Tour de Zwift 2022 Stage 4: Long Ride

There was a plan today. A proper real actual plan. It wasn’t very detailed, but I wasn’t unprepared. For once.

What was this plan? Simple. Get on Zwift early, do a bit of a warm up to prep the legs, then sit with a bunch around 3.3w/kg and kinda… errr, stay in the draft and take it easy? Well, easy. Easier, shall we say.

All was going swimmingly. I woke up, looked outside – it looked damp, result. Had a nice cup of coffee along with two slices of toast with butter and Nutella (cycling champs brekky), still had 40 minutes left in which to appropriately dress, warm up, and ensure I was in the best shape possible to ride Stage 4.

Stage 4 being set in the Jungle circuit (Sepentine 8 route), I had absolutely remembered to change my bike to the mountain bike. Yessir. I remembered this on Thursday last week, after Stage 3.

And then I re-remembered it about 2 minutes after Stage 4 went GO!


Plans? Out of the window. Not only did I forget how to change bike (err, select then ensure you press ‘equip’), I managed to get it wrong twice in a row, leaving me back in about position 1100 of ~1200. Whoops.

Fortunately, unlike Stage 1, I was only 2 minutes or so behind rather than 10 minutes. So I was able to catch up with the snake fairly quickly. No chance of sitting in and taking it easy though. That part was now a pipe dream.

For some reason, the Tour de Zwift 2022 seems to be getting easier as it progresses. In the olden days they used to save the Alpe right for the end, for example. Now, with that taking place on Stage 2, maybe it just appears easier in my mind. I don’t know. But one lap of Serpentine 8 hardly counts as a ‘long route’, in my opinion.

Not that I was really complaining about that today. With yesterday’s longer outdoor ride my legs felt thrashed. And honestly, the Jungle Circuit has never been my favourite part of Watopia.

So this one just turned into a slog. Get to a group, fine, keep pressing. The harder you press, the sooner it’s over. Not a bad calorie burn, but I’d be lying if I said I’d thoroughly enjoyed this one. Truthfully it was nice enough to head outdoors again today, even if a little wet. But whatever. I will stop moaning now.

Definitely looking forward to a rest day at this point.

Stage 5 will be two laps of the full Richmond circuit. One of my favourites. Looking forwards to that one.

As Stage 5 runs to Thursday, and I gather the ice / cold is expected again this week, I suspect my next ride will be an indoor recovery session. Seems the week’s are forming a fairly set routine at this point.

Anyway, I’m off out now.

Going to pile on the calories with a bit of American BBQ food.

How are you find the Tour so far? If nothing else it’s a great way to get in some solid exercise. That’s my take on it.

8 thoughts on “Tour de Zwift 2022 Stage 4: Long Ride”

  1. I’ve been enjoying the Tour, stage 4 has felt like the biggest slog so far. I used the Canyon Grail, the forgot to swap back to the tron post ride. Next day did an hour of c.cadene and holy smokes I was having to pull around 200w to keep up with the bunch on the Grail!

    • Anything in the vicinity of Jungle Circuit is meh. Shame really, as visually it’s one of the nicer parts of Zwift in my opinion.

      Regards bikes in the real world, I found a place that’s got the Specialized Tarmac Sport in 56, in a nice colour (err… black). It’s basically my exact bike, except better in every way… except one bit.

      So the rear cassette, as standard, is 11-30.

      My Allez is 11-32.

      I do use that 32 ring on hard climbs – Alpe du Zwift, Ventop etc. I reckon I’d miss it.

      I looked into it and, as best I can see, 11-30 is fairly standard on more racey bikes. The Tarmac is kinda a do-it-all machine, and clearly aimed at hardcore cyclists (it’s about £3,000 quid). So I figure those kind of people probably can handle two less teeth for an hour or so up a steep climb.

      I’m torn though. I’ve gone off the idea of the Roubaix as at the price I’m willing to go to (about 3k) then I’m stuck with the Future Shock 1.5 which cannot be locked out and got a pretty bad review here :

      That led me to other bikes. I love my Allez so the idea of the Tarmac seemed to tick every box except that cassette issue.

      I’ve also looked at the Trek Domane SL6 – – but that goes the other way to an 11-34. I don’t feel I need that extra gear… except for maybe a few minutes every time I head up The Radio Tower.

      Bit of a bind.

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. I’m sure I’ve seen you listed as riding a Tarmac on Strava.

      • I left a big long reply then browser refresh and gone-ski 😭

        Gearing: I’d take a guess and say your current chainring is 36/52. Pretty much all new bike have 34/50 chainring so you’d not notice the difference going to 30t on the cassette. I run 34/50t chainring and 11-30t cassette on my SL5 Tarmac

        SL6 Tarmac disc would be a sweet ride and geometry wouldn’t be much different to your Allez. Geometry Geeks have a comparison tool where you can check the geometry between multiple bikes.

        Domane is a nice bike with great tyre clearance and ability to fit mudguards so super handy in wet winter rides.
        It’s a heavy beast though, around 9.7kg for a 56 I think. I’ve also heard about issues with rattling, nothing major just annoying.

        For an extra £899 I’d seriously look at getting a Canyon Endurace. Ultegra Di2 12 speed. I don’t think you can get a bike that’s better value than this right now.

