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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Racing (errr... Riding?) the Tour de Zwift

For those who Zwift - you will know that the Tour de Zwift is as much a race as a ride.

Sure, there's the odd message saying "it's not a race"... but there are standings, your position is displayed, and at the front it's 100% a race!

I've been watching some YouTube videos of people racing, like Don't Get Dropped guy Erik, and was inspired to give it another try - really hit it and see what I could do.

I'm currently in Category D (demoted from last year, womp womp) - so anything in the top 50% usually makes me pretty happy.

The Course

Richmond Rollercoaster... ugh! So much hill.

From (click link) 

I'm big - 98kg right now (over 215lbs) so those hills are scary steep.

First rule of Zwift "racing" is to know the course, and have a plan. Mine was to give it stink out of the gate, get into the lead group, hang on for dear life up 23rd and KOM Reverse then hopefully find a big old blob to carry me through the rest of the ride.

I learned a few tricks from some of the videos... 

  • If you join the event early, then leave, you can warm up somewhere else but "reserve" a spot near the front for when you join back
  • Don't accelerate until about 2s before the start for the biggest "bump" out of the gate
I did both of these... and I was still swarmed and passed early! But I got into a big enough group downhill at a zillion kilometers an hour that we caught back up - in fact I ended up blasting through the entire group and into 1st place!

Definitely not the plan.

Fortunately others again pushed forward and I drafted my way into 23rd street - and watched as the lighter riders scampered off, which was expected.

Topped the hill and managed to tag onto the back of a few riders downhill, got a feather power-up (yay!)... everything was going great!  Held my own up the KOM Reverse and went way into the red, further than I really ever would normally go so early... 

Recovering in the Draft!

... but it all worked out famously, I ended up in a nice sized group at the crest of the hill.

I was able to do a bit of recovery at this point, but I knew there were more climbs ahead.  Main Street is much lower gradient (3-6%) so there is some drafting which helped.

From there on it was hang in with the draft and don't get dropped.

Unfortunately I didn't have anything for the final sprint... ended up in 41st place on ZwiftPower of the 121 ZP riders, best in my finishing "group" was 30th - so still have a few lessons to learn about all of this.

All in all it was a blast, and nice to have the legs again to be able to do something like this!

It's a great workout, really forces you into the red when you maybe don't feel like it - but you can see the wheel in front getting away and that extra blast is there!

Will definitely do this again.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Ready for a Rucking Great Year!

Pic stolen from
A friend of mine was posting his Rucks on Strava, and I was like "What the Ruck is that?".

"Carrying a heavy backpack"... is about the best description you'll ever need!  That's really it - hiking around with weight - which turns a light cardio workout into something serious. 

A stronger core!  Stronger bones!  Enjoying the outdoors!  

Here's Dr. Peter Attia talking about it (jump to 12 minutes)

Rucking appealed to me instantly for a few reasons...
  1. The races I'm planning involve carrying stuff while hiking. Adventure Races aren't just simple running, you have a pack with supplies on your back and you're in rough terrain that requires some degree of core strength... and the canoe race I'm doing will definitely include portaging.
  2. It's super easy to start (assuming you have weights and a sturdy backpack)
  3. I can turn a normal activity like walking my dog into a better workout by adding the weight!


I wanted to make sure it was something I would stick with before over investing, so I started with a backpack I already owned, put some weight plates from barbells we have into it, made it comfortable, and went! It's good enough for now.

If I keep going with it, there is an opportunity to spend a lot of money on $200-300+ GoRuck branded rucksacks and weight plates - I'm a firm believer that the right tool for the activity helps you stick to it. But for now I'm good.


I read on the internet (the source of all things factual and not as factual) that the army standard is 15 minutes per mile.  That works out to something like 9:20/km, so trying to keep it in that low 9's as a target.  I don't think going a bunch faster is a very worthwhile goal, I already run and bike for cardio after all!


Dr. Attia says to work up to 1/3 your body weight, but I'm pretty big so that's a lot! Even at my ideal BMI that is 60lbs... I can't quite get my head around that.

I started at 25lbs, then 30lbs, and was able to go very long without trouble at that weight - so will progress to 35lbs next. I'm starting to doubt my little starter backpack can handle much more than that.


I'm not to fussed about increasing this much beyond an hour - and I'll probably settle in closer to half an hour.  I would rather get the weight increased than the time, seems like it would better align to my strength goals (I already have a ton of endurance).


I only just started, but I definitely feel the workout in my lower back and abs.  Also gave a bit of soreness in the glutes.  Hopefully it's doing all the good things load bearing exercise is supposed to do under the covers - bone density, increased resilience to injury, etc etc etc...

Will keep everyone posted!

Hello 2024!


Hi! I have let this blog go for awhile now, and I feel bad.

I actually let it go because I felt bad... my level of athleticism took a steep nosedive for a pretty long time now.

But I'm finally back.  Back in control of my health, starting to get a handle on my weight, and feeling like myself again on the bike!

A few new things I'm going to post about eventually...

... Storm Adventure Race 2024!

... Muskoka River X 2024!

... Rucking!?

It's going to be a great year, buckle up!