Summer marches on! Sometimes that includes indoor activities, and sometimes that’s including the great outdoors. But more importantly, sometimes that includes pizza. Here’s what I was up to this past weekend.
1) Zwift L’Étape du Tour Stage 2
As you’ll remember last weekend from this saga, during Stage 1 of the L’Étape du Tour, Zwift on my iPad crashed about mid-way through. That in and of itself wasn’t an issue per se (well, it was, but whatever). Rather, it was the way Zwift recovers from that crash that sucks. This has nothing to do with iOS or hardware. Basically, Zwift puts you back in the same spot on the course, but not actually in the race. And then a few seconds later it offers to take you into the race, but then moves you way ahead of where you left off. Thus, you skip over large parts of the race. I completed the stage nonetheless. Also, plenty of you reported similar issues.
In any event, this weekend I tried Stage 2. This time with a mere 5-month-old Windows machine that’s pretty well equipped. Once again, it *Zwift* crashed. Technically, it hung. I had set everything up well ahead of time, and was good to go. And yes, laptop atop the suitcase this week in the shed/garage thingy.
But then I noticed the Tacx trainer had dropped out of pairing for some reason a few minutes before the race when I got back to the bike. So, I simply went into the pairing, re-paired the Flux 2 over to ANT+ instead of Bluetooth Smart. No biggie. But then I saw the HR strap was off too (also originally via Bluetooth). So I went to re-pair that via ANT+ instead too.
And then the app hung. I gave it a few minutes. Nothing.
I then switched to other apps. Nothing.
Eventually, I killed Zwift and opened it back up again. By that point, the race had left, and I’d lost out on my timeslot.
Now, in this case I’m pretty sure the underlying Windows Bluetooth subsystem actually froze. But that’s not a valid reason to have Zwift freeze entirely. If that subsystem isn’t responding, then don’t hang your app forever. C’mon.
Two hours and another restart later, I completed the race. To Zwift’s credit, the course is really nice, and clearly leaves lots of opportunity for expansion – both with respect to new roads, but I think also with respect to the roadside content on existing roads.
It’s really well done:
Some of the smaller touches like having the white van/trucks at the top of the climb are so realistic of a typical TdF scene.
Well done there, looking forward to next weekend. Just…ya know…please don’t crash again.
[And yes, again, I know that plenty of people, including myself, frequently ride Zwift without crashes. For example, I’ve never had a crash using Zwift on Apple TV. But that wasn’t an option this weekend. I find large events are where the Zwift app crashes or handles crashes poorly. And judging by the in-game comments during the event this weekend and last, others often experience the same.]
2) Pizza & Non-Pizza
Realistically, we need more food in these posts.
Thus, I present you two items. First, pizza night with the kids. This is nothing special, we typically do it every Friday night. Everyone makes their own pizzas, and then they go on a generic pizza stone in the oven.
No, not a pizza oven. Just a stone for exactly 3 minutes. We’ve had a pizza stone forever. Someday…a pizza oven.
The next night though, we kicked it up slightly. I made two different dishes. First, this burrata dish, which sits atop prosciutto and then has a snap pea, regular pea, mint leaves, and then a microplaned bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano atop it.
And then after that, I did a balsamic and rosemary marinade flank steak. Except…uhh…I forgot to take a picture of that. My bad. It was awesome.
Both came from the Mozza, by Nancy Silverton.
I’ve had this book around for years (apparently 9 years according to Amazon), and it doesn’t disappoint. The burrata dish is one that takes probably 10-15 minutes total prep time, so it’s pretty quick and easy.
3) Watched Athlete A
When we lived in the US, we were a mere one mile from the movie theater. Easily walkable in fact. But after moving to Europe, we rarely go to the movie theaters (well before COVID-19). Typically that was language-driven, but sometimes also release-schedule driven. In the case of languages, while subtitles are fine, we’d prefer to watch an English movie in English. So when looking through movie listings you’d want the tiny “v.o.” next to it, which meant “version originale”, which in turn meant (in our case), the movie was shown in English as originally filmed.
