2023 marks the third year I have been using the virtual Rouvy platform for online riding and racing.
In 2022 I rode their multi stage spring classics and Vuelta events. These were both individual time trials that you had a certain amount of days to complete the rides and their system would take your stage time and add it into an overall general classification.
Placings equalled prizes with kit and nutrition being given out or discounted for successful riders.
Both were brilliant and I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a 2023 classics event with Flanders, Wevelgem, Liege and the Amstel covered.
Saturday after what is becoming an annual festive bout of coronavirus, I peeked out of the curtains before declaring that I would be on the turbo and not out on the road.
As I powered up the laptop and started spinning my legs I saw a 9 minute countdown to a race up Alp D’Huez and immediately signed up. I was going all in…
The route downloaded quickly and for those of you who have been in Bourg D’Oisans for real starts just outside Seb Pizza!
The mix of real world video and CGI avatars makes Rouvy different from the likes of Zwift and RGT and the peloton was soon off and making its way out of town towards the Casino supermarket.
We hopped over the roundabout and past the camp site to the left turn that signals the start of the climb and the intense and steep drag to the first switchback.
I went way too hard here to try and keep up with the leaders and see some clear air off the front. My logic being that if I could lead for a few metres that would be success!
I didn’t make it and when the 8 and 9% gradients bit I found myself slipping back from the front as I tried to get into my groove.
Both times in real life I had ground up the climb in my smallest gear. For this I wanted to try and save that for later on if needed and ride a lower cadence and standing out of the saddle a bit more.
This was working well for about three turns and I was solid in the top 10 until a poorly timed gear shift saw my chain come off and a kink wrap itself into the rear mech.
I jumped off and watched in horror as some avatars zoomed past.
The chain went on before skipping off a second time and needed a bit of work to get it back on and running smoothly (I have now taken the bike off the turbo and given it a proper bit of TLC). It didn’t take the 20+ minutes of time I shipped to the race winner though, however much I might want to claim that.
Once I was back going and the adrenalin had died down I found a rhythm where I was about 70-80% of FTP but always felt I had a little something if needed.
A couple of riders zoomed past me and I passed a couple but I was always in my zone and in control of my ride.
Again with parallels to my real life ride I was able to pace myself into the final 4kms (from the dual carriageway and bus stop) into town and take a couple of places back.
My final position was 15th place which I would have, of course, taken at the start line.
You can see from my notes that I was a bit gutted about the chain but it was a brilliant start to the build up to on the road racing and I hope to report on some more events soon.
Thanks Rouvy for hosting.