Tour De Zwift 2021 – Stage 5: Longer Ride

Yesterday I missed the start of the Tour De Zwift 2021 – Stage 5: Longer Ride by about 5 minutes.

Today I made it by 3 seconds.

Due to some work related meeting mix ups, I anticipated hitting this ride at 2pm. As it was, a meeting I’d worked my day around got cancelled, and at short notice I was able to get on this one.

No warm up, though.

So the big question today was: would I be able to do this ride in under an hour?

I wasn’t super strict on the hour mark, but give or take, I’d have liked to have had this one done and dusted at around the the hour mark.

Yesterday was a fairly relaxed ride, and prior to that, I’d had a rest day. The weekend rides weren’t full on, so in theory, I was going into this one in a fairly recovered state.

But as this ride went on, I didn’t feel brilliant. Maybe it was the pre-ride cheese sandwich that threw me.

My plan, such as it was, was to stick to around 200w and cruise with a pack for the two ‘flat’ laps, and then go about my own game on the Volcano climb at the end of this.

I had in my mind that I’d hit the Volcano at 250w, or more specifically, try and keep the Garmin lap counter over 3.5w/kg.

For the first 10km of this one I felt fine, then over the next 10km (up to 20km) I found myself needing more and more little recoveries. I’d put myself at the front of the pack, go to one easier gear, spin at about 180w, fall to the back of the sizeable pack (30 riders or so), and then repeat.

This kept me in it, honestly. Without this, I’d have burned out and fallen off the back. Holding steady was hurting.

I don’t remember much of 20-30km, but I do remember feeling like I was fading. More and more of the graph was in the green and dipping blue.

When we finally hit the last lap I managed to pick up a feather on the Downtown Watopia banner.

I held that feather the whole second lap, hoping to use it on the very last part of the Volcano – the steepest bit.

I found the Volcano fairly difficult to set a steady pace, and whilst I don’t have the stats to hand, I’m almost certain I didn’t hold 3.5w/kg. This was partly down to tired legs, but also partly due to the undulating road surface. It’s so much easy to hold it steady when it’s not peaking and troughing every 200m.

So I smashed my feather power up a touch too early. I punched it at about 300m to go, but the steepest bit comes within the last 150m. Maybe I should have held back. It definitely expired prior to me hitting the steepest bit, and still fairly far from the line.

Can’t say I know what position I finished in, but I did kill myself on the last bit. This wasn’t to snatch back places. Far from it. It was to get the damn thing over and done with.

And just a couple of minutes over the hour.

All in all, this was a solid workout, and a decent ride.

As I sit typing this I can still feel it in the legs. But I definitely feel this was a stronger performance because of the intensity of these longer group rides.

They are definitely helping my fitness.

Interrestingly I used to feel like I would fall off as the events went on. But in this Tour I feel I’m getting stronger. Not by much, but definitely recovering large parts of what I lost to illness late last year.

So that’s nice.

I’m fairly lazy about all this and haven’t checked what either the standard or shorter rides are for Stage 5. As I plan to ride tomorrow, there’s a chance I will do one of those two as my last weekday ride for this week.

I guess at this point it all depends on how tired my legs feel tomorrow.

On the plus side I’ve nearly hit my riding goals for the week, and I’ve only done two rides. And 850 calories at dinner time is huge.

Oh, and I don’t need to ride right now, either. I can sit and have a well deserved rest, a brew, and an iced lolly. Lovely.

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