 30-minute sprint tri anyway? But, I did throw spare tubes in my bag just in case I changed my mind.

I then cleaned up the chain/shifting a bit, and swapped out the yellow Ikea AAA batteries in the PowerTap P1 pedals that were still on the bike for new yellow Ikea AAA batteries. One of these days I’ll buy the fancier ones. Today was not that day. Then I got my head units and watches all paired up.

I’d be using three units for the race: Garmin MARQ Athlete, COROS VERTIX, and an Edge 830. I choose the Edge 830 instead of the Edge 530 because it was sitting on the table next to me and my Edge 530 was tucked somewhere in my backpack. Seriously folks, that’s usually how it goes.

After that, I headed out for a quick test ride around the rowing basin and forest area before making my way back home. Nothing fancy or long – about 10-15 minutes in total.

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I was basically making sure stuff like brakes/shifting/pedaling all worked, as well as transmission of power. All of that stuff checked out fine. Steering was perhaps a bit stiff and could use some love, but not enough to want to dive into that adventure at 8PM the night before. Maybe I’ll drop-off the bike next week at the shop to get all cleaned up.

With that, I was good to go!

4) Raced TRI HLMRMEER Triathlon:

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Last week I semi-randomly signed-up for a local triathlon on the other side of the airport from us. In fact, the airport was actually part of the appeal. The bike course route went right next to one of the major runways, where airplanes would be taking off or landing. It was cool stuff. I prepared by doing almost no training.

In fact, The Peanut trained more than I did. We read the below book I bought last year, multiple times these past few days. She was ready.

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(Side Note: Searching for ‘Daddy Tries’ on Amazon brings up some rather unexpected results. I dare you.)

I’ll be posting a race report on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on when I finish writing about my frustrations related to the below (and other weekend issues).

Also, my start was at 2:15PM. And it was the hottest day since last summer in a spring that hasn’t seen temperatures above indoor room temps yet. Totally awesome.

5) New DCR Analyzer Feature Added: Battery Burn

Now for one last thing that happened over the weekend – a new feature to the DCR Analyzer. This is the software I use in all my reviews to graph comparison data. It’s definitely not designed to be a training log like TrainingPeaks or such, but is used to compare files from products. Be it GPS data, or sensor data like power/HR/cadence/etc… Custom fields like running efficiency metrics and that stuff too.

But we didn’t have battery life. And as I continue to march on my various battery life testing bits, I wanted a good way to represent what was going on here. Not just for crazy long 20-40hr battery life tests, but actually just for day to day testing. Now I can get a good idea for what rough battery level burn rates look like on different settings. Here’s how it looks when loaded:

BatteryBurnRate

You’ll see the data points plotted automatically in the graph. The way devices record this data varies a little bit. In some cases the devices record it on a set time schedule (e.g. every 10 minutes). Whereas in other cases the devices record each time the percentage change (e.g. from 62% to 61%). No matter the method, we just plot it.

Next, we’ll do some 3rd grade math and figure out the average battery burn rate at the bottom. This gives you a rough glanceable gauge to look at when doing comparisons. Keep in mind that lots of things impact battery life – most notable being backlight. If you’ve got backlight on, it’ll slaughter your battery life. Other things like GPS type can impact it too – with GLONASS & GALILEO usually adding about a 10-15% hit. Same goes for having the map page up the entire time on mapping-capable units. Or music running on music wearables. And so on.

Right now the only devices that we know of that record battery data are Garmin and Wahoo devices (to .FIT files). However, I’d love to see both Polar and Suunto add it in, as well as COROS. Especially in the case of COROS and Suunto with significantly higher claimed battery lives. I’d love to be able to easily plot/prove that out.

In any case, I think it’s super cool and an awesome way while I’m testing units to get a rough idea of how battery is performing day after day, without having to manually track the start/end battery levels on a notepad.

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

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36 Comments

  1. jome90

    Apparently also the 945 has this open water gps bug… link to forums.garmin.com

  2. ReHMn

    Congratulations Ray on that triathlon race!

    Do you know by any chance, if there are a Speed sensor, Cadence sensor and a Di2 wireless unit on a bike and you are using a tri watch (like 920XT, 935XT, or 945), but also some backup unit (Edge 520, 820) whether those sensors are capable to transfer data simultaneously to two devices?
    I never tried, but there is a reason for that. Let’s say you record the whole triathlon with Forerunner and transfer the activity to Connect. But the easiest way to transfer bike data to Di2 Statistics is from Edge because if connected via USB port, the fit file can be uploaded directly…

    • Zoltan

      ANT+ is broadcast, so you can record it on multiple devices. I usually have an Edge and a Forerunner watch recording all of my bike workouts.

    • Yup, correct, I often dual-record.

      There are only two cases I can think of where dual-recording can be tricky:

      A) If using a pedal-based power meter where crank length is specified, ensure both units have the correct crank length in them (i.e. both 172.5 or both 175mm, etc…).

      B) When recording a trainer with FE-C, ensure only one app/device is paired as the FE-C trainer. Meaning, if Zwift is controlling your trainer via FE-C, then don’t pair your Garmin Edge to it as well as an FE-C device. They’ll fight, and bad things will happen. Instead, pair the non-controlling app/device as just a regular power meter to the trainer.

  3. Ian Marchant

    Well… I tried the Amazon link!

    Not my cup of tea, but if that floats your boat 🙂

  4. fiatlux

    Looking forward to your triathlon report! I spent the whole day on the athletics track yesterday and it was indeed quite hot! At least in a triathlon you spend most of your time swimming and cycling, i.e. with a bit of water and air to cool you down.

