Fight for Jersey – Stage 6 preview

Big day for green jersey fighters.

Sprint festival. Pure Criterium day on a fast, punchy and short circuit course. With only 2km long Lap and an intermediate sprint in every single Lap, it is going to be super spicy and a real leg reaper.

This the most important stage for Green jersey hunters. There are almost 30% of all sprinting points available of all seven stages with sprint points to offer in the spring series. But beware, there are two banners on this course. On all sprints, during stage it is only sprint banner at the top of short cobbled leg snapper, that counts! Finish banner counts only at the very end of the stage. This means there will be 18 sprints on sprint banner + 1 last sprint at the finish banner.

Because there are so many sprints during the stage, only first three over the line score points, and if someone wants to perform really strong in terms of grabbing the maximum amount of points for green jersey fight, he will have to do a hell of a lot repeated sprints efforts. And here comes the fun part of criteriums. Nobody is able to do endless all-out sprints and simultaneously follow counter attacks! The more you sprint like a maniac, the more open is window of opportunity for counter-attacks and ambushes. If you want to grab the points, you have to sprint. No sprint, no points. But the harder you sprint, the more vulnerable you are for counter-attacks. If someone successfully counters and escapes for only a few laps, he can grab hell of a lot of points even if he isn’t the strongest and the fastest sprinter. In fact, smart time trialists, which usually sucks at sprinting, can easily steel most of the points to sprinters. All he needs is a bit of post-sprint-leg-paralyzes and a bit of hesitation in the pack, and here he can go. With a gap of only 50m, he might be incredibly hard for the pack to be shut down quickly. And with 5 solo laps, he can ruin sprinters fun, before you eat your cake.

One more trouble for Green jersey hunters might be the numerous presence of one day racers. Crit City is a popular course, especially for heavier riders with fast legs, since they can easily follow wheels the entire day and then sprint for glory at the end. The more one day passengers in the game, the harder will be to harvest a lot of intermediate sprint points, since they score points too. All that matters is the first three positions over the line at the Prime on Zwift power (see example here).

At the end of the day, for the most, this stage might be closest to over/under threshold training session. If they want to stay in the front group they will have to rise their ass’s and kick hard for some 30sec over the leg snapper, then settle down and try to recover for the next 3min in the blob, before they will have to do it again. Only 19 times so, and the stage will be over. Since different category groups will be visible on course, meaning there will be a lot of smaller groups of A’s, B’s, C’s, lapped riders, and so on, the real mess and fun is guaranteed.

Vamos!

& categories will do 18 laps or 35km distance and 144m of altitude.
& categories will do 12 laps or 24km distance and 96m of altitude.

The race happens on Sunday 16.2.2020 at 10.30 CET. Register here now.

Have you ridden the course “Crit City Downtown Dolphin” before? The easiest way is to check the segment in your Strava account.

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Fight for Jersey – Stage 5 preview

Queen stage. Day D for black jersey hunters and an absolute nightmare for all others. Sign up already today here.

The course profile for A and B category

This is the hardest day of the entire spring series. Actually, many have never done such indoor volume in one session alone, yet climbed this many. It’s a stage where the strongest climbers with ~5wkg/20min capacity can expect at least 2h45min long effort, with 3-3.5h for the most. That’s such an effort, many won’t be able finishing it unless they prepare for it. First of all, it has to be a personal challenge. It has to be in your head. If finishing this stage is not your personal goal, it’s very unlikely an unprepared rider will finish it. Second, without enough fluids and cooling it’s going to be near impossible. Without overestimation, this is indoor equivalent for hard media or gran fondo outside during summer.

The course profile for C and D category

It is going to be a little easier for category C and D riders, with a bit shorter course to deal with, but they are proportionally slower, so they will suffer almost the same as A’s and B’s.

The stage is one of two stages in nine weeks serié without sprint points to offer, and indeed this is not a kind of challenge for quick men. But on the other side, the stage is exactly the one climbers do like. The climbs are numerous, long and hard. There are massive 43 points for A&B’s and 33 for C’s available to grab, and for the Black jersey competition, this one is crucial. The one with most points in the basket from this stage will very likely end up Black at the end as well.

