Always getting hooked on these “Tours” in Zwift. I did the Tour of New York last month and just finished the Tour of LDN (London) today. They send you a nice little email for all your hard work.
You crushed it! You finished all 5 stages of the Tour of London. That completes the series.
You’ve done what you had to, to unlock the special Tour of London kit! It will take some time before it reaches your Zwift closet. Expect to find it hanging and ready to wear by December 31st, 2018.
The Team at Zwift
I also had a bit of fun with another rider near the end. They were drafting for a while and then came by and I decided to see if I could stay out front, which I did. But, every so often they would hammer on with 250-300 watts and pass me, which I of course I chased down. We exchange elbow flicks and waves and then I decide to draft for a while. As we near the end they are behind me a bit, and I’m half expecting a sprint finish but I can’t exactly see how far back they are. Sure enough, right at the wire I get my doors blown off as they fly by at the wire. Congratulations Sarah Lovejoy, 51 from the USA. 😉
These days I get asked how I’m feeling a moderate amount, most likely because some folks know about my health challenges I faced earlier in the year. I’m actually feeling quite well physically as well as most “other” ways, but this is about my current physical status.
The way I’m judging my physical status is basically two ways. The first is just how I’m thinking about my physical status. Are things working OK? Do I have adequate energy? Sleeping well? How am I feeling compared to a prior timeframe like last year or the year before or some other timeframe when I thought things were really, really good. Basically it’s just some sort of overall internal evaluation of how I think I’m doing and generally the answer is “good’.
The other primary way is by my cycling capabilities some of which is how I feel about the various rides and the other measure is the analysis provided by the various bits of technology that I use while riding like a heart rate monitor and a power meter.
Today, I had an experience with both on my ride.
While doing the ride I noticed that I was able to hold 225-250 watts with a moderate amount of effort. Only a very short time ago this was not possible. Granted, I’ve been riding more frequently to improve my fitness, and it seems to be paying off. While riding I was thinking this was the kind of pace I could hold a couple of years ago while cycling around the Kenora area on the Bypass loop. Feels good to be getting back into better shape. Hopefully, in the summer of 2019 I won’t be hanging on for dear life to the back of the pack on group rides and back into taking my full turns pulling on the front like the “old” days. This internal personal assessment was backed up by the Strava stats. This was one of my better rides in quite some time.
Wonderful weekend with family at the lake.
We arrived on Friday evening for a 10 day stay and after unloading we spend some time with Gail & Gord as they are finishing up their month stay. Eric, Parker & Dane arrive late at close to midnight and get settled in for the weekend.
In the morning Parker & Dane meet Bentley & Zoe (schnauzer dogs) and there is a lot of excitement, a few tears and lots of barking. After breakfast Gail & Gord pack up and begin the drive back to Saskatoon.
So much happiness and joy especially for me. So special to see the Grandkids taking in the lake life and having so much fun and adventure. We seemed to do it all hiking, biking, swimming, playing games, building Snap Circuits and Geocaching. Strong warm winds make the lake a little rough so no boating but other than that we squeezed in a lot of action. The weather was fabulous with sun and almost 30°C! Seemed like a July weekend not mid September!
I’ve been off the bike for 2 weeks, and this might have been a bit ambitious given the circumstances. I did pretty well until 55km in and then I just had to stop, too tired to keep going. I might have sat around for 15-20 minutes before I could get back on the bike. By that time Rene had looped back around to check on me. He graciously trailed me all the way home to make sure I made it as I limped back another 10km at 20-24km/hr. Thanks Rene!
Opened the cottage a little early this year, the Thursday before the traditional May long weekend. I took a few days off and came down Wednesday evening. Part of the early opening was a group ride that was taking place in the Kenora area, billed as a “Spring Training Camp” which seemed like a lot of fun, and it would be nice to have the water running for a hot shower after the rides. Plus, Gail & Gord are coming down on Friday and staying at the lake until they take possession of their new house in Saskatoon sometime in June.
After last years pump problem where it wouldn’t prime, but in the end noting seemed to be wrong with it after I dragged it into town for servicing, I was a little apprehensive about this years startup. But, no problems! It started up just fine on the first attempt and after starting at about 6:30am I had the bulk of the cottage opening chores done by 8:30 and was sitting down with a cup of coffee and waiting for the hot water tank to do it’s thing.
Being pretty lazy and enjoying the quiet. After a trip to town to look for an Apple power adapter for the laptop (unsuccessful) and enjoying the first Chip Truck of the year, it was time for a nap. Life roles at a different pace at the lake, well, at least for me.
I’m thinking there are not too many people around right now as Netflix ran fine all evening without buffering. Normally, on a summer weekend, the wireless bandwidth is getting sucked up by all the neighbours and the Internet slows to a crawl, making Netflix almost unwatchable.
The weather is cool at 0°C and drizzling, in fact right now it’s snowing kind of hard . HArd to see in the photo, but it’s like a micro blizzard which I’m sure will disappear momentarily, right?
The planned big group rides for the weekend have been cancelled because so many guys bailed because of the weather forecast. I guess I’m on my own. If there is a break in the weather I’ll take a spin over to Rushing River and if things really turn around perhaps a longer spin out to Minaki and back.
