Hello All! I know many of you raced in yesterday’s Fearless Women’s Team Championships. I would like to share my reflections after yesterday’s race as it might help you reflect about your own races.
I did the 50-mile distance in the A group with 2 other teammates. They are outstanding racers IRL - both hold Colorado State Championship titles and placed in the top 5 at US Nationals (road). Among the three of us, one is a Climber (she won last year’s Mount Evan’s Hill Climb, the highest paved road in the United States, starting at an altitude of 7,540 feet (2,298 meters) and terminating at 14,130 feet (4,306 meters)), and the other two are Puncheurs.
Knowing how Zwift racing works, I knew a 50-mile flat race would be tough for us, as this type of race favours those who are more steady riders and can put down consistent amounts of high power for a long period of time. So even though my team mates are amazing racers, this was going to be different for them. Riders who are not like that can manage a flat race in Zwift better if it is a shorter distance. The Zwift races that would be more suitable to me and my two team mates are those with climbs and more rollers/punchy terrain.
I knew all of this before signing up, but I wanted to support the event and I love to see so many women come together!!
The race started off hard but not too hard, and I was in the front group for a while and then the second (chase) group with my team mates. But then one of them had a glitch and dropped from the race. In the process of texting with her to help her see if she could get back in, I dropped myself from the chase group. At that point, I knew we would be DQ’d (you needed to have 3 teammates finish to count in results), so I stopped working hard and just rode the rest of the distance cheering other riders on, and being bored out of my mind.
At this point you might be asking yourself why I gave up on the race. Well, I did not have the right mindset from the start. First, I did not like the idea of doing a 50-mile race in Zwift, because it becomes an endurance event, and I do not enjoy long Zwift events. I can do a 50, 60, 100 mile race IRL no problem, but in Zwift I simply do not enjoy it. I was hoping to race in B (shorter distance) but the silly w/kg FTP rule for categories put me in A (that’s another discussion altogether and I will start doing the AGES races from now on as I love the idea of age groups).
Second, I kept thinking to myself how I was sort of wasting a day of training because all I was doing is ride tempo for 2hs, and how that is only going to make me fatigued without any meaningful stimulus for growth (I know, this is where being a coach is a detriment- I was picturing my power graph in my head!!!), and how I’d rather be doing hard intervals, and how my legs were going to be tired for no reason, and how I still had strength training to do a few hours later, bla bla bla… lots of negative mental talk!!
Here is my power graph. The red line is the equivalent of about 90% of FTP and the top line is my threshold. As you can see, I spent very little time at or above threshold, even when I was in the front group at the start.
That is because of the way Zwift works… it is a discipline in and on itself, and very different than any other discipline of racing such as road, crit, cyclocross, mountain, track, etc.
So please keep this in mind as you reflect on your own Zwift races. It is not a reflection of how you would perform on a race outdoors.
Of course, you can use these races to challenge yourself, have fun with friends, train endurance, and even compare your previous performances with future ones. But keep in mind that they do not define you, and they are also not the same as training.
At the end, as I went to Strava and saw the overwhelming support that all the women gave one another, it made me see the other side of it, the non-training side, which is the community and encouragement that come from these events - and that is AWESOME!!!