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!