Zwift Flat is Fast [2024] – Tempus Fugit (B)

A new year, a new racing series. Only, the name of this series has been used before. Last January, in fact. Maybe the Zwift racing series just loops… it wouldn’t surprise me.

However last time around, Stage 1 was Tick Tock route, and this time around it was Tempus Fugit. The difference being, this time around we turned back at the roundabout… and that actually makes for a flatter race, and ultimately a faster race.

And boy, was this one fast.

I got a 30 minute warm up today, because no other commitments. So no excuses, I was suitably prepared in the legs to hit the gates at speed. Good thing, too, as I was up to 7w/kg to keep up.

From that point on, it was a case of “how long can I hold on for?”

With a field size of 103 there was a good chance I would end up in a second group on the road, but I wanted to hang with the front for as long as possible to maximise the speed benefit. Then if I did fall off the back, I would at least be further up the road than the chasing group, and maybe be able to keep some of the gap and secure a better spot.

That was the plan.

Also today, no power ups. Not sure why, but this was purely legs. Or legs and whatever benefits Zwift gives you from bike and wheel choice.

Several times during the first ten minutes I had to stand up and push way beyond my comfort zone just to keep with the pack. I can’t actually remember a previous race where it has been that full on from the gun.

Then around the ten minute marker, things eased off a touch. We dropped back to what was a threshold pace for me, but I suspect mid to high tempo for the front. That lasted all of 1km before someone made a comment about the pace slowing, and the pack responded. I thought I was done for at that point, having one final surge in which I managed to get back on… and then the pace slowed again. Mercifully.

That lasted a good while, actually. The second half of the race, from the roundabout back to the start / finish line, was definitely at a more manageable pace for me. I was all too aware those at the front of the pack were very likely prepping to launch, and – unsurprisingly – when we did see the start / finish banner, the pace increased.

Only, we had to go through the banner, then another roundabout, then back to the line. That would be 2km. I was braced for a shift in pace, but once through the arch it slowed again. And by slowed I mean back to my FTP. Which was nice. ‘Recovery’, as I like to call that, in race situations.

Of course with 1km to go, the pace went nuts. I was in head down / hold on mode. No idea where I was going, but determined to stay seated and grind it out to the 400m marker, then increase the pressure with an aim to be standing and sprinting for the final ~300m.

That bit actually went surprisingly well. My sprint grabbed me several places, and I collapsed over the line in an exhausted heap, but happy with being only 5.9 seconds off the front. For me, that’s about as good a result as I could have hoped for.

According to Zwift Racing App, I was estimated to be 42nd, but finished 38th, so a pretty good placing by my standards.

That’s the first race of the year in the books and I am absolutely smashed. I don’t know if I will ride tomorrow, or just go for an hour’s walk. Right now I’m favouring the walk and fresh air.

Leave a comment