Neokyo Nights: Stage 3 – Railways & Rooftops (B)

A slight change to my usual weekly proceedings. Usually I would go for a walk on Wednesday dinner breaks to get some fresh air and some much needed “sunlight”. Or what passes for sunlight right now.

But for some reason I felt like racing last night, and that didn’t change today.

As such I found myself ready and raring to go with a ~10 minute very light pace partner warm up, before joining the race with a couple of minutes to spare. Nothing like being on time for once.

It was an interesting race today, but mostly not from the actual race / results perspective.

Rather from a personal effort / PB point of view.

As the name of this one – Railways and Rooftops – implies, there is an element of climbing to the route. 56m over the ~6.2km lap. That’s according to Strava. Zwift has this one down at 170m for the race, but that includes the lead-in.

The pace was pretty much at my limit from the off. I’d had two big pushes into the red during the lead-in, and that was a good sign of what was to come.

That said, I knew with climbs I was very likely to get dropped.

When, not if, and all that.

Inevitably then, I got dropped at the first climb on lap 1.

As I was at FTP keeping up with the pack on the flats, and pushing over even on the shorter humps pre-climb, it was obvious I wouldn’t be able to hang on for the ~1km of climb that would see the more powerful riders actually need to push over their FTP.

There were several times on that first climb that I looked up and saw that even the back markers I was chasing off the front pack were over 5w/kg, where I was struggling to maintain 4w/kg.

And that is always evident every week when reviewing the Zwift Racing App stats (pictured / linked below).

After I’d gotten dropped I didn’t give up.

I have a pace and I stick to it. Usually that means I gravitate towards the latter third of the riders… around 30th in a field of 50. That sort of thing.

Such was the case today.

Fortunately I wasn’t alone, and having those riders around me – all of whom seemed stronger or with more left in the legs than I had – kept me pushing for the whole of the second lap, including the second descent where I was desperately ready to ease off.

But at the bottom of the second descent I saw we only had 1km left to go.

That caught me off guard, and when I saw a little bump heading back up to the finish arch I was expecting an attack from anyone who had managed to grab some fresh oxygen on the way down.

Two riders popped feathers, and I dropped my head and dug in. I don’t remember if I downshifted, but I do remember upping the pace.

When it got to 400m and only one rider seemed to be charging, I was given a bit of hope.

At 200m, I think I was the second to go.

Out of the saddle and charging, I managed to glance up and see one other rider also start a sprint as I had passed, but with the meters ticking down it was too late and I managed to fend them off.

For me, like I say, the result was secondary.

I appear to have set two new PB’s on the effort and got a 1w FTP bump in Zwift after the closing screens, something I haven’t seen in as long as I can remember.

All in all then, a really positive, if utterly exhausting 22 minutes.

I don’t know if I will ride or walk tomorrow. Definitely something.

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