        This is what I’d be buying now if I had the money for a new bike. I know of a few people with Canyons and they all love them.

        • I think I got it! I’ve had WordPress do the same to me on comments before. I’d swap to something else but I’m not savvy enough to know of anything better.

          Is the Tarmac Sport disc or rim brake?

          It’s disc.

          I’ll take a stab and guess your Allez has a 36/52 chainring.

          As best I can find, it’s this:

          Chainrings 50/34T
          Cassette Sunrace, 8-speed, 11-32t

          I did question whether it’s as simple as buying an 11-32 cassette in the same range – seems to indicate they sell one. And then I thought maybe I’d also need a new chain as it might be longer… God knows, I really do feel clueless about it. I hadn’t even considered how the chainrings might come into play.

          It’s making me doubt Specialized as being the right choice at this point. There’s such a gap between the models that I don’t know if 3 grand there is as well spent as 5 grand would be, but there’s no way I can justify 5k on a bike.

          I’ll take a look again at Canyon – I can’t find the comment on here now, but the reason I was put off them was that a while back I made a post about how much I liked the Canyon bikes that the GCN presenters ride, and I’m absolutely convinced someone then said to me that Canyon had major issues and they wouldn’t touch them. But I cannot find that now so maybe I’m going doo lally.

          Cheers Phil, I not only appreciate your in depth insight, but for you to take the time to write it out twice – honestly, thank you 👍👍👍

          • No worries, I just came back for 3rd attempt on the desktop instead of phone haha.

            This is the cheapest bike with electronic shifting I’ve found.

            Its SRAM Rival eTap and SRAMs cheapest electronic groupset.
            My only experience with SRAM is taking a mates bike for a few laps of our carpark at work last Friday. All I can say is it’s weird. Same shifter lever for shifting up and down the cassette, half click or down and full click for up. This was cable version not eTap.


            This is the Ultegra version and what I’d go for if budget allows


            Regarding reviews, I’ve found there will always be some bad reviews for any product. I’ve seen a few terrible reviews for SL7 Tarmacs. All I can say is everyone I personally know who owns a Canyon have been pretty happy with them.

            Only issue you might have is the whole Brexit thing. For NZ there is a form you have to fill out to import it. Canyon provides the correct form for NZ so assume they would be able to guide you on getting one into the UK.

            Going from a 30T cassette to 32T, you probably will find the chain needs to be replaced due to being slightly too short. You should probably get away with it, but if you’re spending that much on a new bike, why risk it. Alternatively, you could ride the 30T cassette and swap to a 32T when the chain is due to be replaced – approx 5000km of use.

          • SRAM sounds weird. I’m sure you’d get used to it, but it’s one more thing for me to avoid I think – so I appreciate the heads up.

            Yep, totally understood regards personal opinions on reviews. Getting to try a canyon pre-splurge is going to be difficult, but I emailed the nearest bike shop about testing out their Specialized bikes in the first instance and they seemed agreeable to have a test ride. This was for an Aethos, which is the only one in the same ball park they have in stock, but I figure it will give me some idea of what a higher end bike offers. I need to arrange a date and time now for that.

            To be honest, I’m sure whatever bike I buy that’s clearly the next tier up from entry level is going to feel night and day difference, so worrying over the details is probably needless. I really do like the look of the SL6, but is it the best bike for me? Maybe not. I mainly like it cus it’s so similar to my current bike, but better in every way.

            I mean, the other option is to start replacing bits of my Allez… go to 105 etc, but I think I have justified a true upgrade.

  2. Is the Tarmac Sport disc or rim brake?
    I’ll take a stab and guess your Allez has a 36/52 chainring. If this is the case, you’d not notice the difference in gearing on the Tarmac as its 34/50 chainring and 11-30T cassette. This is my on-road config for my Tarmac, trainer is 11-28t as I’ve not bothered buying a cassette to match.

    As far as Trek Domane vs Tarmac, I’ve looked at the Domane myself and it’s an attractive bike. You will find its heavier than the Allez, I think it’s about 9.5kg from memory for a 56. My old Allez was about 7.6kg with full Ultegra groupset.

    The big benefit of the Trek Domane is the tyre clearance (38c), internal tool storage and the ability to have full fixed mudguards. My commuter / gravel bike (Scott Speedster Gravel) runs fixed mudguards in winter and its sooo good for keeping your feet dry and water and road muck from your backside. With the bigger volume tyres, it soaks up a lot of the small bumps in the road. My Scott runs 35c G-One speed and the ride is a lot smoother than my SL5 Tarmac with 25c tyres. You could also get a 2nd wheelset with G-One Bites in 38c if you ever fancy tackling some gravel. I have heard those Domanes can rattle a bit, due to cabling behind the headset and the internal storage.

    Downside to the Tarmac is tyre clearance would be 28c which is what I would consider as a minimum when looking for a new bike.

    I’ll be seriously looking at Canyon for my next bike upgrades. They are pretty much unbeatable in terms of value at the moment.

    £899 more than the Domane (rrp) but instead of 105 mechanical you’re getting 12s Di2 Ultegra! 30c tyre clearance and crisp shifting every single time.


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