Sprinting towards a Maillot Vert

The Seventh stage of the Tour De Zwift was Innsbruck, a course that some people can do in about 388 minutes. It takes me around 54 minutes. As I have not ridden this course frequently enough I decided to try to keep up with others and that meant a 20 minute best of 197 watts.

My lack of familiarity with the course meant that when the climbs came up I did not push as hard or as long as I would have if I did know the course. I went up faster than some but was easily overtaken by others. On the Alpe de Zwift during my PR I did not have this issue.

Cycling during the event
Cycling during the event

Towards the end of this course I got to the sprint and at this moment I saw that the best time was around 19 seconds so I decided to give everything I had to get the best sprint time on this stage. During other events I have come in positions ranging from 38th to 200th or slower. This time I was lucky.

According to Zwift’s algorithms I generated an average of 823 watts with a peak of 1112 watts for 20s averaging 54.7km an hour and peaking at 59.4km/h. By the end of this sprint I felt faint. This puts me in 816th place on this segment overall. The top ten sprinters did it in 14-16 seconds. I am 45th for this year. That’s easy to achieve at the start of the year.

I don’t train hard enough to generate from 4-6 watts per kilo for an hour or two at a time. I can’t keep up with A and B riders. I do however have the ability to sprint and this does provide me with an advantage. When I climb I always try to sprint for the last four hundred metres or more. This means that I put down a lot of power for a short period of time.

Zwiftpower strengths
Zwiftpower strengths

According to Zwiftpower my strengh is uphill sprinting, where I can generate 17.61 watts per kilo. As a short sprinter I can generate 1057 watts. Both of these figures explain why I am theoretically good at sprints. I don’t use a power metre so these figures are hypothetical. As a rouleur or time trialist my ratings are 265-229 watts per kilo so this explains why I am easy to leave behind. Compare this to the 300-600 watts that we see Simon Richardson and others put out on Zwift live events.

And Finally

It’s easy to think of indoor cycling as sitting on a recumbent bike looking at a bar graph and straining to keep up in a gym for fourty minutes listening to a podcast or someone exercising in the corner of an apartment watching tv whilst simply counting down until the 15-20 minute session. Zwift is much more than that.

When you ride on Zwift you suspend disbelief and you feel as if you’re on a real bike ride with real goals. Some days are terrible and you want to stop and others are excellent and you exceed your goals. This is about having fun as you get fit.

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