Week in Review–August 23rd, 2020


The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter and Facebook, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

Sports Tech Deals of Note:

Ok, not much left this week. Sorta a lull. But hey, if ya need a GoPro Hero 8 Black or AirPods, it’s still on sale!

ProductSale PriceAmazonOther siteSale Notes
Garmin Edge 1040 - $100 off$499The is the lowest price we've ever seen on the Edge 1040, and only the 2nd time it's ever been on sale in two years. It's still Garmin's top-end units, and still receiving new features via quarterly firmware updates.
Garmin Edge 1040 Solar - $100 off$649
Garmin Edge 540 - $50 off$299First time this has been on sale, and the lowest price to date. I personally prefer the Edge 840 due to the menus being a bit easier to use with a touchscreen. Both Edge 540/840 have identical buttons though for days you don't want the touchscreen.
Garmin Edge 540 Solar - $50 off$399
Garmin Edge 840 - $50 off$399This is, best I can tell, the first time Garmin has put the Edge 840 on sale.
Garmin Edge 840 Solar - $50 off$499
Garmin Epix (Gen 2) - $200 off!
$499⚡⚡ This is an incredibly strong deal. Especially viewed in light of all the non-Garmin AMOLED competitors charging far more for far fewer features. This non-sapphire edition doesn't have multiband, but testing has pretty clearly shown that Garmin's Epix non-multiband GPS is basically on-par with their competitors multiband config (see my NYC tests for that).
Garmin Epix Pro Series (All variants) - $200 off!
$699⚡ This is only the second time we've seen these on sale. This is probably my go-to watch these days (middle-sized one), with the singular reason I tend to choose it over the Forerunner 965, being the built-in flashlight for night.
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro (All variants) - $200 off (7S/7/7X Pro) - $200 off!
$599+⚡ This is only the second time we've seen the new Fenix 7 Pro series on sale, and it's a nice strong sale. The smaller Fenix 7S Pro watch has become my wife's go-to watch since it came out, for all of her training and 24x7 usage.
Garmin Fenix 7 Series (All Models/Styles) - $200 off!
$449+⚡This is a strong deal if you don't care about the new optical heart rate sensor (including ECG) of the newer Fenix 7 Pro, especially given the Fenix 7 series has received virtually all of the Fenix 7 Pro's new software features, keeping them essentially identical. $449 is the lowest price I've seen to date.
Garmin Forerunner 255/255S Music - $100 off!
$299This is Garmin's mid-tier running watch, and is a very polished option with good multi-band GPS, and of course, a boatload of running metrics. This model also includes offline music such as Spotify and Amazon Music.
Garmin Forerunner 955 - $100 off!$399This is one of Garmin's most popular running watches, and it's back down to the lowest price ever. I often use this in my accuracy testing comparisons when validating other watches, due to it's very strong GPS performance. Note this is the base edition without solar. It'd be hard to find any better deal in sports watches today, from any company (given this has full mapping, tons of new features even this week, etc...)
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar: $100 off!
$499See everything I said above on the Forerunner 955 base, except this one also has solar.
Garmin Varia Radar (RTL515) - $50 off
$149This is Garmin's standalone radar/taillight option, and $149 is pretty much the standard sale-price. This product is universally loved, and works with Garmin/Wahoo/Stages/Hammerhead/etc, and other bike computers.
Garmin Venu 3 - $50 off!
Garmin inReach 2 Mini Satellite Communicator (2-way) - $100 off$299⚡ This is my defacto satellite communicator when out of coverage area, and I've used it on a number of major treks over the past two years when well outside of cellular service, both in a 24x7 tracking mode for friends and family, but also there in case of emergency. Would strongly recommend for anyone doing anything in the wilderness.
Google Pixel Watch 2 - $70 off!$329
Suunto Veritcal (Solar edition) - $50 off$699

DCRAINMAKER.COM Posts in the Past Week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page this past week, as noted last week, I planned for this past week to be pretty quiet as I prep for this upcoming week

Monday: Week in Review – August 17th, 2020
Wednesday: Garmin Shows off Smart Trainer Integration on Fenix 6 & Forerunner 945
Friday: Suunto Rolls Out New Popular Routes & Starting Points App Features

So hold onto your hats folks, we’re in a for a wild week ahead…

Stuff I Found Interesting Around The Interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet (and in this case, some of these are from the past few weeks to clear out the backlog):

1) Ghost Pacer Heads Up Display Augmented Reality Glasses For Running: These glasses use augmented reality to see a virtual pacer overlaid onto the real terrain. It’s also probably easier to watch their video on their Kickstarter page. I’ve got a long history with trying out various glasses/goggles/etc for sports. I think this is a tough pitch, less because of the tech, and more just the Kickstarter timelines. Delivery of July 2021 is basically saying in Kickstarter lingo ‘Maybe early 2022’, which…is like five pandemics from now.


