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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Not only do we have a 5 Random Things again this week, but it’s even got skiing, cycling, and running. Plus – tidbits about postmen, as well as beer photos. What more could you ask for in a weekend roundup?

1) Skiing in Amsterdam

Now, technically speaking, this skiing is actually just outside of Amsterdam – and not in Amsterdam proper. But hey, the town of Velsen-Zuid won’t mind too much. Plus, SnowWorld themselves calls their location “SnowWorld Amsterdam”.

In any case, with the older kids on school holiday this past week we decided to hit the slopes. Except, not the slopes down south in the Alps or such, but instead, just 20 minutes away in the town you’ve never heard of. Welcome to Snow World:

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Of course, being a bright warm and sunny day, the snow was actually inside:

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We went for a few hours to let the kids ski to the best of their non-skiing abilities. Given it’s been two years since they skied (for the first time), things were a bit rough. We had looked at spending this past week at some ski mountain, but finding availability for kids ski schools was slim to none (mostly none), and with everyone eager to ski this winter after most slopes were closed last winter, accommodations were also non-existent.

Still, we had fun:

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The ski boot rental return guys though? Probably less so:

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The littlest peanut stayed in daycare for the day, else we as adults would have been outnumbered – namely in the category of attaching children to the platter lifts. Our two oldest can seemingly get on said left, but departing it is still ‘tricky business’. Plus there’s a strong chance they’ll fall at some point and get dragged halfway up the hill by it. Obviously, they just need practice on it. And ideally, on a quieter/calmer day, we’ll go back and do it again. The folks at the front desk essentially said any day of the year other than the day we were there, is a quiet day.

(Also, if you want some old-school DCR Blog fun, here’s a post from 14 years ago, where my brother and I bought some cheap suits and skied in Dubai’s indoor skiing mountain. Oh, plus outdoor snowboarding on sand dunes. You’re welcome for that distraction.)

2) New Kid’s Bike via PostNL

This past week, the middle Peanut got a new (larger) bike. It’s exactly the same as her previous bike, except, just the next size up. More notable than the bike itself, is the delivery process. We ordered it online from one of the Dutch bike shops, and PostNL (the national postal system) then delivered it. When our PostNL guy arrived at the door, his singular question was whether or not we wanted him to attach the pedals for us. Photo below from our Nestcam.

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I think it’s amazing that in the Netherlands when you order a bike, your postman is trained and equipped to attach your bike pedals. Inversely, it was somewhat astounding how big of a box this bike came in. For a child’s bike, it was actually larger than any bike box I’ve ever received as an adult. Here it is, in front of our Urban Arrow cargo bike – almost the entire length of that, and as tall as it:

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However, inside they had pre-assembled the handlebars and such, which means it no longer fit in the box it came in, and thus her little box was inside the giant big box.

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True enough the only thing I had to do was attach the pedals, and then simply tighten the single bolt to keep the handlebars straight. She was happily chasing around her older sister a short bit later.

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And yes, ‘baby’ (as always) was strapped to the front of the bike too.

3) Evening Trainer Rides:

In general, I cycle through the three main trainer platforms I use (TrainerRoad, Zwift, Peloton), each week. Usually just based on a blend of what I feel like doing at that moment, combined with anything I might need to test. In this case, while I was gathering some data behind the scenes on a few things, I was mostly just aiming for a nice sustained workout. So, TrainerRoad it was:

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I had briefly turned on the UCI Esports World Championships on Zwift, but ultimately ended up watching random things on YouTube, while I simply pedaled through the workout. I usually leave the shed lights off at night, and just let the glow of the Tacx NEO 2 illuminate things.

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The workout was probably again too easy. While TrainerRoad’s new AI FTP thingy recently bumped up my FTP value to 302w (with me doing nothing, which is great), part of the challenge is that if I’m only doing perhaps 1-2 rides a week on the platform, it doesn’t really have a great dataset about me. Or more specifically, it actually does – since it also gets all my outdoor/other rides, but at present it doesn’t consider/account for those rides. So in this case, it had marked that workout ahead of time as a “Stretch”, which in my mind assumes it’d be moderately difficult.

And since someone will invariably ask, Xert does peg me at a higher FTP (322w) – using both inside and outside data, but that actually seems probably a touch too high. I suspect the real answer is somewhere in the middle. And yes, in theory, I could just take an FTP or ramp test, but, I could also equally just go outside and enjoy today’s warm and sunny weather for a ride. Which…is what I plan to do.

3) Quarantine Corner Filming

After my trainer ride, and The Girl’s Peloton ride, we transitioned back to the shed to film the latest episode of the DCR Quarantine Corner. This time around we cover all the behind-the-scenes bits and thoughts on recent reviews including the Wahoo ROLLR, Wahoo POWRLINK ZERO, that sweet new trainer desk, sound testing, and the giant Zwift cheating debacle. Plus tidbits on riding the Urban Arrow through the giant windstorms last week.

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DCR Supporters will find that episode up a bit later today in the usual spot (and an e-mail about it too). If you’re not a DCR Supporter, you can get access to that episode, plus all the previous ones here by signing up. And, it gets you an ad-free DCR!

