This afternoon I took part in the Tour for All 2020: Stage 2 Longer Race. Due to my disqualification (via ZwiftPower.com) from the previous race where I was in the (definitely more appropriate) Cat B ride, I decided today I would enter Cat A.
What on Earth could go wrong?
In the previous post I explained why I think Zwift have got this new format entirely wrong. After this race, I stand by that.
Let me be absolutely clear:
I am, in no way shape or form, a Category A racer.
At best I am a competitive Category C racer.
So of course, today I got my arse well and truly handed to me.
Now, on the plus side I did not get disqualified via ZwiftPower. Hurrah.
And looking at it, more people got disqualified (or filtered) from Category B than were valid entrants. To me that says people are still entering the category they best feel fits them, even if Zwift have mucked everything up with these distance and watts per kilo changes.
Anyway I managed a rather sterling 57th out of 59th over on Zwift Power. To be honest, I’m amazed I wasn’t dead last.
Things started too fast for me. Within half a kilometre I was more than aware I did not have the power to keep up with the rest of the riders, and within 2km I had been unceremoniously dropped.
Even the second swarm of B riders that swallowed me up fairly quickly spat me out.
By the time I hit the bottom of the reverse KOM I was absolutely thrashed. It was really disheartening to get over taken by yet more riders as I struggled up the climb at fairly unremarkable pace. For whatever reason, my legs just weren’t in this one today.
And this could have been so much worse as I’m keenly aware that right now I’m riding at a bit of a premium with regards to watts per kilo. What with switching to using the Favero Assioma DUO pedals as my power source, and (correctly) setting the crank length to 172.5, I am technically reporting a much more accurate wattage. But that puts me in this weird limbo where (apparently) I’m too fast for the people I’m better suited too, and obviously too slow for the people I’m (supposed to be) with.
One thing I did differently today was to have Zwift Power open on my third monitor. This is a new thing for me – what with having three screens in the office – I can now get a little bit more inventive with my indoor cycling setup.
Anyway, I was expecting Zwift Power to display results in real time. Seemingly, that’s not the case.
But having the route map displayed on screen, along with kilometre markers was very handy in getting a slight heads up on what lay ahead.
As an example I knew I had this final little kicker ahead of the run in to the finish line.
Even so, my strategy failed me.
I powered up the little risers, kicking in at around 5w/kg.
At the top I was feeling it, for sure, and with still over a kilometre to the line I tried to dig deep and ramp up.
Things started well. But the problem was I went too early.
With 400m or so left to the line, I was out of the saddle giving it everything I had… but that was barely anything. 400w maybe… So I got absolutely nailed by about 8 or 9 other riders.
A fitting end to my race, to be quite fair.
In summary this one was an absolute struggle, pretty much from the get go.
I knew I was in for a tough ride in the A category, and in truth, I spent 98% of the ride amongst the B’s where I belong. Well… C’s, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole again.
As it stands I don’t foresee too much changing during the remainder of the Tour for All 2020.
If I want to register on Zwift Power I have to race in Category A.
What this does mean is that I have essentially zero pressure to perform, as even at my absolute best I’m going to be the eternal back marker.
What this did get me thinking about today was how my workout rides will now change with all these adjustments to my stats and metrics.
It would be quite interesting to fit in an SST session if at all possible, just to see what I’m supposed to be riding at when at 95% of FTP currently.
But that’s very unlikely to happen in the short term, as the UK Covid 19 lock down just got a significant change which means that from Wednesday this week we are free to go out for “unlimited” exercise. And this opens up some further routes for me, and as the weather is due to get better later this week, I’d rather do a longer outside ride than keep on the turbo.
This change in the lock down rules raises some questions regarding my Zwift / Tour for All schedule.
The Stage 3 rides start tomorrow.
My plan at the moment, daft as it may be, is to try to do the next race tomorrow.
Then outdoors on Wednesday, and then back on the turbo on Thursday for the longer group ride – which I will do as a recovery ride.
At least, that is the plan.
I was saying to my wife after this race how I got absolutely thrashed. And that whilst that sucks, it may have previously been the case that I have typically under performed during the second stage of the previous tours.
With that in mind, maybe Stage 3 will be a real stormer and I’ll impress myself.
Maybe that’s wishful thinking.
Anyway, however you look at it, it’s a great physical workout.