Stage 4: The Jungle – Race (C)

For this afternoon’s ride I took part in the Tour of Watopia 2020, this time racing on Stage 4: The Jungle.

Prior to the ride I took the opportunity to switch to the freebie mountain bike – my first time on a Zwift MTB – and hit the Jungle Circuit for a rather short warm up. I had planned on getting quite a lot longer as a warm up – especially with my Saturday social schedule taking a Corona-based nose dive – but even so I only managed about 10 mins.

What I did see was the longest train of runners I have ever seen. I’m not sure if they were about to run up Everest Alpe du Zwift, or just laps of the Jungle, but it was cool to see so many on screen at once.

I’ve tried to like the Jungle Circuit. I really have. But something about it just leaves me uninspired.

More so than any other circuit on Zwift, I always feel apprehensive going into it. That long, gentle descent, knowing full well that what lies ahead is the exact equal and opposite slow, grinding ascent.

Right out of the gate today I was not with the front group.

I am aware of my limitations, and aware of Saturday races bringing larger numbers of participants, and among them, stronger participants, too.

From the off I was with the second group. But even so, the pacing down the descent was above 3.1w/kg. I was concerned by this. Typically I’d try to take the descent a little easier and save some legs for the uphill to come. Not so today.

This was another race with a long lead in, with the official start of the race only at the start / finish line of the Jungle Circuit.

By the time we got there I had almost fallen off the back of the small pack I was with twice.

Not the best start.

My plan remained fairly simple: treat this as a solid workout, and climb at or above 3.1w/kg.

Well, the first climb definitely went above this and by the time I reached the top I was wondering if I’d have enough left in me to repeat that on lap two.

I did manage a fairly decent attack of the bridge climb, and tagged on to a small pack for the looming, and hopefully easy, descent back to the start / finish line.

Our little pack got swallowed up on the descent. Turns out we were going too slow.

The pack that swallowed us up was setting a higher average pace, so it was a case of picking up the cadence to keep alongside them.

On both passes through the Jungle Circuit start / finish line today I got the Burrito power up.

When used, the Burrito stops riders behind from being able to draft you. It’s the bad air behind you… very funny, indeed.

Anyway, I get very little value from this power up. I’d have preferred a feather for sure. That said, I didn’t see anyone else get a feather either. Plenty of burrito’s though. I guess they want to show off this new power up. Same with the Ghost.

I struggled with the second climb. My pacing wasn’t there and I dropped many places. Still, again I did manage to remain fairly consistent around 3.1w/kg, so I’m not that bothered.

I knew I’d never be competitive in this race. I’ve realised I struggle so much because I’m pretty much flat at 3.1w/kg. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hill or a flat, I maintain that on average. Well, sometimes a bit higher.

But what I clearly need to be doing is ramping it up on the climbs to take advantage of my weight difference.

Sadly though, I’m just not that fit.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a screenshot of the end of the race.

I’d managed to stick with a small pack all the way down, but I was flagging. Hard.

My second lap was significantly slower than my first.

Even so I did manage to sprint finish this one, so very narrowly pipping one person at the post.

I was surprised to see a 3.2w/kg average for this one, as frankly I felt underwhelmed with this performance. At least, in terms of racing.

Congrats to the winners, and all who took part.

500 calories is a solid workout.

I am most definitely looking forward to 5 more laps of this route tomorrow morning :/

Today’s timeline really shows how I fell off in the second part of the ride.

According to Zwift Power I finished back in 17th today. Not my finest hour.

Pretty amazed to have set, or equaled my 30 minute best on this one.

Honestly, it did not feel like a great ride. I’d hoped that having two rest days between this and the Alpe that I’d have felt, and performed better.

If anything though, I reckon not riding yesterday was a bad move.

Anyway, I’m almost done with the Jungle, and thank God. I’m not a fan.

Five laps though. Arghhh. Slow and steady. That’s the plan. Well, steady anyway. The faster I ride, the faster I’m done.

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