Since moving to the Netherlands…well, honestly, with three kids now, we just haven’t had all that many date nights that we wanted to burn watching just a movie.
Point being, we now watch slightly more movies on Netflix instead. And this weekend was Athlete A. Here’s the trailer:
It’s one of those movies that you think you know the story, having seen the headlines over the past few years (but perhaps not really read much beyond that). But this is nuts.
I’d encourage anyone to watch it, but especially anyone involved in sports at a performance level, and also especially anyone with daughters. Absolutely bonkers and infuriating.
4) Biking to the Zoo:
With as much normalcy returning to the Netherlands as possible, especially over the last 5-6 weeks, one of those things is the Zoo. However, like many tourism-driven spots in Amsterdam these days, in order to go to the zoo you need a reservation ahead of time. No biggie, we just went online and did it last week for a Sunday morning time slot. Plus, being annual members we’ve gotta get our usage out of it!
After a week or two of mostly rain, it was finally a nice morning out for a ride across town. We ended up putting P1 and P2 in the cargo bike, and then P3 on The Girl’s bike. The trek across town took about 20-25 minutes, through parks, protected bike lanes and dedicated cycle tracks. You can watch the short time-lapse below:
Once there we did the things you do at the zoo.
It’s certainly different from before. And I’m not just talking about the baby elephant born two months ago there:
No, rather, how the Zoo is structured. Effectively they route you one-way through the entire park, no going back upstream. There’s a handful of animals you can’t get to, and they’ve taken away all the kid carts. Also of note is that some exhibits where you could walk freely with the animals (namely the lemurs and wallabies) were closed to people. Presumably to protect the animals from getting COVID as well.
But none of it was a big deal. The kids had a blast as always.
Then we rode home, back across the city, stopping occasionally to check out the sights.
Now, it’d be appreciated if we could have just a few more weeks of sunny weather. Not asking for beach temps, just…ya know…sun.
5) Not a DCR Open House
A year ago this weekend there was the first DCR Summer Open House. That included a morning bike ride followed by some BBQ and then the full open house. That was in addition to the annual winter open house we’ve always done in December for many years in both Paris and Amsterdam. Obviously, that couldn’t happen this past weekend. At least, mostly.
See, there’s one individual that’s managed to make it to *all* the DCR Open Houses but one. Yes, even the Paris ones. Harry is awesome. And he even lives here in the Netherlands. So this weekend he made his own DCR Open House ride. A mere 150KM of it! He started from somewhere down south, and then did a bit of a loop up towards Amsterdam and swung by the DCR Cave to get a photo there. Being Saturday afternoon, I wasn’t there at the time – but that doesn’t make it any less awesome.
So kudos to Harry. I’m pretty sure this means he can get extra credit for the one open house he missed many years ago in Paris.
Thanks for reading, and hope to see everyone at a real open house at some point when it’s all safe to do so!
When I lived in the Netherlands I found most of the cinemas showed the English language films in English. Although now I’m in the same situation as you with kids so rarely go to the cinema – but do get exuses to go to the zoo!
Yes, that’s true. Only children’s movies are sometimes shown in Dutch language (“Nederlands gesproken”). See also the map on Wikipedia: link to en.m.wikipedia.org
I guess France and the Netherlands probably represent two extremes in Europe in terms of attitude to common usage of the English language in everyday life.
interesting you call Delft “somewhere down south”. Technically you are right, but normally you would refer to Noord-Brabant or Limburg in that way in the Netherlands. You may want to brush up on your Dutch geography a bit 😉
My definition is simple:
Somewhere down south = Anywhere south of my current spot
Somewhere up north = Anywhere north of my current spot
Now that we’re brushing up geography anyway, that “somewhere down south” is called Den Haag, not Delft 🙂
Oops… so much for my smart-ass-ery… :-).
