How the Race was Mediocre: I think I can call myself a cyclist now

Last night was the first race of the new league created in a joint venture between Zwift and WTRL (World Tactical Racing League). One lap of the especially created Hilly Route, 25.27 miles with 1,371 feet of climbing, featuring my beloved Titan’s Grove (KOM), Hilly KOM and Volcano KOM. Nasty ride, but I finished where I had predicted – 51 out of 107 women, smack dab in the middle.

What I didn’t predict was having to compete against C category women when I’m a D cat. I won’t go into why that was, because that’s a whole other post. Perhaps I’ll get around to it.

Looking back at my Zwift Power profile, my very first race was the Fearless Beginner’s Women’s D cat race in April, because COVID and there was no riding outdoors. At less than 7 miles (11km), my average watts were 170, and I was heavier than I had been in 11 years at 78 kg. I was slow. Workouts were sporadic, I had no focus.

Then I saw a post on Twitter about joining a team on Zwift. A group of women, all with my ability, could race together in a Team Time Trial. Could I be a time trialist, like my #WheelerNovel character, Loren Mackenzie?

Well, no.

The first time trial with my team was May 21st on the Magnificent 8 course, one lap at 29km. I got dropped half way through and came in dead last at 54:57, averaging 2.1 w/kg. Sobering. Truly sobering.

I then signed up for an individual time trial on May 30th. I needed to show I had something, but really, I got nufin’. I was second to last at 51:57 with an average of 2.1 w/kg.

June 4 was a team time trial on Greatest London Flat, 1 lap, 31km. Still at 2.1 w/kg but I didn’t get dropped. They were kind to me. Finished 58:44.

June 7 was the Fearless Women’s race on London’s Classique course, 1 lap 12k. Third place in my category, 2.5 w/kg average. I was on the podium!

June 18 was the next TTT with my team – 2 laps of Tick Tock, 36km. Back to getting dropped. Then, June 25, Magnificent 8, 1 lap at 29km. At 53:12 with my watts at 2.3 w/kg average, there was improvement, but it wasn’t fun getting dropped. Again.

I was angry with myself. I wanted to do better, be stronger and faster. I entered a race the next night, Fearless Women’s Individual Time Trial, on the course I knew like the back of my hand – Richmond, the course featured in #WheelerNovel for the World Championship. The cobbled climbs of Libby Hill and 23rd Street, Governor’s Street and the final 350 meters of false flat to the finish. Sixteen KM of all out.

I won (my division) 32:15, 2.3 w/kg.

June 30, Velocious Sport Tuesday Night Criterium: Second place in women’s division – 20k of Watopia Flat: 35:40 2.4 w/kg.

July 2, TTT Volcano Flat, 37km, dropped again, 1:05, 2.2 w/kg. July 9, TTT – Sand & Sequoias, 43km, NOT DROPPED, 1:14 2.2 w/kg (my weight has now dropped to 75.3 kg). July 16, TTT, Greater London Flat, 29km, NOT DROPPED, 48:48, 2.3 w/kg.

July 18, ZHR Clydesdale Race, Innsbruckring KOM (women only/above 70kg) First Place. (Mostly because I was the only woman, however, my time of 1:32 was comparable to the C/D men). July 23, TTT, Innsbruckring (without the KOM) 27km NOT DROPPED, 46:50 2.3 w/kg.

July 30, TTT, Richmond Reverse 32km. Dropped. Bad. Like I finished 5 minutes after my team (1:02) 2.2 w/kg.

August 4, KISS at Race – Americas PM, RGV (France), 49km. First place, beating my C cat teammate, Sarah Nico. That was sweet. August 6, TTT on the same course RGV (which has become my favorite France route) 25km, NOT DROPPED 44:33, 2.3 w/kg. August 13, TTT Out and Back Again, 42km. Dropped but only by 2 minutes, and I wasn’t alone. 1:18, 2.2 w/kg

August 15, WTRL Race on the Champs-Elysees, 43km. First place in my category in 1:22 (2.2 w/kg) – although the last lap sucked bad because I forgot there were 6 laps.

August 20, TTT Douce France, 25km. 42:07 2.3 w/kg. Not dropped.

August 31, QHZ Beta Crit City Race, 12 laps 24km – against the D Cat Men. SECOND PLACE. 39:56 2.5 w/kg.

September 3, TTT, Greatest London Flat, 31km. 58:07; September 10 TTT, UCI Worlds Harrogate, 28km. 1:05. NOT DROPPED.

September 12, ZHR Clydesdale Race, Richmond UCI 32km. Third place, 1:04 2.2 w/kg at 73.2 kg weight.

September 17, TTT Astoria Line 8, 34km. 1:05 at 2.2 w/kg; September 24, TTT Hilly Route Reverse, 28km. 54:23 2.2 w/kg. (73.5 kg) NOT DROPPED.

September 26, ZHR Clydesdale Race, Richmond 32km. First place, 1:08 (against 4 other women)

First two TTT of October – not dropped. I’ve climbed Ven-Top, and Alpe d’Zwift (in less than an hour). I’ve gone 100km on my trainer, in my basement. In the last 30 days, I’ve logged 669 miles, in over 24 hours, with 32,103 feet of climbing – 5,974 feet and 144 miles in the last 7 days. I’ve lost about 13 lbs. since my first race. There are muscles in my legs that I’ve never seen before (and I’ve done several rounds of P90X before).

I think I can call myself a real cyclist now.

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