Cervélo Gravel Rush Series – Week 2

Gravel Rush checkpoint

Today’s workout was part of the Cervélo Gravel Rush Series. Week 2, in fact. I did the week 1 ride last Thursday. Week 1 was the Road to Ruins Route (18.4 miles, 905 ft. elevation climb). It was a tiring ride. Not to mention the fact that even though these are “rides” and not races, everyone treats them as races, even Zwift.

They list your position in the group, which of course brings out the competitive side of all these type A people (I include myself in there). As you can see, I am as slow as molasses. This is the last lap and I’m about to finish in the image above.

During week 1 we rode the gravel bike Cervélo Áspero and on Week two we rode it again, but on the Jungle Route (13.3 miles, 542 ft. elevation climb).

Cervélo Áspero Gravel Bike

Week 3 will be the Road to Ruins route again, but on the Cervélo R5, a road bike. That ride will be 18.4 miles and 905 ft. elevation climb, just like week 1. Then on week 4 we get to choose what we want to ride and that will be Road to Ruins again.

I’m doing this series for the kit, I like to collect the kit in the game, but mostly for the chance to win a real Cervélo Áspero bike. Everyone who finishes al four events (each week) will be entered to win this sweet gravel ride. It’s a beautiful bike!

Cervélo Áspero

Two more weeks to go. Today after finishing week 2 I got the kit. Now, I just need to get the bike! I love that Zwift is doing these series and running sweepstakes for the bikes. But you have to earn it. See you on the virtual trail! Ride on!

1st Meetup in Zwift

Today I tried my first meetup in Zwift. Here is a how-to from Zwift Insider if you want to try it out too. A couple of things I learned, if your friends are late even 1 second after start time, they will miss the ride. Also, I did our ride on a route that I had not yet gotten a badge for to see if I could do the ride and get credit for the route. The answer there is no. The route you choose on the meetup, you will not get a badge for. For visual learners here is a great how-to from the Lama:

Tour of Watopia | Stage 4 – Shorter Ride

Map and overview of today’s ride

Stage 4 of Watopia started yesterday. This ride is the shorter one at 18 miles. Some good elevation here that helped me towards my tron bike. My progress towards that bike has been and continues to be very slow. I’m just not a climber. According to the simple trendline added here, it looks like June or July before I get the tron bike.

This was a fun ride but a little too similar to the Absa Cape Epic Race that I did just two days ago which was two laps around the jungle. Today was 3 laps. Both on mountain bikes. Today I was forced onto one with the race started which is fine, thats the best bike on this route anyway.

I listened to the Zwiftcast that was recorded on 3/19 on this ride. It was just long enough as I’m a very slow rider.

I love riding behind the waterfall. “Ladies and gentlemen, the backside of water!”

Yesterday’s Workout

I didn’t ride my bike yesterday. For the first time in 8ish days, I didn’t get on the bike. Instead, I did a full-body kettlebell workout followed by some Yoga. and it was awesome!

I usually workout 4 days a week in the gym. While I’m there the coaches always correct our form. My form is terrible and therefore I’m always being corrected. I realized that my coaches haven’t had the chance to correct anyone all week. Let alone the member who needs the most help. So I made this video for my coaches.

At home full-body kettlebell workout

Friday’s Workout

A short but effective workout

Double XP for all Watopia Tour rides or races! This marks the 8th day in a row that I have been on Zwift. I have done stage 3, 3 times: 1 race and 2 group rides. This was one of the easier ones, the ride. But there is a climb up the volcano. Saturday stage 4 starts. Not sure what I will do Saturday as I’ve been Zwifting a lot.

Map of route.

I loved doing this stage 3 times. This was the climbs and the volcano equals about 600 ft climbing each time you do it. So I got about 1,800 ft elevation climb towards the Tron bike challenge.

Thursday’s Workout

Yesterday was a Zwift day. I decided to do a good ride, but a bit of a recovery day, as I’m starting to feel it in my legs. It was the 8th day in a row on Zwift for me. I usually have a lot more breaks, where I’m at the gym.

I wanted to get the Absa Cape Epic Race kit for doing one of the events. I was able to unlock, but after completing the Absa Cape Epic Mission, I wasn’t super excited about getting back on the super slow mountain bike again. That mission was 9,350 ft of climbing. I finished it earlier this month. But for doing it I received 100k drop points, unlocked the Scott Spark RC mountain bike and was entered to win the bike in real life. Worth the pain for sure.

Map of the ride

This was a ride and not a race. It has a very long lead-in and then two laps around the lake.

Pretty good workout!

My next ride will need to be another recovery ride. 🙂

Today’s Workout

Today was a race day for me on Zwift. So, depending on who you listen to Zwift Power or Zwift, you get two different stories about how I finished. I either finished in 100th place out of 132 racers in my division (Zwift) or 20th out of 29 (Zwift Power).

Overview of results from Zwift.com

The race was on Watopia and was the “Whole Lotta Lava” Route. Which as you can see is 7.63 miles and 503ft of elevation gain (there is a lead-in, where you get the extra distance. I stopped immediately after the finish and collapsed on the floor :-).

Map of “Whole Lotta Lava” Route on Watopia

Above is a map of the route. As you can see you start in the city, in the upper right of the image above and race towards the volcano, when you get there you start to circle up at an average of about 3.5% incline. You get to the top and power down all the way.

The red line is heart rate, blue is cadence and white is power, below all that is the grey, which is elevation.

I pushed hard on this race. My average watts were 157, which is a push for me. In places, I pushed very hard, hitting 535 watts.

How did I do, again depends…

Zwift places me in 100th place. It’s a nice round number!

