2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew Challenge October 25–31

2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew Challenge Starts Today!

2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew ChallengeToday is day one of Concept2‘s annual Halloween individual rowing challenge, the 2017 Skeleton Crew Challenge! It’s simple, on the nose, and fun: row at least 31,000 meters between October 25th and October 31st—Halloween! 

Unlike the more famous team challenges that Concept2 holds annually such as the Virtual Team Challenge (VTC), the Skeleton Crew Challenge is an individual challenge which means participants do not need to belong to a team to participate—all you need to a Concept2 Indoor Rower or SkiErg and a free registered membership on the Concept2 Logbook where you can enter your daily meters by hand; alternately, you can connect your Android or iPhone to your erg via Bluetooth using Concept2’s own ErgData app

Concept2 ErgData App for Indoor Rowing logging and syncing with the Concept2 logbook

ErgData App

ErgData syncs directly with the Concept2 Logbook so after you row a piece towards your 31,000 meters, you can upload your data to the Logbook automagically.

I recommend doing this not only since it’s super-easier but because a direct, secure, link between my PM5 monitor and the logbook through the ErgData app on my iPhone 5 will one day protect me when I row so many meters for a Concept2 Challenge that all the losers in my wake demand an audit of all my hard work as well.

Concept2 PM5 Fitness Monitor Fishgame Indoor Rower Erg Ergometer

PM5 Fishgame

If you don’t have a PM5 monitor on your rowing erg, you can upgrade your Concept2 indoor rower to a PM5 today from any previous monitor—there’s an upgrade path for all the erg models and all the monitors via their PM5 Retrofit Kit.

Hand-entered meters are always harder to defend than the digital chain of custody that PM5 to ErgData to Concept2 Logbook offers. 

Good luck, Godspeed, and many happy meter to you over the next six sweaty Autumn days!

2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew Challenge October 25–31

2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew Challenge October 25–31

2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew Challenge

In honor of Halloween, we invite you to participate in the Skeleton Crew Challenge. It’s a great way to earn all that Halloween candy!

Row and/or ski at least 31,000 meters  between October 25 and October 31 to get on the honor board and receive your certificate.

Adaptive athletes and juniors aged 16 and under can also participate at the 10,000m level.

October 25–31

In honor of Halloween, we invite you to participate in the Skeleton Crew Challenge. It’s a great way to earn all that Halloween candy!

The Details

  • Row and/or ski at least 31,000 meters between October 25 and October 31.
  • This is an individual challenge. (You do not need to belong to a team to participate.)
  • Meters must be entered online.
  • Indoor rower and SkiErg meters only (no on water/on snow meters please). You can combine meters from each machine to reach 31,000 meters.
  • Kid’s Skeleton Crew Challenge allows kids (aged 16 and under) to participate at 10,000 meters.
  • Adaptive athletes can choose to participate at the 10,000 or 31,000 meter level.

Who Can Participate

Anyone with an online logbook at concept2.com can participate in this challenge.

Incentives and Rewards

Participants who meet the challenge can enjoy:

  • Name inclusion on the Skeleton Crew Honor Boards.
  • A specially designed downloadable certificate.
  • The option to purchase Skeleton Crew goodies at our third-party fulfillment vendor (availability varies by country).
2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge Tall

Today’s Day 1 of Concept2 Fall Team Challenge 2017

PBC Potomac Boat Club Unisuit Rowing Singlet JLRacing JLRowingToday’s the first of thirty days of the 2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge. I’ve decided to join Hope O’Keeffe over at Team Grotto — currently, there are only two of us. Luckily, you only need two rowers to make up a competitive boat. From 2-∞. The challenge starts today, September 15, and ends on October 15.

While I am rowing for Team Grotto, I am affiliated with Potomac Boat Club so I will be erging with my PBC colors during this challenge. I just received this amazing PBC unisuit from JLRacing.

