Week in Review: October 18th, 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:

There’s still some leftover deals from Amazon Prime Day. Plus, you can always access all deals at dcrainmaker.com/deals

There are no deals currently.

DCRAINMAKER.COM Posts in the Past Week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page this past week:

Monday: Week in Review–October 12th, 2020
Tuesday: Amazon Prime Days Sports Tech Deals Round-Up!
Wednesday: Garmin Index S2 Smart WiFi Connected Scale In-Depth Review
Thursday: Strava Turns Off Flyby Feature For All Users, Have to Opt Back In
Friday: New US Partnership + $500 Gadget Giveaway: Backcountry.com & Competitive Cyclist!

Things I’m glad about: Only a handful of major product announcements remaining. And as such, some normalization and catching up with a few backlogged reviews (looking at you SRM X, Elite Tuo, Wattbike Atom 2020, and Peloton Bike+ reviews, among others…).

YouTube Videos This Past Week:

Here’s what hit the tubes over on the You of Tube, definitely don’t forget to subscribe there to get notified of videos the second they hit!

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:

1) Bears Testing Coolers: For realz.

2) Suunto delays Movescount changes: Remember those planned Movescount functionality disablements that were slated for this month? Nah, now next year sometime. That’s good news for consumers. Also good news is that the 30% loyalty discount for older units remains.

3) The physical effort & training that goes into doing the original esports: No, not Zwifting, but…playing games behind a computer.

4) Peloton sued by Icon Fitness over existing technology: It’s pretty much a right of passage in the sports tech industry to be sued by Icon Fitness, the king of suing companies for supposed patent violations (Icon does make hardware, but mostly buys up other patents from companies, also known as a Patent Troll). A brief look at this one and I’m pretty sure it won’t stand up in court. For example, Auto Follow, which is essentially ERG mode, has been around well before the timeframes mentioned, by RacerMate and numerous others. But again, Icon’s business is about buying patents to litigate. That said, Peloton is no stranger to the ‘litigate first, ask question later’ realm…so, takes one to know one. Or something like that.

5) Canadian Spin Class Studio Infects Over 60 people with COVID: Yes, this studio is somehow confused on why their COVID measures didn’t work. Oh, wait, I know: “It states masks must be worn indoors by everyone and cannot be removed until all riders are clipped into their bikes. Face coverings must be put back on before riders get off the bikes.” Seriously folks. Not kidding. They didn’t wear them during the actual high-intensity class indoors.

6) Rouvy Fall 2020 Updates Recap: They’ve added drafting, running, TT bikes, and of course…a price increase. The drafting was noted as a biggie this past spring when Rouvy held the Tour de Swiss virtually, which essentially just became a giant concurrent time trial (without drafting). Tariq runs through all the changes below.

7) MicroUSB Cable Tester: This is brilliant. Essentially you can plug any cable into it, and it’ll tell you whether it’s a charge-only cable, or a data+charge cable. This is useful if like me, you’ve got 9,283 micro-USB cables lying around. Funny enough, I just use the gazillion ‘Garmin’ branded ones that come with their Edge devices over the last near-decade, simply because I *KNOW* all of those are data+charge.

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 Forerunner 245 BETA Firmware Update: Bug fixes

Garmin Forerunner745 BETA Firmware Update: Bug fixes.

Garmin Forerunner 945 BETA Firmware Update: Bug fixes.

Garmin MARQ & Fenix 6 Series Beta Firmware Update: Bug fixes.

Garmin Instinct & Instinct Solar Firmware Update: Adds concurrent ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart HR broadcast, plus some bug fixes

Garmin Venu & Vivoactive 4 Series Firmware Update: GPS Improvements.

Polar Vantage V2 Firmware Update: Just bug fixes.

Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT/ROAM Firmware Update: Bug fix related to Di2.

With that – thanks for reading all!

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  1. Juri

    Will you pusblish a write up of the Garmin dev Conference? And detail the CIQ 4.0 /Ant+ news and such? :)

  2. Andrew

    My Movescount activities have stopped syncing with Sports Tracker?
    Is Sports Tracker also part of the transition to the Suunto app?

  3. Benjamin

    The Bear and Wolf centre in West Yellowstone is really good. Shame West Yellowstone is a bit of a dump, but it’s a natural entry point for anyone coming from the west.

