This week we did four laps of the Innsbruckring. I was quite looking forward to this course since it can make for some interesting racing with a 40-50sec max effort every 10min or so. There are also plenty of false flats to keep you on the lookout for attacks.
The combination of it being a “flat” course and school being quite hectic right now had me looking forward to a race where I wouldn’t have to be right at my limit (like on the Richmond climbs or Figure 8 climbs). I was hoping for a fun and tactical race…but I probably should’ve remembered that this is KISS Europe, so it’s the best of the best racing and it’s going to be bloody hard.
Before I get in to the play-by-play, the results from last week’s cone fiasco have finally been included in the leader board! 15 or so big names did get cut from the results so we jumped up higher than where we actually should be, but for the meantime we are ranked fourth!
-29:00: I got on less early than usual, giving me time to only try for a power-up once. Turns out that was pointless anyway since, after some power-up complaining at Nationals, we are no longer able to carry power-ups into the starting pens. I think it’s a step in the right direction for Zwift racing.
0:10: We’re off! Luckily I snag a featherweight power-up through the start/finish banner. This race we’re fielding the same group of five A riders (myself, Oliver, Mike, Hal, and Dean). We have a couple other teammates in the Discord chat AND Mike is live-streaming races now.
5:00: The pace has been high until now. I’ve averaged 334W up to this point, which is about on par with my 20min best. Painful, but bearable since it’s pretty steady-state.
5:50: Time for the fireworks! First rep up the aptly-named Leg Snapper. 45 seconds max effort. Maybe my legs are tired from that threshold effort, maybe I’m just not mentally committed at this point, but I only average 500W (7.35w/kg) up this. It’s enough to get me in the second group with Dean (around 70th place), but Oliver and Mike slipped away into the first group (around 40th place).
9:00: Everyone in the Discord (and livestream) can hear Hal huffing and puffing as he valiantly chases his way back onto the group that Dean and I are in. The pace has dropped to 4w/kg.
10:40: Shortly after Hal bridged, some attacks went off the front of our group. I guess I just wasn’t paying attention here, or assumed others would close the gaps, but I find myself off the back of this group with Hal, a CyclingHub guy, and one other person. I’m just not mentally committed to this chase effort.
14:30: I decide to throw in a bit of an attack up the overpass (a long false flat), just to see how the legs feel. I’m back around 90th place now and Dean’s group is long gone so I know this won’t be a “hang on for dear life” kind of race for me.
18:30: Up and over the Leg Snapper again, a bit slower this time though. Our little group got swept by another 20 riders. Unfortunately Hal was dropped from this group on the climb.
26:55: Uh Oh. Chris Pritchard is in my group. I throw down another little attack on the overpass to string the group out. If I come into the finish with Chris, there’s no contest for the sprint. This guy used to be a Commonwealth sprinter.
30:15: I popped a feather on the Leg Snapper and hit the front about as hard as I could, opening a respectable gap. I averaged 8w/kg this time, with 15 seconds of that boosted by the feather (giving me 9w/kg for those 15 seconds).
31:50: Good news! After regrouping, I see that we dropped Chris. I also snag an aero power-up so now I’m fully committed to this finishing sprint. For now, it’s time to sit in for a lap.
42:00: We’re over the Leg Snapper for the final time. We didn’t drop anyone else, but we did pick up a couple of stragglers from the groups in front. I sat in nicely on this climb, just behind the front guys.
46:00: People start to wind up the power for the sprint. I’m so primed for this.
46:25: Go time! Pop the aero and smash the pedals from 300m out!
46:40: A valiant sprint effort (my best in the last few months, in fact) with 800W (11.9w/kg) for 15 seconds to finish third in the group sprint and 81st overall.
1:00:00: Unfortunately most people are too busy for a team cool-down this week. I’m off to get back to studying and Oliver’s gone to write an exam.
Oliver and Mike managed to just hang onto the front group until the final sprint. They were just too broken by then to manage much of a sprint so they rolled in together. Dean hung with the second major group for the remainder of the race, and Hal came in a group or two behind me.
Mike – 38th
Oliver – 39th
Dean – 73rd
Evan – 81st
Hal – 112th
We’ll see how the team standings shake-out in the next few days
Lessons Learned and Takeaways
- I may not be a sprinter but I do have more sprint power hidden away than I’ve seen in the past few months. I was a lot closer today to what I was seeing in the fall in terms of sprint power
- Don’t hang at the very back of the group. Being near the back or mid-pack is fine, but being last wheel isn’t
- If you’re going to commit then commit. Maybe it’s all the racing as of late or having so many other things bouncing around my mind, but I mentally didn’t want to muster the effort to stick in that 2nd group. The race certainly wasn’t easy, but I didn’t end it nearly as broken as Oliver, Mike, or Hal. I had enough strength to place better than I did, but the willpower just wasn’t there. I want to figure that out.
- Despite the sub-par finish, I had a lot of fun in this race anyway, so I’m happy about that since that’s really why I ride my bike and go through the pain of these races
See you next Thursday for one more flat race (volcano flat reverse) before we hit the hills again!
Cheers and Ride on!