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Favorite Zwift Race
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Finally jumping in on the Zwift bandwagon. I was in on it in the early days, but didn't find a ton of value in just riding around a virtual world. Workouts came along and things were a little better, but I still preferred doing all of my efforts outside. I still do, but am making an effort to move indoors to see if I can bump up the quality and mental training effect.

The true X Factor for me now is the abundance of races. I did my first one last week and the competition factor really helps me get through a really hard effort indoors. It was a ton of fun.

So my question... well 2 questions.
  1. Do you have a particular race that is your favorite? If so, why is it your favorite? (i.e. do you have friends IRL that you race with? do you like it because it changes up the course each race or because it's always the same? Do you like it because really strong racers show up? etc...)
  2. How often are you guys racing? I'd like to do one race per week as a part of my overall training. Aside from just being fun and getting me excited to head into my cold garage, I was completely smoked at the end and got a killer workout. So how are you guys (and gals) working races into your training?

Thanks.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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I’m just getting back into it as well so I don’t have a favorite race as of yet. I did enjoy the series a third party offered last year. It was fun to start to recognize names, know who you’re competitive with, etc.

I’ve found that two races per week is a sort of sweet spot for me. I’m struggling to ride on the trainer but it’s pretty easy to get 1-2 hours in a couple of times per week if you include a warmup, race, and cool down. I try to ride at least one other time during the week, although that’s usually pretty easy. Long rides on the weekend, preferably outside, although there is a regular 100k ride on Sundays that has helped me get through some three hour trainer rides.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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I have to be done on the trainer by around 6 AM on weekday mornings, so that unfortunately rules out a bunch of races for me. A lot of the races I've ended up doing have been me and a bunch of folks for Europe. I've done some of the DBR (Danish Bike Racing) races, and they have a high level of competition. On Saturday mornings I need to be on the trainer by 4-4:30 AM, so I'm again often in races that are mostly folks from Europe.

One of the things that I look for when joining a race is the level of competition. I like to have at least 10 people in the A group to make it a good workout. My overall power is pretty solid, but I'm still getting crushed in the sprints. I often have one of the highest w/kg at the end of the race, but I can't recover fast enough from the spiky efforts on the hills to sometimes stay with the front group.


Blog: http://262toboylstonstreet.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/NateThomasTri
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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I race anything that happens to be available during my training window, mostly the 3R & Kiss series. I'm racing 3 times a week with an added group recovery ride and an Alpe du Zwift climb in there if it lines up (want that Tron bike). The races and group rides make all the difference for me. If it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't use Zwift. Zwiftpower vital in my mind. It levels the playing field and gives you a chance to win races which for me is what makes it fun. There are always people in every race WAY above the watts per KG category limit and Zwiftpower weeds them out in the final standings.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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m_reese wrote:
Finally jumping in on the Zwift bandwagon. I was in on it in the early days, but didn't find a ton of value in just riding around a virtual world. Workouts came along and things were a little better, but I still preferred doing all of my efforts outside. I still do, but am making an effort to move indoors to see if I can bump up the quality and mental training effect.

The true X Factor for me now is the abundance of races. I did my first one last week and the competition factor really helps me get through a really hard effort indoors. It was a ton of fun.

So my question... well 2 questions.
  1. Do you have a particular race that is your favorite? If so, why is it your favorite? (i.e. do you have friends IRL that you race with? do you like it because it changes up the course each race or because it's always the same? Do you like it because really strong racers show up? etc...)
  2. How often are you guys racing? I'd like to do one race per week as a part of my overall training. Aside from just being fun and getting me excited to head into my cold garage, I was completely smoked at the end and got a killer workout. So how are you guys (and gals) working races into your training?

Thanks.


Tuesday Midweek Crit at 19:30 ET

I like it because it is full 60min (30min is not enough for me) and because it is later on at night not in the morning, I can't race in the morning...This thing is full gas, literally 60min FTP test :)
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [sebo2000] [ In reply to ]
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sebo2000 wrote:
m_reese wrote:
Finally jumping in on the Zwift bandwagon. I was in on it in the early days, but didn't find a ton of value in just riding around a virtual world. Workouts came along and things were a little better, but I still preferred doing all of my efforts outside. I still do, but am making an effort to move indoors to see if I can bump up the quality and mental training effect.