  4. Kevin

    Re: the Spinco outbreak in Hamilton: I’m pretty sure this fiasco is going to lead to updated guidance from the public health authorities on gyms, requiring masks to be worn at all times. Hell, the gym I’m a member at does require them, and I’m still not going out of an abundance of caution.

  5. Karl Brumund

    Up here, the guidelines for gyms (Spinco falls under that category) is that you need to be masked entering/moving between equipment/exiting, but not while actually working out. The idea is that the mask might interfere with your breathing during a high intensity workout. It both makes sense (harder to breath) and doesn’t (you can be spreading more, if infected, when you are breathing heavily). YMMV if you agree or disagree.

    Like the other poster, I’m not venturing back to local gyms; just not comfortable enough. And my local gym closed down months ago. :(
    (Though as of tomorrow, all gyms/fitness and more are closed again in my region for at least 28 days).

    • George Pajari

      In Vancouver (BC/Canada) we have conflicting advice on masks in gyms. The local health authority states “While the use of masks for prevention of COVID-19 among people without symptoms in non-healthcare settings is generally not recommended by Vancouver Coastal Health, some people using the facility (including staff and customers) may prefer to wear masks.” but the local occupational safety authority (WorkSafeBC) states “Fourth level protection (PPE): If the first three levels of protection aren’t enough to control the risk, consider the use of masks.”.
      I see a personal trainer for 1:1 strength sessions once a week. The two of us are the only people in his studio, and we’re both wearing masks and maintaining 2m physical separation. My trainer recommends the UnderArmour mask because it works well even when breathing heavily (it’s stiff enough to stay away from the mouth even when inhaling forcibly – but as it’s strength training, there’s not as much heavy respiration as in a spin class.)

    • Yeah, I think ultimately everything is about balancing risk (with reward, I suppose). I think there’s a reasonably significant difference between two individuals in an otherwise empty facility/room (masked), whilesocially seperate…versus having a class with umpteen people unmasked in a single room, breathing heavily for 45-60 minutes.

  6. Neil Jones

    I feel like I’m not getting something with the GoPro Max Lens Mod. If I’m understanding this correctly, Horizon Lock is meant to be a unique feature of the Mod which isn’t available on the standard GoPro HERO9. However, as there’s no electronic or physical authentication involved in the Mod, all I need to do is lie to my GoPro and say I’ve attached a Max and suddenly the Horizon Lock option is available, and what’s more, it even seems to work perfectly fine from my quick test just now. That can’t be right, can it?

    • Everything you wrote is correct. However, the challenge is that depending on the exact resolution you’re in, then you’ll see wonkiness. For example, kick it up to 5K, and it all goes weird, because it needs that extra space.

      Whereas, 1080p in narrow is probably fine. I did some early toying without it a month ago, but haven’t dug into all the use cases, or the lens clarity aspects.

  7. Brandon

    Hi DC quick question if you don’t mind about some of these Garmin devices that have training effect etc on them (like 645, Fenix etc). If you record a workout using a connect IQ app will you still get training effect and some kind of training volume from that workout? Or does the workout have to be completed in one or Garmins preloaded activities? I’m thinking more about Will anything show for training effect or volume on the connect phone App as I assume the watch won’t show anything during or post workout as it relates to training effect on another developers app.

  8. Stanislav Radkov

    Would there be a recording from your State of the union (or whatever it was called) this year? I really enjoyed your talks from previous years! I know it was available to stream but unfortunately could not watch it live.

  9. Artem

    Just noticed that Garmin recently unveiled D2 Air watch (with Amoled screen). Any plans for reviewing it? If D2 Delta is kinda Fenix for aviators, what is the D2 Air then?

    • Indeed. It looks cool, but no plans to review it. It’s basically just Venu hardware. And since I lack an airplane, it’d be hard to test unfortunately. :(

    • Artem

      Ray, thanks for the quick answer. Venu software means no mapping…a bit disappointing since D2 Air costs 500 EUR, and Venu ~ 300 EUR.
      Regarding the lack of airplane, I think in one of the previous reviews you mentioned something about being aviation geek and getting pilot licence at some point. I hope this point is getting closer and closer to you every day!

    • No mapping to my knowledge. I suspect we’ll get there, but I’d imagine Garmin would launch that on a higher end watch.

