Race Watopia: Stage 2 – Flat Route

Another trip around the Flat Route. Or, well, two trips.

It’s been a disjointed week of riding days, starting Monday instead of Tuesday, then having yesterday ‘off’ as I had to go away for the day with work.

As it happens, 5h 45m in the car on top of a day of work is not exactly a rest day. Far from it. I feel exhausted today. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from getting the weekly race done and ticked off.

Heck, if anything it gave me a solid excuse.

OK, so before starting today I did one thing differently. Whilst I had so much free time yesterday during the drive I got to thinking about what could possibly have changed between now and earlier in the year.

I still didn’t come up with much, but one thing that I thought might be different was that I might be using the Tacx Neo 2 as the power source, and not the pedals.

The idea was to always use the pedals as regardless of whether I am indoors or out, I would always have the same pedals. So the power source would always be the same.

Turns out, yes, Zwift was set to the Favero pedals. Boo. However, the Garmin was not. The Garmin was set to the Neo.

Would that make any difference?

Well, probably not.

However I did do better today than I expected. I was expecting to get dropped on one of the several short but aggressively attacked little hillocks that make up the Flat Route.

There’s the tunnel ascent, the little climb at end of the switch backs, the short and sharp one into the esses, and then the esses’s themselves. I’ve probably missed one, too.

But with all the riding I have done recently on the Flat Route, I was prepared in terms of route recon to know when to push early, and approximately how long I might have to push for.

Lap 1 had me already at my top end in terms of pace, but a welcome easing came at the start of Lap 2. The thing was, I knew that Lap 1 had been a fairly relaxed pace for the front runners, and I was all too aware that when the temperature got amped up, I was going to get spat out.

So really, as usually, it was all about hanging on.

Half way around Lap 2 I was still with the front, and coming out of the water tunnel I dropped my Draft Van power up, put in a surge and came out near the front. Feeling great about what a tactical genius I was, I then eased off.

From then on, I was nearly dropped and found myself having to work harder than if I’d just played it safe and steady.

The pace never seemed to dip from there on out.

I just about managed to get back in the bulk of the bunch as we took the last pass through the Bridge Sprint (at the slowest pace of the whole lap) and then bam, into the essess for a second time and even with yet another Draft Van I wasn’t staying in touch.

About the only saving grace was that I didn’t give up. Because I definitely wanted too. High heart rate, disappearing front runners, lots of little climbs still to go… my heart and legs weren’t in it.

Fortunately I wasn’t isolated. About 7 or 8 of us got split, with that original big bunch forming three separate bunches into the final kilometre.

I decided to sprint at 400m. That was probably too early, as by 200m I was pooped.

Anyway somehow I kept it up and crossed the line just 8 seconds behind.

I’ll take it. I mean, I have to. That was my result. But yeah, not as bad as I was expecting, and overall a pretty good showing all things considered.

Glad of a break now. Rest days are important!

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