I have ascended the Alpe de Zwift 5 times since i started using Zwift. My first climb took about one and a half hours, and then about one hour and sixteen minutes and finally just 57 minutes. I managed to get down to 57 minutes because I participated in Stage 6 of the Tour De Zwift event.
On previous rides I had ridden up the Alpe de Zwift alone. The first time I took it slow. My goal was simply to get to the top without worrying about how fast I did it. When that goal was achieved I went up once more alone and managed.
I participated in the Revo Climbers events twice and because we stopped several times to wait for people to catch up I was not going to get a personal best.
With the Tour de Zwift event things were different. This wasn’t a race but at the same time this wasn’t a group ride in which we had to stop and wait for people.
I rode slowly from the start of the TDZ event to the base of the Alpe De Zwift and then as we started to climb I started to pedal harder. I got one star, and then another, and then another. Eventually I started to feel tired and slowed down for half a segment before boosting again. I pedalled with a power of between 160-200 watts for most of the climb. I sometimes went up to 220 watts or more.
One of the great things about climbing up the Alpe de Zwift event is that you’re cycling with a group that is so spread out that you constantly have the opportunity to leapfrog from one group to a second, and then to a third and eventually you see that you’re at 800 metres and that you only have about three hundred metres to climb and you think “I can start to rest a little” but you don’t because you see that your time is faster than usual. You think to yourself “if I don’t push on to the end I will have wasted a lot of energy without getting a personal record so you push harder.
How hard did I push? Hard enough for a leap in FTP from 202 watts to 218 watts and I shaved 9 minutes off of my previous personal best. I got 22/22 stars for this climb and now I’m going to regret it because I will need to work on getting my ability to put out 230-240 watts for an hour. I have an interesting fitness challenge ahead of me.
If I continue at this rate then by this Spring or Summer when I have the opportunity to ride up the real thing (Alpe D’Huez) I will have a good time. My riding around Switzerland and its cols will also benefit.
What’s especially nice about this is that I didn’t really suffer. I didn’t doubt that I could make it to the top and my heart rate didn’t increase too much. I could have continued riding around Zwift but as my challenge was to get up during the event I was happy to let gravity drag me back down to the gate where everyone who has called it a day stops.