      I am definitely a huge aviation geek, and started my private pilots license many years ago, but wasn’t able to finish it before moving to DC (where it’s far more difficult to complete due to the ADIZ). Someday…

  10. Alan James White

    Watch and equipment reviews are useful. I am wanting something more. I need help improving my metrics. Such as: stride length, run cadence, vertical ratio, ground contact time balance, and, of course, V02 max. I would like for Mister Rainmaker to discuss these variables, one at a time in a series of in depth videos. I need to know exactly what these numbers mean and what I can do do improve my results.

  11. Chris Capoccia

    for the SpinCo case, lots of gyms operate classes that way, so I wonder if there isn’t something special going on in this case. Maybe a contagious instructor was walking between bikes yelling without a mask? Spin classes without music sound pretty boring. Also found an update story with a good infographic about the spread link to cbc.ca

    • Raul V

      In the say 5 pieces about this case no mentioning of the air circulation aspect. Does the rest of the world not know about this? In Europe (at least some countries) we do!
      It’s still not fully accepted by the people responsible for all policies since the early days but that’s considered to be fear of being held responsible for all that has gone wrong.
      A closed circuit system works like a distributor!!

  12. TK B.

    There isn’t an option for me to reply to your post for the backcountry give away. Maybe you’ve reached you maximum amount of comments allowed?

    Anyways, here are my weekend workout plans:

    Saturday: 2 hour 30 min endurance bike
    Sunday: 1 hour run followed by a 1 hour bike

    • Hi TK!

      The entry period ended on Monday evening unfortunately. Doh!

      Fear not, I’m hoping to get back into the previous monthly rhythm of things with them going forward. Also, I usually have 1-2 DCR Supporter Only giveaways as well each year. :)


    • TK

      Totally missed that! Lol. Love your content. It’s so helpful, informative and funny too. Look forward to reading and watching for many years to come.

  13. Larry Marshall

    Put me down for the giveaway, will be doing a 6 mile esy run and planning for a backpacking trips to Arkansas the following weekend. Larry

  14. balandreau

    Hi Ray, I came across frontier X product which should be the first medical HR chest strap for athlete? They apparently tested vs Holter monitor. Any plans on reviewing it ?

    • Hmm. I think it’s honestly a bit niche for me, especially at that crazy price point.

      Generally speaking, HR straps are pretty reliable these days – and I’m honestly not seeing anything in this strap that makes it more accurate than others. Instead, it appears the bulk of their pitch is around the software platform, training load/etc type stuff – which I think most athletes are getting from their watches these days.

      It does have ECG functions, though, unlike an Apple Watch/Fitbit/etc…the disclaimer notes it’s actually not a medical grade/approved device. In fact, no part of their device is.

      So while I think they might be doing some interesting bits for the training ‘extras’, I’d struggle to see there being that much interest in a device like this in 2020, since virtually everyone that would want a device like this already has a HR strap that does all of it.

      Perhaps there’s a market for a de-bundled version of it. Such as a $99 HR strap without all the software features people aren’t going to need.

      Just my two cents…

    • Balandreau

      Thanks for the reply. They told me they are getting it fda approved.
      Agreed not for the hobby runner but competitive athlete.
      I believe more than anything is the data that could show any heart malfunction. We know in endurance long term effect might induce heart damage as well as viruses can trigger it too. Might not replace the cardiologist but be a complement to it.

    • Drew

      It is being heavily marketed on social media but quickly reading the blurb it is not clear to me what it does. It seems to be a mishmash of quasi-medical and sporting features and the cost is crazy (because its medical … but it isn’t). Optical HR devices for sport have come so far that I have stopped using a chest strap. They can even make a stab at beat to beat variability at rest. The only reason I can see for using a strap would be for real time R-R variability during exercise as an alternative intensity measure, perhaps with R-R variability zones. These would be cool as they would adapt naturally to your state of recovery and also in exercise fatigue. FirstBeat have some algorithms based on R-R variability. It is not clear to me that Frontier-X does this. The Garmin CIQ API does not expose a field with R-R variability during an activity. It is not available on my old FR935. I suspect Frontier X is all mouth and no trousers!

    • Marcus

      Might be worth looking into it again and checking out the newest version. There are not far away from getting medical device status in the USA.

  15. Kasha Williamson

    Fourth frontier? Cardiac issues and would like to see your thoughts on this new product.