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Friday, November 28, 2014

The Turkey Fever edition

This cold has really knocked me on my ass.  I'm well into the second week of it and just feel miserable.  I've been doing my best to still get out and keep up with my fitness but it hasn't been easy.  In the week and a half since my last post I've had  a trip to Chicago to visit family.  It was a good trip, very relaxing and enjoyable, even if I spent a good portion of it on the couch wishing my cold would get better.

I've been playing with POV action cameras a little bit and have a few observations.  The battery life on the GoPro Hero3 is quite short, even with the bacpac.  The Shimano camera has better battery life but has many drawbacks.  The first is that it produces .mov files and I'd rather have .mp4 files to add ANT+ data overlays.  Transcoding between file types takes quite a bit of computing power.  In fact, an hour and a half of camera time took about 40 hours to change file types without loss of quality.  That's insane.  Yes, my laptop is not designed for video editing and processing but still...

The Shimano camera is also difficult to operate and it's saving grace is the wireless connection to your phone which works great except when it doesn't work.  Shimano also has a setting to automatically rotate the video 180 degrees in the event that you mount the camera upside down, which just happens to be the way to mount it on the bike.  The setting works when playing back the file in QuickTime but not in other media players so not only do you have to change file types but you have to rotate the video as well.  Finally, Shimano has yet to release a PC software package to accompany the camera for editing and data overlays. That left me with Garmin's Virb Edit program which is easy enough to use but in Windows 7 there is a 4GB file export limitation which is fairly restrictive and requires truncating the video or exporting with decreased resolution or framerate in order to reduce file size.

The GoPro camera is a more user friendly camera and gets a better picture.  If only the battery life were better.  I have fixed the computer side of the equation with a new laptop on order.  That was a poorly thought out decision that did not please my wife at all.  Oops.  I'd be very interested to see the quality of the Garmin Virb camera which is probably similar to the Shimano camera, if not better.  I'm balking at the $249 price tag, the cheapest I could find it for, and want to see if there are Christmas sales that bring the price down.  I am also curious to see if they release a second generation of the camera that will shoot 1080p at 60fps or 4k at 15 or 30 fps.  Hopefully, if there is a new camera, it will be announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show.

My usual weekday evening rides ended but John wanted to start a Wednesday night ride starting at his office.  He had scouted out a 3.4 mile loop that is low traffic.  I rode over from the house last Wednesday and anticipated there being 4 or 5 of us on the ride.  I should have known better.  Getting people to do a night ride is like getting people to go on an epic ride over one hundred miles.  Everybody says they're interested until it's time to ride and then they disappear.  It ended up being just John and I.

Here's a video of the occasion with the Shimano camera.  It took me so long to convert file types and everything that I was just glad to have it done with and chose to ignore the data overlays getting cut off and the poor resolution I was forced to use to export the file.

If you made it to the end of that video you clearly don't have enough to do with your time.  This past Wednesday was the day before Thanksgiving and there was no night ride.  We'll see if the tradition will continue this week.

The weather was pretty poor the rest of the week, cold and raining, including Saturday. Sunday I left the house to meet some folks at Bike World for a ride. I figured I would try the GoPro Hero3 Black and see how that went. Set up was easy. I started the camera before I left the house, even though I was driving to the start of the ride. I thought it might add a neat dimension to the video. Of course, now that I had a camera on the car recording all the "action" I went right ahead and zoned out, missing my exit off the highway and having to do a U-turn. Only three of us showed up to the 1604 location and there was a ride leaving a little bit later from the Alamo Height location so we figured we would head south and ride from there. Shaun and I parked at The Quarry and met up with Matt Mayes, Blair Jones, Rob Kane, and Ryan Wohlrabe. Ryan and Rob rode about 80 miles but the rest of us rode a shorter route, about 50 miles. I thought the video came out pretty good (again, I had to speed it up because it can be dull watching hours of somebody else riding).

Monday I was able to pick up my new bike before hopping on a flight to Chicago.  It's the new Trek Emonda SLR9 with Dura Ace 9070 Di2 shifting.  Amazingly light and responsive.  I did a very brief 8 miles ride from the shop but I'm looking forward to getting more familiar with the bike this weekend.

While up in Chicago we went with the kids the Science and Industry Museum which is a pretty neat place.  I did go running each of the three days we were there.  There's a nice newly completed path from near my Mother-in-law's house to Lake Katherine which ends up being around a 4 mile loop.  The temperatures were in the mid-20s so it wasn't too bad running.  It would have been pretty nippy on a bike though.  Here's a Strava shot of the run.  It was the fastest of the three runs but it's my blog so I can post the one I like best.

Here are some of the photos from the week:

Finally, I got some nice snuggle time with my puppies who had to be boarded for the week. They missed us.