Over the Christmas holidays I said goodbye to TrainerRoad and hello to Zwift. TrainerRoad is awesome and I enjoyed pairing it with The Sufferfest videos, but Zwift with it’s interactive and social riding, workout plans similar to TrainerRoad, and integration with my Wahoo Kickr takes indoor riding out of the Pain Cave of solitude into a shared suffering experience of the most engaging kind.
The first few rides were a learning experience as I got used to the controls, routes, graphics and the immersive experience. I’d been used to the TrainRoad training plans, so it seemed natural to latch onto the Zwift Workouts. Even an interval workout is fun when you’re watching other riders around you and watching the ride chatter as people text & ride at the same time.
It’s surprising how engaging the ride experience is. If I’m just casually riding along and someone passes me, the competitive nature kicks in and the next thing I know I’m accelerating hard to see if I can catch a wheel or blow by the other rider.
Today was the 1st attempt at a group ride. I selected the Saturday Sit-in group as it fit my schedule and seemed like a group I might be able to hang with. I “arrive” at the start/finish line to join the group about 10 minutes before the start. Actually, I go by the start/finish a bit and try to turn around and back up a bit (down arrow for a U turn) but it’s not working for me. I switch my view to the ride leader so I can watch for the start and I’m tracking the text messaging countdown.
The ride starts and I start peddling but my display is still locked on the ride leader and he goes by me and now I’m a little lost and confused as to where I am in the group. I can’t get the display to show my avatar (figured this out post-ride) so I opt for restarting the Zwift app and now I’m back and the group is nowhere in sight. With virtually know warmup I’m now hammering to try and chase back, scanning the rider list looking for other SSI riders. After a lap of hard riding and noting from the test messages how far ahead the ride leader is I realize that while I’m gaining a bit, I’m never going to catch up. I slow up a bit but still have some delusions of joining up and sprint away from time to time. Here I am sloughing up a grade on the 2nd lap somewhere trying to catch those guys in the distance.
Not the best 1st experience, but I’ll get the hand of it yet and I’ll probably look for another group ride later in the week.
And of course, Strava says…
That’s right, I cycle commute to work year round and this is the 4th winter for riding in the snow & cold.
Some think I’m a little crazy, perhaps.
Some think it’s too dangerous, perhaps.
Car drivers dislike cyclists, and especially winter cyclists, perhaps.
So far this winter the riding has been going well, and I’m very impressed with the motorists that I encounter on my route. They have been very considerate, giving me lots of space as they pass and no honking or rude gestures. I can’t say the same for some pedestrians.
Actually, most pedestrians are just fine, but so far this year I’ve received the most “comments” from those on two feet. Perhaps that’s just because you typically can’t hear what the people in the vehicles are saying or thinking, which might be a good thing. Ignorance is bliss.
About a week ago, after the 1st big snowfall, I’m cycling along on a path that parallels Fermor along side Windsor Park, near my home. A gentleman is our shoveling his sidewalk. He sees me coming down the path, and it starts.
“You’ve got to be kidding” – repeatedly in an unfriendly tone.
“Take a bus!” – louder
“Are you crazy!” – really getting agitated now
I wave to him in a friendly manner.
“Do you have no consideration for others!?!”
“Are you trying to get yourself killed? Do you have a death wish?!?” – hitting a crescendo now. I’m thinking he’s expecting me to turn around and go home.
I wave to him again, in a less friendly manner, my bad, I should have just let the whole thing slide.
A week or two goes by and we get another big snowfall. Of course this is when the riding is the most challenging for a couple of days until all the ploughing gets completed. My next encounter with a pedestrian is riding into work right after the snowfall. A lady is walking two dogs down on the Assiniboine River Walkway. As I approach from behind I slow down and wait for her to notice me. I cough a couple of times just for good measure. She is walking right up the middle. The dogs are on both sides of her at full leash extension so the 8′ path is totally blocked.
When she notices me I hear “Sorry” and she reels in one of the dogs so I can pass. No problem I think, I’m not in a rush and this is fine. Just as I pass I hear “You should get a bell”, in the kind of tone that implied I’ve done something wrong. I say nothing, and ride off.
I’ve had a bell on the bike and in my 14+ years of cycle commuting, the bell is no better that not having a bell. Here is what typically happens with “the bell”. You ring from a ways back, they don’t hear it, you ring again at a closer range and then they do hear it and things typically get worse. They get startled and either jump right in front of you, or swear at you for scaring them, or both. So, you really can’t win.
In over 200 days of cycling a year people and cars are generally very good but you always need to be ready for the exceptions. Typically, once a year, I have a close encounter with a vehicle, thankfully never a full contact kind. I find that as long as you’re aware of your surrounding and make plans to get out of the way, things go well.
Safe cycling everyone.
So this week I had a problem with the rear bike rack. On Thursday the bolt attaching the rack to the lower chain stay snapped off. Now the rack is saying on.one side and the fender is rubbing the tire. An quick zip tie fix didn’t make it through the Friday commute. Time for a more serious repair.
I pick up a couple of drill bits and a couple of sizes of bolt extractors at Princess Auto. Step 1, drill out the centre of the bolt. I manage to snap one of two drill bits and I’m a lot more careful with the second bit. Step 2, use the extractor to remove the snapped off bolt. Well, the bolt is stubborn and the extractor snaps off on the drilled out hole. Now this is a real problem. The extractor is hardened steel and the drill bit can’t touch it. Time for Plan B.
After some thinking I resort to a little MacGuyver move.