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A Few Random Things I Did This Weekend

We’re almost back at full ‘5 Random Things’ capacity here, though, this time topping out at 4 Random Things instead. Here’s the gadget and non-gadget filled goodness from the last few days.

1) Openwater Swim Testing

Friday afternoon I headed out for a plod around the lake. I’d been meaning to get another Suunto 9 Peak openwater swim in, before hitting publish on my in-depth review. My previous swim back in early June didn’t go over terribly well, but it was also on beta firmware. And while I have boatloads of runs and rides GPS data, I wanted at least one production-firmware swim in there. Thus, out I went:

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I did my usual loop, which depending on how I slice the far corner ends up being about 1,600-1,800m. It was a nice enough day, and the lake was pretty quiet too.

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In general that’s been the case much of the last 1.5 years, as the party boat traffic tends to be a bit more subdued (even on weekends). As a side note, I continue to be impressed by how many people at the lake here use swim buoys for visibility (and/or, for storing their phones/bike keys/etc…). I’d say about 50-75% of openwater swimmers (defined as people with goggles or cap) here will have one. Whereas folks just going for a quick 5-10 minute dip don’t tend to have them.

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On my left wrist I had the Garmin FR945 LTE, and the right wrist had the Suunto 9 Peak (both in openwater swim mode). Atop the swim buoy I had another watch in regular run mode, to act as my reference track. Here’s that result:

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Interestingly, in one of the extreme rare cases of the reference track being a touch bit off, you can see as I rounded one of the channel marker towers, the GPS on the reference track cut the corner incorrectly. It’s plausible the watch flipped over on the strap, and got into the water (thus minimizing signal), or who knows what. Usually I have it pretty tight on there.

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The FR945 LTE though on my wrist nailed this perfectly, including that tiny bit of drift you see, as I took some photos. In general though, the Suunto 9 Peak wasn’t as accurate across the board, with the GPS track being a bit drunker than I prefer, as you see it often on either side of the reference track. Certainly not horrible by any means, but definitely not as accurate as the FR945 LTE was here.

2) A Very Wet Ride

Saturday brought a birthday party across town for one of the girls. On the pickup portion, the middle Peanut came along for the ride. While she did manage to score some birthday cake as the party wrapped up, I’m not sure she was thrilled about the ‘cost’ of that cake: A strong rainstorm. Just as we were about to get going, it quickly escalated from nothing to minor sprinkles to angry Florida rain. I knew it was going to rain, but not for another hour or so. Apparently it came early – and I hadn’t put the rain cover on.

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While it was a warm rain, middle Peanut (P2) was very much not happy about this development. But, I found myself a cardboard dumpster with some boxes piled up, which seemed new and clean enough. The perfect umbrellas!

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I gave the bigger box to P2, and she hunkered down in that box like a turtle shell, the entire way home. Whereas the older P1 only had a tray box of sorts, but made the most of it:

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You can watch the full sequence on my ‘Cargo Bike Wows’ Instagram story archive here, if you want. By the time we got home, every layer of clothing of mine was completely soaked. The Peanuts didn’t fair all that much better, but at least the angry rain wasn’t hitting their faces at 25KPH anymore.

3) Late Night Zwifting

Sunday night after the kiddos went to bed I zipped back to the DCR Cave to get in one final ride on the JetBlack VOLT. I’ve been testing it for a bit over a month now, and wanted one more data point on things. Which, I suppose is somewhat the theme of the weekend. Thinking about it, it’s often the theme of things when I’ve got some travel ahead. I try and cram a bunch of final data collection before heading out of town, and then sort out the final analysis out on the road.

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In this case, after a rather prolonged setup/prep period, I got to cooking. The JetBlack VOLT was atop the JetBlack rocker plate. Though, this rocker plate is sold under many different brands, from KOM Cycling to ones by Wiggle as the Lifeline Rocker Plate, and others too. Same-same, just different paint-schemes (and interestingly, different instructions- the JetBlack instructions are the clearest set yet).

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For the ride, I started off with about 30-35 minutes of jumping on the Coco Cadence Pace Partner around some light rollers in Watopia. Then I ditched them to spend another 10-15 minutes doing some surges up the hills of Titans Grove. As always, it’s one of the best places to test trainers in all of trainer-land. The combination of constant up and downs really challenge reaction time of smart trainers, and then the flats on the loop are great for high flywheel speed testing.

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I’ll detail all that tomorrow in my full in-depth review though. Then it was time for a slate of photos before zipping back home.

