Tour for All 2020: Stage 3 Longer Race (A)

Just before dinner time today I took part in Zwift’s Tour for All 2020: Stage 3 Longer Race (A).

I wasn’t sure how well I’d do in this one, as I’d already done my 100km riding goal for the week prior to even starting this one. And Zwift races are – typically – not easy affairs.

However, the two things I did have going for me today were:

  • I’m racing in Category A. I’m not a Cat A rider (and never will be), so the pressure was off;
  • And I’d had a rest day yesterday, if that counted for anything.

Also I guess mentally I wasn’t against this one, as I had been for Stage 2.

Right out of the gate I decided to go at my own pace. No stupid 5w/kg for the first kilometre or anything like that.

Really, there was no point.

I knew that no matter how hard I piled in trying to keep up with the lead pack, I would inevitably get dropped. So why bother killing myself?

As such I went out of the gate at around 3.3w/kg, which is, allegedly, my FTP. My plan was to ride pretty much at FTP throughout, and see how I got on.

I was trying something new today – again – with Zwift Power. I’d found a little button that said “LIVE” so was hoping I’d be able to see the race results updating in near real time on my second monitor.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work so well. I don’t know why.

And whilst messing about trying to make it work I mucked up the first climb. I could feel my gearing was entirely wrong as there was essentially no resistance on the pedals, but I was alt+tabbed so couldn’t see what was actually happening. Even though I use multiple monitors, I keep Zwift “full screen” so messing about on another screen minimises the game.

On the descent from the first KOM I managed to hook up with a small pack of riders who were all keeping at or around my ideal pace.


Being with a group on a 30km Zwift ride absolutely makes the whole thing much more fun, and forces me to push myself that little bit harder. This group made my ride. Thanks!

Our little group slowly became bigger as we swallowed up the odd straggler ahead. It was fun chasing down these people ahead, keeping an eye on the seconds ahead ticking down until they finally came into view, and we then caught them up. I love that kind of thing.

I made a bit of a mess of the entrance to the ramp back to the “sky” portion of the Everything Bagel route.

Forgetting myself, I mistimed my gear change, then got even more messed up as the pack pulled away from me.

Very fortunately I managed to stay in touch with the bunch by putting in a bit of an effort and getting my rhythm back. There were several times during this race that I thought I might lose the pack, so any time that happened I made sure to push myself hard to stick with them. Getting dropped would have sucked.

It feels like quite a while since I’ve done a proper climb on Zwift.

Both of New York’s KOM routes are short, and in places, very steep. But they got me somewhat in the mood for Stage 4 – a group ride and a race up the Alpe. Sounds like a lot of fun :/

I managed to put in my best ever effort on the New York KOM today. Our pack of riders was terminally fractured after this climb, with a 10 second gap appearing after the descent between about four of us who were up front, and the chaps left behind.

The descents are typically my nemesis on Zwift. Whilst I can use my comparative weight advantage to get up the hill, I tend to either lose all the gained time on the descent, or worse, lose the time AND get overtaken / dropped.

I sometimes think perhaps using a 50% trainer difficulty might be a solution here? Keep a steadier cadence… but then I never want to do this when it comes down to it.

Pleased to have hit my 100km and 3hour riding goals this week on Zwift already before the weekend. Taking into account Wednesday’s outdoor ride and it’s been a busy one on the bike.

I’m not sure whether to take a rest day tomorrow, or head outdoors. I guess that’s weather dependant. Stage 4 is no joke though, so resting may be the sensible option.

After the final KOM arch today i managed to pick up a Aero power up, which I saved for the sprint finish.

There was an attempted breakaway with about 2km left to go, but the three of us left managed to reel him back in. With 300m left to go I activated my power up and managed to keep my pace and cross the line at the front of our little bunch.

Hurrah. That felt like a win for me.

I’m never, ever going to win in Category A. It’s frustrating as technically – according to Zwift Power – I’m now a Category B rider and yet I never won a D or C race.

In my opinion, and given what I’ve seen on Category C on Zwift, I would say I am only a competitive Category C rider at this point.

Unfortunately riding in anything other than Category B from now on means I will be disqualified / filtered from Zwift Power. Such is life, I guess.

This was easily my favourite race of the Tour For All 2020 so far.

I’ll be happy to put in another effort like this on the Alpe. But honestly my aim for the Alpe at this point is simply to do a sub 1 hour ride. Whether that’s on the Race or the Group Ride I’m not bothered.

For a lunch time ride, to get through 700 calories in an hour is a solid result. The sprint finish was a really good effort, too.

This ride puts me at an hour FTP of 226w, which I think is a very fair assessment of my ability at the moment. Happy with this progress. Just 4w shy of the 230w year goal and we aren’t yet half way through. Great stuff.

It’s going to be a really interesting next leg. The climb up the Alpe is, in my opinion, the very best ~1 hour road test that Zwift has to offer. I’m going to aim for 230w average and see how I get on.

Until then, see ya!

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