Anus horribilis

Yes, yes, I know it’s not spelt like that.

Back at the end of 2019 I wrote a *very* funny blog entry. I wrote all the things I would do in 2020 on my bike.

It’s funny because I didn’t achieve one single one. Because Covid. Here’s what I said.

So, what did I do? Well I almost did some of the above. I’ve done around 6500 miles which is nearly there and to be honest I just sort of gave up near the end. I did increase my max square to 31×31 and can get it to 33×33 with a couple of rides. I did ride round a fair bit of Anglesea but panicked and got worried I get caught out in the dark so cut it short.

What I did do in this very strange year was embrace Zwift. I live in Greater Manchester so we’ve pretty much been in lockdown since March so Zwift made a lot of sense. But Zwift gets boring if you’re not chasing a target so first off I told myself I would ride all the routes (including the rebel ones), all 114 of them. (At the time of writing Zwift have just added three more short ones). So that kept me busy for a while.

But then I realised Veloviewer has a zwift leaderboard for all those routes.. I wonder where I am on it?

This is at the end of September.

I mean, I’m old and everything but I can do better than this, surely…..

And so it went, I made a spreadsheet.

And set to work, picking off the lower power ones first.

THE PAIN, MY GOD THE PAIN!!!!! I have suffered. I have buried myself on pretty much every route now and I suspect I am nearing my limit. I can make a few marginal gains but at my age and lifestyle, I can’t imagine they’re going to be huge. Naturally the longer the route is the harder it is to maintain a high power output so I have started to form a good view of what I can achieve over short, medium and long distances.

When I started this, I said to my friend Tom that I reckoned I could get to about position 200 in the veloviewer leader board (there’s around 3000 people on it). Tom reckoned I’d struggle without entering races because for obvious reasons, the pace is much higher in a race. Tom also understands by saying something like that, I’d make a point of trying to prove him wrong.

He was almost right.

I think this is it. I’ll choose a route I think I can improve on, bury myself and be in pain for three days and move up 7 places. Then I’ll look again and I’ve dropped back down to between 132 and 138. I suspect if I stopped trying I’d slowly move back up to the 200’s.

That said, I’ve had a great time. My FTP has jumped up hugely, into the 300’s which I never thought in a million years thought I’d be capable of. That’s translated into tangible benefits in the outside world and I can ride much further and harder than I could at the start of the year. Zwift is an excellent training tool.

If it’s all the same to you though, I’d like to get back outside and do those things I said I would above.

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