I became a Rouvy Legend somewhere last year, meaning I completed all the tasks of the career path. Which would have meant that I could finally retire and die in peace, if it wouldn’t have been for a drastic change in the career concept.
After my ‘Tour de France 2017‘, I had a few spins in and just outside my backyard, but by October 1st, I was ready to start the indoor season.
My main app for training is obviously Rouvy which has been my favorite for the past two and a half years or so (see my original post on indoor apps from February 16, 2016).
As I own a vast collection of films with footage from just about every major EU/US climb, scenic ride and Ironman track, I have enough to watch while training, other than what Rouvy itself offers. And sometimes I use ‘free ride’ mode for a recovery spin, in which case I put on one of these films too.
They are from Tacx, which basically means TTS only, but fortunately they can also be used with Rouvy, and VeloReality. However, VR films cannot be used with anything else than their own (free) software, which most likely will work with your trainer just fine.
There’s a large overlap in both collections, licensed by the same guy to either firm, so I tried to avoid buying duplicates. Which means I have some, but VeloReality is also offering films Tacx doesn’t, mainly shot in the US and Canada.
Since my last review, Rouvy has been evolving and is now – more than ever – the service with the best value for money.
Considering that for $10 / month you can have up to 5 devices and 3 users, with access to all features, including ‘premium’ films (mainly from reallifevideo.de and bikelabvideo.it), I challenge you to find a better offering…
Anyway, being a Rouvy Legend, with nothing much going on for a few months, having no prospect of advancing further and no targets other than the challenges, the career concept change came just in time for me.
Obviously, I cannot resist the prospect of earning ‘intergalactic
al respect’ by becoming Rouvy Legend again and in November, I had my career reset to ‘Starter’.
Last week, I managed to get to ‘World Class’ level again. This involved carefully planning some of my efforts, combining a challenge and a requirement whenever possible, and by maximizing ‘double (TSS) points’ weekends.
However, at current I’m still some 9,000 TSS points, 6 challenges and 1 required ride short to complete this level and get to (double) Rouvy Legend status…
Considering you cannot – by definition – score more than 100 TSS points per hour*, if you’re going to push FTP level Watts all the time, this means at least 90 – but more realistically 130 or so – hours.
For now, there’s only one challenge – starting
Monday tomorrow – so they’ll need to add more. And they will – usually, there are challenges related to the Tour, the Giro and the Vuelta, so that means 2 more besides those.
Hopefully – but not very likely, as it was a challenge too last year – one of them will be to ride ‘Haleakala’, which is the final required ride for me in this level.
Haleakala can be classified as a monster ride, since it is 57 kilometers uphill (D+ of 3,043 meters, 5.4% average, 16% max) – it took me 3:53 last year, including some 20 – 25 minutes worth of breaks to clean up the vomit from under and around my Neo…
And that brings me to the only thing that I do not always like about Rouvy: there are challenges and requirements that are basically madness on an indoor trainer.
Haleakala is one of them, but Rouvy’s favorites are equally tough rides like the Galibier (via the Télégraphe), the Sella Ronda, the 105 kilometer (!) long Furka-Grimsel-Susten and IM 70.3 rides, typically some 90 kilometers long as well.
Plus, some of their worst challenges are just for a badge, while for others, a 30 kilometer indoor ride is enough for a chance to win a Wahoo Kickr or Tacx Neo…
I know that any hardcore Strava addict will call me a pussy and worse, because in their – and Strava’s – view, indoor rides do not amount to anything anyway.
After all, you’re (hardly) ‘working out’, watching Netflix while eating popcorn – no weather, no heroism, no bouncing off cars, no nothing.
So, looking at it that way, Rouvy is just offering these challenges and chances to win prizes to enable you to binge watch your favorite shows and movies, right?
And yes, I also know nobody is forcing me to do these challenges and crazy ass rides, and yes, reaching ‘Rouvy Legend’ status should be hard** (and thus, most likely, more ‘exclusive’), but sometimes I wonder…
Sadly, some guys have figured out how to rig their setup in such a way that the numbers are always in their favor. Miraculously shed 20 or 30 pounds overnight and you top the list in any climbing challenge.
As a result, an unusual number of male Rouviers is weighing in at an unhealthy sub 50 kilograms during those challenges. Other setup ‘mistakes’ include a low FTP setting, resulting in an IF of over 2 and thus double the TSS points.
And apparently, I could finish the Spring Classics Challenge by just starting the same 70 kilometer down hill ride every day and I wouldn’t have to do anything, since once you’ve set your trainer in motion, it will keep running.
(I should add that prizes are not awarded based on rank, but the winners are picked randomly from the finishers. But finishing them ‘the easy way’ is lame and should not be rewarded at all.)
But all that aside, I love Rouvy and it got me through another winter – as they have been evolving over the past few years, I’m confident they will continue to do so.
Which hopefully means they will remove these ‘quirks’, but I’m not sure if they would be willing to lower the bar on the mad challenges and required (career) rides.
At least a bit, to make them more manageable for idiots like me, not manipulating your setup and always pushing for (better) results.
After all, despite the Strava rhetoric, a good indoor two hour ride at an IF of .8 or so, is as intense as a three, maybe four, hour outdoor ride.
Meaning a four hour indoor ride at that intensity is near impossible, at least for me, Rouvy Legend or not, as I have a hard time finding the button to dial down intensity 😂
*So, yes you can – if you know how to cheat…
**Which kinda contradicts the “you’re not really doing anything” argument…