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A Few Random Things I Did This Weekend

With things slowly getting back to some portion of normal here in the Netherlands, it’s probably time to bring back the ‘5 Random Things I Did This Weekend’, perhaps even with some element of consistency too. But, given things aren’t entirely back to normal yet, we’ll slow-roll into this with ‘A Few Random Things’ instead. Don’t want to be seen as getting ahead of ourselves.

Plus, most of my random things this past weekend involved just a lot of swearing at the installation of some smart window blinds, and everything associated with it. So, we’ll skip that section, and instead focus on, well…everything else.

1) Cross Town Lunch Date

By and large, dining at restaurants has been closed in one way or another since last fall here. There’s been pockets of allowances pre-Christmas, but most things have been closed until about a month ago. Except flower shops. Those have been consistently open forever. Can’t be the Netherlands without flowers!

Thus, it’s only been the last few weeks that we’ve been able to even eat outdoors at restaurants (indoors just opened up this Saturday in fact). And this past Friday, The Girl and I took advantage of some sunny weather to enjoy one of our favorite spots in the city. We typically try and get away for daytime dates, since otherwise we’d have to arrange for a babysitter for all the kiddos. And that’s virtually impossible right now.

In any event, we cycled across the city, with The Girl in the cargo bike, and me pedaling it.

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I’ll save the picture for the return. The restaurant, De Kas, is in a greenhouse, though, as of Friday indoor dining wasn’t allowed yet. So we were outside on the terrace. Here’s what that looked like:

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Their ‘thing in life’ is that they grow almost all their own produce, either at the greenhouse, or at their farm just outside the city. They also have a handful of other growers in the fields around them for a few specialties. Though it’s not purely vegetarian, but heavily vegetable-focused.

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I didn’t really take many pictures this time. So here’s just two:

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Mainly though, the money-shot was this photo on the way back. It’s of a certain someone continuing the lunch date on the way back to work.

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I don’t think anything useful work-wise was accomplished the rest of the day Friday.

2) DCR Supporter Quarantine Corner Episode

Actually, I stand corrected! You know what was accomplished Friday? The Girl finishing up the editing of the DCR Quarantine Corner Episode 24 – for DCR Supporters. This one was unique, as we actually filmed it from the bike!

For those not familiar, the Quarantine Corner it’s a lighthearted video series about some of the behind the scenes bits from the world of DCR. Think of it as an extended version of the sorta-not-so-weekly DCR newsletter, skewed towards mostly non-technical stuff, with both The Girl and I. Generally, the goal is to shoot the Quarantine Corner in a single take with minimal fuss on lighting/video/etc. It started over a year ago, shooting from the kitchen table during lock-down, then moved to the Gondola at the DCR Cave last fall, and then back home to the shed for the winter with renewed lockdown.

But this time, we took it outside! With The Girl and I mic’d up, we chatted about a wide range of topics, here’s the official topic list.:

– Kicking off next to Amsterdam Central Station
– Special (fur) guest Lucy
– Where is everyone?
– 1 week, 3 watch reviews!
– Garmin Forerunner 945LTE
– Hooray for Emergency Assistance integration in sports devices!
– Photoshoot at Rijksmuseum
– Garmin Forerunner 55 – That’ll do Donkey
– Cargo Bike Suspension techniques
-Tour de Vondelpark
– Suunto 9 Peak – Gifting you a GPS cheat sheet!
– Return of the Ray and Bobbie running day dates
– After almost an entire year, we ate at a restaurant again. It was glorious.
– 4 weeks into it… children’s blackout blinds still aren’t finished.
– Minimal amount of bloopers (sorry!)

Here’s about 4 minutes (out of the full 30+ minute episode, with a few bits from the first chunk montaged together for this teaser). Most videos are 18-24 minutes long, with the occasional late-night-too-many-drinks-in-the-shed longer video.

I think we’ll shoot some more Quarantine Corner episodes from the bike this summer, exploring different parts of the greater Amsterdam area – and maybe elsewhere.

You can sign-up here for access to the QC episodes (including all past episodes and everything else special), via becoming a DCR Supporter. Plus you get an ad-free DCR, and a few other tidbits here and there. Oh, and you can watch an extended montage of a bunch of episodes over the past year there as well.