2) The Tour de France Starts Next Week – But Should It? Of course not, but that won’t stop it. I won’t be going this year – the first time in nearly a decade. I just don’t think it’s right to go at this point and add to the 3,000+ staff/riders/media/support organization situation that meanders across France for thousands of miles. Also, with access highly restricted (no team bus access even for media this year), there’s little reason to go for what I tend to cover (the tech). There’s always next year…hopefully.

3) The Case of the Top Secret iPod: This is just geeky interesting. Plus, remember Nike Running on the iPod with the old footpod? See, now it’s vaguely sports tech related.

4) Zwift Enrolls Ambassadors for Paid Support Tier: This actually might make sense. While these people won’t have access to personal information, they can easily help with the umpteen million questions on what a burrito is, and which way you stick your ANT+ dongle.

5) Apple Watch Continues to Dominate Smartwatch Sector: Though, Garmin now takes nearly 10% of the market, coming in at #2 – surpassing Samsung and others. As a reminder, the official and singular definition of a smartwatch is simply “one that supports 3rd party apps”. At least according to IDC, which isn’t the publisher of this study, but hopefully at least these groups can coordinate that definition this year. As always, that definition changes on a yearly basis, often to support whatever agenda said research firm wants to further.

6) Early findings from Fitbit COVID-19 Study with 100,000 participants: As with the other studies from wearable companies I’ve linked to, this doesn’t mean they can predict whether you have COVID-19, but it’s still interesting to see what companies are doing in this space. In this case, these specific metrics would do more or less the same thing for numerous other illnesses. However, their detailed symptom tracking of the 1,000 people who did test positive for COVID-19 was also super interesting (more of that data linked above).


7) 2022 Tour de France Rumored to have 1-week Women’s Edition: This would be a major step up over the last few half-hearted variants. Though, I’d prefer to see it run concurrently, as by the end of the Men’s Tour de France, the media covering such an event simply don’t care anymore. Running it concurrently (perhaps on week two) would make it easier for media coverage.

8) Random Tidbit Time: In the 1989 Cycling Tour de Trump (an actual cycling event), one of the Dutch teams was sponsored by a brothel. No kidding. Photo of said team (totally safe for work) at the Tweet above.

Sports Tech Device Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software, and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one-liners are perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?  Oh – and if you want to get a head start on things, this page is a great resource for watching Garmin, Wahoo, Polar, and a few other firmware updates.

Garmin Edge 530/830/1030/1030 Plus Firmware Update: A boatload of fixes/tweaks, new workout menu functionality, as well as various other minor changes. It’s a huge list though.

Garmin Forerunner 45 Firmware Update: Bug fixes.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Firmware Update: Bug fixes and added LiveTrack Course Display, plus other tweaks.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Firmware Update: Same as FR245 but also added Smart Trainer integration as noted in my main post earlier this week. Also, a bunch of other fixes/improvements.

Garmin Instinct Firmware Update: Mostly minor tweaks.

Garmin Instinct Solar Firmware Update: Added a number of minor things, including battery % in main menu (previously only showed when charging)

Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT/ROAM Firmware Update: Stability improvement and wheel circumference for LEV

With that – thanks for reading!

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  1. Gordon Goodtimes

    Do you anticipate commenting or writing a piece with your take on the Garmin ransom hack? I’m curious to hear your thinking here. Should I stop waiting? Just seems like one of the biggest Garmin tech stories and I’d love to get your take.

    • I don’t think I honestly have much more to add at this point. Maybe down the road if more insights are gathered, but I think most of the security folks sites like Bleeping Computer have covered it well enough.

      Outstanding questions are more around to what degree system were infected (versus being proactive shutdown). That’ll come out over time.

  2. Anirudh

    Is the 645 series being left behind? Don’t see it on list of updates

    • I checked with Garmin this week about it actually – at this point, in terms of new feature updates – “That ship has sailed.”

    • Stephen Thomas

      Also happens to be hugely on sale at Amazon. Music version is $285 in USA.

      Presumably means a Forerunner 655 is about to drop. TBH, I think when a Garmin device reaches end of life that’s about the time the software becomes stable enough to be non-frustrating to use. It seems possible that the 655 has been delayed longer than anticipated, which doesn’t bode well for a non-buggy introduction.

