I decided to go back to my roots a bit yesterday with a bit of VR on the turbo.
Before I embarked on all things Zwift, I used to use an app call Virtualtraining which subsequently became known as Rouvy. Unlike Zwift’s impressive game like graphics, Rouvy offers Real-life VR. Videos of actual footage of rides which, like Zwift will speed up, slow you down and increase the trainer difficulty based on the gradient.
Its been well over a year since I last used Rouvy properly. I still use it to calibrate my CycleOps Powersync though but thats it until yesterday.
I was a bit bored and fancied a ride. I have Dan this week and Sally has been laid up with a bad back so I couldn’t really go out. I looked at Zwift for a workout or race and there wasn’t anything for an hour or so I just clicked about my desktop and dropped on Rouvy and started looking at the routes to see if there were any new ones. There was no intention to do anything other than look at this stage. France, Italy, Switzerland…I checked them out. Some I’d done, some not. Back to Italy and then I saw it…the Colle delle Finestre. It was a ‘…take my money…’ moment. The one climb I have on my bucket list. There, to ride, in VR, in hi-def. I paid for a month’s subscription there and then.
The great thing with Rouvy is you can preview the video/route before you attempt it
I quickly got changed, quite excited. Looking at the leaderboards, I’d estimated about 1hr 20 mins. How wrong was I?
I looked at streaming the ride like I do my Zwift rides but it wasn’t that simple and I couldn’t get it to work so I just rode instead
The climb is an 18.5km beast. 10.5km on tarmac, the rest gravel. I started way too hard and after 30 mins I was getting cooked so I eased back a bit. The climb starts on some urban roads and basically turns off into the unknown and climbs up through the trees to a section of hairpins which looking nothing more than a ladder as you ascend higher and higher. The singletrack road is enclosed inside the dark foliage with the occasional glimpse out and below when you round one of the many hairpins. Those done you then make your way up and across the face of the mountain to the end of the road. The road widens, you pass a big white house on the right and you’re on the grey gravel that this climb is so famous for. Luckily in VR you don’t get the feeling of being bounced around or having to pick your line through the stones but the view as you come out of the treeline is staggering, even on TV. The gradient rarely goes below 8.5% too its brutal on my trainer yet alone in real life. Snaking your way up the valley to the summit, cars and riders coming down leave a trail of dust which you can see up above you which gives you a sense of how high you are going. Quite a spectacle.
I finished in 1hr 37mins smashed to pieces. Hell knows the state I’d be in if I’d ridden it for real.
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