3) A Farmland Loop:

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My plan yesterday was relatively simple: Just go for a ride.

I mean, I suppose it was more detailed than that: Just go for a ride with the Wahoo BOLT V2 for at least a couple of hours.

Then I decided that I could also do a few more: Just go for a ride with the BOLT V2 for at least a couple of hours, and while I’m at it, test LTE power-saver burn rates on the Garmin FR945 LTE and with the Suunto 9 Peak too.

But wait, why stop there? Just go for a ride with the BOLT V2 for at least a couple hours, and while I’m at it, test LTE power-saver burn rates on the FR945 LTE and with the Suunto 9 Peak too, while also linking up the Supersapiens unit I’m testing to the Edge 530.

And then I decided I should get a bit more optical HR data for the Mio Pod maybe-review: Just go for a ride with the BOLT V2 for at least a couple hours, and while I’m at it, test LTE power-saver burn rates on the FR945 LTE and with the Suunto 9 Peak too, while also linking up the Supersapiens unit I’m testing to the Edge 530 via Connect IQ, and of course having the Mio Pod record heart rate data.

But of course, in reality, here’s what happened:

1) The Supersapiens Connect IQ app wouldn’t talk to the sensor, via my phone, for a slew of potential reasons that might be ‘Ray issues’.
2) The Mio Pod simply wouldn’t stay on for more than 2 minutes, because, it always does that.
3) The BOLT V2 crashed 45 mins into the ride, rebooted, and then crashed and powered off (permanently).
4) I couldn’t use the Edge 530 as a backup to route my Strava route, because my Edge 530 won’t sync Strava routes the same day, it only has 2-day delivery/shipping service or something (I’m serious, I don’t know why, it’s been that way a long time, I just haven’t gotten around to troubleshooting it.)
5) The FR945 LTE in power saver mode? Oh, that actually worked flawlessly. In fact, better than flawlessly.
6) Also, the Suunto 9 Peak performed perfectly.

In short, this was something of a typical ride. I had many mission objectives, and individually, most of them seemed to fail in some way or another. Though, I think only the Supersapiens one is one that may be a ‘me issue’. In short, Supersapiens is only available for certain EU countries right now, and thus, they briefly mentioned something about having a US Garmin Connect account is blocked for pass-through. Though, I did have it working just fine on my FR745. So while I could load the app, it wouldn’t talk to my sensor (which it has to do via the phone).

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So, I wouldn’t blame that entirely on them yet. Mind you, it’s someone’s problem to solve that isn’t named Ray, but I haven’t decided whose problem yet. As for a Supersapiens review? Sometime later this summer. I think I’ve got enough patches for two months or so. I’m about a week or so into it right now, and simply have far more questions than now (which, is normal). Also, I saw the UCI banned it today, so that’s less than optimal for them.

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A number of you reached out after seeing some of my Instagram stories on Supersapiens, so I’ve got a slew of great contacts for talking more in-depth about that and similar technologies once I get to that point. But again, right now I just want to collect a bunch of data.

As for the Wahoo BOLT V2, I don’t know. I sent the debug data over to them. I don’t think it likes the Netherlands (well, I know it doesn’t). I also don’t think it likes me.

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On the Mio Pod, I frankly don’t even know why I’m trying anymore. I’ve been trying for about a year, even went out and bought another unit. It’s just horribly inconsistent with itself on whether or not it ‘stays’ on. I sent them a note too, so we’ll see if they have any answers. Though honestly, I’m not really sure the value prop is there, even when it does work (compared to the always-works and more functional Polar Verity Sense).

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But the ride itself was great. Obviously, I had a route planned (about 68KM), but without a way to route it, I just kept checking the Strava app on my phone occasionally, and then free-styled the rest. Super nice day out, and ultimately ended up at 80KM of Dutch countryside and towns.

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And as for the Forerunner 945 LTE? I had plopped it into LTE-only mode, but in particular a LiveTrack low update rate mode, that only updated the LiveTrack every 5 mins (as opposed to every minute).

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It didn’t change any of my data at all (still every 1-second), and instead just batched that data update together for LiveTrack every 5 mins, but even backfilled all the data within that five mins. This nearly doubled my battery life, with it showing a time of ~23 hours of capacity with LTE-on this way (versus 9-12 hours of LTE-on of what I’d normally see at 1-minute intervals). That’s huge!

