5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

I still fail to understand how it’s mid-November already?!? The rain and ugly weather is mostly non-stop here, but at least that means (yet) more trainer time indoors. With my parents in town this week, here’s what we were up to!

1) DCR Gadget T-Shirt Came In!

Last year we designed a DCR sports-tech themed ugly sweater t-shirt, which was pretty awesome. We decided against a sweater itself, since for most people that has semi-limited appeal (especially if you’re in a warm locale). This year we tweaked the design and went with a red background. While DCR Open House folks will be able to order (and then pick up at the open house) the t-shirts, you can still get one here. All without the need to travel to Amsterdam.


And here’s a close-up:


Plus, there’s socks too (select drop-down)! Though, the socks haven’t arrived yet (below at right is showing the back-side with the heel).


Maybe they’re in Dutch customs jail. Who knows. Welcome to my shipping life. But hey, you can order them. So woot! And thanks to The Girl who once again did all the work organizing this.

2) 4iiii Fliiiight Smart Trainer Unboxing

First off, please 4iiii, I’m begging you – no more four iiiii’s per product names after this. My ‘I’ key on my keyboard is dying at a much faster rate than the others. With that public service announcement out of the way, the trainer itself (here’s my preview post), which comes in the skinniest box of all trainers:


It uses magnets to produce resistance against metal rims, but unlike the past STAC trainers (remember, 4iiii bought STAC) – this one doesn’t need any additional wheel weights on it. It’s just unfold the unit, clamp your bike and go.


Unfortunately, while boxing and setup went incredibly smooth – on the same silly-easy level as the also-new Elite Suito trainer….the actual first ride experience on Sunday hit a few hiccups. I’ve sent off an e-mail to figure out why I was having the issues I was, but after a few apps and devices, I gave up for the day and went for a run. Given the particular area that failed (FTMS control from apps) is something that STAC has previously had without issue, I’ve gotta believe it’s a software bug. In any case, hopefully it’s a quick and simple fix or idea and I’ll be back in business.

(Mind you, 4iiii simply joins *every other* trainer company this year with new 2019 early-season trainer issues. Not a single company has managed to avoid that list this year.)

3) Recording the Podcast

GPLAMA and I chatted for a couple of hours, though, only ended up recording about 60 minutes of it. The remainder would probably get us in trouble if we recorded it. We’ve joked it would be a great ‘after-hours’ podcast. Just once…maybe twice. And then nobody in the industry would ever talk to us again. It’s our equivalence of going to the bar on Friday after a long work week.


But, the recorded part is pretty good this week. And, it’ll be up shortly. I’m waiting on a comment on one itty-bitty item from a company before I concurrently publish my post (they’re getting back to me today).  I think it’s a pretty big item. Actually, it’s industry-changing. So stay tuned and watch on Twitter – because a lot of people will be saying ‘holy @#$#@’ – and you won’t even have to listen to the after show.

4) Off to the pool

Saturday we braved the endless rain and pedaled about 30 minutes across town to the big swimming pool place. It’s like an indoor water park (and in the summer, also an outdoor spot too). It’s awesome.

Though my parents (who are in town) thought the driving sideways rain was less than awesome. Win some, lose some.

Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures at the pool. So here’s a picture on the way to the pool:

2019-11-09 10.09.20

And here’s a picture on the way home – with both kiddos hard asleep in the bike:

2019-11-09 14.05.08

At least someone was dry during the ride.

5) Five Watches, 5 HR Sensors, One Peanut

Sunday late afternoon as the sun began to wane, I headed out with The Peanut for a run. P2 was asleep (with the grandparents), and P3 was also asleep out walking with The Girl. Also, I took a few watches:


For those counting at home, I had:

1) Apple Watch Series 5 (right wrist)
2) Garmin Venu (left wrist)
3) COROS Vertix (on stroller collecting data)
4) Garmin FR935 (on stroller collecting data)
5) Garmin FR945 (on stroller collecting data)

In general, when units are on the stroller they’re collecting heart rate data, GPS data, or whatever else. Speaking of HR data, in total here was the lineup:

1) Apple Watch Optical HR Sensor (right wrist)
2) Garmin Venu Optical HR Sensor (left wrist)
3) Polar OH-1 Optical HR Sensor (upper left arm)
4) MIO Pod Optical HR Sensor (upper right arm)
5) Garmin HRM-DUAL (chest strap)

The Peanut forgot her watch, a Vivofit Jr., sheesh, what a slacker! How can she expect to contribute to this data pool when she forgets the one device she needed to remember?

