This week, cycling has been my focus as I attempt to get my training back on track. Winter continues to rip through Southland meaning going outside is a lot less desirable than staying indoors! So, Zwift has been getting some exercise as I work at consistent cycling without freezing my ass off.
I have cycled round virtual islands, through and up and down volcanoes, up the hills of Innsbruck (Austria) and around London (UK) and I am loving this new virtual world and the re-ignition of some interest in cycling while I battle with limited daylight, howling winds and driving rain.
This is a screenshot from Richmond, Virginia, a simulated version of the ICC road racing circuit – including some short hills and sprints. I loved this route, because it was ever changing, the hard efforts didn’t last long and there were a lot of other people out there to keep me amused.
I even saw some virtual runners today, which is a first. Zwift does have a running aspect to its virtual training but I have never seen runners before.
What it is doing, is like if you were in a pool and a swimmer gets in to share your lane who is slightly faster…. you push to keep up with the nearest rival out there. I love it. It is much more stimulating than riding the indoor trainer with just spotify to accompany you!
Zwift has a multitude of options, but there are always 2 virtual worlds to access at any given time. Their own made up world ‘Waitopia’ is always available then there is a schedule for an additional ‘guest world’ which changes according to the daily schedule for the month.
ON the zwift version of London the landmarks are all included in the route, some things are moved closer to others for the sake of the programming, making it a really cool ride when you recognise a lot of the scenery. Passing by Buckingham Palace, the houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Big Ben to name just a few, they moved the Surrey hills slightly closer meaning you can take a turn across the bridge and suddenly be cycling up box hill. It’s really neat knowing and recognising all the landmarks!
This was my first ride, so I will have to wait for it to come back round again to be able to recall it properly, but it had various options including around the centre, hills, mountains and a ride along the river.
I have never been to Richmond, but a lot of it seems to be cobbles! This is a relatively short ICC road racing circuit lap, including a short sprint and two short hills. Because its such a short circuit, there seemed to be a ton of people out there with me, more so than anywhere else to date. ON this circuit I was in the top 20 for QOM and beat 3 other riders to the top who were challening me for positions in the lsat 50-100m (which I consider to be ace!). In the two short sprints on the flat aspect of this lap, the second time around I was over 2 seconds faster than the first. I also consider this to be ace! This is the first (and only) time I have tried this circuit.
This is a virtual world created by the program makers. You are cycling around an island, through pseudo Italian villas and up / through / around / over volcanoes! I believe there are a lot more routes available that are not an option for me just yet. In Waitopia I managed to earn the Queen of the Mountain jersey (briefly!) and the sprint ace jersey (also briefly!).
New York has not been on the schedule as an option to ride as yet. It appears for me tomorrow, apparently!
Cycling progress so far: almost 10 months post TKR
I found this little diagram which I find really interesting. I still struggle with equal power left and right leg. This is more apparent later in my ride – and when I am trying to use more power. It used to be apparent almost immediately so I guess it is a case of building up endurance in that right leg. Interestingly the knee has been giving me less issues since I started to use Zwift.
The part I still have issues with is the up and over part of the stroke. Looking at this diagram that is still ham string power mostly that is causing me that problem, perhaps with a little bit of glute. Neither of these things surprise me at all, considering I find glute balance more of a problem on that side and still cannot lift my leg up behind me as high on that side despite the fact that the flexion is not the limiter.
So, at least there is an element of feeling back on track with cycling: missing the swim this week doesn’t worry me in the slightest. Lacking in cycling does however, I know that will be my weaker leg.
Onwards and upwards.