Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Mont Ventoux attempt

I’ve just finished arguably one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in training. I had another go at climbing Mont Ventoux on Zwift! My first attempt last Sunday saw me reach half way before being interrupted. I was keen to have another go before the map left Zwift for a few weeks.  

I went from wanting to quit, to wanting to get to the top so many times over the course of the 3 hours and 36 minutes I spent on my Watt Bike. Sadly it wasn’t to be and I called it a day with just less than 2 miles to go. Body temperature, hunger and general discomfort played its part in my decision. Ultimately, it was the burn in my quads that defeated me. 

To be sat on a static bike and totally focussed is testament to how brilliant Zwift is. It’s much better on a big screen than an iPad and totally engrossing. The first time I almost quit was just before I got a view of the tower at the finish line. As soon as it appeared on screen however, I pushed on. I even managed a decent chunk of time out of the saddle with a decent amount of power (way above my threshold) generated. 

The “attacks” (I use that term lightly in this case) got fewer and fewer and my mind went to a very dark place. Some good music selections got me through another couple of miles but the quad pain took me into an even darker place. When I stopped pedalling with the finish line in view, I felt no way disappointed. It’s been years since I put that much effort into exercise on my own. 

I think 3 things cost me tonight. Firstly, Zwift seems to take into account my real world weight. I get on the scales everyday so that figure is bang up to date. My scales update Apple Health which in turn updates Zwift. Secondly, this was my longest session of exercise since I did the stay at home duathlon back in April. My fitness is a long way off where it needs to be. Finally, I’m just not conditioned for this type of effort for that duration. I’m sure there’s science behind it. All I can do is try and interpret how I feel and put it into layperson’s terms. That approach has worked out well for me over the years. 

What I do like about Zwift and my Watt Bike is seeing the power I’m generating on screen. I also take into account my heart rate. I tend not to look at RPM but do also not KMh. With all of those real time stats to hand during the workout, I find it very easy to judge if I can be working harder, be in a higher gear and knowing how close I am to breaking. I wonder if there is a lesson to be learned there that could be applied to running. 

For Stage X, a high level of performance will be required if it to stand any chance of succeeding. There’s so much food for thought at the minute and I’m really loving that. If you read my latest post on this blog you’ll be aware that training for Stage X gets underway this coming Monday. That first session will be so tough that I’m taking a full day off work to get it done. Tonight’s ride was 90 minutes late getting started due to a late work meeting. I will have no such distractions on Monday. As I type this, I’m feeling extremely hungry. It’s far to late to eat. I’d be surprised if I’m not having my weekly visit to Greggs for breakfast in the morning. “One brown sauce and one red please” will be my usual line. You should know the drill by now.