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