Tips for riding a Zwift Fondo or other large event

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cbusick
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Tips for riding a Zwift Fondo or other large event

Post by cbusick » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:40 pm

How I do Zwift Fondos?


With the first zwift fondo coming up tomorrow here’s my brain dump of how I approach them. I don’t expect others to do all this, or even agree with my strategy, but it works for me and keeps me engaged for such a long indoor event.

here are some zwift power results from similar events last year:
https://www.zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=40998
https://www.zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=124473

Prep:
Recon the event on zwiftpower.com

Make sure you have enough water bottles. At least one per hour. Assume 21 mph for a hilly (aka something that includes the epic KOM) or up to 25 mph for a flatter event.

Make sure you have food. Maybe it isn’t so bad for you guys, but bonking on the rollers and losing balance is really scary. Once I wasn’t able to stop the bike and get off, I just fell onto the floor.

Identification. Make sure you have MRC in your name. These large events typically force everyone to wear the same jersey, so coordinating on hair style (mohawks are always easy to spot) or helmets will help to find teamates.

Discord: Use the discord channel to figure out where everyone wound up and coordinate getting into the same group. There will be a lot of chatter on zwift "I'm at 550" "I'm at 230" and so on. It's easier to talk using voice. Heres an invite to the MRC channel https://discord.gg/Mv5Anp

Staging:
Stage early, the larger the pack the earlier. 5 minutes is NOT early. I just spin up the power meter on the bike, log into zwift and get into staging as early as possible, like 20+ minutes, even if I’m not kitted up or haven’t dropped the kids off at the pool yet.

The Start:
The goal here is to get into the front group for at least the initial flat portion of the event.

I wind it up to about 300w with a couple seconds to go, then sprint when it hits zero. Typically you can blow through 200+ riders in the first 10 seconds with this approach. After that I try to settle in around 20th place or so. There might be a couple residual surges as people who didn’t stage as well as you reach the front.

Hopefully things settle down and a blob forms at the front. If, five minutes in still looks like Brad trying to hang on in the 1-3 race at Beverly, then, well this one’s gonna hurt. (Nationals last year was like that) In that case, you probably don’t want to be behind me since I’m typically one of the first guys to just say F it and let a gap open.

Anyway, if it blobs up, try to stay around 20th or so.

The First Hill:
The goal here is to get into a good blob filled with reasonable riders. This is typically never the first group, that’s where KBH, and Turbo Curbeau and 10 or so makitas (Far eastern flags using drills to turn their power meters) will be. Also up there in the first group will be a bunch of guys who aren’t stronger than you and who will blow up later.

This is where my approach might be wrong. I’ll be sitting around 40th, decide the pace is ridiculous and let a gap form and end up in a blob of people at 70th-40 instead of holding on a little longer until 25-40 blow up and drop off.

The key is to gauge things right and get into the right blob. Sometimes I let myself get dropped to early and then there’s a nice group just out of reach up ahead. Sometimes I hold on two long, blow up and then get swept up from behind by the group that I really wanted to be in. The latter is probably better assuming you aren’t so blown that you can’t latch on.

The First Descent:
Goal is to grow your blob.
Hopefully you went over the top with a couple riders. If you are lucky one of them is some big German or Scandinavian who does 400w at 3w/kg. Sit on their wheel as you roll up all the skinny guys in ones and twos who are trying to recover on the descent. Sometimes I look around and realize I’m the big guy who needs to make this happen, so I’ll stay at tempo on the descent so I can roll up all the little guys going down at 2 w/kg

Managing the Blob:
Goal is to get a good group that you can sit in on the flats at Tempo, but that will hit the climbs around threshold.

The bigger the blob the better. If I’m feeling stronger than the group I”m in, but see other groups ahead, I’ll move to the front and try to bring them together. If someone cranks it up on the front of the blob and spits a friend out the back I’ll move to the back and try to keep things together. If its the right group you’ll just keep rolling up smaller groups that are ahead of you and spitting out weaker riders out the back.

On climbs like the volcano where drafting is effective, I’ll work to close gaps when people surge to keep the group together.

If you want to bridge between groups, it’s better to roll off the front smoother, stretch out your blob and hopefully get a couple guys to bridge with you than to try and do it alone. Even if you are on the front the whole time, the more “mass” you have attached to yourself in the form of riders in your group, the faster you will go.
-Chris Busick

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cbusick
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Re: Tips for riding a Zwift Fondo or other large event

Post by cbusick » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:42 pm

Oh, btw, I throw all that out the window if Rees is there. Then I just try and hang on to whatever group he is in as long as possible
-Chris Busick

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Mkidd3
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Re: Tips for riding a Zwift Fondo or other large event

Post by Mkidd3 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:43 pm

Drop the kids off at the pool... Hahaha

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cbusick
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Re: Tips for riding a Zwift Fondo or other large event

Post by cbusick » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:15 pm

https://zwiftinsider.com/climbing-wheels/
https://zwiftinsider.com/fastest-bike-f ... -climbing/

https://zwiftinsider.com/charts-frames/ -- this is the one I use to try and figure out which bike has the best balance of climbing/speed
-Chris Busick

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KTeves
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Re: Tips for riding a Zwift Fondo or other large event

Post by KTeves » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:24 pm

👍👍👍
Thanks Chris!

I'm one of the small guys that gets swept up on the descents. That flats aren't that good for me either where absolute power not W/Kg makes the difference.
KT

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remad
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Re: Tips for riding a Zwift Fondo or other large event

Post by remad » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:50 pm

cbusick wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:42 pm
Oh, btw, I throw all that out the window if Rees is there. Then I just try and hang on to whatever group he is in as long as possible
LOL, This method seems to work well for you.

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Re: Tips for riding a Zwift Fondo or other large event

Post by ahamilton » Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:48 am

cbusick wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:40 pm

makitas (Far eastern flags using drills to turn their power meters)
That's taking the saying "drilling it" literally.

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