Screen grab from Stage 9 of the Tour de Zwift

Tour de Zwift 2019 complete

This morning I completed Stage 9 of the Tour de Zwift. I have now finished the challenge. In the process I went from riding on the shorter events during the first stages to taking the long options for at least the last two stages.

A slow start before ramping up.

I don’t start the stage as fast as others. It takes me a few minutes to warm up and I have a psychological need to know that I’m over half way through a stage before I start pushing. I got two personal records on the last stage, personal record for at least one lap and although I was down to 420th place at the end of the first lap I was able to gain on other riders. I finished in the early to mid 300s so a gain of at least 50 places.

The Fun of competition

When I’m hiking I’m often at the front of a group until I get to about 3200m and then I slow down and eventually get towards the middle or the back. With Zwift events it is the opposite. I start weak and then gradually warm up and overtake. It’s usually by the second sprint that I start to pedal harder. I went from putting out 140+ watts for the first lap to 170 and then from there to 240 or more.

I think that my body acclimatises to putting out a certain amount of power on a certain gear and when that starts to feel easy I go to a harder gear, and then a harder gear after that. I reach the sprint at over 200 watts and ramp up my cadence to 150 strokes per minute, if the data is correct and I sprint through and get a PR. Today it happened twice in the last two laps. I’m happy about this because it means that I had enough in reserve to push through right until the end.

The Final kilometre

The final kilometre was fun. We were at least four to six riders and we pushed each other to go faster. Eventually they broke off from me and I finally started to sprint really hard and caught up with them again. It’s a shame that I don’t record the screen as I race. It would have been fun to see this particular end.

For the last 960 metres of the race, I was putting out an average of 289 watts, with a peak of 400 watts for 30 seconds. This might not sound like much when you compare it to professional riders but I can see definite progress since I started Zwifting. I went from a cadence of around 70-80 strokes per minute to an average of 97 strokes per minute during this stage. I have gone from struggling to generate 200 watts for a minute to being able to generate 200 watts for longer and longer periods of time. I was able to maintain 400 watts for at least 30 seconds at the end of a 39 kilometre event. I have made progress.

The Next day

After writing this blog post I decided to have a short nap. In normal circumstances I wake within half an hour or less. In this case I slept for over an hour. This morning I can still feel the effort in my legs. Zwift is a real workout.



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