4) Off to the train

Very early this morning, though, still well past sunrise (which starts in the 4AM hour here), The Girl and I quietly escaped out of the house. My parents arrived earlier in the week, the first time they’ve seen all the kids in over a year and a half. And with that, they kindly offered for us to escape for a few days away from the crazy house that is three kids 5 and under. So two small suitcases loaded into the bike, along with The Girl and we pedaled our way across a silent city.

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As always, finding a spot can be tricky:

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Central Station was also relatively quiet too, and we boarded the first train of the morning southbound for a few days of quiet and eating.

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Now zipping along at just shy of 300KPH:

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With that – thanks for reading!

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18 Comments

  1. Pavel Vishnyakov

    I’m curious – does the Urban Arrow box have drainage holes or do you have to get the rainwater out manually?

    • Will Darling

      It has a bunch of holes on the bottom (see this picture: link to kidscab.be) and there are also bigger holes on each side where a kid can put their foot to climb in/out of the bike.

    • Indeed. The metal plate on the bottom is packed with holes, and then the mat you see in that picture acts as another 1cm or so of buffer too (since it’s a mesh thing).Works great! We didn’t have the mat initially a few years back, but then bought it later and love it. Mostly cause it keeps the chain lock (and other random things) from making a racket when tossed in the bottom of the bike.

  2. Yonah

    Enjoy the getaway

  3. Jamie

    I too am loving the Colin Furze tunnel saga!

    • Indeed! I only recently started watching, with the YouTube algorithm doing its magic, and then have started going back to other random projects. Crazy stuff.

    • Claus Jacobsen

      His Ironman suit is bonkers 🙂 (and serious fun 🙂 ) But most of what he does is absolutely brilliant fun. 🙂 – If You haven’t go the Hacksmith industries as well 🙂

      Wonder what the prize would be at, when he finally decides to move (his shed is getting waay too small for those projects). Nice english “cityhouse” for sale. With some added “bonuses” 🙂

  4. Nicholas

    We’ve had watch unboxings, trainer unboxings but kid unboxings?

    Is the “exasperated side-eye half grin” genetic or was it taught by Mom?

    LOL

  5. gideon

    great post/pics. thanks

  6. Christoph

    Hi DCRainmaker,

    i can really “support” your use of that swim bouy! More than once in the summer sailing season I´m a race official at sailing regattas at different lakes in Germany. And i can tell from the last years, that the sailors don’t have much time to look at a small head above the water crossing the lake (and the regatta-course). They are occupied with the wind, the sails and the other 50 to 100 sailboats on the course. More than once we had to pick up swimmers before they reach the sailing area….

    Thanks for your work
    Christoph

  7. tim

    Clearly you’d be the expert on reference GPS devices on buoys over me, but I found my buoy strap at times close enough to the water that I worry my device would flip into it (or be submerged at times).

    I ended up settling on starting my recording before packing the buoy then putting the reference device inside the buoy on top of my sandals or other gear. I figure it sort of guaranteed it had line of sight to the sky (although through a piece of vinyl).

    One clear downside is that my recording is minutes longer on both ends, but I usually crop it with fitfiletools and all is right with the world 🙂

    Glad to see your 945LTE data looking mostly sorted, hope when the next public beta (or prod) gets pushed we all see similar results (vs strange Strava discrepencies).

  8. Sparts

    Teasing us with your Suunto 9 testing….. 😉

  9. Theo

    Ray, do you notice difference when wearing watches on the left vs. the right wrist? I’ve been using the S9P now for three weeks. Both during swim, bike, run and tri exercises and races. I see that the swimming accuracy is quite OK compared with my buddies 945s anf Fenix 6’s. It’s almost depending on the day which watch is most accurate.

  10. Thani AL-Thani

    Always great reviews I have difficulty swimming with Garmin, its great watch but in swimming not its strength I used the fenixs the new fourners 945 it always give me extreme distance thousand of meters 😅 twice a cross continent. I did use the like Polar , apple, which are more realistic numbers. When you’re going to do full review of the Suunto Peak.

  11. Chris’s

    Maybe the « running activity «  for your reference GPS track is not the best choice since this activities generally apply the most aggressive filtering algorithm : rapid direction change / low velocity in order to reduce wrist wobbles ,this could explain relative bad accuracy .

    • In a decade of this, I’ve never seen issues with using the running profile for the swim buoy. I suspect simply the watch slipped underwater on the strap (hence the gap).

  12. Tim Sulley

    A spot of tunnel digging with Colin too on Sunday night then? Can’t wait for the next installment of that.