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And thus I had one successful tech thing. Oh, I suppose the Polar Verity Sense worked too. It always does. And as noted, the Suunto 9 Peak seemed good too (though, I haven’t looked at HR data yet).

With that, we’ll wrap things up. I’ve gotta continue installing smart blinds. Plus, I can’t have this post growing into a complete ‘5 Random Things’ on the first return day. That’d be getting just a bit too excited.

Thanks for reading!

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34 Comments

  1. Tim

    I wonder if they would consider other LTE update rates if it makes that big of a battery difference, or other “smart recording” like algorithms? Some kind of Speed/Distance based algorithm vs time based?

    • Yeah, I’d agree. If we look back at the GTU10, it had a slew of update rate options that made huge differences. I could see it being even more impactful on other products with larger battery capacities.

      Ultimately, it’s still *very* early days for Garmin & LTE in wearables. So I suspect we’ll see lots of iterations.

  2. Martin

    Hi Ray,

    Very interesting how much the LTE update rate affected battery life. Do you know if messages sent to you via LiveTrack are affected by the update rate or if they are pushed to the watch as soon as they are sent?

    • That’s an interesting point, I don’t know if those are ‘pushed’, or if they hold till the next 5 mins. I’ll add it to a question on the next volley with them.

    • ChrisTexan

      I THINK (not sure) T5KR indicated they come in during a check in-cycle, they aren’t “instantaneous”. Could be wrong though, it was early over the weekend I read that. Not being a Garmin-ite, didn’t pay super close attention.

  3. gideon

    great post…thanks

  4. Mark

    So Supersapiens uses the Abbot Libre sensor? Is it what Abbot is branding it or third party?

    My diabetic wife had Libre sensors for about a year, but her insurance covers the competitor (Dexcom), so she switched about a month ago.

    • Correct, the Abbot Libre, and it’s literally the Abbot Libre sensor packages as-is for the individual sensors.

    • Oh, and here’ a link to exactly what it looks like: link to supersapiens.com

      (Don’t have my unboxing photos handy at the moment)

      Thanks for being a DCR Supporter!

    • Stoffel

      In fact it is an updated version of the ‘medical’ Libre, it’s called the Libre Sense Glucose Sport Biosensor. The normal Libre does not work with supersapiens. Difference is having to trigger a readout vs a real continuous monitoring. At least that is what I’ve found out online.

    • Simon Saunders

      Ray,

      I’d be very interested in discussing the whole supersapiens concept with you. I’m not a tech person ( apart from using it) but I am a health care professional (UK) in diabetes and endocrinology and have used this device (or forms of it) since it’s release with diabetes patients, but also undertaken a trial with the device purely form a non-diabetic sports perspective. It would be interesting to compare notes

      Simon

    • Hi Simon!

      Thanks for reaching out, and happy to chat. Will reply directly to your e-mail.

      Cheers!

    • Hi simon,

      I am anesthesiologist in France and I’ve done several n=1 experiments with it. Frankly, I don’t see any usefulness for a non diabetic athlete.
      link to nfkb0.com

      various experiences (even ketone ester ingestion : link to nfkb0.com )

  5. Joseph

    There is no way my wife would trust me to ride her around like that!! Glad ya’ll were able to get out though.

  6. The previous battery life was a real sticking point but suddenly this is useful in basically any race.

  7. Tipton Blish

    ditto on the Edge 530 issues…

  8. Claus Jacobsen

    Maybe it’s time UCI look deep into themselves and think about what they are doing. Banning something that might actually be used as a safety feature for the athletes (apart from “optimizing” their nutrition, they do get to know much more of when to eat and what, which in total yields a more healthy athlete) – oh and Team Novo Nordisk the diabetes cyclingteam is probably not happy at all.

    • Yeah, I don’t really understand this one. It’s an odd duck scenario. After all, how is this any different than any other body metric like heart rate?

      Or, if they were to say “well, this is somehow too expensive for the masses and thus not in life with our core values or something”, then they’d have to ban just about everything the pro teams use.

      Super bizarre, especially since some riders are using it for medical purposes.

  9. Tamas

    “The BOLT V2 crashed 45 mins into the ride, rebooted, and then crashed and powered off (permanently)”

    This means no in-depht review in the upcoming days?

