April 2020 is the first month since the start of 2009 where I haven’t ridden my bike outdoors. At the start of the lockdown I took the personal decision not to ride outdoors. I make no judgement of people who do, but I realised that if I were to ride outside the temptation to ride ever longer distances would be too much and that is not within the spirit of the somewhat vague rules we find ourselves with. Equally, I have elderly and unwell dependents and however low the risk, it is a choice I felt I needed to make.
Instead I have ridden 859 miles indoors on Zwift. The TT season will not start until July at the earliest so I’ve dropped the structured training and I just ride the courses. I’ve also done some Zwift races and some Zwift TTs. The races are absolutely nuts. The start is a massive all-out sprint and then you settle back into riding somewhere above threshold. There is no respite until you go pop. 4.5W/kg basically isn’t enough. Still, it’s good fun, especially the longer races, and you do find out in the results that you’ve been racing pros (Warren Barguil notably in one race up the Alpe d’Zwift). The TTs are equally hard but you know what you’re getting – ride as hard as you can from start to finish. There are two courses – a flat 10.9 mile course and a replica of the San Luca climb in Bologna used in various races including the Giro d’Italia. Newbury Velo cycling club have set up regular Wednesday night and Saturday morning TTs, and the VTTA have started a series competition based on the Saturday races. I even managed to place first one morning, which was satisfying.
I make no apologies for mentioning this in my cycling blog. Last Friday we lost our Labrador Barney, aged 11. It’s devastating, heartbreaking and I miss him every day. Normally getting out into the countryside on my bike would be a big part of mentally processing things like this. Riding indoors on a turbo, however good the setup, is just not the same.
Roll on being let outside (properly) again.