I covered the first round of the KISS Community League here – Suffering in the Garage.
This week for Round 2 we tackled 2x laps of the Richmond UCI World Championship course.
Profile wise it is pretty flat for the majority but there are three short, sharp climbs toward the end of the lap. These are relentless and big watts are needed to stay with the groups. This is because they are short enough for the bigger guys to put down big watts and maintain it for the whole climb. That does not bode well for a skinny chap like me. It’s February and I genuinely do not have that top end sharp power in the legs yet. So I was expecting to hurt and get dropped.
Racing in Zwift lends well to very punchy riders. These are the guys who posses an incredible ability to push big numbers for short periods of time (1-3mins). This gives them superb W/KG figures during times when others are red lining and therefore leads to catastrophe in the groups. You’ll see that the start of all Zwift races is like the start of a CX race in that everyone sprints out from the starting pen. I would say road races outside in the real world are not like this and are a lot calmer…. However, I’ve raced with juniors present and I’ve seen 55kph on my Garmin whilst behind the lead car in the neutral zone. So yeah…. After a sprint start, it is then a few minutes at threshold just to live with the front group, until it subsides slightly. The same thing happens at the bottom of every climb in the game.
Smashfest. Survival of the fittest.
Drama. Drama. Drama:
I started without a stupidly high heart rate this week. That helped!
Speeds were very high meaning life in the front group was a threshold effort for 12 minutes essentially. All whilst knowing those three climbs were looming on the horizon.
This theme continued to Libby Hill and it will come as no surprise to anyone that the race blew to pieces at the foot of the climb.
Smashfest number one resulted in the super strong front group forming and leaving some of us behind. Oliver from my team actually made it over with the front group which was crazy impressive. Ian Bibby & Alex West (who have both won rounds of the Pro Super League) were in the selection alongside Leo Messineo, just to name a few, so that group was loaded to say the least.
So the lead group completed the first lap of the course in under 20 minutes. They were then subsequently all DQ’d/kicked from the race as it appears Zwift has a default threshold in place for this course to catch “cheaters”. These guys went so fast that the game thought they were cheating and disqualified them. There should be an in-game achievement for that!
The front group was not cheating at all and I guess this will go down as a lesson learnt for Zwift and race organisation. If it was me in that group, I would not have been happy at all, and I totally understand the frustration of those affected by this mishap. I’m not sure if any communication has been made yet on how this will impact on the KISS Community League itself.
Our dropped group therefore became the front group. There was a lot of chatter happening at the time as nobody knew exactly what had happened. It meant the pace did ease and we settled into a nice rhythm as we pedalled around again awaiting the inevitable chaos of the climbs.
We had the whole team in this group which was great but once we hit the climbs again, only Oliver could stick with the front. I was reserved to the fact I simply did not have the legs to go with the strongest guys in this bunch. I set my own pace and didn’t worry about chasing wheels. It was still hard enough to leave me with no “sprint” in the last 250 metres. I don’t really think I can ever claim to have a sprint in the first place anyway!
There’s a Madison Genesis jersey in here.
Shit. It’s Bibby……Me. Realising it was going to be ridiculous.
Discord is what we are using in the team to communicate during the race. It’s mostly just the noise of turbo trainers whining, gears clunking and guys laughing at each others brief comments through the air gasping. I had never used it before or even really knew about it until last night. But I have to say it is really awesome and added a great new element to this Zwift Racing for me. We had a great laugh most of all but it was so cool to hear everyone give encouragement and advice as things went on during the race. My main worry was that most of these guys are in North America so would have absolutely no idea what I was saying due to my accent. It didn’t even seem to be any sort of barrier though and I was impressed by that.
Going forward I think this will only get better. As we all get to know each other more and get to know each others strengths. Tactics and planning will play an important role and again add more aspects to racing on Zwift.