Zwift’s got me in 100th out of 132 riders. But not all the riders are on Zwift Power, which you have to sign up for. That is used as the official standings.

On Zwift Power, I got 20th out of 29. Not great, but a good effort for me. I pushed hard all 36 minutes of the ride.

But wait, there’s more…

Yoga Time!

Yoga is a great way to wind down after a hard race on Zwift or anytime for that matter. Describing Yoga as advanced stretching is probably underselling it, but that’s how I think of it.

Yoga set-up

Yoga is great because it is so easy to set up and you hardly need any equipment at all. Read this older post to see what equipment I use.

Zwift in the Age of COVID-19


I’ve wanted to write about Zwift for a long time now. I’ve been using it for just over a year.

A Brief Overview of Zwift:

For those of you that don’t know what Zwift is, it is a game, that you playing using a smart trainer.

#interbike2015 #wahoofitness + #zwift get connected and take your indoor cycling experience to a new level“#interbike2015 #wahoofitness + #zwift get connected and take your indoor cycling experience to a new level” by Glory Cycles is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The smart trainer (pictured above) sends information to a computer (desktop, phone, tablet or apple tv) that allows the Zwift program to know how fast you are spinning that back wheel and what kind of power (measured in watts) you are putting into it.

All this information from the smart trainer allows Zwift to simulate what a ride would be like in one of their virtual worlds. When you go up a hill the smart trainer makes it harder to pedal, when you go down descents, it gets easier to pedal.

You can add additional sensors to get more information and make the ride more real. There are also trainers that don’t touch the rear wheel, but instead connect straight to the chain and you need to remove the rear wheel, these are called direct-drive trainers and are more expensive.

Rollentraining mit Zwift auf Canyon-Bike“Rollentraining mit Zwift auf Canyon-Bike” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In regards to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Zwift is here at the right time with a great tool to keep people fit and active. This tool allows a bicyclist (and runners), to continue their training or just get on for a quick ride or workout.

Eric Schlange of Zwift Insider writes more about this in his article, “THE UNFOLDING STORY OF COVID-19 AND ZWIFT“. Eric mentions that those who are part of group rides in real life can now invite their group to a group ride online, so they can continue to ride together. No, this isn’t the same as the outdoor ride with your friends, but it is much better than nothing at all.

Also mentioned in Eric’s article is the fact that as we have seen many, if not all bicycling and running events canceled throughout the world, there is a place for these events to happen on Zwift. No, it’s not just like the real thing. Of course not, but it is a great alternative to nothing at all.

Zwift is a great alternative to an outdoor ride, the gamification of it makes it even more appealing to old gamers like me. If you are a cyclist a runner, or just someone that is now confined to your home, Zwift is an excellent solution to getting some exercise and having some fun. I hope you can get a trainer because like everything else, these are no in high demand. Ride on!

What you need for at-home Yoga

My at-home Yoga set-up

While there is not much that you need for Yoga at-home (yeah) I do recommend getting the nice stuff because then there will be no “upgrades” later down the line.

Hyrdoflask – You should always stay hydrated when doing any kind of workout. I like the hydroflask because it keeps cold water cold all day long. I use the 18-ounce bottles as they fit nicely in the car cup holders. Try to drink 3-4 of these a day for your recommended 64 ounces daily.

Manduka Yoga Mat – These are the best. Nice and thick so you get the support you need and slip-resistant. Better than any other mat I have tried. These are pretty pricey, but they come with a lifetime warranty.

Yoga Workout Cards – These are great when you have no idea what you are doing and perfect for when you do, but you’re not sure how to put together a sequence or how to warm up before beginning. These take the guesswork out of what to do after you have everything set up.

Maduka Cork Yoga Block – Not all of us are super flexible and it takes time to get that yoga pose just right. The important part is to just start trying. A good yoga block will help you get close enough to that yoga pose that is difficult. I like the Manduka cork ones as they are made from a sustainable material.

Manduka Yoga Strap – Similar to the block, this will help you get to those stretches where you can’t reach just yet. For me, those stretches are hamstring folds. I have never been able to reach my feet, but if you stop trying you will never get there. This helps you get started and start making progress on those poses right away.

And that’s it. You really don’t need any of these things. That’s the magic of Yoga, it’s a works anywhere anytime kinda workout. I love it. But if you want to make it that much more comfortable and/or you plan on doing Yoga often, then these things will make it a better experience. Put on some relaxing music from your streaming service of choice and get your stretch on!

Cycling Without Fear

In this article, Dan Kois tells his story of living in the Netherlands for 3 months with his children but without a car.

In the Netherlands, only tourists wear helmets.

a country with more bikes than people, and we were eager to slip into the two-wheeled flow.

Even in optimistic American municipalities that have demarcated bike lanes on the street or paved a few bike paths, cars come first, and drivers rarely look out for cyclists. Drivers park and then swing their front doors wide; they make right turns without looking behind them; they pull out of parking lots and cut across bike lanes at full speed. Who can blame them? The system was built to maximize drivers’ efficiency, and anything that might slow them down is a glitch. [underlining, mine]

For cyclists used to being second-class citizens, watching bikes navigate the Netherlands is revelatory. 

Most important, drivers look out for cyclists, cede the right of way, and are rarely surprised by them. After all, nearly all those drivers are cyclists themselves. The eighteen million residents of the … more than twenty-two million bicycles. Dutch kids ride in child seats practically from birth, are on balance bikes by two, and are cycling unaided by four. Old people continue to cycle, too: when pedalling gets too difficult, they switch to battery-assisted e-bikes, which now outsell standard adult bikes in the Netherlands.

Dan Kois, How I Learned to Cycle Like a Dutchman, The New Yorker, September 13, 2019