A perfect Sunday cafe spin!

After almost a year in Tassie I finally managed to meet up with a local rider. Paul lives in the next town over and I’d initially found him through Strava, as we swapped KOMs back and forth a few times when I first moved to Tassie, then crossed paths out riding on our own. More recently we’ve both been riding Zwift and chatting on there, but we’d never been able to get out for a proper ride together. Today that changed.

We had agreed on a more sedate “cafe ride” this Sunday to start things off. We met up at the bakery (conveniently located half way between each of our places) for a later 10am start to let the sun burn away the morning chill. It was glorious outside, almost perfect as we rolled along the coast and country roads. The sun was shining brightly and a gentle cooling sea breeze swept across the island. It’s hard to beat Tassie on a day like today. We weren’t pushing super hard and spent much of the time side-by-side having a good chat like old friends.

After a solid 60km loop back to the bakery we stopped for a quick coffee in the sunshine, review the ride and chat some more breeze. Even though we were weren’t smashing it or pacelining, we still pushed hard enough to feel it a little in the legs and snag some good Strava trophies. A perfect Sunday cafe ride!

I don’t mind admitting that Paul is a much stronger rider than I am, in his words all he does is ride, eat and sleep! His FTP is a good 100W over mine so I know if he wants to he could drop me pretty easily. We’re hoping to make the “Z TAZ Sunday Ride” a semi regular thing, so it should amount to pretty good training when he does decide to put the hammer down!

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How does the real Box Hill compare to the Zwift version?

It’s a question that comes up quite a lot in the Zwift community! How does the real Box Hill compare to the Zwift version? Will riding London Loop on Zwift help me train for Ride London? I’m lucky enough to have ridden both climbs numerous times with the same power meter (a very reliable PowerTap G3 hub) thus have some  meaningful data to compare the two. This weekend I got number crunching.

First up a bit of real life riding:

Box Hill Roundabout to Cafe (2.8km @ 5%)
https://www.strava.com/segments/1450512

Watts: 237W
Time: 8 min 50 seconds (cadence 81rpm)

boxxxxxxxThis particular effort was in the middle of a stark British winter on a 115km club ride with Woking CC. I was rugged up in a lot of warm clothing and had already climbed Staple Lane followed by Ranmore Road (both Cat 4 climbs) in the Surrey Hills before hitting Box.

I was still pushing hard of course with a small group to get to the top for some steaming hot coffee and home made cake. As you can see from the photo it was a pretty bleak looking day for a ride! Cold, wet, foggy and grimy. Ahhh those romantic hardcore UK winter rides before we all got soft…

Now for the VIRTUAL version:

Zwift Box Hill Real KOM (2.9km @ 5%)
https://www.strava.com/segments/13812242

Watts: 230W
Time: 8 minutes 10 seconds (cadence 79rpm)

Ridden as part of a Zwift race where I was trying to stick with a small group of 4-5 other racers at the time, this ascent of the virtual hill was actually a PR for me. My setup is Elite rollers with my PowerTap measuring wattage. I was pushing hard, but pretty gassed after the SUPER HARD start that makes up a Zwift race. I didn’t use any power-ups during the climb.

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Evaluation of real life vs Zwift life:

With pretty much the same cadence I averaged a 7 watt difference over the two efforts, which is well within an acceptable margin of error for measurement.  As you can see there is a 40 second difference in favour of the Zwift climb for me (the virtual segment is also around 100 metres shorter). This is roughly what I would have expected from the data I have collected and my percieved efforts over both of the segments. On a fair summer’s day (with less clothing, lighter bike, etc) I would knock a chunk off the real Roundabout to Cafe segment – and have done – thus getting closer to my virtual time.

woking-cycling-club

So what can you take away from the data? Training for Box Hill or similar climbs by using the Zwift virtual Box Hill climb would actually be pretty effective, especially if you have a smart turbo that changes the resistance settings for you. Time-wise you can expect to spend a bit of extra time laying down wattage when you get out to Surrey for the real thing. Also the Zwift climb finishes past the National Trust cafe! You’ll definitely want to pull in there for the best treacle tart in the world… :-)

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END NOTES: For reference I weigh in at 60kg so was climbing at just under 4w/kg. I’m no powerhouse. I chose these two segments rather than the Zwiftblog verified one as they were the two closest matched ones for distance I could find on Strava.

