Ride to Sigcomm - a prelude

August 05, 2018

The plan

My mentors, colleagues and I got another article accepted for publication in Sigcomm. I love travelling and, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed the conference was going to happen in Budapest this year. The last time I went to Sigcomm it was in Brazil, compared to that Budapest seems a lot less adventurous and exciting. However…

We decided to bike to Sigcomm, and by bike I mean cycle. Well, not the entire distance, instead we cherry-picked the more interesting roads Romania has to offer, and by interesting I mean hard.

Without further ado, this is the trip:

  1. Transfăgărășan featuring a serious HC(hors categorie - meaning “go home, dude”) climb.

  2. Transalpina featuring just one 1st category climb this is the queen stage featuring some 3K+ meters of climbing and 125KM in length. It is going to hurt.

  3. Cazanele Dunării - despite not being as mountainous as the previous two, all those hills won’t be loved, for sure.

  4. Budapest - “the day for sprinters” is going to be long and flat.

If all goes well, we’ll be cycling 425KM and some 7500M of ascent and this will have been the hardest bike tour I’ve ever done.

The dude

I’m Radu, yet another dude from Romania. I’ve started biking more seriously some 4 years ago and it was a very rewarding experience. However, as my Strava profile suggests, this adventure won’t to be a walk in a park for me. My longest ride was some 158KM, and the most I’ve climbed in one day is about 2100M (according to memory because on Strava I split that ride in two - before and after a long break).

The expectations

This year wasn’t my best, the winter was quite long and the summer unexpectedly wet, thus my stats are not impressive: I’ve managed to ride a meagre 2200KM, while totalling some 13,765KM since using Strava(2014).

2018

The last full gas climbing effort that I remember was in May this year. Back then I managed 218W for about 30 minutes and a VAM of 889. If I were to pull these numbers again on the two “trans-es”(1, 2), according to Strava, I’d be somewhere in the top 10%. However…

I haven’t been training at my best for a while now, as you can see below:

cycling-time

And this, quite predictively, resulted in a gentle degradation of form. Below is a graph with the best 20 minutes power I recorded in the past months:

20mins-max-power

The trend is obvious there and also reflected by my VO2Max:

vo2max

The end, for now

Having said this, I hope my ass will hold up together with my legs and mind. I’m not at my finest, but that will only make the challenge more exciting due to the unknown.

Stay tuned for more about the trip.

Finally, I would also like to thank the guys from Fitbit for being kind enough to offer us some amazing Fitbit Ionic smart watches to make our suffering more informed.