Turns out, it’s via taking photos. She had the GoPro Max, taking selfies and pictures of ducks:


(In case you’re wondering why I took Max over Hero 8, mainly because she can more or less shoot in any direction and it still magically works. 🙂

In any case – off we went. Just out along the river and then the lake. Nothing special route-wise. We had hoped to see some fuzzy cows in the woods, but only ended up seeing a few bunnies and horses. No worries, we had a good time:


And here’s that HR data, for fun. Ironically – it was exactly as you expect for a cool fall day: The chest strap struggled at the beginning (I had moistened it before the run, but by the time I got everything all set, it got dried out). The Garmin Venu struggled a little bit here and there (I was pushing the stroller with my right hand, the one with Apple Watch on it).


GPS data was mostly blah from everyone. Nobody got it spot-on, with many of the units skewing off into the woods.


Oh, and Strava…because you always have to include Strava.

BONUS Item: Sales Begin This Week:

I’ll have a much more detailed post later this week when the Clever Training VIP Sale kicks off (that’s the semi-annual one that gets you 20% off an item, straight discount, no points stuffs). But until then, there’s these deals below that are listed as part of the pre-Black Friday ramp up. It’s a thing this year more than previous years. Who knows if there will actually be any deals by the time we get to Black Friday. All these companies are pushing deals earlier and earlier.

Update: If you’re not a CT/DCR VIP member, you can enroll as a VIP member right now using code FREEVIPDCR and my link here. This will get you enrolled for free, versus the standard $20 fee (or $5 for DCR readers)

In general, most times you won’t see companies increase a deal on a specific product at Black Friday. Manufacturers and retailers go to great lengths to avoid that, because customers will simply demand the difference in cash back or say they’ll return and re-buy (which is at high expense to the retailer and manufacturer). So it’s pretty rare for something to get cheaper later in the holiday cycle (sales sometimes re-appear). In any case, here ya go:

