Appreciating the Indie Web: DC Rainmaker

While training for my second triathlon, I started to understand the value of data and started to look into getting a GPS watch. And then, being cheap, avoided getting one for a while. But when I was looking into triathlon tech, one site that I kept reading was DC Rainmaker. Ray Maker started DC Rainmaker as an adjunct to his triathlon hobby while having a career in tech. Then, during the next few years, sports technology exploded, thanks to computers getting smaller and cheaper and more connected, while athletes got more competitive and data-driven. 

Maker took DC Rainmaker full-time, and it is an essential resource for anyone interested in sports and technology, particularly people into endurance sports. In addition to comprehensive reviews of individuals products, comparisons of categories, and an expanding YouTube channel, DC Rainmaker is an essential resource. His reviews have guided me in acquiring the various sports tech, including GPS watches, heart rate monitors, power meters, a smart trainer, bike computer and random things. None of these make me faster or better at biking, running, swimming, hiking, and skiing, but at least I can track everything on Strava. 

_Can we talk about power meters for a minute? I’ve heard talk about how useful they are, but I only acquired one this year. And they are, in fact, great and useful. The feel of cycling effort can be deceptive — shallow hills and headwinds are two things that can have a huge impact on the speed resulting from a given effort. A power meter confirms whether you do have that extra spring in your step or just have a fast tailwind. _

DCRainmaker is not merely a data. Maker shares insight into his life as an expat in Amsterdam, schlepping things around the city in cargo bikes (and even racing in a cargo bike criterium!) He goes on ridiculous expeditions to really test the limits of products, like a multi-day expedition in the Alps. He has the time to notice that published specifications may not match the actual dimension measurements of smartwatches with optical heart rate sensors. With press credentials to the Tour de France, Maker used his access to scout out which power meters and bike computers each team was using — and how some riders have different bike computer preferences. And then the same for the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

Traditional print media couldn’t allow this level of detailed nerdery. Thanks to technology, athletes are more informed about their performance than ever before. Thanks to DC Rainmaker, athletes are more informed about their technology’s performance than ever before. 

Previously: Appreciating the Indie Web

Andrew Raff @andrewraff