lauantai 23. joulukuuta 2017

Road Grand Tours app: Riding on quiet roads

In Road Grand Tours you ride real-world roads in rendered 3D environments. It is in beta (Windows/MacOS), and there are currently only five roads to choose from. No specific ERG modes or exercises here, as RGT seems to profile itself different from The Sufferfest or Trainerroad. Nor is there any gamification à la Zwift. RGT simulates your personal rides, in good and bad.

It takes a while to start up, but RGT finds the sensors and the trainer nicely (as long as Garmin Express is not running in background). Menu is straightforward and soon one is good to go.

Two of the roads are majestic climbs (Stelvio and Ventoux), two are undulating Mediterranean roads (Cap de Formentor and Pienza), and the fifth is a one-kilometer oval ride in Canary Wharf.

I feel very natural riding my bike on Road Grand Tours – as "real" as it can be on the cheapest smart trainer on the market. The response to %-change is quick. With 95% difficulty setting I used same gears as riding outdoors. I'd say RGT is on par with BigRingVR, and both of these have felt more authentic than Zwift in this sense.

So, we can be happy about the basics. The startup does take exceptionally long, but when it's done all the checking, the sensors and the trainer are found automatically and we're good to go (as long as Garmin Express is not running in background).

RGT is a bit limited but it surely gives you happy riding a week or a few. Compared to eg. Zwift and The Sufferfest, RGT is more of a prototype to help getting some serious funding for the next phase than a platform/service a cyclist would subscribe.

This app is in beta, which naturally means that there are things the developers should pay attention to: the cadence measuring gets confused when downhill, distance information is missing on some roads/rides, the Formentor lighthouse stonewall lets the rider straight through, into an endless falling to the sea.

Road Grand Tours is a nice app to ride a week or a few. Give it a go – it takes you to great roads and doesn't ask for a dime from you!

Pienza (Italy)

Strade Bianche and L'Eroica are ridden here in the Southern Tuscany. This is the picturesque Toscana, and Pienza is its Renaissance-era city-planning masterpiece. 9 km (230 VAM) lap around the countryside is varying and long enough to ride several laps without getting bored. There are nice hills to do the intervalls.

See also: my ride on Strava.

Passo dello Stelvio (Italy)

I've never been there in real life. Despite this handicap I'm ready to say that the feeling of climbing there was very real. I even felt like getting bored with all those numbered hairpins... now 40... 39... still f#cking 36... but, then, I felt lucky to realize there were others on the same climb.

Having other athletes on the same route makes a difference even if one has intended to have their "own pace". What, how long is he going to maintain that 3.5 W/kg! Aa-haa, I knew that would make you take it easy soon. I'm not affected by others. Of course I keep my rhythm and power at 200W, only that it seems to have ballooned to 270W now... It electrifies one immediately when there are others. I prefer that there are some others over having thousands of others like we have on Zwift.

See also: my ride on Strava, and compare it to the data my Garmin Edge 520 recorded.

Cap de Formentor (Spain)

This road on the island of Mallorca is a very popular route for spring training in the real world. It's an undulating stint leading North-East to the lighthouse.

See also: my ride on Strava.

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