Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My First Virtual Bike Race

After almost 2 years of consistent bike trainer rides on both the former CycleOps Virtual Training (CVT), now Rouvy, and Zwift I've finally completed my first virtual bike race. This also counts as my first bike race of any kind. I have to say that it was much tougher than I had expected. I chose the Zwift World Bicycle Relief (WBR) 17.1 mile long London 4 Lap Flat course race because it fit my schedule, I had planned to ride at that time of day which was 2:30 p.m. for me. The WBR races also seemed well integrated into the Zwift application, they're easy to join, and have Zwift community support, i.e. Zwift Power for results.

Before the race I completed the pre-requisite spindown on my Wahoo Kickr smart trainer. My weight was already correct in the Zwift application. The last thing to do was change my screen name to include "WBR (B)" so I could be identified in the results. The "WBR" was described previously. These races try to bring awareness to World Bicycling Relief's efforts to supply bikes to the needy. The "(B)" represents the category in which I would compete as indicated by my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) divided by my weight in kg divided; 200 / 61.2 = 3.27.  The categories are as such; A 4.0wkg+, B 3.2wkg+, C 2.5wkg+, and D 0.1wkg+. A w/kg number of 3.27 puts me just barely in the B category.

26 seconds before the race start with some of the racers listed on the right

Racers lined up. That's me centered in the  green "25 RIDE ON" kit.
The race was on the Zwift London course and included 4 laps on the flat route. Power-ups are legal to use and all riders must use a road bike - no TT bikes. There's no warm-up lap for this race. When the race starts - it's on!

After the race I had a chance to review my results. My Strava (and Garmin Connect) rides show about a 2+ minute slow pedal cool-down as part of the ride so my speed and heart-rate averages are probably shown lower than they were during the actual race portion of the ride. Zwift Power shows just the race information.

Zwift ride overview

Zwift ride report  - General

Zwift ride report - Timeline

Zwift ride report - Critical Power
I upped my FTP from 200 to 204.

New FTP watts score after race
The results are displayed on the Zwift application after the race. Of the 33 participants I came in 17th overall and 6th in my category. There were only 6 Cat. B riders who completed the race. I came in last but, it was still fun. As my wife said "how many of those racers do you think are in their 50s?" I don't know the answer but I doubt there are many so I'm happy with my results.

Race results on Zwift
The results are displayed on the Zwift Power website. Twenty-nine of the thirty-three riders that started the race actually finished. Four riders did not finish.

Zwift Power race information

Zwift Power race results
After I reached level 25, the highest level on Zwift, my goal shifted to climbing enough virtual mountains to attain the TRON bike. The virtual bike with glowing wheels. However, after having completed my first race I think I might have to try a few more. There aren't too many things that will pump up your competitive spirit than trying to beat the crap out of some young buck on a bike. It's all in good fun of course.

Thanks for reading.