    • Anirudh

      Thanks for checking with Garmin. I’ll replace my 645 with a 945 or whatever version of 945 is available then. Do feel a bit stupid for paying full retail for my 645M, but I do use it a lot.

    • Dan

      I just received a firmware update on my 645. It went from 6.40 to 6.70, but I have no idea what changed.

      I’ve had this watch for 2 months and am disappointed with everything but the battery life. I went from using my phone with an ANT+ chest strap to the 645. GPS is no better, feels worse, and heart rate is much worse. The altimeter usually reads low, putting me below sea level at times. Just a bad experience.

  3. Paul appleyard

    2022 is a joke should have been years ago. It can’t be that difficult the only thing I can think of is the cost of the TV coverage as the setup they use is pretty complicated and I suppose it’s all sponsor funded.
    If they wanted to set an example they should do it at a loss to promote women’s cycling in the hope of gaining the sponsors for later years.

    • Yup, I agree. But if they can get commitments from towns now for then – that’s progress. I can see why pinning it on 2021 would be iffy right now, especially for getting towns to commit to it (which is in turn based on tourism, which could and will likely still be more limited next summer).

  4. Mike

    Bought an Apple 4 Cellular when it was released as I wanted to leave my phone at home, then I got a Fenix 6 as I wanted a device that supports Ant+, never worn by Apple since… still think the Apple is the best “Smart Watch” going, wonderful device, but for Sports, well the Fenix is in a different class, but I don’t class the Fenix as a Smart Watch, its a Sports Watch and I love it

  5. fusfeld

    Can we bribe Garmin to finally remove the little radar icon on the top right of Edge devices when the Varia is paired? It was a nice visual at first, but now seems unnecessary and takes up real estate

    • Tim

      I like to know it’s still communicating and not fallen off my bike on the roadside. I think I’d get a “disconnected” message too, but that little icon makes it super clear…

  6. Pete Parfitt

    So if I were to receive an invite to be a Zwift ambassador, presumably there will be a further elimination process as I can’t believe I am in the top 15-20 potential ambassadors in the UK (suspect many people received the email as I did)

  7. Tim

    Maybe not that great of deals, but thought I saw Garmin twitter advertising discounts on the VA 3 and… Fenix 5 series?

    Also, semi behind the scenes GPS update (2.70) pushed to FR 935 that seems to significantly improve open water swim tracking (course plotting, distance is more consistent too but always short). I think the same update went to Fenix 5 series?

  8. BikePower

    Regarding a women’s TdF, I’d actually prefer that it take place as soon as the men’s race ends. It gives the women the full focus that they deserve, and it pushes off the inevitable “end of the TdF” blues ?

    • Yeah, I can see the desire there. Unfortunately from a media coverage standpoint, most organizations throw all their money and resources at the TdF, and then those folks are beyond exhausted after three weeks of that.

      You’d get coverage from CyclingTips type folks that have dedicated women’s cycling resources, but not much else.

      Having been to the TdF so many times (and spent time with some of the women leading this charge), the ability for them to execute a women’s race roughly 1-2hrs ahead of the men’s race would absolutely be a lesser effort than an entirely separate race. However, for whatever reason ASO really doesn’t want to muddy those mens waters.

      You even saw that with La Course, it was insane how much effort they put into making it look like they didn’t care. Silly things like – you couldnt buy a La Course t-shirt/etc *ANYWHERE* on any of the days. Mind you, I get an e-mail daily from TdF (including just 8 mins ago) trying to pitch me t-shirts for the TdF. It’s the little things that people notice.

    • Dave Lusty

      I’ve never seen the issue with a womens race starting 10 minutes after the mens race. It would be awesome for people who hike for a spot on a mountain since they’d then get two 5 minute windows of excitement. It would be awesome for the press since helicopters could be shared, media would stay in one spot etc. It would be awesome for women because they’d get the same race, not some half arsed small pink version of it. It would be awesome for sponsors because they’d get more coverage for approximately the same outlay. It woudl be awesome for teams because mechanics would be in the same place. If the experts are right and women are slower then there’s no issue with the finish line being shared. If not, then we get awesome TV as women overtake the men on the mountain…win win.
      It would be terrible for sexist race organisers who try to block women in sport though, so it probably won’t happen.
      Oh well at least we have women’s downhill mtb to watch where there is far more equality.

