RGT Cycling – Cap Formentor

For this evening’s ride I finally got my lazy self on to RGT Cycling’s Cap Formentor route. This is something I have been telling myself I will do for the last two weeks.

I’m going to be completely honest about this:

The reason I haven’t ridden this route is down to one word: laziness.

The thought of doing a climbing route is mentally more challenging to me than doing a workout, for example an SST session. Why? Well, it’s simply more work. It’s harder in terms of everything, for the same amount of time on the bike.

So, being human, I put it off.

But the thing is, climbs are never rarely as hard as they seem, once you get on the bike. In fact, some of my most enjoyable rides (after the event, at least) have been those featuring big / long / challenging climbs.

Also, bang for buck, climbing rides are second (in my humble opinion) only to racing.

Really then, it’s only myself who I am cheating by delaying these rides.

OK, honesty about procrastination out of the way, let’s get into this one.

This route is about 22km, with ~500m of climb.

Unusually (at least, for me) this ride is split into two climbs. Both are about equal in height (~250m each), but they are different in that the first is basically steadily up, “short” and consistent. I prefer this style of climbing, as it’s basically one and done.

The second climb is the same number of meters up (250m approx), but is longer, more gradual, and features a few descents in amongst the climbing. I’m less keen on this, but it breaks up the monotony, I suppose.

Ahead of this ride I knew that each climb would be approx 250m, so used my Zwift Climbing Difficulty page to figure out a similar Zwift climb that I’ve done, to give myself a gauge. The closest I could find was Keith Hill, but I’m fairly sure I’ve never done that one… so all in, a bit useless.

Anyway, basically this one wasn’t that hard. Short enough to over fairly quickly, but steep enough to give myself a solid workout.

I was a little conscious of potentially overdoing it on the first climb and leaving myself with nothing left for the second one. However, I think I stuck fairly well to my plan of approx 230w. As best I recall, all of this was done in the saddle.

One thing that makes RGT Cycling less immersive than Zwift is the lack of other fellow humans on the course. There were a few – more than I’ve seen before, honestly – so I think the popularity of RGT Cycling is growing. I certainly hope so. It feels like a really solid piece of software – more on this shortly – and if you haven’t already done so, I’d highly recommend reading my RGT Cycling review for a better grasp of what’s on offer here.

I’d loaded up the software fairly early, and then still needed to get dressed and stuff. I figured there may be updates to apply or what not, but that wasn’t the case. Possibly it updates seamlessly in the background as the software seems quite well integrated with Windows.

Anyway, as I’d got on early, there were a few other human riders who had started at similar times to me and I was using them as markers of progress on the road ahead.

By the time I reached the top of the first climb – designed with a little Cap Formentor sign post and obligatory tourist camera signs – I was ready for a rest on the fast descent.

RGT Cycling throws in auto-braking on corners. This is different to Zwift and means, I guess, you are expected to apply power out of the corners to maintain momentum. In truth, I felt kinda thrashed and was ready for a bit of a coast downhill at low wattage, so that didn’t take place on my run 😉

By the time I reached the bottom there was a rider in front of me who I was hoping to catch. This was the designated challenge I set for myself. Could I reach, and hopefully pass this person before we hit the end of the route?

Hitting the bottom of the first descent I was feeling pretty good about my time. I’d covered almost half the route distance, and half the climb. If things progressed at a similar pace I could be on for a really solid time.

Whilst the second climb is more gradual, it’s also longer. I wasn’t quite aware of this, however, at this point so my plan was somewhat poorly formed.

One thing that I’d like is to be able to zoom into the route / terrain map and get a better understanding of the gradient of the small section of road ahead of me. For me, Tacx Software absolutely nails this – far better than any of its competitors.

There were several little sections of the road that suddenly went very steep – 10%+ – only to drop back down to almost flat or maybe even a little descent. I found myself out of the saddle for several of these, and sometimes I mucked up my gearing.

One frustrating moment, but with a silver lining, came as I went into the steeper middle portion of the second climb.

I’m constantly trying to grab screenshots. Sometimes I muck around with camera angles. If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you’ll have seen evidence of this.

Well, today, in my haste, I managed to hit some crazy key combination on my PC to put my machine to sleep!

Absolute disaster.

With no idea what key combo I’d pressed, I ended up having to get off the bike, then boot the PC back up, then curse myself, get into the software – which managed to resume with me still in place. But I couldn’t pedal. My kit was no longer registering, then the game crashed, and assume I’d lost my ride for sure.

But amazingly, not so.

