Tour for All 2020: Stage 1 Longer Ride

This morning I took part in the first stage of the Tour for All 2020. I opted to kick start my Tour with the longer group ride. Note: GROUP RIDE. Not Race. Yet you’d have never known it if you hadn’t been told. This one was taken at full speed.

My plan was to take the first lap at a decent clip, and then ease off for the second lap. The idea here being to get a good understanding of my current pace ahead of the real Stage 1 race ride which runs, as best I am aware, on the same route.

What I learned today was that I really ought to have a proper warm up before jumping into Zwift group rides. At the time I didn’t think much of it – pretty much just thinking about holding on and how much it was not particularly comfortable – but expecting to set a decent lap 1 pace without warming up was a bad idea.

In hindsight I’d conflicted the two thoughts of going hard from the off, and taking it easy because it was a “no race” group ride. In my defence, I have a lot of other things on my mind right now.

One thing that may or may not be obvious from the screenshots is that today was my first ride in 4K on Zwift.

Even though I gave myself about 20 minutes to get ready before the ride, I found myself running a bit late today due to using a completely new setup. I’m now Zwifting on my office PC, which is good, and bad.

It’s good because I have everything in one place. There are other reasons, too, why it is it a good thing, but I’ll come to them at a future time.

It’s bad because I’m still using my old / existing desk, and the setup isn’t quite right yet. I’m ordering a sit / stand desk – now that I have height for it, which will also be in an L-shape. The idea here being that the main monitor – the Zwift screen – will be right in front of my bike. But right now, it’s at a funky angle.

I’ll post pictures when I have things a bit more settled.

One thing I will say about 4K on Zwift is that it’s really hard to see the mouse pointer.

Yes, another Zwift UX success story.

I can’t say I really noticed any difference between 1080p and 4K. I’m using the same model of graphics card as before – an Nvidia GTX970 – only the manufacturer is different now.

At 1080p / before I was using a 37″ TV about 2 foot in front of me. Now my monitor is about 2m away from me, and only 27″, so maybe that’s playing a big part in it.

1080p or 4K, the pain is still the same.

I worked my ass off on the first lap. According to the Garmin Edge 530 I hit a new FTP today of 224w. The thing is, the Garmin is reporting higher watts than what the Tacx Neo 2 is, and I don’t really understand why.

For now I’m sticking with what the Neo is telling me, but this continues to confuse and frustrate me.

One other thing I could do to do is drop my weight on Zwift. I’m now weighing in between 10 stone 8lb and 10 stone 9lb on any given day. This puts me at 67.1-67.5kg, whereas I have Zwift set to 69kg.

I’m weight doping in the wrong direction.

My aim today was to take the second lap slower, and by and large I did, until a huge group swallowed up my little pack with about 6km to go. This made me kick it back up to about 3-3.1w/kg, which at the time felt like torture.

Not a great precursor for the race, to be fair.

A couple of times on the last lap I found myself out of the saddle.

This is perhaps something I should do more of, as I find it particularly exhausting to stand up on the bike.

I’m well aware that a time of 53 minutes is not going to be good enough to win my stage race, but I honestly don’t think I will be doing much better than a 52 minute. In fact, I’d be very happy with a 52 minute run in the race.

As above, I’m on a brand new computer setup so no previous stats are available. I find this so strange that Zwift use the local metrics for some stuff, and remote metrics for others. Why not just compute everything on the server side?

At this point I’m not sure if I’ll do the race tomorrow, or give it an easy ride – or maybe even an outdoor ride tomorrow – and then do the race on Thursday. Either way, I’ll very likely opt for an early morning start as it gets it over and done with then 😉

For what it’s worth, whilst I find the outdoor rides more enjoyable – and likely always will – the efficiency of a Zwift session cannot be beat. There’s simply no let up. It’s a hardcore workout.

I’m still frustrated at my pacing having fallen off. I’m never going to be a pro, but I feel I still have quite a way to go before I regain my prior form. Also, with this race being longer than previous Tour races, I’m going to have to adopt a different strategy this time around. Still, that’s what makes it interesting I suppose.

Another mystery from today’s ride is why the Wahoo Tickr suddenly started working again today after dying on me on Sunday. I’m not even going to bother looking into that any further at this point. I’m done with solving technical problems for one week already. And it’s only Tuesday!

7 thoughts on “Tour for All 2020: Stage 1 Longer Ride”

  1. Hey Chris,

    Regarding the power meter variations between trainer and pedals… I wouldn’t worry about it, I have a similar experience with both my bikes running Stages PM and my Wahoo Kickr 18. Pedal based power meter is about as close to the source of truth as you can get. The further back in the drive train you get the less it is (apparently). Assuming you’ve been zeroing them on the regular and latest firmware etc, I’d listen to them over the Tacx. Also both have +/- 1-2% accuracy. Unless you’re seeing like 10% plus variations?


    • Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your input as always, I really appreciate it.

      I have been zero-ing / calibrating, though admittedly I had forgotten on one outdoor ride, and have not been doing it for indoor rides as haven’t been using the Favero pedals for those.

      Interesting to know re: the pedals being more accurate – they give me slightly more watts, and I’ll take any bump I can get.

      Essentially I figure using the pedals from now on may be a more sensible solution, as I use them both indoor and outdoor, so the figures should be consistent.

      What I believe I had done wrong was to set the crank length to 172.5 in the Garmin, rather than the 170 it should be according to the Specialized website for my make / model. Whoops. When I set it to 170 yesterday, the figures were closer – but still higher on the pedals.

      I have updated the firmware on both the pedals and the Neo – but again, for the Neo, only pre-ride yesterday.

      I was seeing much higher variations outdoors with the wrong crank length – – that screenshot shows it best. The two most recent yellow dots were both outdoors and are noticeably higher than other recent indoor rides.

      With a lower weight and the increase in watts from using the pedals instead of the Neo, I’ll soon be winning Cat B races! 😀

      Hope you’re well. Is lock down easing any time soon for yourself?

      Thanks again,


  2. What size bike have you got? I’d have thought a 56cm based on your Zwift height. Usually 170mm cranks would be on a 52cm Specialized bike, I ride a 54cm Allez and Tarmac and they both came with 172.5mm cranks. The length being set incorrectly does explain the large variance you had though.

    Yeah here in New Zealand it almost feels like things are back to normal. Masses of cars back on the road this last week. I might start my commute rides back to work, just to get out of the house!

    • Wow, ok, yeah I had some bad data. I did a Google and took the first result as gospel – via Geometry Geeks:

      specialized allez 2019 e5 geometry geeks

      But from the site I bought the bike:

      specialized allex 2019 e5 evans

      From what I can see, there’s no way to set a crank length value on the Neo 2. However, I will update the Garmin Edge back to 172.5. Thanks for flagging this.

      I’m still confused by this though, as currently when set at 170, the numbers match between the Garmin and Zwift. I’ll be completely honest, I don’t know what a crank or a crank length even is, so I guess a few videos need to be watched to understand any of this stuff.

      I heard New Zealand is now officially Corona Virus free? ( If so, glad to hear that life can start returning to normal for you all. The UK has kinda gone into the mindset that things are easing anyway. On Friday we had a bank holiday / public holiday, and I counted 4 street parties when on a walk around the block. Not small ones either, with lots of people mingling. All I can do is shake my head and stay clear.

      • Setting the crank length in both the favero app, and the garmin both to 172.5 and using the pedals in zwift has now got them both matching up.

        Should all be good, but now I’m at some ridiculously high average watts per kilo and am now technically a cat B rider. Lol wot? Feels like “Pay to win”.

  3. If your cranks are 170 I’d leave them as that, do they have the size stamped on the inside of the left crank? There won’t be any way to set it on the Neo as it reads power from the Neo itself and not from the pedals. My power meter is crank based and seems to auto detect the length on my Garmin (watch) and Wahoo (bike computer) I’d expect pedal based power meter would be the only time you’d need to manually configure it.

    Yeah we still do have people infected here, we’ve had no new cases in the past 3 days and low single digits for the last few weeks. All the new cases were either healthcare workers or part of a known cluster. We’ve gone to level 2 here today which basically means most things are now open again and we just need to keep a distance (2m) from other people.

    It was similar here when we went from restrictive level 4 to 3 two weeks ago. Basically party time for a bunch of people and the govt had to issue a “don’t take the piss” warning.

    • Well, I have to say I’m thoroughly confused by this. I didn’t think to look on the bike, but thanks for the heads up. Here’s what I saw:

      specialized allez 2019 crank

      I’m guessing the 170 is the magic number then. So confused as to the above info from the official manual page. I have, therefore, changed the number back to 170 in both the pedal app and the Garmin.

      On the Covid front I’m glad to hear things are progressing in the right direction for you all. I saw on Strava you’d recommenced rides to work. Normality resumes. “Don’t take the piss” warnings 🙂 lol yeah the guidance here is very misleading contradictory. I thought things were relaxing but depends who you speak too, everyone has a different idea. As my wife keeps saying – nothing has changed, so why are things changing? We don’t have any set levels though. Far from it. Current govt advice is to “Stay Alert”, which is apparently an upgrade from prior advice which was “Stay Safe”… I mean, if that’s not solid actionable advice idk what is. Tax money well spent.


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