Tour De Zwift 2021 – Stage 4: Shorter Ride

It’s a jolly long while since I have climbed Box Hill, so when I saw Stage 4 included a smash up the climb, I figured what the heck? What a great way to spend my final week day ride of, well, the week.

This route was listed as “the shorter ride”, but had more climbing than the standard ride. It must go only on distance, which is a bit weird. But there we go. OK, so I think this was the Greater London loop? Might be wrong on that one.

The main thing was it hit Box Hill.

My plan of attack was to hit it at 3.6w/kg average, which by and large I did do. I checked my previous best efforts (this blog is useful for something!) and found I was around 10 minutes, give or take, on my previous best. Not sure what watts per kilo that was at, but was mentally prepped to work hard for ten minutes.

The truth of it is you can mentally prep all you want, but once you hit the climb and your legs start to burn, it becomes a personal challenge to either see it through or give up on your plans. I’d forgotten quite how long that third stretch is, from the last S-bend up to the 90 degree corner. That bit seemed to drag on and on, and when I wasn’t staring down at the floor, watching the sweat stream off my brow, I would look up and see people zipping past me like they were on a descent.

Always good for the motivation is that.

Anyway, I’m a big enough boy to know that Zwift is really all about the personal challenge. I’m never going to finish first in any of these events. There’s always someone fitter, stronger, faster, younger, whatever. What matters is that I do my best and if I’ve done that, I’m happy.

Sadly, being an event, Zwift didn’t give me a timer at the top of the climb, so I was blissfully unaware of how I’d done once I hit the top. It did give me a feather on the KOM banner which was useful in the nasty little kicker that comes just before the descent. You won’t get one of them in real life.

Then it was all down hill, except the travellator, which today went well for me.

I was expecting to get eaten up and lose a good few places on the home stretch. I think I lost two places. Like I say, never coming first.

What did / does feel good after the ride is not so much the time up Box Hill, which was a new PB, but rather how I feel like some of my previous form is returning. I really do have to thank the TdZ for “forcing” me into some regular harder rides, as it’s done me the world of good it seems.

I’m having a rest day tomorrow for sure. Well earned. Maybe even have a beer, that’d be something.

But hopefully this garbage storm Christoph decides to bugger off and leave some dry roads outdoors over the weekend. I really want to have an outdoor ride. Like, really. Cold or not. I even have some new rubber gloves (not that kind) to try out. These ones. They are neoprene, which Manon from GCN recommended (in a video, not personally).

The stitched fingers remind me of Dr No. Or maybe the Penguin. Either way, some baddie.

OK then. I hope you’re enjoying the TdZ, and maybe I will see you in one of the future events if I haven’t already. If so, do say hi.

Until next time!

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