Zwift Racing into the New Year

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For the last couple months Zwift was free for Strava premium members up till the beginning of the new year. Some of my friends had really been pushing for me to try it, and I didn’t want to waste the free trial. I was only lacking 8-10 miles from my yearly mileage goal so last Saturday on New Years Eve we decided to have a Zwift party. I know that’s about as nerdy as it gets but we had a good time with it. It was kind of like our own spin class.

We set up our trainers in my friends basement. My Kickr Snap was actually pretty portable, and this whole process wasn’t that bad except I had to keep track on my laptop, heart-rate strap, bike shoes and shorts, box fan, and water bottles. I set my bike up in the trainer put my laptop on a stand in front of my bike and was ready to rock and roll. I have pet pev about not overloading a power outlet, they told me that it would burn the house down when I was a little kid. But there was just no escaping it here, we had two serge protectors maxed out.

kiss-race-map
Map of the route we rode called the Horseshoe.

The race we signed up for was the last official Zwift race of the year, fittingly titled KISS Goodbye 2016. It was 18.6 miles long, giving me the miles that I needed, and had two decent climbs in it.

kiss-goodbye-2016-elevation-imageElevation graph for the race. The first climb wasn’t that bad but the last one got me.

I rode a couple of miles before the race to warm up and get use to the software. I always get nervous before a race and was trying to get myself prepared mentally as well. There were 140 riders in the race split between the four groups A-D, but everyone started together. Since this was my first experience with indoor racing, I rode in the D group.

At the start everyone went out hard and it just a big mess really with all the groups bunched together till one group would break away, then another and so on. I rode with the C group for a while and looking back I probably should have took it easy and rode with the D group at the beginning, but this was a feeling out process and I wanted to know how I stacked up with the C group, and all things considered I believe I did a pretty good job with staying with them for most of the race. It wasn’t until the final climb that I started to drop off and the D group caught up and a few guys passed me. I learned that what group you ride in is more about endurance than how fast you ride. I rode fast enough to keep with the back of the C group for about 45 minutes, I needed to be able to keep it up for an hour to be competitive.

At the finish I managed to out sprint a couple guys and placed 8 out of 15 finishers in the D group. Not the greatest buy I was only 30 seconds behind 6th and with a little more experience I could have done better than that. One of my friends won the D race, and another got 8 in C which had way more riders in it.

Overall I was pleased with myself, and it was a fun way to end the year on a good note. Right I’m really focused on my interval training but will try to do some more races on Zwift closer to spring.

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