    • Niels

      The Giro Rosa already has been taking place during the TdF for the last few years. If ASO would organize the Women’s Edition of the TdF in the second week, it would be really tough to have those stage races follow each other that closely. Maybe it would be feasible if TdF-W was organized in week 3 and Giro Rosa in week 1, bonus would be that men’s and women’s GC could end the same day and they could share the podium ceremony (or do they do that already?)

      I guess you’d want the Giro Rosa to be organized during the men’s Giro as well, but that’s not ASO’s call to make. And I think the Giro Rosa benefits from being organized during the TdF, it gets more publicity. For example in my country (Belgium), we have a daily talkshow during the TdF that covers the Giro Rosa as well (a little, the lack of good camera footage doesn’t help), but there’s no such talkshow during the Giro.

    • Yeah, I think though the Giro Rosa timing is a prime example of why the Giro Rosa fails from a coverage standpoint.

      Having gone to it last year for a stage, it was desolate. Like, kids soccer games have more fans on the sidelines than the Giro Rosa did. This, despite the fact that it was a time trial stage specifically designed well for fans.

      Just look at my photos from last year – nobody is around: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Niels

      Yeah from the local spectator angle you’re right, I was mostly thinking about television coverage and my own habits (I don’t really keep track of road races outside of the TdF and the Classics). But it is kind of depressing watching races with no spectators.

    • Harriet

      I agree although I’m sure there could be arguments made about the need for more cars etc and the risk of cars getting through if both fields bunch. But really it is just because the women remains a low priority and all the normal nonsense they spin. As a Yorkshirewoman (hosts of World Champs/TdF in 2014/Tour de Yorkshire etc) I can tell you that there are places that will turn out to watch a women only day.

      It’s so depressing that it’s 2020 and we are still having this conversation.

    • Yup, totally agree. One of these days I hope ASO comes around.

      In talking to the women last year, it was super interesting in that one of the key things they’ve shifted to doing is applying pressure to the sponsors of the men’s events (such as the Tour of California, TdF, etc…). And we’re talking big sponsors – the Coca Colas of the world.

      And what they found was surprising to them. They expected to walk in the front door and find hostility to equality, but in reality, many times these sponsors of events at the executive level didn’t even realize there wasn’t equality. Sure, for the TdF they knew that – but in many other more regional events (ToC for example) – it was a huge shift in the conversation.

    • BikePower

      I just finished reading Nicole Cooke’s book “The Breakaway” and I agree that it is a bit depressing that many of the same problems she was battling 20 years ago still exist today. However, things appear to be moving in the right direction for women’s cycling and the fact that there is a discussion about a women’s Tour de France happening on a technology site is an encouraging sign.

      I just hope that more people discover women’s cycling because often the women’s racing is more exciting than than the men’s. Plus, more diversity will only make the sport stronger.

  9. Ed Felker

    Ray you might revisit your Garmin software post. That big update for the devices you list comes after the last update bricked a number of 1030 units. It appears one issue has been having BT and Wifi concurrently enabled. I had two 1030 units in a row replaced by Garmin after the 9.5 firmware version caused them to only boot up after a soft reset which would delete profiles and BT pairing. Folks are already encountering issues with Version 10.0, see the forums.

  10. seth katzenstein

    Re the Forerunner 945,I saw in the 5.0 release notes something about support for workout videos. What’s this about?

  11. Mark J.

    Latest Element update seems to have borked the Di2 Gear field? I’ve used it for two bikes and now neither shows the current gear despite the Di2 showing up a a sensor. Anyone else use that data field?

  12. Andrew

    Ray – on the 830 update? Have you seen/ heard of issues? I put in on ahead of my Saturday ride and had repeated, probably a dozen over three hours of momentary drop outs of ANT+ radar (Garmin) and Powermeter (Quarq) and Bluetooth (Phone) each only probably a couple of seconds but the Scosche on the arm was fine and didn’t drop out. Seems like they have tried to get clever with the power management and taken it too close to the edge? This is of course ironic (also known as a bit of fail) when the updates purports to have “improved sensor connectivity” and iPhone pairing!

    On the plus side, its the first time in 3 rides that it hasn’t cut out at exactly the same point at the top of exactly the same climb before exactly the same turn so fingers crossed the random mid ride meltdowns have been sorted!

  13. Torkil

    What’s a burrito??? ?

  14. Jan Skvor

    I want to upgrade to Fenix 6 Pro in this year. Do you have any intel whether there will be new model of Fenix series in this year, please? I’m bit hesitant whether to wait for new model or not. Thank you

  15. Andre T

    Any plan to look at new FitBit devices?