Tour De Zwift 2021 – Stage 3: Standard Ride

Tough choice between the Alpe du Zwift (standard ride) and some variant of Mont Ventoux for the longer ride. You know things are nuts when the Alpe seems like a more approachable effort.

Anyway, such were the thoughts pretty much plaguing me ever since I spotted Stage 3 was the Alpe on Tuesday night earlier this week. If you want to read more about my excuses, see yesterday’s post.

I set off today expecting a fairly steady climb at 3.2w/kg. I have to say, this was achieved, but it was anything but run of the mill. I found this a real struggle, more so mentally than physically.

There is a workout on Zwift called The Gorby, aka The Quitter.

The gist of that workout is 5x 5 minute efforts at 110% FTP.

This felt like my own variation of The Quitter.

I can’t remember a ride in recent memory when I have wanted to give up quite so much.

Most notably this was between turns 7 and 6. I was almost there but not quite in the home stretch, and my head was just like, Chris, this is awful. Stop. Call it a day, no one will think any less of you.

My averages today were all over the shop.

It turns out I haven’t done the Alpe du Zwift since March 2020, and today’s time, whilst better, was only faster by about 10 seconds. Not much progress over the course of a year.

I genuinely found this hard today. No mincing of words. No trying to sound better than I am. This was an absolute mental struggle.

There were two points in the ride I wanted to quit. As I said above, 7 to 6 was one, but there was another. I can’t quite remember where or when. It’s just so unrelenting.

I had the Garmin on. I managed to forget to click as I passed the start line, so was maybe a minute up the first slope before I pressed the lap timer. Even so, I knew I was on track for an under hour time. Early doors I was averaging around 3.4w/kg, but ever so slowly it started an irreversible traversal down.

I think I finished about 3.32w/kg, maybe. It wasn’t great.

The raw truth of this is I am out of shape.

Christmas was a killer, pre-Christmas was illness, and mentally I have become lazy.

I was trying hard to ride a challenging climb each weekend early in 2020. Those days seem a long time ago. Now I’m content with 100km a week, and those are Zwift kilometres, so not even the real deal.

I need to take this as a hard factual lesson that I’ve slacked off.

However, the opposite angle to this is I am just happy to have put Stage 3 to bed.

Could I have done the longer ride? Yes.

Would it have been a better time than my last effort up Ventop? I really don’t care. That route is appallingly dull. If I’m going to suffer on a computer game, I at least don’t mind quite as much when it’s the best route on Zwift.

I’m not thrilled with this week, but I am content that I’ve complete the bare minimum required to get me through Stage 3. Hopefully the rest isn’t quite as bad. Truthfully I haven’t checked. I have no idea what lies ahead. I thought the climbs would be the last stage.

Things, as Tony Blair might tell you, can only get better.

Right? Right??

I bloody well hope so. I mean I skipped a day outside for this. It better pay off.

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