Virtual Tour de France – Open – Stage 1 Discovery Ride

This afternoon I took part in Zwift’s Virtual Tour de France – Open – Stage 1 Discovery Ride. Allegedly this one took place in Watopia ‘France Edition’. Let me tell you, aside from the few extra fans around key areas, and the sound of some vu-vu-zella type things in the start pens, there was next to nothing extra here.

Which was a shame.

But onward, to the ride itself.

Today’s ride took place over 4 laps of Watopia’s Reverse Hilly KOM route. There’s one other time I can remember doing 4 laps of the Hilly KOM, and that was SRAM Send It Series Race 6. That time it was 4 forward laps, today 4 reverse. And that time I got the lovely red jersey my avatar wears to this very day.

Anyway, the reverse route is definitely easier than the forward route. It’s less intense, and with a huge pack of over a thousand riders, the draft certainly helped make this one a tad easier than I was anticipating.

Going into this one, given that it was 5pm start and I wasn’t feeling like thrashing myself, I tried to keep my climbing to around 3.3w/kg, and the flats to 3.1w/kg.

Early on I noticed I was doing 14 minute laps, so figured I’d try to keep that pace and – hopefully – come in under the hour mark for the route. That would be perfectly suited to get off the bike, showered, and to the tea table for some food.

Whilst this one was billed as “not a race”, it was inevitable that many were racing. This makes it so hard not to push harder than I intend too, and I definitely got excited in parts.

One thing that helped on two laps today was in two good tunes coming on just in time for the climbs. Climbing to a good dance tune helps me go faster. In fact on the third climb it was the same tune I had on when I got my FTP bump to 234W. So there’s some magic in that tune.

Amazingly I managed to come well under my target of 58 minutes. Not quite sure what my exact lap times were, as whilst I did intend to get a screenshot, Zwift kindly decided not to show me the leaderboard after my fourth and final lap. Good times, good times.

All in all, a decent workout today, and I enjoyed the ride more than I was expecting.

I have another one of these Tour de France exploration rides tomorrow, though I have no idea what that involves. I do know it’s another “Watopia France” map, so I’m not expecting too much new, sadly.

Right now I’m actually more looking forward to Thursday’s ride when I – hopefully – am going to get a first attempt at GTA 5 Bike mod.

I do feel like I’ve gone into this week hard, and that tomorrow’s ride will likely be equally fairly intense. And then Thursday probably won’t be an easy one either.

There’s some sun forecast for later this week and over the weekend, so possibly some of these plans may go out of the window as I go outdoors and enjoy the world outside these windows instead.

OK, had a long day today, still got a ton to do so am leaving it here. 746 calories done, I’ll take it all day long.

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