Since the course for A&B’s is very rarely used one in Zwift events due to its hardness, it is very likely we won’t have huge crowds at the start. Even more, because the weather outside is expected to be unusually warm and nice for mid-February.

& categories will do 89.3km distance and 2112m of altitude.
& categories will do 45.9km distance and 1683m of altitude.

The race happens on Sunday 16.2.2020 at 10.30 CET.

Here is the VeloViewer 3D map of the “Four Horsemen” course.

Here is the VeloViewer 3D map of the “Quatch Quest” course.

Have you ridden the course “Four Horsemen” before? The easiest way is to check the segment in your Strava account.

Strava Forward Segment

Have you ridden the “Quatch Quest” course before? The easiest way is to check the segment in your Strava account.

Strava Forward Segment

Week #4 prize draw

After every stage of spring series, one randomly chosen SLO rider get’s the weekly prize of professional bike fitting worth 200€ by VS Bike + 1h free trial on complete Wahoo Indoor Zwift Setup (Wahoo Kickr + Climb + Wind + Apple TV).

This week’s lucky winner is Nino Moskon! (stream)

Nino congratulations. For prize collection please contact us at info.slozl@gmail.com.

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Week #3 (9.2.2020) eligible riders list:

Mitja Štern1
Gregor Kovac2
Darja Vavpetic3
Luka Lapanja4
rado losic5
Marko Drinovec6
Denis Becaj7
Simon Strmsek8
Darjan Klobasa9
Matjaz Smovnik10
Grega Gregoric11
David Pečnak12
Uros Galic13
Gregor Berlisk14
Igor Cesar15
Dejan Sever16
Janez Marguc17
Nino Moskon18
Ozbe Pecar19
Klemen Svegelj20
Gal Jazbec21
Simon Lakic22
Janez Tomc23
Mitja Kovacic24
Miha Kosmac25
Mitja Muhvic26
Tilen Gašperin27

Just to refresh basic rules about eligibility for our weekly prize draw:

1.) every Slovenian rider with a valid stage result on Zwiftpower.com from the current week is eligible. Riders with SLO flag but without real name and surname (examples: some dude, .Iron Doga, Ave Cezar, Miha 5886, etc..) are excluded. Names like Miha Železnik (Steel Bike lover), Tine Pšeničnik [Vegan Zwift Team] are OK.

2.) Organizers and past lucky winners are excluded from the weekly prize draw. There is no point in getting two bike fittings in a row, but they all remain eligible for the main prize (Wahoo Elemnt Bolt) after 9 weeks of league.

Fight for Jersey – Stage 4 Preview

An interesting mixed stage awaits, with lots of possibilities for a different type of riders. Sign in for the stage right now here.

Stage 4 will be another fast stage. Despite having Volcano climb in the middle, the stage isn’t particularly hard. Even capable sprinters can survive Volcano since it’s not that steep and solid drafting skills can save a lot of energy. But it depends on the dynamics and the tempo in the blob. In the case of aggressive racing, sprinters can be put into trouble, but it has to be really punchy and sustained. The best scenario for them is being steady, with blob riding Volcano at submaximal pace. If this happens, a sprinter can clearly win the stage. Watopia KOM reverse climb is not nearly hard enough to get rid of them. Remember, once they are over Volcano KOM banner they will no longer wear sheepskin, they will transform into blood smelling wolves, and they will bite if even the smallest chance occurs. There are 16 sprint points to grab and looking at the Jersey leaderboards, it’s close enough in all three categories for Jersey to change the owner of the privilege. Sprinters, don’t forget one very important point: the first sprint comes immediately after the stage start. There is perhaps less than 2 kilometers until the first Sprint banner. Do not forget to start the stage with legs well warmed up!

For the climbers, there is a hard task. There are 13 pts available, but these climbs are too easy for many. And since many have their eyes on a beautiful, most cool looking Jersey, they will need to do an all-out sprint on banners if they want to harvest any point for themself at all. And of course, there must be no break in front stealing KOM points, or, they have to be in a break. And both is hard. First part of the route is flat and while it’s easy for a group to sneak away it is also super hard to break away. You never know, how will group react to a potential attack. Sometimes small group rides away just like that, some other times the break just isn’t possible since too many people would like to be in front.