The true X Factor for me now is the abundance of races. I did my first one last week and the competition factor really helps me get through a really hard effort indoors. It was a ton of fun.

So my question... well 2 questions.
  1. Do you have a particular race that is your favorite? If so, why is it your favorite? (i.e. do you have friends IRL that you race with? do you like it because it changes up the course each race or because it's always the same? Do you like it because really strong racers show up? etc...)
  2. How often are you guys racing? I'd like to do one race per week as a part of my overall training. Aside from just being fun and getting me excited to head into my cold garage, I was completely smoked at the end and got a killer workout. So how are you guys (and gals) working races into your training?

Thanks.



Tuesday Midweek Crit at 19:30 ET

I like it because it is full 60min (30min is not enough for me) and because it is later on at night not in the morning, I can't race in the morning...This thing is full gas, literally 60min FTP test :)

That sounds like a fun one! Unfortunately bedtime for the kids is in the 7:30 - 8:00 window, so it wouldn't be even worth mentioning to my wife!


Blog: http://262toboylstonstreet.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/NateThomasTri
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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I am less partial to the series, and more partial to what is available when I plan to ride... I've found that most that I have done tend to be well attended, and have competitive fields. In terms of courses, I prefer the shorter flatter circuits with a couple of short punchy climbs, as opposed to the longer climbs... That said, I'll race whatever is available when I want to race, I've still managed really good results on races with more climbing, it's just a much harder path to get there with a lot more suffering... Obviously as a heavier rider, I am at a huge advantage on the flats, since raw power comes into play, more than watts/kg, which favors bigger powerful riders...
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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I just started racing on zwift and think it's probably the most fun you can have when you're on the trainer.

If you go to zwiftpower.com you can look at the regular races and see how the competition stacks up in each one. It's interesting to look at the results after a race too.

As somebody else mentioned earlier, getting used to the hard spikes/recovery is something that is foreign to most of us who don't come from a bike racing background.

For me, I will probably only do a race on Saturdays as I have structured training on my other rides. I could see how it could become addicting and how some people could do 3-4 races a week if they are 20-40 min long.

https://www.strava.com/athletes/4391866

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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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How old are you? I race the ZHR masters series and it's great, categories are age, not power based, races are on Tuesdays (a lot to choose from) but they also do a weekender series, a 'hare and hounds' race and more.

Outside of that, I just do whatever is convenient for my schedule, every organized ride seems to turn into a race anyway.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [ollie3856] [ In reply to ]
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I'll be 35 in April. I'm right on the border between cat A and B. I'm decently unfit at the moment, but once I'm back to where I'm expecting I'll probably spend most of my time getting my ass handed to me by the A group.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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m_reese wrote:
Finally jumping in on the Zwift bandwagon. I was in on it in the early days, but didn't find a ton of value in just riding around a virtual world. Workouts came along and things were a little better, but I still preferred doing all of my efforts outside. I still do, but am making an effort to move indoors to see if I can bump up the quality and mental training effect.

The true X Factor for me now is the abundance of races. I did my first one last week and the competition factor really helps me get through a really hard effort indoors. It was a ton of fun.

So my question... well 2 questions.
  1. Do you have a particular race that is your favorite? If so, why is it your favorite? (i.e. do you have friends IRL that you race with? do you like it because it changes up the course each race or because it's always the same? Do you like it because really strong racers show up? etc...)
  2. How often are you guys racing? I'd like to do one race per week as a part of my overall training. Aside from just being fun and getting me excited to head into my cold garage, I was completely smoked at the end and got a killer workout. So how are you guys (and gals) working races into your training?


Thanks.

Welcome to the world of Zwift racing! It's pretty cool and has been life changing for me. I hated, hated, hated the trainer and now really love it.
I try to get a SS effort in at 40-60 minutes once/week and a 20 min FTP/vo2max effort; both done during a timely race. Sometimes, I'll throw caution to the wind if the body is feeling good like this past weekend with: Saturday-First Norseman series race (Fire and Ice) and then Sunday-my first 100K race (yes, I bonked).