EXTRA TIP: Don’t ride over the squiggly white line painting when you do the real Box Hill climb. It’s actually pretty bumpy and will kill your speed…

2016 Woking CC Metric Century Challenge

The Woking CC Metric Century Challenge is a monthly challenge that encourages club members to get out and ride their bikes further and more often! The rules are simple enough. Clock up one 100km (or longer) ride each month for 12 months. Virtual rides do not count. The ride can be as fast or as slow or as flat or as hilly or take as long as you like, as long as it’s one single ride completed in one day.

IMG_2005For some this may be a breeze, for others it will be a really tough slog. The idea behind the challenge was that it be accessible to as many club members as possible, getting more people out on their bikes for longer. It’s more about just getting out there every month!

The challenge runs for 12 consecutive months from December the previous year to November in the current year. Why not January to December you ask? It’s so the award badges can be given out at the Club Christmas Party, the number one social event of the year! I’m sad to be missing that for the first time this year…

IMG_2365Where will your 100km journey take you?

Steve H, the club’s Competition Secretary has done a sterling job of keeping the challenge going and promoting it to many more members this year. I’ve recently ticked off my November 100km to complete the dozen, so I’m looking forward to receiving my badge of honour to take pride of place alongside last year’s finishers badge!

2015 Metric Century Challenge

Last weekend we had our club Christmas Party and Awards Evening to celebrate the year’s achievements. A fantastic evening and gets better every year. It’s been incredible watching the club grow from a half dozen guys meeting up on a Sunday morning to around 200 members!

12304432_10153677012055609_8344311491950538656_oA dozen elite level Woking CC athletes! (I am second from the left)

One of the club competitions for this year was the Metric Century Challenge, a little incentive I set up to get people out on their bike more often and pushing their limits.

CVfzh8FXIAE8R_WThere were 12 finishers present on the night. Steve (pictured centre with the microphone) took over from me as the club’s Competition Secretary a few months ago and he finished off the collection of ride data and organised the very smart looking finisher’s badges. I think I’m going to have to sew mine onto the back of my club jersey. Bring on 2016!

Almost Famous

Last Sunday a film crew from ITV’s The Cycle Show accompanied us on the regular first of the month club ride to Windsor. They were filming a piece on how accessible it is to join a club and how not all clubs are intimidating. We are a club that caters for all abilities and isn’t just full of svelte Lycra-clad racing snakes. Being very social and inclusive is an ethos at the heart of our club and one we strive to maintain.

Ex-pro cyclist and pocket rocket Rebecca Charlton accompanied the “social group” on their shorter ride to a local cafe, before shooting off to Windsor to join us faster lot for the ride home. I’d volunteered to lead a fast-ish group that morning so was chosen to be wired up and interviewed by Rebecca on the return journey! Here’s me getting mic’d up by the sound guy in Windsor:

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Rebecca and I rode on the front of the group and had a conversation about the club’s different levels and friendly attitude while the cameraman filmed from the back of a motorbike. There was also a quick interview afterwards back in Woking to finish off the piece. I’m totally not checking out her impressive track cyclist’s thighs I promise:

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It was such an enjoyable ride with her in the bunch and she was a really good sport, having a laugh alongside all of us guys. It was also a surreal experience having a proper TV camera motorbike following the club ride just like on a pro tour. I even got to fly off the front of the group and draft inches behind it at one point! I could get used to that!

Hopefully the piece will air in a couple of weeks. #almostfamous