I completed the first stage of the Tour of London last night. Joining the B Group for the ride, the group taking the shorter of the two distances, but it’s still the longest I’ve ridden in a single ride. The route for the stage was the Great London Flat route.
LEAD-IN DISTANCE: 5.7 km / 3.5 mi
LAP DISTANCE: 11.6 km / 7.2 mi
ELEVATION GAIN: 45 m / 149 ft
TOTAL DISTANCE WITH LEAD-IN: 28.9 km / 17.9 m
The hardest part of the route I found was the lead-in. The 3.5 mile ride before starting to the 2 laps of the circuit. I’d been spinning the legs a little for 10 minutes before the ride, but wow I wasn’t ready for that lead-in. The pack disappeared straight from the start and I was left wandering alone on the way to the start of the lap.
As I started the first lap I’d caught someone who’s dashed off at the start and stuck with them for the majority of lap 1. He was on the Zwift TT bike so I made the decision to sit behind him for a while, no point me moving ahead as he’d feel no drafting benefit on that bike. We kept a comfortable pace for the lap, but then a mile from starting the second lap he disappeared off into the distance.
Starting lap 2 another couple of riders caught me and we stuck together for the majority of the lap. This is the nice thing about Zwift, riding with others on screen gives more of a morale boost than you would imagine. Knowing they are other people churning away on a turbo and them not being computer AI makes all the difference.
About a mile from the end of the lap I started to increase the power. My backside was not enjoying the ride and I figured the quicker I finish the sooner I’d be off the saddle.
Before starting the ride I was keen to finish in under 90 minutes. I figured the 18-mile ride at an average of around 12mph would take around 90 minutes, but I never expected to complete it as quick as I did. I think riding with some others pulled me along and kept me going. I averaged around 17mph, completing the ride in just over 60 minutes (62 minutes and 48 seconds to be exact). I know speed in Zwift is completely different to in real life (no wind, no potholes to dodge the name a few reasons), but I was over the moon at that time!
The feeling after finishing was unbelievable, I’d achieved something which 6 months ago I wouldn’t even think about starting. Roll on the next 4 stages!