Current Deals

ProductSale PriceAmazonClever TrainingOther siteSale Notes
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 3rd, 2019 @ 9:10 am
Apple Watch Series 3 (38mm)$169⚡ This unit recently got reduced to $199, and now it's down to $169. Walmart is also offering it for $129 on Black Friday weekend.
Apple Watch Series 4 - $100 off!$299⚡ This is a pretty darn strong deal. While the Series 4 doesn't have the always-on display of the Series 5, it has everything else, including a heck of a lot better battery performance/life.
Apple Watch Series 5 - $20 off$379It's a note a huge deal, but I also don't think we're going to see any huge deals this season on the new Series 5.
Fitbit ACE 2 - $10 Off$59
Fitbit Inspire - $10 Off$59
Fitbit Inspire HR - $20 Off$79
Garmin Cadence Sensor Gen2 (Dual ANT+/Bluetooth) - $5 off$35Note: This is a random Amazon deal that will probably disappear. But, it's a great sensor for Zwift usage as it's not just dual ANT+/BLE, but dual-BLE atop that (so it can do two concurrent Bluetooth connections and unlimited ANT+ connections).
Garmin Descent MK1 - $200 Off$799
Garmin Edge 530 Cycling GPS - 11% off!$265⚡ ⚡ This is the first sale we've seen on this unit, which only came out this past spring. It's also an Amazon-specific sale and is highly unlikely to last long. This is one of the main units I use for my day to day riding and testing.
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X) - $150 Off$449⚡This is a strong deal on the Fenix 5 Plus series. This is for all models/variants. Obviously, the Fenix 6 came out two months ago, so don't expect major new feature updates on the Fenix 5 Plus - but still, it's a strong option.
Garmin Fenix 5 Series - 50% off$299 and up⚡ Down to $299 is a substantial deal for the Fenix 5S & 5X (non-Plus), so don't expect much in the way of major firmware updates. But still, at that price it's solid. Heck, the 5S for $299 is actually the exact rose gold version that The Girl has (and still wears to this day).
Garmin Forerunner 35 - $60 Off$99
Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch - Normally $349$219-$236⚡ This is a fantastic deal right now. The price on Amazon is fluctuating a bit, but either way - by far the lowest we've seen. Awesome if you're looking to get into triathlon or just want a really capable running/cycling/swimming watch.
Garmin HRM-RUN (with Running Dynamics) - $20 off$79This is the odd (and unheard of) Amazon sale. This strap includes Running Dynamics, but is ANT+ only. Honestly, unless you really want Running Dynamics, I'd recommend getting the HRM-DUAL instead (it's dual ANT+/BLE).
Garmin HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM Bundle (30% off!)$139Another rare Amazon sale on the HRM-TRI & HRM-SWIM straps. Also individually for 30% off too at same link.
Garmin Instinct - $100 Off$199
Garmin Instinct Tactical- $100 Off$249
Garmin RD Pod (Running Dynamics) - 17% off$57Allows you to get not just Running Dynamics metrics, but also running power, on Garmin devices.
Garmin Speed Sensor Gen2 (Dual ANT+/Bluetooth) - $5 off$35⚡ This isn't a huge deal per se, but it is my favorite speed sensor for a commuter bike as it just quietly tracks all your mileage in the background and syncs it to your phone. Also, this falls in the bucket of 'random Amazon deals that will probably disappear'.
Garmin Tactix Charlie- $150 Off$599
Garmin Vivoactive 3 - Normally $249$126-$144⚡⚡⚡ This was as low as $99 over Black Friday weekend, which is absolutely crazy. However, even at sub-$150 it's still an incredible deal.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music - 30% off$199⚡⚡ Very solid deal, and remember, this includes Spotify support too!
Garmin Vivoactive 4 First Avenger Smartwatch- $50 Off$349
Garmin Vivoactive 4 Legacy Saga Darth Vader - $50 Off$349
Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 - $20 Off$49Sale includes all Jr 2 Disney and non-Disney variants
Garmin Vivomove HR - $50 Off$149
Garmin Vivosmart 4 - $30 Off$98** Amazon currently $98 ; Clever Training $109
GoPro Hero 7 Black with 32GB- $30 Off$299
Polar OH1 Plus Optical Sensor - 14% off$68⚡ This is one of my favorites, and I use it constantly for HR accuracy testing comparisons. Note that the CT VIP deal is a better deal, but since you can only redeem that for one product - this is handy if you still want a nice little deal. Deal varies based on which color you get.
Polar Vantage M GPS Multisport Watch - Normally $279$167⚡⚡⚡ Woah - this is probably the deal of the year for wearable tech. This is a great little watch that includes full multisport mode (for triathletes), as well as things like full power meter support and more. Very very solid deal.
Polar Vantage V GPS Multisport Watch - 30% off$349⚡ This is a reasonably good deal for the Vantage V, which has seen a number of updates over the last year (and more slated in December).
Power2Max NG Power Meter Sale - Free chainringsPower2Max is running a sale on their site where if you buy one of their power meter units you'll get either free chainrings (which you'll need), or 25% off electronics they carry (such as the Wahoo GPS units or Cycliq units).
Tacx NEO Bike Smart - $700 off (brand new but scratched units)$2,499⚡⚡⚡ If you're in the market for one of these indoor bikes, this is a steal of a deal. Normally $3,199 - Garmin/Tacx are marking $700 off after a batch of them got sent (brand new) across the pond with some "cosmetic" scratches. You can see the pictures in the sale link, and honestly, I'd take that $700 for a couple of very minor scratches. Plus, they ship within a few days.
Wahoo KICKR + CLIMB Bundle - $200 off!$1,599This is a simple bundle of the Wahoo KICKR 2018 + the KICKR CLIMB, for $1,599.

All the above links help support the site as well. Thanks!