4) The Mundane

Lest you think the entire weekend is fun cycling, skiing, and running – in reality, The Girl and I spent countless hours cleaning said shed of waaaaay too much junk that had piled up. And then I spent many more hours pressure-washing far too many surfaces around the backyard, from moss-covered slippery AF tiles/pavers to other moss-covered items. Welcome to a wet and dreary last summer/fall/winter that led to waaaaay more moss build-up than usual.

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Like I said, I’ve got all the same boring list of things to do as you. Albeit…not gonna lie…a pressure washer is kinda fun.

5) Sun and Run

While it was a bit breezy on Sunday, the sun was strong, so out I went out for a simple 10KM run. Nothing crazy, no intervals, and only a single watch. For realz! I mean, sure, I did have extra HR sensors on, but just one watch folks!

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Given the winds, I went through the forest instead, since that’d provide a bit more protection than going out into the farmlands or along the Amstel river, where there are approximately zero trees to provide wind buffer. Of course, I did have to include some lakeside section, since it’s one of the nicest parts of the Bos that is very infrequently visited.

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At the end, the Instinct 2 basically shrugged at me:

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This will probably be the last week on that watch, not because anything is wrong with it. But because it’s found its place in life.

Given the stability issues I had leading up to launch (and even slightly past launch), I wanted to see if Garmin was addressing those in subsequent firmware updates. I think there have been 4-5 updates in the past two weeks (or at least, beta updates, not sure offhand about production updates). These have aimed to address many (if not I think all) of the concerns I had. And at present, I haven’t had any crashes on this unit recently. In fact, I think all of the issues I was concerned with have been raised – save for the waypoint limiter one, which I haven’t dug into again yet (and I believe that’s requiring a more complex fix).

Anyways, somewhat as I suspect, the Instinct 2 series was probably about 2-3 weeks away from being ‘ready’ when it launched. And, here we are about 2-3 weeks later, and things seem largely smoothed out (again, at least on the most recent beta drop over the weekend – whereas production is a few days prior/older at 6.16).

With that – I’m headed out for a ride in the sun! More new bike tech has arrived. Actually, entire bikes have arrived. Perhaps some tidbits on Instagram later today.

Thanks for reading!

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34 Comments

  1. GH

    Hi Ray – can you tell us what model pressure washer you have? Do you use it to wash your bike? Review coming 🙂 ??

    • I’ll check when I get home. It’s blue. That’s all I know. 🙂

      I don’t think I’ve ever used it to wash my bike. Mostly because it’s at home, and usually in the shed, except for basically just cleaning the desk at our old house, and then now the patio at our newer house. At the DCR Cave, I just use a simple hose for the bikes.

    • Update: It’s a Gamma branded (like, our Home Depot) HDR2-130. Here’s the link: link to gamma.nl

      I’m sure it’s probably sold as other brands too, as it’s undoubtedly an OEM model.

    • Tim Shears

      The Muc-off one is designed specifically for bikes and worth a look.

  2. Tim

    Regarding TrainerRoad FTP detection –

    I was under the impression the Adaptive Training and Progression levels only (currently) took into account rides either within their app or matched “outdoor” workout versions of their rides done on certain head units.

    However in the FTP detection thread it seemed to imply unstructured garmin data was also included in the feature… which made me think it would include random unstructured data (or at least not matched to a TR workout) that comes in from other sources.

    While looking for references in their forum that confirm this (one way or the other) I realized many of the references just say “outdoor rides” and aren’t clearly noting if it is a TR matched workout or data from another source.

    I do see Nate confirming that it will include any data from Garmin Connect… but that reply was to a “over time” message so maybe I was wrong in my assumption and it is a future improvement when adaptive training includes such ride data? (link to trainerroad.com)

    • My understanding is that free-rides outside of TR aren’t taken into account. Whereas indoor TR rides definitely are. I can’t remember off the top of my head the current state of Outdoor TR rides, though something in my fuzzy logic said it either currently or future was dependent on which head unit brand you were using due to some flagging. Or, it’s not supported at all yet. Either way, I’ll ask.

      But I’m pretty sure it’s not using any unstructured data today, and since it’s been a season or four since I’ve done a TR Outside workout, everything in TR’s brain is ether indoor TR workouts, or “dear god what is this giant pile of unstructured data”.

    • David W.

      In the last TR podcast Amber said (and Nate didn’t disagree) that AT currently only uses indoor or outdoor TR structured workouts. Not free rides. The problem is that they are still working on how to assign Progression Levels to free rides. However, AIFTP uses all rides that appear on the TR calendar- indoor, outdoor, structured or not.

  3. Tim Shears

    Hi Ray.

    I see you say you cycle through Trainer Road, Zwift and Peloton. Surely you must get bored with graphs, cartoons and over-exuberant instructors?

    You could do a lot worse by looking again at Fulgaz. There are loads of us who have totally ditched all of those platforms and now enjoy stunning high-def real-life like riding on Fulgaz, with the option for specific workouts integrated if required.

