It’s taken me a while, but I have finally completed the Zwift Academy 2020 workout. And with this one being an anaerobic workout, I have managed to kill two birds with one stone this week.
I hit on a few issues during this ride – but by and large I gave it my all.
Let’s see how it went…
So, I have to be honest, I had done no prior research on this one.
Also, I was doing this on the laptop, and lately my eye sight has gone pretty bad – very blurry – so from a distance of about 8 foot (from bike saddle to desk) I struggle to see the screen.
Certainly I cannot read the “riders nearby” column, and somehow today I missed the big on-screen text about there being only 5 minutes work in this whole hour.
But boy howdy, was this some hard work.
The warm up portion was suitably Zwift Academy. Nice and easy lead in, then a bit of harder work, followed by another few minutes easy pedalling.
AKA lulled into a suitably false sense of security.
After the first easier warm up there were a couple of high cadence drills, which whilst fine in themselves, can be a bit jarring on the joints when ERG abruptly switches from on to off bang on the arch, leave the legs suddenly fast pedalling against no resistance.
For me it would be better to have a 3 second wind down as the resistance gradually curves downwards, rather than a hard cut off. I feel this might prevent some risk of knee damage.
With the warm up done, I was feeling fine enough.
The rest of this workout was where the money would be made. Or spent. Or maybe this was a bad analogy.
Basically the next part would consist of two sections. Both hard.
Each effort was a full gas 30 second sprint.
On the first one I stayed seated.
Realising the errors of my ways, I did the second one standing.
After these two I was basically dead.
Which was nice because I still had two remaining. These efforts were the intense kind I so thoroughly enjoy. The kind where after finishing I feel the need to both puke out the contents of my stomach (more on this in a second), and wee myself at the same time.
All whilst trying to continue pedalling and not pass out.
The first mistake I made today (aside from doing this workout at all) was in taking the remainder of my fizzy water with me on the bike.
When will I learn?
I’ve done this before. Fizzy water is a terrible idea whilst exercising. Heck, some might say it’s a terrible idea full stop. But I’m not one of those people. I do love me some fizz.
Anyway, fizzy water plus full gas sprints is just a recipe for disaster.
Fortunately I did have my regular tap water bottle with me also. I’m not a complete eejit. I made the switch after half way, but my third effort was a fail. I use one gear up from the bottom, still out of the saddle but I couldn’t get quite as much power down. I figured fast legs might be … something? But no.
And the last one of the four? Well, I was just glad to get it over with. And I didn’t sustain much beyond the first 10 seconds. I tried. But I didn’t succeed.
The second part of this workout was three repeated ramps. Starting at 120% over FTP for 20 seconds, then 140% for 20s, and finally 160% for the last 20 seconds.
In other words, one fun minute. Repeated three times.
My second issue today was around the heart rate monitor.
So from the screenshots you can see Zwift did not register my Wahoo Tickr. I’ve basically given up fighting it at this point. The Garmin head unit did register the Tickr (maybe it got there first and blocked Zwift).
I thought the unit might be misreporting… I’m honestly unsure:
For whatever reason the one minute intervals saw significantly higher heart rates than the 30 second efforts. I don’t get this myself.
Max heart rate – 206bpm?
I… am not sure if I believe this. I mean, I could kinda have believed it during the first two 30s efforts, but not on the first minute long effort.
Also it was lagging behind like crazy. So, yeah, I think issues.
The third issue wasn’t technical.
It came between the gap of the second and third 1 minute interval.
I cramped up like crazy. That horrible cricket ball / alien chest burster feeling – like a golf or cricket ball on the muscle on my right calf.
I wasn’t sure I would make it through the third set. I tried stopping (without stopping the workout) to stand and stretch whilst clipped in. It didn’t help.
In the end I just pushed through it, and amazingly it wasn’t anything like as bad once I pushed hard on it. How odd.
With all that done I have to say it felt like more than 5 minutes effort.
This one was brutal, no doubt about it. Hard as hard.
I was a little disappointed not to have more wording around making it to the eighth and final workout of the Academy.
Maybe I expected too much. It seemed like a copy / paste from the ends of the other 7 workouts. Bit of a let down.
As it is, I took yesterday as a second rest day on the week. I felt really tired yesterday, but better for the rest today.
I’d like to get another ride in tomorrow, all being well. I’m not sure it will be able to get outdoors as the wind is nuts round here at the moment. If not, I will look to do an hours FTP Builder session I think.
Looking ahead to the weekend, I’m hoping to get in a bigger ride on Sunday. As a result of taking a rest day yesterday I’m behind on where I’d like to be by now. But hey, I guess it is what it is. Got to listen to my body.