Mucho fun though. Especially if there are people you know IRL who are racing with you. I'm often on my phone texting one of my friends during races as we encourage each other. I know many others that communicate to time their breakaways...

So to answer the question-twice weekly racing for me and my favorite is the Volcano Climb as it's about 35 minutes of suffering for this 'C' level guy. A short warmup and cool down = a nice hour of solid training. At that distance/effort; I try to be above my FTP so it's really solid training for raising the FTP and relatively quick recovery.

I'm old and do not think I could handle more than two races per week for very long. You can be lulled into racing too often so rest must be worked in. Get used to spinning at the easy pace and being OK with people zooming by on these rest days or you will build way too much fatigue and not progress in your training.

Dale
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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you should check it out then, really broad variety of ability levels across each category and generally a fun group to race with
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [ollie3856] [ In reply to ]
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I just race Tour de Zwift.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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natethomas wrote:

One of the things that I look for when joining a race is the level of competition. I like to have at least 10 people in the A group to make it a good workout. My overall power is pretty solid, but I'm still getting crushed in the sprints. I often have one of the highest w/kg at the end of the race, but I can't recover fast enough from the spiky efforts on the hills to sometimes stay with the front group.


My FTP/kg is 4, and I get absolutely shredded in the B races. The 2 and 3 minute efforts completely destroy me and I can't recover. I guess bike racing really is an entirely different beast.

I don't want to jump to C, but I think I might have to.

Instagram | floathammerholdon
Last edited by: cloy: Jan 7, 19 20:27
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [cloy] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe the race I did wasn't highly competitive, but I was able to come up 3rd place in my first race. Though, when riding in real life with my buddies I always make hay on the short punchy stuff... so maybe it suits my style. Either way... they're a ton of fun.
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [cloy] [ In reply to ]
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That's the difference between a road race and a TT... The ability to ride for short stints of high intensity and recover... My FTP is in the 3.8w/kg range, and I am very competitive in B races... It's not just being able to lock into a power range and hold it, it's doing a mixture of short and punchy intervals, and longer efforts, that help build the capacity to handle the dynamics of a race. I know that I'm terrible when it comes to TTs, but I've always had the ability to throw down massive watts for a short period to make a pack, or to claw back in at the top of a climb. I tend to suffer on the courses with longer climbs, where being heavier is a distinct disadvantage...

That being said, you have to be smart with your effort too... the start always rolls out fairly hard, so you want to move up into the top 20-30 in the race, but it's really not until the first climb that the fireworks tend to start, so it's being ready to suffer all the way to the top to make a good pack (often the decisive moment in the B race is right before and after the top of the climb, where you have a lead pack (mainly A riders) and some stragglers and then a bigger peloton... If you can ride into a chase group behind the break, you generally end up in a group made up of mainly A and B riders, and if you can get the group moving well, you're generally in contention for a good result in the B race).

If your FTP is at 4w/kg, you're technically an A rider, and would get DQ'd in most races if you registered as a C and rode anywhere near that. Rather than downgrading, maybe try doing some targeted workouts at those types of efforts, and give the B races another go (not sure if you can find them, but the sprint and climb workouts from the Power Up Training Camp they ran in the late fall were perfect for some of these types of efforts, especially the sprint where we did 4 or 5 sets, that effectively had an threshold type effort, than a 3min wind up to a massive sprint... you can also look at the Zwift Academy workouts, particularly ones from 2018 called lactate shuttling and also race day, they simulate some of these race dynamics really well).
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [Trauma] [ In reply to ]
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At 4 w/kg I would not enter an A race against seasoned bike racers. I'm relatively new to triathlon overall but especially new to the bike. I cannot hit my FTP during a race because of those punchy intervals. I am getting better at those and like doing that training but spend the last 2 years putting out steady power and can maintain constant power more than hit the high peaks and recover. My technical FTP is 4.1 watts/kg (based on 20min test) but have never done better than averaging 3.8 watts/kg in a race. Also, the longer the race the better I do. Races are great training but just have to look at them like that.

https://www.strava.com/athletes/23685202
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [cloy] [ In reply to ]
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cloy wrote:
natethomas wrote:

One of the things that I look for when joining a race is the level of competition. I like to have at least 10 people in the A group to make it a good workout. My overall power is pretty solid, but I'm still getting crushed in the sprints. I often have one of the highest w/kg at the end of the race, but I can't recover fast enough from the spiky efforts on the hills to sometimes stay with the front group.


