Still looking for a direction

This last week started with.me being given some good advice from a variety of people in what might help me find some direction for my training, and I have to admit i have read it all but haven’t actually put any of it into practice, yet.

On the other hand i did do three sessions on Zwift which totalled 120km in 4 hours, so it does seem that even without my usual motivation too train i still find a way of at least do something. As an example i do a 70km route this morning, i thought about bailing out at various points but the thought of ticking off another Zwift route provided enough motivation for me to finish it. It also reminded me that eating when riding indoors is as important as when you are outdoors, i was very hungry when i finished. I also realised the saddle on my TT bike is not very comfortable anymore, time for a new one i think!

In terms of what to aim for, i am thinking of making some short term goals, that if they are not achieved won’t be devastating as they will provide a good base for any future activities. To that end I’m thinking that the Rapha festive 500 might be a fun challenge. You have to cycle 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a harder than average winter challenge but could be fun!

Next on my list of things to do is to get out and start running again, something that since having stopped seems far harder than it ever did before. Perhaps it is one of those things that once started will come back, i hope so but don’t know. The funny thing is that now the evenings have become dark i feel a bit more likely to go out as i like running with a head torch one, especially off road as it adds a toil hole of adventure to what would be an otherwise normal run. Let’s see what happens this week.

The Virtual Ride London

Today I did the Ride London 46 mile ride on Swift, so rather than having to go out in the rain and cold I got to ride round London from the “comfort” of my garage.

I am not new to Zwift and the group rides and races it provides but today felt slightly different as it was an event tied into a real ride, although it turned out the courses were completely different.

I didn’t start this ride alone, it was intended to ride with G, and we started off but unfortunately after a while it became clear to G that he wasn’t on a good day, and the first time up Boxhill really hit him hard, this is unusual as he is pretty strong normally. We agreed to go our separate ways after the first lap and so I was left to my own devices.

So off I went onto lap2 of 4, the course Swift were using was a mix of central London roads and a bit of Surrey including Boxhill. It wasn’t until afterwards I found out that this route and the actual Ride 46 route were very different, I guess I should have realised as they wouldn’t send riders up the hill 4 times!

It is interesting on these virtual rides as I am not sure if the turbo makes it easier or not. I use a Tacx Neo which reacts to the changes in gradient and also road surface but without the outside influence of wind etc it is easier to hold a sustained effort. Also when on these rides you have no idea what other riders are using, some could be using a normal turbo that Zwift doesn’t control so they are effectively riding on the flat all the time which you could view as cheating if you were that competitive!

Whilst out on my own I tried to ride at an even tempo and tried to work my way up through the field, I was about 220 when I started on my own and by the end was 143, I seemed to pick off riders mainly on the climb of Boxhill, and I certainly wasn’t posting blindingly fast times, just a constant speed all the way up. Every so often you catch a few riders and then stick together for a while until one of you goes a bit faster and breaks the tow of the other, but for me it was mostly 3 laps on my own!

Something that I often under estimate on longer turbo sessions is the feeding aspect, so today I started with 3 bottles and a couple of gels and one caffeine gel, I ended up getting through 2 gels and 2 and a bit bottles, but never felt hungry or thirsty so I guess I got that about right.

One outstanding question is would it have been better to have been able to ride the entire route with G and or others? Well as much as I enjoyed it on my own it would have been fun together as you get that little bit of banter, even if done via messaging and it often drives you on to give a little more.

Overall it was a fun event, does without getting rained on, although I was very sweaty afterwards and I think my kit was probably drier in the washing machine than when I took it off. If you haven’t tried Zwift I would say give it a go, it has changed turbo trainer sessions, there are good courses on there, the group rides are fun  and even the races whilst hard make for a proper session, also they have the cycling world championship course in Austria coming shortly for some added fun and the chance to spot some pros on the course!