Looking at the jersey leaderboard with small gaps in all three groups and a combined possibility for a bigger group to finish the stage, there is a chance for Yellow swapping too. All that’s needed is that current leaders perform poorly in sprint and yellow privilege can end up on some other rider.

Remember that from stage 2 onwards, our Dress code is in effect. Please read it carefully and don’t forget: fight for the Jersey!

All categories & & & will do 1 lap, 40km distance and 303m of altitude altogether.

The race happens on Sunday 9.2.2020 at 10.30 CET (10.30 AM CET)

Here is the VeloViewer 3D map of the course.

Have you ridden the course before? The easiest way is to check the segment in your Strava account.

Strava Forward Segment

Check how your powermeters agree with Dual analyses

For all the newcomers on Zwift, this one might sound weird. But for experienced riders, this new advanced feature of dual power analyses on Zwiftpower.com gives them deeper insight into the quality of their power meter (PM) data as well as some kind of extra confirmation that they are using well-calibrated in-game equipment equalizing them with their outdoor real-life performances.

One of the biggest technical issues on Zwift, at least during social “head to head” events is the quality of PM data. The wattage your equipment is reporting during cycling moves your in-game avatar. And we are just as fast as it is our wattage coming up from our PM. Nowadays, most serious riders already use some sort of PM on their outdoor bike. The more serious, the more into sports physiology oriented they are, the more they usually spend for their PM. While there is a hugely technical, quality and prize span between PM on the market, most manufacturers will claim their PM to be within some respectable margin of accuracy. Most commonly, the typical PM will be labeled within +/- 2% accuracy. But, in reality, comparing PM’s with the same stated accuracy from a different manufacturer, shows they rarely agree with each other. In fact, there might be huge differences even among high-end products on the market as we will see in the following example from my own case.

First, take a quick look at the above graph. There are two sets of power data recorded simultaneously during the same sub 4 minute long hard climbing interval. Purple colored line represents my primary Power2Max NG power meter, with claimed accuracy of +/-1%, and the one I always use outside on the road and inside for indoor rides. It is also the one I do trust as much as I did with my previous two SRM power meters. I have compared countless times my numbers on local hills and they where always spot on. Blue line on the graph represents power reported by Wahoo Kickr trainer, with claimed accuracy within +/-2%. Now, it is more than obvious that these two measure the same power very differently. I was more than 30w stronger when using P2M than Kickr during that climb. That’s almost a 6% difference! And the lower graph shows, what the difference was through the entire duration spectrum.

The question is, which power meter should I trust? Could it be the reason for today’s “virtual” high-performance lousy calibration?

The part of the answer can be explained by the fact, that very rarely I do a “spin-down” calibration on Kickr. I don’t use it for powering my avatar. It’s just a smart trainer who needs to transfer virtual road slope & slipstream under my legs. Thus, after several weeks, once the belt slowly tears down, bearings become looser, temperature drops during autumn, etc., Kickr’s power meter becomes more and more miscalibrated.

But, this is just one of the possible reasons. Even when I do carefully calibrate both units before a ride, I can still observe, a significant difference in power reading. An example can be seen in the graph below.

As it is obvious, in this case, Wahoo’s Kickr was reading much higher than P2M NG. Especially during shorter durations with higher forces on the pedal. If I would use Kickr as a primary power meter instead of P2M in the race and sprint, in the end, I would be much faster “virtually” since Kickr has reported more than 50w higher power output during 15sec sprint than P2M. That’s around a 5% difference. And if I would compare two lower-range level power meters the differences would be even higher. Sometimes much higher.

What’s the take-home message of an article? It’s definitely not a suggestion to spend more money and buy a better, more accurate, more reliable power meter. It is about understanding the technical nature of indoor riding and the reason why we are sometimes faster or slower indoor then our friends or peers outdoor on a real road during summer. And why sometimes, when people upgrade their indoor equipment from beginners setup, say lower cost wheel-on trainer, to advanced ones, which usually incorporates much more precise power meter unit might be disappointed or happy over their sudden typical power output change.

Ride On!