My FTP/kg is 4, and I get absolutely shredded in the B races. The 2 and 3 minute efforts completely destroy me and I can't recover. I guess bike racing really is an entirely different beast.

I don't want to jump to C, but I think I might have to.

most bike racing is predicated upon 3-8 min power.

i'm barely at 4 w/kg right now and can do decently well in most non-climbing B races, but that largely comes from my background as a bike racer

a month back (before I rode almost nil for 2+ weeks), I was at ~4.2 and did decently in the A group as well.

look at the courses you are doing and identify the features that cause separations. In Zwift, these are mostly 2-4 min long hills. So if one wishes to do well, focus on those efforts and recovery from those efforts. The down side is that such a training may take a bit off of your FTP.

as for favorite courses, park perimeter of Central Park. Nothing overly long, but enough places to punch clear over the top
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [TriRugby] [ In reply to ]
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TriRugby wrote:
At 4 w/kg I would not enter an A race against seasoned bike racers. I'm relatively new to triathlon overall but especially new to the bike. I cannot hit my FTP during a race because of those punchy intervals. I am getting better at those and like doing that training but spend the last 2 years putting out steady power and can maintain constant power more than hit the high peaks and recover. My technical FTP is 4.1 watts/kg (based on 20min test) but have never done better than averaging 3.8 watts/kg in a race. Also, the longer the race the better I do. Races are great training but just have to look at them like that.

That's really interesting... most races I average above my FTP, because of those surges (going into my last race, my FTP was 323w, and I averaged 340w over the 30km race (40min))... To be honest I rarely can see straight enough to look at my power during a race, I focus on the feel of racing (having a road racing background, and also recently racing a lot more draft-legal on the multi-sport side, I think it's a bit easier to do this), realizing that you will have moments where you're clipping along quite quickly, but sitting well below FTP in the pack on the flats, and then big power outputs on the climbs (and shortly thereafter if you need to chase back in), during the sprint, or in cases where you need to go to the front of the pack to do some chasing (or in my case in some of the accidental attacks after climbs, being a heavier rider, I often have to crest a climb at close to 700w to avoid getting dropped, but as soon as the road levels or turns downwards, a few seconds of continued riding at that effort, launches me through the group and to/off the front into the descent, where bodyweight also kicks in... which is really suboptimal, if said climb is close to the finish line, because inevitably I end up leading out the sprint...). That's what I love about bike races is the chess match type dynamic and strategy, rather than just a flat sustained effort... It's not good enough to just have an engine, you also have to be smart with how you use your efforts...
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [Trauma] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the insight!

I'm 100% a trainerroad guy, but I am dealing with a running injury and have next to zero time to train due work; so I figured I would give some workouts in Zwift a shot.

No way in hell. It had me "recovering" well inside my endurance power (~75% of FTP) from 1-minute intervals at over 140%. I lasted one interval before fading.

Instagram | floathammerholdon
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [m_reese] [ In reply to ]
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Not sure what timezone you're in, but I host a race series called The Morning Grind Fondo p/b Team DRAFT and Team DIRT on Wednesday mornings at 5:45 AM EST / 10:45 GMT. The race gets live broadcast from Zwift Community Live and we try to have as much fun with it as you possibly can that early in the morning (4:45 AM for me).

It is highly competitive across all categories (particularly large B & C grade fields) and we do some random prizes every few races.

We change courses every week, but the same people show up, so you're always testing yourself against the same group--which makes it so much fun. Developing friendly rivalries makes the game so much more engaging.