2017-Concept2 Fall Team Challenge

If you haven’t officially become affiliated with or become a member of a Concept2 team yet, you actually have until September 30 23:59 GMT (19:59 ET) to get that all sorted out, so feel free to start rowing today but you need to find yourself a team and a boat in order for those meters to count at all in the 2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge. Even if you’re a member of a team, that doesn’t mean you’ve officially become part of the challenge.  Again, it’s not automatic. Individual team members need to confirm they intend to take part in each challenge. You do this from the Team page.

Good luck!  Let me know if you have any questions. You’re welcome to join Team Grotto if you have nowhere else to row.

2017-Concept2 Fall Team Challenge

2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge

2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge TallThe Fall Team Challenge is a club challenge where club members try to reach either 100,000 meters or 200,000 meters by the end of the challenge.Meters may be accumulated on the indoor rower, the SkiErg, or a combination of the two.

There are prizes for those who reach either of these distances, as well as a prize draw for all clubs with at least ten participants reaching 100,000m.

To either start or join a team, visit the Teams page of your logbook.

If you’re a member of a team, make sure you confirm your participation in the challenge.

The Details

  • Each team completes as many meters as they can collectively between 12:00 a.m. September 15 and 11:59 p.m. October 15.
  • This is a team challenge. You must belong to a team to participate. This is not the same as your club affiliation in your profile. See “Information for Team Members” below.
  • Teams must consist of at least two (2) people. Team members will not appear on challenge boards until at least two people are taking part.
  • Important deadline: Complete the following tasks by September 30 23:59 GMT (19:59 ET) or your team will not be enrolled in the challenge and/or your team members’ meters will not count for the challenge:
    • All team members must be added to your team.
    • Team members who have their own logbooks must indicate in their logbooks that they are actively participating in the current challenge. (See the Team member page for more information.)
  • Meters must be entered online. Because of the large number of participants in the challenge, we cannot accept results via phone, fax or email. We suggest that any members who have access to the internet create their own profile so that they can enter their own results.
  • Meters completed each week should be entered no later than midnight on Friday of that week. This works on the honor system. It makes it fair and fun for everyone if you can watch the progress of the teams that you are competing against.
  • Concept2 reserves the right to ask for proof of meter totals if they seem suspect and to disqualify any team from the challenge who we feel is not participating honestly.
  • Indoor rower and SkiErg meters only (no on water or on snow meters please).
  • Deadline for entering meters: October 18 23:59 GMT (19:59 ET).

2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge Poster

Who Can Participate

Teams must be an established “club,” under one of the following divisions:

  • Virtual
  • Education
  • Military
  • On-Water
  • Health/Fitness
  • Corporate
  • Emergency Services
  • Medical Facility
  • Correctional Facility
  • CrossFit

Virtual, long-distance, purely electronic groupings of rowers/skiers and people and/or individuals not affiliated with a club will be allowed to participate, but will not be eligible for prizes. See below for more information about prizes and eligibility.

Team placements in all divisions will be posted online throughout the duration of the challenge. There will be separate Honor Boards for each club division, so you can compare your club’s performance with other similar clubs.

Incentives and Rewards

All incentive prizes and awards will be shipped to clubs to be distributed by the team captains. Team captains should be sure to provide an accurate shipping address on the Edit Team Page.

  • Clubs with at least 10 members and where at least 10 members have rowed/skied 100,000 meters or more (50,000 meters for kids and adaptive athletes), will be entered into a drawing to win the club’s choice of either a Model D or Model E Indoor Rower, or a SkiErg!
  • All participants completing at least 100,000 meters will receive a special 100k-level prize.
  • All participants completing at least 200,000 meters, and kids and adaptive athletes completing at least 50,000 meters will receive a special 200k-level prize.
  • The option to purchase Fall Team Challenge items from our third-party shop (availability varies by country).
  • Specially designed certificates of completion will be available via download to all participants at the end of the event.

Prize Eligibility

  • Virtual teams and their participants are not eligible to receive shipped prizes.
  • Prizes are only available for clubs and individuals in the following countries:
    • US
    • Canada
    • UK
    • Ireland
    • Germany
    • Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg)

Information for Team Members

Please visit the Joining A Team for more information on how to join a team.

Important: Team members need to confirm they intend to take part in each challenge. You do this from the Team page.

