Weekly Review January 20th – 26th 2020

Each week Zwift sends me an email summarising my activity for the week. For previous weekly reviews click here.

This week consisted of three rides, all three of which were part of the Tour de Zwift 2020. Three rides is a short week for me, and I think the last time I did fewer (or equal?) was the last time I went on holiday.

Still, whilst only three rides, I did manage to hit my weekly 100km riding goal, and also my 3 hour riding goal. And also some other goals along the way, too.

Starting the week, I had a bit of a disaster in the Watopia Race (Leg 3). There were two issues during this ride, one which I could learn things from, and another of which I was / am at the mercy of technology.

This race was on Watopia’s Hilly KOM route, but in reverse. My initial mistake was in doing no route recce, and as such arrived “blind”. I figured we were going up the regular Hilly KOM, but ws thrown by doing the route backwards. Not that big of a deal, and with a hasty re-adjusting of pacing, I was back on track. Or so I thought.

Things went fair enough on the first lap. I was never going to be in contention to win, but feel I did OK on the ride out to, and then up the climb. However, things went completely pear shaped for me on the descent. I tried to be too clever / lazy by super tucking, but ended up misjudging its effect and got dropped. Hard.

Wondering back, I question whether I would have been able to stick with the small bunch I’d found myself with at any rate. I suffered a somewhat similar fate in the London Classique race.

Whilst unfortunate, I learned lessons in how to use the super tuck more tactically. No major loss.

But where things were a major loss for me was on the final sprint. Somehow, even though it’s never happened before, I lost WiFi in the last few hundred meters / the final sprint. As such I did not register a time. That was a disappointing end to a disappointing race.

Whilst my effort hadn’t been stellar on Tuesday, I felt both physically tired, and mentally dejected coming into Wednesday. With still the on-going work interview processes hanging over me, I decided to give myself a break on Wednesday night, knowing that Thursday’s Stage 3 ride promised to be really rather taxing.

The Tour de Zwift 2020 Stage 3 Group Ride was a ~40km journey covering ~660m of climb, taking several hundred suffering cyclists up the Epic KOM, on a lap around the treacle-like Jungle, and then skirting the Volcano before heading back downtown to finish. For a week night, this one was a toughy. It had all the hallmarks of a Sunday morning “big ride”.

Of all the rides so far in the TdZ 2020, Stage 3’s group ride was probably the most enjoyable. It was tough, but it was also a solid workout that felt like I’d achieved something worthwhile by the end of it.

Thursday was the last day of the Watopia leg of the TdZ for this year, with the next four days being dedicated to Bologna.

With Bologna only having a single route, the Long group ride and the Race rides were both 1.5 laps of the circuit. In other words, go out and up the hill, then back down to the start line, then repeat the out lap and finish at the top of the hill.

I wasn’t sure how I’d do in this one. As ever I took part in the Category C race and would have been happy with mid pack by the end of the race. However, I fared better than I would have guessed, coming in 59th out of 140+ riders. I feel like this was my best ever Zwift performance, whether race or ride. I wasn’t dead by the end of it which was promising – showing I still had something left in the tank, but also that I paced this well and the route played to my strengths.

During the final stages of the race I’d hit on the big January goal of burning 10,000 calories, so that felt like a huge secondary win as well.

Going into Sunday I wasn’t sure whether I’d put in another ride or not. Given that Bologna group ride and race were identical circuits, I’d already decided against doing the group ride in addition to the race on this stage. That left me with the thought of doing an hour or so as an Active Recovery session. Or simply having a fourth rest day in the week.

Waking up on Sunday I felt like I would do the ride. I’d had a celebratory pub tea on Saturday night with the family, and had a pint and two thirds (weird, but true), so felt like I should do something to work off the junk. But as the day went on, my desire to do so ebbed further and further away, and my desire to continue playing Nintendo grew and grew.

Anyway, I don’t regret not riding yesterday. It would have only been light exercise, and frankly these TdZ rides have been intense enough to “see me through” the week without needing to do further.

Lastly for this week I’ve been playing around with a new program called Golden Cheetah. This is where the new stats screenshots are coming from.

I’m still learning about this program, so have picked out graphs and charts that I feel show things that I understand at this stage. There are so many stats and measurements in here that I don’t understand, but I’m sure it’s all good stuff.

If you fancy a go, the best advice I can give you is to use Strava to export all your stats and then start by importing. From there it’s a case of clicking and exploring, as I’m not best placed to explain… well, any of it. Still, it’s very cool and feels thorough and indepth. Also, it’s open source so nothing to pay.

This week ahead is more TdZ 2020 action, with tomorrow night’s ride being New York’s Everything Bagel group ride. That’s somewhere in between London and Watopia’s group rides I feel. New York’s climbs are short and sharp, so for me this will be an event where I’m best finding a pack that I can keep with on the flats and who are pushing me enough to keep me working.

Into Thursday I am racing again on New York, and then I don’t think I can book onto the next ride after that just yet. I do know that I will be finished with my current contract on Friday, so whatever happens, I should be fresher for the final two stages. Mentally, if not physically. Happy about that.

Loving the Tour so far. Hope you’re enjoying it too. It’s a great workout, no doubt about it.

Have a great week!

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