We're on race #10 of our 12-race series, but we'll be starting a new series after a week break. Expect a grand prize or two absolutely worth your time for nothing more than showing up and racing (don't necessarily need to win).

Come join us!



Edit: for a little background--I race on Team DRAFT which is one of the top teams in Zwift racing. Most of our team has participated in live, "in-person" Zwift race events--we take Zwift racing pretty seriously and consider ourselves "indoor specialists". Team DIRT (Dads Inside Riding Trainers) is a 1,000 member strong team of like-minded individuals who love to have fun and race competitively--they lead group rides every day and have great camaraderie.
Last edited by: TriowaCPA: Jan 8, 19 16:12
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [Trauma] [ In reply to ]
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Curious - as a bike racer in the real-world, how would you say Zwift's modeling of bike racing pans out during Zwift races? Any parts that seem 'artificial', or does it overall seem to match your real-world racing experiences with drafting, tactics, etc.?
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [Trauma] [ In reply to ]
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Yeah, I think that the distance is a little different. I like to do the longer races where endurance is to my advantage. Last race was 29 miles. So, about 70+ min and thus a little below FTP. I still have trouble with sprints because i dont feel comfortable getting out of the saddle on my trainer.

https://www.strava.com/athletes/23685202
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [TriowaCPA] [ In reply to ]
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TriowaCPA wrote:
Not sure what timezone you're in, but I host a race series called The Morning Grind Fondo p/b Team DRAFT and Team DIRT on Wednesday mornings at 5:45 AM EST / 10:45 GMT. The race gets live broadcast from Zwift Community Live and we try to have as much fun with it as you possibly can that early in the morning (4:45 AM for me).

It is highly competitive across all categories (particularly large B & C grade fields) and we do some random prizes every few races.

We change courses every week, but the same people show up, so you're always testing yourself against the same group--which makes it so much fun. Developing friendly rivalries makes the game so much more engaging.

We're on race #10 of our 12-race series, but we'll be starting a new series after a week break. Expect a grand prize or two absolutely worth your time for nothing more than showing up and racing (don't necessarily need to win).

Come join us!



Edit: for a little background--I race on Team DRAFT which is one of the top teams in Zwift racing. Most of our team has participated in live, "in-person" Zwift race events--we take Zwift racing pretty seriously and consider ourselves "indoor specialists". Team DIRT (Dads Inside Riding Trainers) is a 1,000 member strong team of like-minded individuals who love to have fun and race competitively--they lead group rides every day and have great camaraderie.

Definitely interested in that. 4:45am for me as well. As long as I'm done riding by 7am I can make it. I'll keep an eye out and join in. Thanks!
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Re: Favorite Zwift Race [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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lightheir wrote:
Curious - as a bike racer in the real-world, how would you say Zwift's modeling of bike racing pans out during Zwift races? Any parts that seem 'artificial', or does it overall seem to match your real-world racing experiences with drafting, tactics, etc.?

For me - It's different in a lot of ways. Firstly every Zwift race is a TT. There's no coasting or catching your breath when you've chased back on.... or 'sitting in'. As soon as you drop power in a group you're thrown back a long way in the group. Drafting wise there's no 'feel' to it, so you're never quite sure when you're in the best position... and with automatic steering your position isn't within your control. That also means there's no skill or craft in bike positioning... and given there's no virtual wind, there's no gutter action or positioning yourself to let your team catch the draft while putting others in the gutter. No steering means no surprise attacks across the other side of the road, or swapping turns easy. There's a bucketload of real life race tactics and smarts that aren't there. Yet.

What's similar is the 'just hold the wheel' mindset you have to apply. An example of this was a race I did a few weeks ago... I was off the back of a group of eight with three others who were struggling too.. I gave it one last "fck it, get across or die" effort... I made contact with the group and suffered on, the other two were out the back by 60 seconds+ a few kms up the road. So that aspect is similar to racing outside. The draft works.... but it is lacking a few dimensions.

I still don't think these platforms were ever designed for the complexity we're expecting. A lot of features and functions seem to be retro-fitted, which work ok a lot of the time.

Shane Miller - GPLama
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