Attack The Climb

Continuing with my “think positive” mindset, I was genuinely looking forward to attacking the Innsbruck Forward KOM today. So much so that I skipped yesterday in order to put in an effort on that map in particular.

My plan today was to go hard on the KOM. I figured I could use it as an on road FTP test and, with my last solid effort in mind, my plan was to attack at 3.4w/kg.

As Zwift doesn’t have any useful way of measuring an effort like this whilst in the ride, I decided to make solid use of the Garmin Edge 530.

Ahead of the ride I added a new screen with four data fields:

  • Lap time
  • Lap average cadence
  • 3s average power
  • Lap average power

These are pretty much the metrics that matter most to me when going for it. Not too much data to overload me, but enough to give me everything I need at a glance.

Heading into the bottom of the Innsbruck KOM marker I hit the lap button on the Garmin and got to work.

Immediately I was going too hard. 3.8w/kg and struggling to rein it in. I figured if I kept this up o was on a sure fire way to blow up and burn out very early.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to calm down. At best I managed to slow down to 3.6w/kg but that took me an alarmingly long amount of time to do so. I was convinced I’d be burned out by 10 minutes in.

And in truth I was suffering, hard, by the ten minute mark. Heart rate up, probably the highest it has been in a long while actually. Cadence was decent, though honestly I didn’t find myself referring to that figure so much when it came to it. The only figures I had my eye on were lap time, and lap average power.

By minute 12 I was really hurting, and as the figure on the Garmin read 3.6w/kg I was concerned I still had 8 minutes to go but was feeling like I’d be struggling to reach minute 15 at current pace. Yet somehow, the lap average continued to tick up. But only in hundredths 🙂

My plan was to push as hard as I could for 20 minutes. I knew I’d still have work to do after that interval was done, but that’s my road test so that mattered most. Finishing the KOM at a decent clip was a secondary priority.


By minute 15 I was in a sort of delirious state between wondering how I might manage another 5 minutes of riding as hard as I could, yet somehow keeping up an intense pace (by my standards) when my legs felt like they’d switched off. There’s been many a ride where I’ve felt like I was pushing super hard but the watts don’t reflect this. Today it was the opposite. Bizarre.

I can’t remember much between minutes 15 and 18. I distinctly remember at the 18th minute mark alternating between believing I could sustain the pace for another two minutes, and wondering how the hell I’d managed this for the last 18. Grunts and shouts were to be heard. God knows what the neighbours think.

It definitely helped having the average watts per kilo displayed slap bang in front of me on the Garmin. Without that I would have been guessing, or at the very least, trying to keep a running total of averages that I’d seen on the right hand HUD display during the course of the climb.

Zwift could definitely improve here. It sucks that I need to rely on third party hardware to get this information that they clearly have access to – just see the Alpe Du Zwift climb data by comparison.

I feel going into this one with a positive outlook really, really helped. I’d be super interested to know how many Zwift race winners go in expecting to win, and how that translates to results. Having the right mindset is powerful.

I’m left wondering if I could have pushed harder after the twenty minute mark today.

There’s no denying I gave it a solid effort for those twenty minutes, and I was absolutely slayed after it. But could I have found it within myself to keep up the intensity just that little bit longer and got a 23 minute time?

One for the future, anyway.

It’s also interesting to know how I felt as I approached 190bpm heart rate today.

At previous points in my cycling journey, this has been – dare I say – fairly normal.

But recently (this year?) I haven’t been touching 190bpm at any recent point that I can remember. Today it was only briefly. But I definitely felt that strain as I pushed harder. The best way to describe it would be like I was spaced out.

I never felt out of control, but equally, it wasn’t pleasant.

After the climb I found a pack to cruise down with, and then set myself up for a smash at the small climb on the Innsbruckring lap. I forget the name. Something very german sounding.

I was pleased with my effort there today.

I was out of the saddle for all of it, and gave a decent account of myself throughout. Shame it’s not timed.

Also I managed a decent go at the sprint today. Probably my best ever.

I started well, but used perhaps one gear too “easy”. I was out of the saddle for this, of course, and if I had had a bit more resistance early on I perhaps could have gotten closer to that coveted top spot.

I’m yet to take a sprint jersey, as best I recall, and certainly never come close on a popular / busy map.

So that was that. Happy with my climb I cut the ride short as I crossed the start / finish line of the Innsbruck full lap route.

In some ways I’d have liked to have pushed on and hit 30km, but I can’t say that I’m overly fussed that I didn’t. Just nice to hit round figures is all.

More to the point I was keen to see if I had achieved a new FTP figure.

The answer to that is: yes!

Unfortunately I didn’t get a Zwift screenshot, but the figures are almost identical. Zwift had me at 234w, whereas the Garmin puts me at 233w.

I’m happy with either, as my yearly target was 230w, so to hit it 6 months early is massive.

Not sure what I’ll do next – got a Zwift Running activity scheduled for tomorrow, but if the weather improves perhaps I’ll head outdoors.

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