As we seek to broaden the range of training that we can do, exploring the world without leaving the garage, we are adding virtual rowing to our activities. Read on to find out a little more about our plans.
InsideRide as a project was originally started to document our incursion in to the world of indoor cycling, and our journey to improve fitness and lose weight. As time has progressed we have started to introduce more variety into our training regime through first adding a spot of virtual running, and now some virtual rowing too. Expect to see some row courses appearing here shortly.
We did not really see that coming from the outset, and had barely even noticed the run tab in Zwift. Will this result in a name change at some point? Possibly, watch this space – though it would be a shame to move now given that the site is beginning to get some traction, and will maintain a strong ride bias.
Back to the rowing. Primarily we wanted to add some upper body work into our training routine, and we also wanted to get get better at a motion that we find challenging due to asthma. We also felt that a rowing activity at the beginning of a multisport day would be a purer implementation of the principles of triathlon than a second run as used in the IronmanVR series.
Whenever we procure equipment, there is always a very detailed research phase that can go through weeks, or even months of prevarication. Here we moved quite swiftly.
We discovered a number of things:
1. Really the virtual training scene for rowing is very nascent compared to that for ride, and a lesser extent run.
2. The availability of equipment transmitting power data in the way seen for ride and run is much more limited too.
Most would opt for either a Waterower or Concept2 rower, both of which can transmit power data to virtual rowing applications. Most of the software options out there talk to the Concept2 in particular.
Our research started from a different point. We knew that we wanted gpx tracked workouts linking in to Strava. After all, if it is not in Strava, it never really happened. In the absence of virtual world row capability in Zwift, we were intrigued by the capability to row video courses in Kinomap – which we are also using for run.
Our options for other software were fairly limited given that we refuse to use Windows, and cannot get excited about rowing top-down rowing races either. This site is all about seeing a world without leaving the house – a somewhat timely endeavour given the COVID-19 lockdown!
Having decided that we would be rowing on Kinomap, our equipment search began by looking through the compatible equipment page here.
Rowing is never going to be our main pursuit at insideRide, so we were not looking to spend a huge amount of money. We did want to be using actual power data though, not camera calculated power data. That is a nice feature for training in gyms around the world, but not sufficiently accurate when you have freedom to choose equipment.
If we could have obtained a Concept2 rower, we might well have done, but they were out of stock everywhere, and cost more than what we wanted to spend on something that is ancillary to our purpose.
Instead we stumbled across the Domyos Rowing Machine 500. We knew that Domyos was a Decathlon brand and though it was initially out of stock, we were able to buy one the following day – though it arrived over a fortnight later.
The Domyos 500 contains a tablet holder above the HUD, which we are using to hold an iPad on which we run Kinomap. The rower transmits power data direct to the app, and then that translates into the speed through which you row the course. We do not know the protocol by which the machine transmits data, and whether it would work with the likes of Zwift in the future, as they open their software up to rowing.
With Kinomap you can also broadcast the video to a larger screen – a feature we have not tested yet on run or row.
We should point out that we have paid for both our own Domyos 500 Rowing Machine, and our Annual Family Kinomap subscription – we have no financial interest in whether our readers choose to use the same hardware and software or not.
We hope that you enjoyed this introduction to what is to come – expect to see row courses appearing real soon!