    Speaking of triathlons, I just registered for a sprint later this month and my first ever Olympic Distance in fall. While the 945 was on my wish list but it looks like I might hang onto my 920XT a little longer… if only it had a swimrun mode (another fun thing you should try if you haven’t yet)!

    • Yikes, yeah, the track would be a hot place for sure!

      Good luck with the first triathlon – you’ll have a blast! Sprint triathlons are basically the playground crack of triathlons.

  5. For pools in Amsterdam you may want to check out the Sloterparkbad. Both indoor (50×20 meters), diving pool (5meters depth) and outdoors (25×15 meters) link to optisport.nl

    Not sure if taking pictures is allowed, I guess it has to do with the protection of children and privacy. Which is not a bad thing in itself, although it does feel strange that you are not allowed to take pictures of your own children.

    • Oh wow, that’s a great looking facility, both inside and outside. And about the same distance from home as the one we’ve been going too. Awesome!

    • Iris

      I used to swim in the Mirandabad and Sloterparkbad when living in Amsterdam. Mirandabad has a better outdoor pool, the Sloterparkbad has an awesome indoor pool. The Dutch swimming pro’s train there, which is awesome and demotivating when swimming in the lane next to them. I remember feeling elated that I could keep up with them for a short while, only to discover they were only practicing with a kickboard.

    • andre

      Another tip for families is the Amstelbad in Ouderkerk. It is run and nicely maintained by over 200 volunteers since Ouderkerk announced in 1991 that they wanted to close the pool for financial reasons. Friendly atmosphere, maybe a tiny bit old fashioned but in a good way, like it used to be when I was a kid myself. https://www.amstelbad.nl

  6. Family Joules

    Analyzer battery plot: I have found the % battery indicator on a number of devices to be unreliable, often indicating less remaining power than there actually is. In some cases, allowing the device to run until it shut off due to low battery level caused the indication to recalibrate and become usefully accurate. What’s been your experience with this?

    • Yeah, battery % is an imprecise science in many cases. Most companies tend to error on the side of caution too, both from a shutting down standpoint as well as battery remaining standpoint.

  7. Hi Ray,

    Did you have MARQ configured with GPS+Galileo? It seems similar to the bug that is present on the Edge’s 530 and 830.

  8. MAGNUS

    I see you have the 530 there as one of the sources, I’m still unable to see/read any data recorded on my 530 on the analyzer site/tool.

    • Huh, that’s odd. Ok, I’ll go circle back. Now I remember you had sent me that file. Very odd.

    • MAGNUS

      Just uploaded today’s ride and it is showing/reading data as expected… Though my earlier uploaded rides are not.

    • Funny, you were about 5 totem pole e-mail notches away from me replying back (super close actually). Let me know if it continues.

      I know we deployed a few tweaks a week or two ago based on some stuff we saw in recent Garmin FR945/MARQ files, but we hadn’t seen it occur yet in Edge files. Still, let me know if it pops up.

  9. Piet Barendse

    In most swimming pools in the Netherlands you will probably not be allowed to take pictures, especially now with GDPR in action. But mostly just because people misused it to take pictures of (mostly) girls in swimsuits, either for their own pleasure or to post them on intermet… Yes, some people have sick minds.
    As for icecream in Delft: you missed out if you didn’t get it! Uhm, that is… I just read in another window that Van Bokhoven (a famous icecream shop in Delft) quit years ago, but the good news is that they are planning on coming back.
    Delft is quite a nice town, we go there regularly as it is rather close by and a nice ride by bike from our home.

  10. David

    I did a Century ride this weekend (100 miles). We were both riding a course, so turn-by-turn mapping was on the entire ride.My wife and I have brand new Garmin Edge 830’s. She was connected to a single-sided Vector 3 and an external HR strap, rode 6.5 hours and had 65% battery remaining. I was connected to a dual-sided Vector 3, external HR strap, and Varia radar (the new version), rode 6 hours and had 52% battery remaining. The Varia appears to have impacted the Edge’s battery less than I expected.

  11. Dolan Halbrook

    I’d love to see you do a battery burn on the Scosche Rhythm 24 vs Wahoo Tickr fit to see how they each stack up.

    Also, Delft is a great town. Spent 2 weeks there with my family (pretty close to where that canal photo was taken) and loved every minute of it.

  12. Hello Ray ! any chance you sign up or visit the Challenge Almere in september ?

  13. David Hughes

    Hey Ray

    Have you heard anything from Stages recently? Getting close to their stated release date so would have though review samples would be out in the wild by now. I’m kinda losing hope of these showing up!

    • Yup, I received final production units for review on Monday, though I’m out of town for a few days so didn’t have time to unbox before I hit the road. Shipping starts the 10th.

    • Dave Hughes

      You mean they are finally going to be out there! It’s been a long road! lol Really interested in the L10, hope you’ll be doing either a separate review or at lease go over the differences when you get chance to do a video.

  14. JJS

    Hello Ray,
    once again the Marq on your wrist… 😉
    Can you say something when the in-depth-review for this watch is comming up? I’m very interested in your experiences (most of all if there are bouncing-problems while measuring HR). Thnx a lot for your very helpful work!!!

    • Dave Hughes

      You mean they are finally going to be out there! It’s been a long road! lol Really interested in the L10, hope you’ll be doing either a separate review or at lease go over the differences when you get chance to do a video.

  15. hunter marshall

    And do tell what watch that is you are riding with on the tri bike picture??

  16. Mikkel Andersen

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. Last year I rode a 200 km. gravel event. The last three hours of the race (out of 9,5) my Garmin 520 showed 2% battery, but it ended up lasting until the end (it went down to 1% for the last hour or so).

  17. Marc

    Any word on when the new Garmin firmware is going to be fixed? I had an update for my Fenix 5, and now it’s decided to start giving up during OW swims.