Information for Team Captains

Please visit the Starting and Managing a Team page for more information on how to setup and run a team.

Selfie with a BlueParrott B450‑XT Bluetooth trucker headset

Update to my VXi BlueParrott B450‑XT Bluetooth headset review

vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headsetI received my BlueParrott B450‑XT Bluetooth trucker headset from VXi Corp last week and have put some time on it. Long story short, the sound can go louder than you should listen and the tone is very warm and not tinny or trebly like many headsets. The connection is quick and sure.

The headset worked immediately with the VXi BlueParrott app I installed on my Samsung Galaxy S6 Active with Android 7 and I associated the Parrott Button with mute and it worked fine.

The mute is headset-based and doesn’t turn on mute on your phone. While muted, there’s a light tone that reminds you that you’re on mute.

vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headsetI took a long walk in the Summer sun and the B450-XT definitely makes my head hot. All my heat moves through my head so the headset got pretty sweaty, maybe resulting in the headset freezing up on me at my halfway point.  

When I first put the headset on, it was pretty heavy. I quickly got used to it, no worries, because the deep tone and vibrant sound makes up for it, compared to all the other VXi BlueParrott Bluetooth headsets to say nothing of all the other headsets I have had from Platronics, Jabra, and Jawbone. It is huge, it is like a set of Beats headsets but with only one housing and earpad. 

Here’s a comparison between the size of the B450-XT and my B250-XT+:

Size comparison between the larger B450-XT compared to the B250-XT+

Size comparison between the larger B450-XT compared to the B250-XT+

vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headsetI rode on my Surly Steamroller to Miriam’s Kitchen last Wednesday and it wasn’t too heavy and it. And, unlike my experience with the Plantronics Voyager Edge and the VXi BlueParrott Bluetooth headsets, there’s wasn’t a single stutter or problem with the connection when I was listening to podcasts while I rode from Columbia Heights, Arlington, Virginia, to Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC.

In terms of sound and volume, if I increased the volume of the phone to max and then set the headset to max volume, I could clearly hear my podcasts during even the windiest day on the bicycle. 

vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headsetAfter testing phone calls while riding (I don’t recommend it), nobody I called could tell that I was riding my bike or that I was moving through the wind. That’s brilliant. If folks can’t tell I am riding a bike then they’ll surely not be able to tell that I am in a park or working from the cafe. 

The battery last forever with two exceptions:

  1. the B450-XT will always outlast your phone’s battery (make plans) and
  2. I’ve had a couple problems with my B450-XT seizing up and freezing out on me.

When my B450-XT freezes up

VXi Blueparrott B450-XT Firmware Update

VXi Blueparrott B450-XT Firmware Update

UPDATE: I reached out to VXi Corp for help via Facebook and Twitter and they quickly got back to me on Twitter, acknowledged the problem, and asked me to update the firmware on my B450-XT, which just requires downloading the VXi Updater, installing it, plugging in either your B350-XT or B450-XT, allowing your USB time to identify and install any required drivers. Then, once the VXi Updater recognizes the VXi Corporation Blueparrott headset, you can click the update. It’ll take a while for the process to complete so please don’t mess with anything because firmware updates are tricky. Everything turned out perfect; however, I haven’t tested it out so I don’t know yet if it works. I’ll let you know. Looks good so far!

Once the headset freezes, nothing will reset it until I plug it in to its microUSB charger. Otherwise, I can depress the power button for however long and it won’t reset.

I think the same thing happened with the B350-XT but never happens or happened with my old B250-XT+–ever. I am hoping it’s a fluke. It’s only happened twice so far. 

It’s my only concern and I will be sure to reach out to VXi Corporation to ask them about this freeze up. I have done some reading and the only way to reset the Bluetooth headset is to plug in into the charger, which is lame.

I’ll just keep a USB charger on me

Chris Abraham and his vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headset

Me and my B450-XT

I need to find out if it’s an issue that’s between my particular Android or the apps I use or whether my head is sweaty or not.

My hack fix is to keep a charger on my bike–which I need anyway in order to keep up with the Blueparrott’s unlimited battery and my S6 Active.

That will solve any issues with the headset freezing up on me.