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In my last post I pointed out that February was already upon us. Now here we are and already half way through February…. This always seems to be the case for me come this time of the year. The run up to the festive period drags along and any required form seems to be an eternities worth of worry away. After Xmas and New Year the weeks just zoom by and before I know it races are only a month away. That is whilst decent form certainly seems more than said month away.

Urge to panic. Rising!

I’ve had yet another battle with illness and lost 4 days of training to a cold. Any consistency I had banked coming to the end of 2018 seems to have all but vanished. I can’t remember off the top of my head the last full proper week of uninterrupted training I managed to complete. Weather and illness have both taken equal negative chunks out of me. I just want to turn that around now and with this lingering head cold appearing to do one, I might finally get the chance.

Zwift. Yeah…. I know!:

The Zwift platform and more so the racing side of it is very difficult to ignore these days. It seems that everyone who creates any form of cycling content online right now is covering it in some fashion. Whether that be via participation, promotion or bashing. It appears impossible to avoid it at the moment.

I’ve been using Zwift since December 2016. Prior to having multiple “worlds” to ride let alone races/events to participate in. I used to think it was busy on Zwift when there was 300 other people online at the same time as me. It has went absolutely nuts since then!

I personally maintain that it is a great tool for training. My reasons for this being that I train at odd hours of the early morning and I live in the Scottish Highlands. So it is very beneficial in comparison to staring at my garage wall and a big fan blasting ice cold air in my face. The bashing of Zwift I have seen of late seems to centre on slating it because it’s not as awesome as riding outside. I totally agree with that. It’s not a replacement for riding outside but it is a complementary tool allowing some form of training/riding to be done where that might not happen otherwise. Whether that be due to timing, weather, fatigue etc.

For years and years I have seen people barely train during the winter and come back in the spring time. A lot of them are now actually doing some training via Zwift and people are poking fun at it. That is stupidity. Zwift has already served a super purpose there and people who don’t ride out in winter are actually doing something rather than absolutely nothing until spring time. That is a winner and not something to laugh at regardless of your opinion on Zwift.

Opinion and attitude is always divided and that is how it should be. We should all have our own views. All I will say is that everyone should be respectful no matter where they stand. Don’t bash people who use Zwift a lot as if they are somehow “inferior” because that is utter bullshit. Don’t bash people riding outdoors because it’s weather that you would personally not ride in. We are all different but we are all pedalling bikes in a form and should respect that fundamental fact.

KISS Community League:

KCL is a Zwift racing league open to everyone participation wise over the next 10 weeks. The races take place each week on a Thursday at 20:00 (GMT timezone here in the UK). The “community” version of the league came along a few weeks after the startup of the KISS Super League which is purely for professional cyclists to participate in.

My ZwiftPower Profile
My KCL Team

I am riding for a team called “Power Dropouts” in the league and our tag in the game is shown as [–W]
The team is made up primarily of Reddit users who participate in the Velo and Zwift sub-forums. They are a really nice bunch of people. Already numbers are good participation wise across the board and there are some really strong guys on the team from America and Canada. I like that I got to join from the beginning as it will hopefully let me be a part of it really flourishing and doing well as time goes by.

Retro pink kit with a baby blue TRON bike. The jury is still out on the club kit choice!

It may be labelled as a “community” league but it is stacked full of incredible talent. There are a number of professional and elite level riders participating. I think that is one of the amazing things about it. I’ll get smashed by this level of riders but the fact I can compete against them from my garage is just amazing. A sure fire way of getting better at something yourself is to go head-to-head with people that are quite clearly better than you. Learn from them and progress yourself. The racing platform in Zwift allowing people like me that opportunity is amazing.

First KCL Race – 14/02/2019:

Held on the “Everything Bagel” course which is in the New York virtual Zwift world.

It’s a rolling course with the climbs being steep enough and prolonged enough to suit me. So it did appear to be a good first race for me to get stuck into and see where I stacked up.
I done a 55min activation session on the WattBike at lunch time to see how my legs were. I’ve felt like the cold from last week has been lingering still and holding me back. The lunch session went OK and I decided I would bite the bullet and do the race.

I got PROPERLY nervous….

Nervous to play a computer game. How ridiculous is that? 200w simply spinning the legs in the minutes before it started and my heart rate was in the 180’s. That’s just complete stupidity, I knew that, but could I do anything about it? Nope.

Errrr… Yeah.

Despite the ole’ ticker going off on one I felt alright and just went with it. Settled into a group of approx 40 riders ranging from 30-something place upwards. I will be OK to survive the front group for much longer than I did but I need to have a HR in normality regions. Not maxing out when I am not even pushing the pedals….
The group had lots of my team mates in it and we were pushing on nicely until the 25minute mark of the race.

Vodafone Broadband playing an absolute blinder as always. Everyone’s gone! Or, more so, I was gone!

My connection dropped out for just over 3 minutes. This has happened before many times and is one of the reasons I have spent hours of wasted life on the phone to Vodafone to no avail. Usually when it happens I just keep pedalling hard and it will reconnect me within a few moments and I can continue. This time it dropped me back into the race, eventually, at 1:50 behind the group I was riding in. I had stopped pedalling hard after 2 minutes of it not reconnecting thinking that was me done for the evening. When it reconnected I just had to accept it and pedal into the finish with another group.

I guess I have found one of the biggest potential problems of virtual racing:

Broadband connections on shitty prehistoric monopolised copper cabling managed by an ISP that should stick to playing with mobile phones.

63rd place in the A+ category which was 101st overall from 400 starters.
Not a great start by any stretch of the imagination but I have to take it on the chin and move on/learn for next week.

Team wise the guys did great in the first race and it’s onward and upwards from here. I am sure of that!
Oliver (u/notuwaterloo) – 30th
(u/karmatron4000) – 50th
(u/EvanDaRude)– 51st