Feelin' Rouvy

If I understand correctly, Rouvy is about to join Zwift and Tour de Giro and a short list of others by offering a multi-rider experience. Rouvy is well loved by its users because of its advanced metrics, trainer compatibility, features, and large library (thousands) of video routes. Rouvy (like Tacx) offers videos as opposed to graphics (Zwift).

A lot of people like the notion of an actual video with elevation and topography that syncs with a smart trainer. Here’s a Rouvy experience (which I call by Roovy and others Rovey; maybe I'm wrong but I can't get out of my pronunciation habit).

While at Interbike, as I was walking from my last appointment to my next, I saw the video below and it caused me to be late for that appointment. What I saw was a video showing two riders on the same course, in the same video. Pardon if you’ve seen this before, I’m not the first person to report on it. But I hadn’t seen it in person until last week at Interbike.

You guys are tougher than me. You stick to your schedule, get up in the morning at oh dark thirty, do your structured training workouts, get on with your lives. Me? I have needs. I have weaknesses. I need extra motivation. Company. Scenery. Sensory input.

That’s why I like Zwift. Even the rides (as opposed to the races) are like snowflakes, or chess games: No two are alike. There’s always the injection of human decision and behavior – you can’t control how others ride, but they may impact how you ride. Some people prefer structured training precisely because of this – they don’t want the trajectory of their rides bent by others. Me, I’m just more likely to ride if there are people to ride with. That’s why I like multi-rider experiences.

This was Interbike. A trade show. Lots to see. Not that much time to see it. So, I don’t have the whole 411 on Rouvy’s multi-player mode. But I took a video of the video (above), so, please bear this in mind if you click “play”. This was a super crisp video I was watching (as opposed to what you are watching. Like Kramer making his bootleg movies there’s a lot lost in the translation in this video-of-video. Still, I hope you can see what’s happening: Two riders on the screen at the same time, and “I” am getting passed and distanced by another rider.

One limitation of Zwift is the incredible time and work it takes to come up with new routes. I’m in absolute awe of the graphics work they do. The Rouvy platform does not require that. In the case of this video above, riders enter and exit Canazei, a town at the base of a number of famous climbs in the Dolomites, annually ridden in the Tour of Italy. Who doesn’t want to be there, riding those roads? In this video, I can. Sort of. Of course, I could before this. But now I can ride them with friends. Or so it seems.

Rouvy is slow-walking the reach of this functionality. It says it doesn’t want to be Zwift, or compete against Zwift. Okay.

You and I will know more next month, if things remain on schedule. Rouvy is in private beta now on the multiplayer product, and intends to push its beta public in October. Rouvy is well aware of the indoor training ardency of Slowtwitchers. Look for opportunities as we move to a focus on stationary just after Kona. Here is what Rouvy says about its multiplayer experience.