So explosive I ended up blowing up, big time.
The big takeaway from today’s ride was this: eat properly before tackling this one.
I’d started the day not even thinking about Zwift. I mean I knew I would be on Zwift at lunch time, but that’s just a regular Tuesday for me. The fact I was doing the first Zwift Academy 2023 workout didn’t even cross my mind.
My typical breakfast is two slices of brown toast with butter, and a cup of coffee. We were out of bread this morning so instead I had some super sugary granola I found in the cupboard. It had some seeds and berries, and though I didn’t check, I’m guessing several spoon fulls of sugar added. Yikes.
For what it’s worth, a much better breakfast for riding is porridge with whatever nuts and seeds you can find in the cupboard. The more the merrier, I find.
My next mistake was then remembering the Zwift Academy ride some time around mid morning. I looked at what it entailed:
That’s the long one by the way. The short one is basically the same, minus the (10? 15? minute) tempo / green block at the end.
There’s four ‘free ride’ sections in there, also. Hard to see the first two, but they come after the blue block, immediately after the three reds.
The first two ‘free ride’ sections are 30 seconds a piece, followed by 3 minutes recovery between.
Then the other two squiggles in the middle, they are the 2x 2 minute max efforts, followed each by 6 minutes recovery.
When I saw that this was a 2 minute max effort, I foolishly fired up Golden Cheetah and pulled up my all time best 2 minute effort:
That’s my target!
Let’s try and hit 400 watts though this time, right?
🤦 what an idiot. 🤦
The ride itself was well attended. 210 people in my session, which is a lot for a random Tuesday lunch break.
It does beg the question how many of those 210 will still be there in Workout #6, especially after how horrible this one was. We shall see.
We got underway and I was feeling fine enough. Fairly fresh, no knee pain, no complaints really. I didn’t get a pre-ride warm up, but the Zwift Academy rides tend to give you a good amount of prep from prior experience, and this one was no different with a full ten minutes warm up factored in.
Then we hit the primers.
Two lots of 20 seconds at 305w for me.
I’m not sure what that is in terms of watts per kilo, but it’s a good 60+ watts over my FTP.
I fudged the first one. I span too fast and Zwift struggles to normalise the power when I do that, so I breezed the first interval because I wasn’t consistently sat at 305w, more like 280. Twenty seconds at 280w isn’t fun, but it’s not a killer on fresh legs.
The second primer went better, with a more consistent hit and a lower cadence doing the job.
Before I knew it, it was time to do the first 30 second max effort.
I’m struggling to get super accurate stats out of the Zwift website on this one, and at the time, whilst it did display the on-screen wattage averages for all four efforts, I have to say I was not paying attention to the screen either during, or immediately after the efforts.
Well, that’s not strictly true for all four … as we shall see in a minute.
It looks like I hit a peak of about 733w in the first 30 second effort, but my effort fairly rapidly fell off the cliff.
In the second 30 second effort I came up short of that first attempt, but sustained slightly longer.
All in, nothing major to write home about, although in truth I wasn’t trying to max the 30 second effort. My head was on the 2 minute efforts today.
That said, I did not leave anything in the tank for either of the first two attempts. They just weren’t amazing. I guess the one good thing is I hadn’t eaten within about 2 hours of the ride, as I reckon I would have puked after the first one in particular.
They were savage.
The breather between the first and second intervals was 3 minutes at 130w, a true recovery, and then a step up to 150w / endurance for a further three minutes.
Enough time to recover?
But that’s what it is, and it’s the same for everyone so you can’t complain.
2 minutes, full gas.
Or, as full gas as you can realistically sustain for 2 minutes.
And boy, what a total disaster.
I completely blew up, one minute in.
In fact, within 15 seconds I knew I was going to massively struggle. And struggle I really did.
It’s rare that I give up.
It’s certainly not rare that I want too, but today I couldn’t hack it. There was no way, mentally, that I was making it another minute.
So I sat up and eased off.
Really disappointed in that, but even if I had continued it would have been a massive slump and a grind to the line at some low wattage.
The plan then, shake off the feeling of failure, and the embarrassment, and try harder in the second effort.
Compared to everyone else, I would be getting a 7 minute breather. The six everyone gets, plus 1 minute of the 2 minute effort where I had died.
If that wasn’t enough then I didn’t really deserve much else.
I tried again. Not much choice in that. The clock ticks down and then it’s go time.
But my result wasn’t much better.
I managed the 2 minutes but the graph tells the story. It was a very steady downward progress. At the start I tried to maintain 350w-ish, with the idea in my head that I would find my rhythm and step up. But of course that didn’t translate to reality.
Instead I found myself dropping gears trying to keep my cadence high in an attempt to find some watts. It didn’t happen.
Time ebbed on, and my output declined steadily.
I’m at least pleased I gave a better second attempt.
As much as I don’t want too, I am almost certainly going to retry this in the Longer workout on Saturday. It’s pretty horrible, and I’m not sure exactly how much benefit it’s giving me for my style of riding or whatever, but hey, why not?
My mind is still set on the 2 minute effort over the 30, truth be told.
All I have to do is do better than I just did. Which in reality means finishing both of the efforts in at least some kind of fashion. AKA, not giving up.
But yeah, a pretty brutal start to the Zwift Academy.
Last year I’m sure it felt comparatively easier than previous years.
It feels like normal service may well have resumed.