I feel like it’s a good route for the next year’s DCR summer gathering 🙂
Hey Ray. I always find my Flux works better over Bluetooth, so I stick to that these days. Not that it helps if the laptop’s Bluetooth module has a crap-out. Good luck for next weekend.
Anyway, I was wondering, do you have a particular pizza recipe that you follow? We have a pizza stone now but struggle to get them thin! Think I need to tweak my dough.
Yeah, it’s funny. I finished up a 2hr ride on it today, including Ventoux in Zwift.
It wasn’t ideal from a Flux connectivity standpoint. It dropped all connectivity multiple times. I was using Apple TV over BLE, but also recording on the side on a Garmin FR935 via ANT+. So I could see that it clearly dropped both sides, on two different devices.
Also saw a couple of cases where the power would ‘surge’ when the include was going between 2% and 3%, as if the trainer instantly was set for 15-20%.
As for pizza dough, no, we actually used flatbread this time. 🙂
You’re crazy, nicest weather of the summer and you cycle indoor?
Trainers to be tested…
I have given up on Zwift and Bluetooth on Windows 10. It basically never works for me. On two different laptops. Works fine on iPad and iPhone but not W10. TrainerRoad, however, works perfectly on W10 with Bluetooth. Never have had a single problem with TR or Sufferfest. So, I see it as a Zwift issue. It’s been like this for at least a year so I figure that Zwift just doesn’t care to fix it.
I really like Harrys shirt, but i cant ride 150km in it because it is chaffing on the upper torso.
Near the end, the shirt was one of the few things that was not aching…
Ray, you haven’t got the pizza oven yet?! I thought that you just had to do your chores one weekend!
I do, there’s one chore left. It’s basically just an e-mail. Maybe I’ll even do it now…
Ok, e-mail officially done. Though, I have to wait for a few volleys first…
Okay, I look forward to glorious pizza oven photos in a “5 random things” soon… and then you’ll have me wanting to get one! 🙂
It makes me sad to be in Texas and watch the rest of the world get their act together, sigh…
Dude, the gas fired Ooni’s rock. I have the original, bought it a year ago, and wasn’t able to use it much other than a big party that it handled really well. I’ve been using it a lot this summer. It’s worth it.
Harry, that shirt is absolutely marvelous!
Now if those eyes were on the back, it would really scare off the wheel-suckers.
Awesome jersey Harry!
Garmin USB Ant and Windows 10 just works. I use Zwift a few times a week, work in IT and it’s flawless. I know you used to do this for a living and still do sort of……so you really know your onions 🙂 I’d say Windows, Zwift and Bluetooth are a bit weak but at the end of the day Harry’s shirt is fantastic and that’s all that matters #superfan.
Yeah, I agree. Normally Windows + ANT is the more stable option. But…the BT stack hanging shouldn’t permanently take down Zwift.
I was in the same race as you Ray, and it was really funny once the word got out that you joined the ride, everyone was like, is this the real Rainmaker and after you affirmed everyone felt they were cycling with Wiggins. Your celebrity status is real!
It’s funny isn’t it – I had a similar experience in the one I did (probably the one that crashed for Ray) because Shane Miller / GP Lama riding it. The other 4,090 of us were immaterial. 😉
Haha… nah, I’m just pedaling along suffering like everyone else. 🙂
Athlete A was on my watch list this past weekend as well. It was shocking. I say that both in terms of the depth but also (or perhaps especially) the breadth of what was discussed in the film. I’m very glad that the documentary was produced, in part becuase while I think a lot of people in the US and perhaps a handful of other countries consumed enough news to grasp what was going on with regards to Nassar (at the surface level), I don’t think most people were aware of everything else that was covered.
The segment towards the end that discussed the implications of [women’s] gymnastics becoming a younger sport in terms of athletes and how that has played a part in the abuse of all types that has been effectively been sanctioned within the sport (in the US but I’m sure elsewhere as well) was both chilling but made complete and utter sense in the worst possible way.