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  1. Andrew M

    The heel just looks like 2 dudes with a surfboard. It works pretty well.

  2. David E.

    Whoa. Quite the tease there in #3. #dcrbomb

  3. Eni

    My very same thought exactly!! 😂

  4. JD

    I see another significant change in the Fliiiight vs Halcyon. Foot levelers.
    I slide a shim onto one leg of my Halycon to level it. Perhaps I should call it a Shiiiim and post it on Shapeways. 😉
    Foot levelers solve the issue and provide a much larger contact area than the Halcyon.

  5. Anthony LoSasso

    Those girls sacked out in the stroller is about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

    • Roady

      Not actually a stroller but inside the UA. The movement and I think ‘feel’ of the road just puts kids to sleep. My little guy was almost 2 before he stopped falling asleep during the ride to/from Nursery in a bike trailer. It was like clockwork every journey – within 300ft of travel he’d be out like a light!

  6. Kyle Blackketter

    Any chance of a review on the mioPOD coming up? I hadn’t heard of that one before and I’d love an upper-arm based OHR sensor I don’t have to charge every 4-5 days.My OH1+ is pretty great, but the battery life on it is so short that it won’t last through the week to my LR. It would be perfect if they had just doubled the size and used the extra capacity for a larger battery.

    • gingerneil

      Just what I was about to ask – I’m sure Ray is planning a review considering he’s using it.
      Wahoo ‘suggested’ that the features of the TICKR fit would expand. They havent.
      Schosche promised their ’24’ would do offline caching etc for Garmin. It doesn’t.
      The OH1 is too small and tends to flip over for me – the strap etc is poorly designed.
      Could Mio be about to come along and do everything that these others can’t quite manage ? They also seem to be pushing accuracy during ‘challenging’ conditions. Could we be about to see Mio back on the top of the optical pile. ?!

    • Yup, working my way through, probably up for next week as a review. I’ve got 3 workouts on it now I think. I had some initial app teething issues, but I think I’m past that right now (until I find the next issue I suppose).

      Ironically, I haven’t had the OH1 flip over on me in quite a while…and then on my ride just now it did it. Doh.

      The sensor is just a Valencell sensor – so in theory it’ll match the Scosche. In practice…ya never know. Track intervals in the morning.

    • gingerneil

      Awesome – I’ll keep an eye out for it. My Wahoo is working just fine, but love a new gadget!
      Whats the plan for the track ? It would be great to hear more about your training. Next goal race ??

    • Tim J

      Reluctantly, I’ve shifted the OH1 from my upper arm to the forearm just below the inside of the elbow. So far, this has helped keep it from flipping over, especially when I wear it with long sleeves. Polar should make it wider (in the across the strap direction) and use the extra space for more battery. That solves both issues with an otherwise great sensor.

    • Matt

      I’ve been using the tickr fit for a while. It’s got great battery (like 39 hours) and it’s been really accurate for me. Plus dual ant*+/BT.

    • Rob j

      I love the Polar OH1 with goggle clip for swimming. They could make the strap & it’s clip bigger. They should leave the size of the device the same.

  7. Marc Simkin

    Ray/Bobbie, would it be possible to get a more holiday neutral shirt, for those of us that don’t celebrate Christmas but the other holidays around this time of year?


  8. Robin White

    Are you using the Urban Arrow Poncho? We got one but the boss doesn’t wear it much

    • Definitely. If it rains, I wear it. Every time.

      The Girl actually didn’t like it at first either, and then she got the hang of it and now always wears it while raining. I think in general the issue is that the height of the UA with the rain cover on is pretty high for shorter riders – and then you compound that concern with having this floppy tent over you.

  9. Adam Rodman

    Curious if you have tried the new ApplePro earbuds and if they are any better about falling out of your ear (or not)?

    Adam Rodman

  10. Steve W

    sooo… is the rhythm 24 sale price $89 or $69…(need to replace my dead rhythm+)

  11. Steve W

    ooops sale starts today..i could’ve just looked 😞…$89

  12. Jonas Elmered

    My guess is that it is something about zwift. My google assistant feed on my phone managed to pick something up before the post was taken down:)

  13. Benjamin

    Point 3 is clickbait to keep me coming back! 🙂

  14. Pete Parfitt

    How about Zwift buying Elite, that would be fun!

