Rouvy Double Legend

Rouvy (Double) Legend 2017-2018

Earlier this month, I reached Legend status again, which makes me ‘Rouvy Double Legend’ and should bring me intergalactical respect’, the adverb being a Rouvy invention.

I’ve written about the new Rouvy career concept a few posts back and when they published the new schedule for upcoming challenges, I anticipated finishing my 2017 – 2018 career early June.

I accumulated a lot of TSS points and even finished a challenge I thought I wouldn’t be able to during my holiday – after that and 4 other completed challenges by mid-May, the wait was for the final required challenge, which was the 100K PowerTap Endurance challenge starting on June 4th.

Oh, plus one required route ‘in race mode’…

I finished the PowerTap challenge with a century ride on June 4th, in which I was 3 minutes short to obtain a badge that I afterwards found Garmin features for a ‘Speedy Century’, i.e. when you finish it within 5 hours.

As my moving time was 4:41, I knew that if I would take fewer (photo) breaks, I could easily obtain that badge, so I rode another century on Friday to get it 😂

The required route, Haleakala, was completed during an outdoor ride the Friday before. That took me 4:10 moving time, which is longer than when I rode it indoors last November. This was mostly due to power drop outs from my Garmin Vector 3 pedals.

As Rouvy (the app) is power driven, you will ‘virtually’ stop moving as soon as there is no power recorded. I found out that the problem is related to a flawed battery compartment design – I hadn’t noticed power drop outs before, but looking back, I noticed they’d been occurring for a while.

Google is your friend, so I applied the quick fix before my next ride, which is only holding for a while, unless you actually wedge the contacts, something I do not really want to do.

Anyway, my 144 kilometer ride, with a screenshot of the Haleakala recording, went by unnoticed, until I mentioned having completed my Rouvy career after the PowerTap century.

When asked when I had completed Haleakala – which was not on Strava, but it was on Rouvy – I explained that I had used the ‘work around’ as described in a Facebook post a while before.

The essence of that work around is that you do not need to be indoors to complete a ride on Rouvy – as long as the (smartphone) app can capture power, you’re virtually moving.

Obviously, you will need an on-bike power meter, which is a luxury not everybody has. But if you want to make (serious) progress in your Rouvy career and want to keep doing so when riding outdoors, you’ll need one, as you will not get TSS points without it.

This is open for debate I guess – Rouvy could also opt for a formula based on HR, which would only require a heart rate monitor. This would mean a different approach / formula, but RPE or HR based calculations give – while less accurate – just as good an estimate.

No matter which method, the final outcome / score will still depend on the accuracy of the numbers you input yourself – I see far too many rides on Rouvy with an IF of 2 and over, resulting in TSS score of over 200 per hour, which by the (old) definitions is not possible 1

Mostly, this is due to a wrongly set FTP 1 and obviously the same would go for setting your HR zones, although that is actually less prone to errors…

While my ride was as hard or even harder than when I would have done it indoors, I preferred to do it outdoors because of the weather.

Not that it was that great outdoors either and I had to go through a thunder storm with hail the last 40 minutes, but my BTC was like a boiler room and thus hazardous to ride in.

Besides, nowhere does it state you need to be indoors, just that you ride it ‘in race mode’.

That is an unnecessary requirement by the way – if you would ride it in training mode, you could opt for a lower (grade) intensity setting, but that would mean it would take you (a lot) longer.

While you may have to shift gears less, you will just move slower, because your actual power numbers would not change…

In fact, I put my Neo in ‘slave’ or ERG mode when doing long rides like that anyway, so I can set it to any constant power level I feel I can handle at the time.

My PowerTap pedals transmit power to the desktop app and as the numbers are on average always within 2 – 3 Watts of each other, the result is the same.

So, in no way did I take the easy road when riding Haleakala, nor did I break any rules. And unlike many other Rouvy athletes, my power numbers are identical both indoor and out,

If I would (deliberately) alter, i.e. lower. my weight, or produce (much) higher power numbers indoor because of my trainer type / setting / configuration, I would be better off doing a ride like this indoors.

But that’s not the case, so I have been transparent about what I did, like my training diary is open for everyone to view too. Still, my approach is / was not to everyone’s liking, as purists demand Haleakala – or any Rouvy required route, including for challenges – should be done indoors.

For years, I’ve pleaded, on Strava among others, and argued that riding indoors is every bit as hard as riding outdoors. I usually get responses that riding indoors amounts to nothing compared to outdoors.

Eating a bag of chips, watching Netflix, while hardly putting in an effort on your bike – how does that even begin to compare to riding outdoors, fighting the elements and bouncing of the occasional car?

But now that I do take an indoor ride to the outdoors, I get scorned again.

Well, bite me – I have worked hard for 280 ‘bike’ hours during 7 months, with 12 Rouvy challenges completed, 8,000 kilometers covered and over 21,000 TSS points collected.

I’ve earned that double legend status…


1 At the time of writing this post, the “old school” method of FTP computing was prevalent and in that scenario, you can not get more than an IF of 1 or 100 TSS points per hour. For short rides, i.e. 20-40 minutes, you can but not by a factor 2. In the meantime, this method and the definition of FTP has come under scrutiny, has been redefined as “sustainable power for 50 – 70 minutes” and more than one platform uses an entirely different approach altogether…

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