I was truly blown away by being able to – almost effortlessly – resume my ride.

No other software I’ve tried allows this with such ease. Even my resulting .fit file behaves perfectly, without hiccup or what have you. Truly stunned here.

If I’d have lost my ride I’d have been gutted, for sure, but it would have been absolutely my fault.

Top marks: RGT Cycling!

Unfortunately, as a result of my mistake, I lost any chance of catching the rider ahead of me.

After this I kinda bummed out. I was disappointed and frustrated, and probably went a little too hard as soon as I was back in game, in some weird effort to try to make up the time.

Yeah, that was never going to happen.

Visually, the nicest part of this route came at the very end.

Heading down to the finish line, the lighthouse feature is really quite pretty.

If I had one suggestion for this route it would be to add in some KOM boards or something. Particularly for the first climb. The post race stats are not quite as nice as Zwift, nor Tacx Software, and for me, my ride did not auto upload to Strava. Nor does this software link to Training Peaks.

But still, getting that data into both other sites was easy enough for me at this point. I’m just lazy.

So I’m thinking.

This is about an hours ride.

So is SST.

Should I throw this session into the mix on a weekly basis? It’s a good solid ride, and it feels like it’s pushing me more than SST.

It’s something to consider in my weekly review.

But anyway, if you haven’t yet done so, do check out RGT Cycling. It’s really, really good. Equally as good as Zwift in many ways, and completely free to play – no subscription required.

That said, there is a premium option there. Though I haven’t tried that, yet.

Also, if you are like me – procrastinating about climbing – then learn from my mistakes and … don’t. The thought of these things is almost always worse than the climb itself, and the mental and physical rewards after are well worth it!

15 thoughts on “RGT Cycling – Cap Formentor”

  1. Chris – I rode Cap Formentor (just out to the lighthouse, not out and back) last night. I noticed the bots you told me were the riders who were at constant w/kg for the whole ride. Only one other real rider, i.e., someone with a country flag, and I could see his w/kg vary as we rode. Am doing Innsbruck on Zwift with a friend tonight. So two climbing days in a row. Cheers, Chuck

    • Are you still subbed to zwift or has your trial run out at this point? The reason I ask is that this next weeks tour of watopia stage includes the alpe du zwift. That’s a good climb. I used to think it was mega until I did the passo dello stelvio on rgt. That thing feels like it never ends.

      From your review I see you’re not truly sold on virtual cycling, but have any of these trials changed your mind at all? Have you retained a subscription after finishing the review?

      • Chris – Sorry for delayed response. Yes, I am still subscribed to Zwift and after doing a make-up of Stage 1, completed Tour of Watopia. Like Tour de Zwift, I did B group rides for all the stages. Have done Alpe du Zwift before with a friend. I’m now at Level 12 on Zwift so can ride Alpe du Zwift whenever I want. That said, I’m doing the longer Stage 2 Road to the Sky of Tour of Watopia tomorrow night with a friend.

        Have ou done Mount Ventoux on RGT? I haven’t yet. On my “to do” list. Cheers!

        • Hi Chuck – it’s all good. Glad to hear you’re still subscribed. They are reporting record numbers – 27k was the highest I saw last night. Crazy. Hopefully they put some of that money to good use in updating the software – but I won’t hold my breath.

          Congrats on seeing the tours through!

          I hear they have dropped the AdZ level limit down to level 6 during the pandemic lock down. I don’t see the point in level restrictions at all personally, but there you go.

          I hope your climb went well. I’ve never done AdZ with anyone I know in real life. Were you able to communicate via voice chat, or just text? I’ve seen other companies are getting in on the group workout aspect – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w2VBdKEerA – not quite sure I’m ready to stare at another man’s sweaty face via webcam myself though.

          Have I done Mount Ventoux? No, at 24km (I think) it was beyond my capabilities at the time of me trying the climbs on RGT. It likely still is. That’s a mega climb. I honestly think if I was going to do it, I’d do it on the Tacx Software and ride the video route instead. I’m thinking 24 grinding kilometers of fairly repetitive scenery would be too much for me to mentally cope with 😀

          • When I Zwift with my friend, we communicate with each other via the messaging on the Zwift companion app as well as text messages on our phones. But honestly, it’s a bit of a bother as I’m too involved just trying to turn the pedals over. 🙂

            And I’m with you about level restrictions on Zwift. I know a big debate about it amongst more serious Zwifters.

          • Right yeah – whilst I’ve been off the bike I’ve been watching some streamers on YouTube and Twitch – no idea how they can hold a steady conversation with an audience whilst pushing 400w. Fair play to them. I’m definitely more in the giving-it-everything-just-to-keep-moving-forwards category.