    My personal brain-dead period on an indoor trainer is 90 minutes, but on Fulgaz I recently completed the Cape Town Cycle tour in 4 hours, and time flew. It was as close to actually being there as is possible without a long-haul flight.

    • andrew

      That sounds so much worse that having an iPhone running trainer road while watching Netflix.

    • Yeah, ultimately, it comes down to what you prefer to do. Roughly speaking, here’s how I use each app:

      Zwift: Mostly free-ride, watching YT videos in background. Sometimes jumping on a pace partner. If not free-riding it’ll be a short race, or very sparingly a group ride.

      TrainerRoad: For when I just want to zone out and get a good stable workout. Almost always YT videos in background.

      Peloton: Basically same as TrainerRoad. Only difference is there’s music. I do largely PowerZone workouts, so it’s all power-zone structure based, from a legit endurance (Ironman) coach.

      While I think the FulGaz videos are great, mentally, I’ve just never been able to get into it. Any of them really – not just FulGaz, but any of the real-world style videos. I think it’s the fact that it’s not really real to me. In that I love riding outdoors in scenic places, but here I’m just along for a predetermined track, and there’s no sights/sounds/etc of that. My brain just can’t get around it – so I get bored super quickly.

      Ultimately, it’s all down to personal preferences. Just like ice cream flavors or burrito filings.

  4. The Real Bob

    Hey DC,
    I just can’t get past the instinct 2 not having Varia Radar connection ability.

    1. Its their device
    2. Its a device meant for safety

    I would have bought the instinct 2 (well, only after I read your review of course) but not having varia radar is a killer. I mainly use my watch as a back up or for travel. I love using my Radar even more on travel when I am renting a bike on unfamiliar roads.

    Garmin is just weird with their feature inclusion. I know, this isn’t an instinct 2 post, but you said instinct 2 first!
    Later
    Bob

  5. ReHMn

    The youngest peanut went to Danny Macaskill’s Daycare…
    He can prove that she had a lot of fun:

    link to youtube.com

  6. HR

    I am happy to see this part of your blog back more on the regular. I always enjoy reading it.

  7. Raymond Wright

    Ray,
    I find that pressure washing is about the most satisfying thing to do. It is just instant gratification and when you are done you really see the result of your wok.

  8. coach dion

    You need to buy The Girl some new jeans!!!

  9. kikashi

    As a Belgian: was lured in with a promise of beer photos (plural!); was disappointed…

  10. karl

    “and only a single watch”

    who are you and what did you do with Ray?

  11. Tony Goncalves

    why are you wearing ski goggles in an indoor ski hill? there’s no sun, no falling snow or rain, and surely you can’t be skiing that fast with the peanuts to require wind protection? are the ceiling lights that bright? enquiring minds want to know! 😀

  12. Neil Jones

    Are the Instinct 2 betas you mentioned private ones? I’ve not seen any beta notifications at all on the Garmin forums which is normally my go-to place for those announcements. The only notification that I see there is the 6.16 final release from last week.

    • Yeah, the 6.17 is private. Generally speaking, it’s been taking 3-5 days between when the pre-prod betas hit my wrist and when they go public. That typically gets longer as a product gets older. I don’t know when they intend on setting this one public, nor am I entirely sure what’s fixed in this particular one versus the widespread 6.16. For the private betas, I usually just get a note if it’s fixing something I brought up, or changing behavior notably. Else, it’s often an every other day thing.

      Cheers!

    • Neil Jones

      Thanks – and talking about the Instinct 2 (sort-of), I see Garmin’s just dropped the Descent G1 dive watch, which seems to be pretty much an Instinct 2 in terms of features (plus the dive/boat stuff of course) – if so then my Instinct’s going straight back for one of these. Is this something you’re likely to review, even if just to confirm it’s the same under the skin, or are dive watches out of your swim lane, so to speak?

    • Yeah, I think a unit is being shipped out today to me. I’ve got some dive trips planned for about two weeks from now. In my discussions with them about it, the core functions here are all identical to a Instinct 2 base, and then the dive pieces are additive (sorta like how Fenix 6 + Descent was).

    • Neil Jones

      Great, I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts, though by then I’ll probably have mine too as I need to stay inside the return window for my Instinct 2. That said, I probably won’t get chance to dive with it till the summer.

      I do feel guilty about returning a perfectly functional watch, but I think Garmin have to take some of the blame for not coordinating their releases; I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

    • Be interested to hear your thoughts on this. It’s everything I want in a watch except for the lack of any mapping ability.

      Of course there’s MK2 series but that’s based on Fenix 6, a whole generation older now..

  13. dan

    you must have been so much faster with only the weight of one single watch instead of kilograms of gear weight…
    😀
    dan

  14. arcatern

    Descent G1 review pending? Dive trip happened?
    I’m super stocked on this watch and will likely buy it either way, but debating Solar vs not.
    Some folks have said the solar version screen is noticeably darker. Is this the case with all solar vs non-solar instincts, fenix, etc variants?