  15. Tizzledk

    Keep us posted on the 4iiii Fliiiight (did I include enough i’s?). Anyway I am thinking of replacing my Direto with a Fliiiight or Kickr Core and I want to hear what you have to say.

  16. Robert

    Any plans on reviewing the Mavic Mini? I just don’t feel like I can ask Santa for it without hearing about the good, bad, and ugly from you.

  17. Andrew

    What happened to the rumoured Wahoo smart watch?

    • That’s what happens when people dig too much into *rumors*. 😉

    • Joe

      I attended a KICKR product demo at my local bike shop almost exactly one year ago. At that point the Wahoo sales rep was still previewing the watch. “We don’t have a multi sport watch… yet…”. Have got to expect that program has been deep sixed. The FTC photos were what, 2+ years ago now?

  18. Mike in Everwett

    4IIII FLIIIIGHT Smart Trainer questions,
    do the magnets spread far enough apart for fat / mtn bikes?
    Do any trainers handle mtn bike peddle surging realistically (lowest gearing on steep, lose hills) where you can’t just grind on a big front ring.

    If ya needed excuse to add a fat bike to the fleet.


  19. JeffX

    I wonder, When we can read your review of DJI Marvic Mini?

  20. thomaek

    it would be great if the Xmas t-shirt were available in smaller (toddler) sizes so that the whole family can wear them

  21. Andrea P

    Hi Ray,

    instead of typing “iiii” everytime why don’t you create a snippet/preference rule? In MacOS you can go to preferences→keyboard→text and create a simple rule to replece i.e. “4i” with “iiii” everytime you type it no matter the application used. Don’t have a windows machine around but probably there’s a similar utility available.

  22. Pieter

    Hi Ray, nice ugly shirt! Is the shirt clean: bio fabric and fair trade or is it really ugly?

    • The cotton shirt for the open house folks made here in Amsterdam are certified as “STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX”, which has a slew of certification criteria for both materials as well manufacturing sustainability that you can read up on.

      The ones from Teespring I don’t have in front of me at this exact second (in the wash at home, at the office), to check the tags.

    • Pieter

      Thanks for the reply! Standard is a first step: not harmful for our body. But unfortunately says nothing about ecologically / bio or labor circumstances. Difficult industry like also all the nice hardware we like so much.

    • From a labor standpoint, the underlying shirts are made in Germany (and the printing here in Amsterdam). Given it’s in the EU, I don’t believe there’s any real concern about labor circumstances.

    • GLT

      That article came up in my Apple News feed, so maybe I won’t give up on that app just yet. Most of the new device rumors & news have been from bloggers over the years. I imagine when the NDA is lifted we’ll see more details here.

      There is at least one other new Garmin device rumor floating around, so this may be an interesting holiday buying season.

  23. David S

    Have you ever done a review of running strollers? Which one do you use?
    I’m in the market for one but haven’t been able to decide which one yet.

    • No, I’ve been meaning too. We use this Bob model: link to amzn.to

      I love it, and I’ve actually used 2-3 other random strollers which claim to support running, and the main difference is the rolling resistance. The BOB just floats along. Also, I’ve seen the whole front tire recall thing a year ago, and frankly, it’s silly. It’s just people not knowing how to use a quick release skewer. It’s literally the exact same design as your bike wheels. Don’t get me wrong – I think the changes are grand, but I also think it’s typical Americana lawsuit overblown-ness for people not reading the manual.

    • David S

      That would be good. I’ve struggled to find any good comparisons.
      That’s thrown a spanner in the works, the BOB wasn’t the one is was looking at. I was considering the Out n About. Main downside seems to be fixed front wheel.
      Black Friday might make my mind up.
      Cheers for the reply. Keep up the good work.

  24. J.R.

    Any one need a bike. I have a Fuji 2000 fs men’s mountain bike. Great shape. Best offer