      • P.S. Yes, the Stelvio does seem to go on forever. A different kind of climb that the Alpe.

        FWIW, I think virtual cycling has its place (especially now in the midst of COVID-19). IMHO it’s real work and real training. I just think it’s important to understand that it’s not IMHO real cycling because real cycling (and racing) outdoors is more than just watts. For me, virtual cycling is a nice to have adjunct to my outdoor riding and can’t ever substitute for it.


        • The way I’m thinking about it right now is virtual cycling is a really solid workout. I can’t imagine anywhere outdoors that I’d get the consistency of a sweet spot session, for example. ERG mode is absolutely perfect for structured workouts.

          Racing is also really good online. I’ve never done a real bike race, so I can’t compare, but I can say that used as a hard workout, it has been – I believe, no science here – extremely beneficial to my personal fitness.

          However, yes, I also am quickly coming round to the idea that outdoors is where it’s at. I think the indoor stuff is brilliant to prep you for going on long and hard outdoor rides.

          I’ll always have a big space in my life for indoor stuff, but I absolutely cannot wait to get outdoors at the moment. Now the weather is picking up, the roads should be quiet due to this pandemic, and my health is on the mend. Perfect-o!

          • I agree with you about virtual cycling be a solid workout. And pretty much impossible to replicate out on the road. Definitely a great way to get fit and stronger.

            But what virtual cycling doesn’t teach you is bike handling skills, how to ride in a group, spatial awareness, courtesy/etiquette, etc. All stuff that matters when you’re riding on real roads. And why online racing isn’t anything like real racing.

            Be well and be safe. Cheers!

  2. Hey Chris! Just wanted to let you know that I had a go up Mount Ventoux on RGT today. Was riding it more for temp/cadence than power. But a little more than halfway in, the power/cadence connection dropped out. I stopped and re-started the ride but couldn’t get it to re-connect, so just ended the ride at that point. Bummed because I had a good rhythm going and had planned to up my power output on the second half of the climb. Oh well … ended up as a nice below threshold steady-state endurance kind of ride. Will have to try again sometime. Be well and be safe! Cheers, Chuck

    • Oh, that sucks. I wonder if RGT servers are feeling the strain in the recent uplift in rider numbers? I haven’t actually checked if RGT has a lot more real humans online at the moment, but given that it’s free, I suspect it may well do.

      Yeah I guess looking at the positives – a good workout. But nothing more frustrating than the whole thing crashing and being robbed of the achievement :/

  3. I just see on my iPhone and iPad where RGT posted an update. So hopefully, that fixes whatever happened to me.

    I think I was the only real human when I was riding Mount Ventoux the other day. I’m surprised that RGT hasn’t garnered more riders since it’s free (even before they offered the premium for free during COVID).

    • Ahh, I bet the devs there are gutted. What more can they do? The thing is, the social aspect is a huge part of it right now. I have no idea how big of a team is behind RGT, but from my p.o.v it is all about marketing. Zwift isn’t necessarily better – sure it’s a bit more polished, but not by much – but they do have good marketing. Maybe if RGT got some teams to race and got into live streaming, it might make a bigger difference?

      Hard to say. I’m terrible at marketing myself.

      • Yeah, the actual riding experiences aren’t all that different between Zwift and RGT. And I’ve had glitches with both. I’m not that social on Zwift (BTW, you probably noticed that none of my Zwift rides are on my Strava that you follow because I keep a separate Strava account for virtual rides so the miles don’t count towards my “real” riding) but have enjoyed doing Tour de Zwift and Tour of Watopia. There’s a certain motivation riding with a group that doesn’t happen when you ride solo (both virtual and real riding). But that said, I don’t Zwift to be social and that aspect is less important to me.

        I’m guessing RGT doesn’t have the $$$ to spend on marketing (otherwise they would). But they need to something if the platform is going to survive.

        It would be interesting to know how many riders RGT has signed up. And how many are riding on any given day.

        • You know, maybe I should reach out to RGT and see if they can provide a bit more information on their setup. I have a hard time working out if they are a small or larger outfit. I’ll put an email together and ask some questions and share what I get back. If I can help them grow even by a small handful of riders, that’d be fantastic.

          I like the idea of keeping the virtual and real rides separate on Strava. That said, I have only just – as in on Good Friday – got the Strava app installed on my phone. So now I’m checking Strava way more than I ever did before. I think their app is in many ways better than their website.


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