“The segment towards the end that discussed the implications of [women’s] gymnastics becoming a younger sport in terms of athletes and how that has played a part in the abuse”
Indeed, that was my thoughts as well – and as soon as they started dissecting that, it was a bit of a ‘Woah, now it all ties it together’ type moment.
Some sports have additional/higher minimums for age, that might help in this area. Though, I suspect in most sports the point where an athlete reaches their peak is usually higher in age by default.
The chart shown here is pretty fascinating: link to thestatszone.com
Have you looked at one of these pizza ovens? Both companies are out of the UK and EU. I’ve been using an older Uuni/Ooni 3 and they yield fantastic results.
link to ooni.com
link to us.gozney.com
Yup, the Ooni one is the one we’re looking at. Or, I’m looking at! 🙂
That was an awesome tome-lapse of the ride to the zoo, the cycle lanes looked so empty. Was that a function of Covid, time of day, a sudden transition of the Dutch population to SUVs and pick-up trucks…?
It was around 9:15 on a Saturday morning, so…pretty quiet. Had it been a normal summer, you’d see more tourists out and about, but even that point is still pretty quiet for most tourists.
Based on our experience here, the Dutch don’t do ‘early mornings’ on weekends. And by ‘early’, I mean anything that’s a single digit hour. 🙂
On some of your posts you mention that you are testing an upgraded version of the Flux 2 trainer (2.1). Is that a HW upgrade or firmware upgrade?
Hardware mostly. Review out sometime today I think/hope.
I see what you mean about Zwift crashing on these big events! I tried one of the ‘Discovery Rides’ on the new stages, and after Zwift crashed on my MacBook four or _five_ times, crashing so hard that it forgot my password, I gave up. Something was deeply broken there. Note, it’s never crashed on my Mac before. I run it on the Mac because it seems more solid there than on AppleTV.
This is intended for you and, especially, Shane. My question is- what is the love with videos? Especially Shane? Why would I want to watch a 10 minute video for something I could read in two minutes? I am not against video in general. Just that I think that is should be used only in cases where is actually adds value compared to reading. How to operate something or demonstrating what is does are things that come to mind. But a video of taking something out of the box or reviewing the specs are things that seem to be a waste. I think that videos should be short and sweet and get to the point. On your site I skip most of them. On Shane’s site I skip almost everything. Because I can’t stand taking 10 or 20 minutes watching someone take something out of a box or assemble it. How about a 1 minute video of the tricky part of assembly instead? And the rest is text and pictures? It’s less of a waste of my time and I might actually watch it.
Ultimately, it’s just different audiences.
I’m generally in the same camp as you. I’d much rather a written pile of text I can scan in 30 seconds to see if it’s in there or not, and then read more deeply on the sections I need.
But ultimately, a LOT of people want video reviews, and consume their content via video instead of text. That especially varies based on the topic. For example, for things like action cam or drone reviews, video is often a better way to explain concepts. Whereas power accuracy of a power meter, probably less so.
Ultimately though, I find very little crossover between people who watch my YouTube channel (nearly 200,000 subscribers), and people who read the site (roughly 2 million people/month). It’s funny, the number of times someone on the street will come up and say “Hey man, love your videos!!!”, but then know nothing about the site here.
Actually, just tonight while riding home (in the cargo bike with another bike atop and another trainer), a guy on a road bike all kitted up, slowed down next to me and said ‘Hey man – watch your videos all the time, great stuf!’, and that was that.
For things like unboxing videos, it’s low-effort for me, with relatively high payout. I can shoot a straight unboxing video in 20 minutes, edit it in 30 mins, and upload it in 10. This GoPro Hero 5 Unboxing video (link to youtube.com) is a great example of that. And total revenue to date from that video is $395 for an hours work.
Note: The vast majority of the time I’ll spend god knows how many hours on a complex video and get $12 in YouTube earnings. This TrainerRoad video from earlier this year (link to youtube.com) – a net total of $41.
But ultimately, yeah, just different audiences and preferences.
I think that the production quality of both your and Shane’s video are good. Just the baud rate is too slow for me.