    • Sadly, correct.

      Wahoo is digging into the logs, and sounds like they may have an idea what caused the most recent crash, but aren’t 100% sure yet.

      Ultimately, until I get something stable for at least a week’s worth of rides without crashes or dropouts, my existing post will sorta stand as my ‘state of record’.

    • Adam

      That’s disappointing. The prime reason why Android is awesome is because it’s using an inherently safe language and runtime that has well defined behavior and almost impossible to crash. Even if the routing engine itself is crashing, the whole application could just “catch” the exception thrown by the routing provider and continue while attempting to restart the routing engine before giving up.

      Unless there are hardware issues or OS level issues that crash the whole OS on the Bolt2, in which case, Wahoo is in big trouble, as I don’t think they have the ability to push full OS upgrades over the air.

    • Adam

      Also – since the Bolt2 has a four-core CPU, even if the routing engine runs amok and uses 100% of available CPU, it could be restricted to a single Java thread and the rest of the unit would be happily using the remaining three cores. The only user visible impact would be lack of routing updates and high battery usage, but the whole device wouldn’t become unusable. Wahoo must be using some third party library to do the routing over the OSM maps that’s buggy and uses more than one Java thread.

    • Tamas

      It’s sad because when I read the specs I thought this will be my next bike computer. Now I’m not so sure. I hope they will fix the bugs within a month (I need a new bike computer with maps in mid July) or Garmin launch the successor of the edge 530 (I bought a Polar OH1 few weeks before the launch of the Verity Sense, I don’t want to make the sam mistake again 🙂 )

    • Thomas Roell

      I don’t think this is how stuff works on the BOLT V2. Tried a quick “take me home” route, 10 miles throu Denver … took about 5 minutes (felt) while the whole GUI was unresponsive. Don’t quite get why that should ever be the case. One thread doing the GUI, some other threads doing the rest in the background.

  10. Matt

    Nice to see the improved battery with the 945 LTE with reduced transmission rates. One thing I’m disappointed in though is that it doesn’t seem like the heat acclimation values work unless you run with the phone synced. The point of this watch was to not bring my phone, but if the basic metrics it’s supposed to provide don’t work without the phone, that’s a big oversight. I understand lack of streaming, etc. due to battery life issues, but even after syncing my watch before runs, the heat acclimation score has just been dropping (despite running in 80 and 90+F degree weather this entire week) so looks like it’s tied to an active connection during the run.

    • Interesting. It makes sense technically (that feature depends on your phone for its ‘Weather’ app, which in turn uses Bluetooth), but obviously, shouldn’t be a limitation going forward. If I remember correctly off the top of my head, the watch must be able to pull the weather at the start of the workout within 30 mins of the time of the start.

      I’ll ask though.

    • Matt

      Thanks Ray. I’ll test again on my run later today, but even yesterday I synced, then checked that my weather data showed on my watch before my run and it still went down. You’d think Garmin would also just set it up to reverse calculate. They know the location you ran and the time, so they should be able to get the weather data…

    • So I’d be curious on your test today. I just did a run today, without phone, and it did indeed give me a heat acclimation post-workout (increase).

      I had my phone pre-workout, then walked away from home for a few mins (where my phone was), and started about 5-7 mins later. I didn’t have my phone back in range for at least 10-15 mins post-workout, and it showed me heat acclimation seconds after finishing the workout.

    • Matt

      Okay so of course for the first time in 7 runs with this watch it worked. I did update my settings to share phone location to “always” so maybe that helped?

  11. Hi Ray,

    I have paid some SS biosensors and dont a lot of testing. Tl;DR : it’s useless for me.
    I did the tour of corsica by bike, most of the time the device said that my blood sugar was 0.6 g/l, what can I do with that ?! link to twitter.com

    and frankyl, I don’t like their way of communicating /doing business

    • Yeah, in a nutshell – that’s roughly my experience as well (that it drops to similar levels, when I do workouts).

      I met with them earlier this week, and in a nutshell the answer was to go harder. In essence, saying that the unit is really aimed for data in the tempo range, rather than less intense efforts – such as your loop of Corscia, or my 3-hour ride.

      I’m onto my second sensor now, and continuing to dig a bit there.