Tag Archives: FTR

Watopia: First June Friday Training Race

I’m so tired from the last two days of riding, I’m afraid that my brain has suffered from oxygen debt. I hope I can remember what happened during the Friday Training Race. As usual, I’ll just let Chris Wiedmann give the extended race report.

I almost didn’t participate. My Six Jersey Challenge attempt on Thursday had only been finished about 16 hours before. However, as I walked down the stairs into the basement my legs didn’t have that stiff feel I had when I woke up that morning.

I had a muted excitement about this ride. It would be the first time I would race with the new Zwift update. This update allows us to connect both a power meter and a Kickr to the program. This is helpful to me because while I love the feedback the Kickr allows from the software, I have not always liked the way it sends data.

You can’t ride like you would on the road. For instance, going for a sprint you have to start well before you think you do because you have to get the wheel spun up before the wattage reaches the level you need. Then when you are finished it just continues releasing the power.

This also plays a factor when trying to ride in a nuanced manner. I have been suspicious that this delay has played a role in my inability to stay with a group. I just haven’t learned how to find the sweet spot.

Riding with the power meter solves that issue. The response from the crank based power meter to the computer is immediate. Now there is only the small delay as the software receives the data and processes it.

Even if I couldn’t finish strong in the race, at least I could test my theory. So after warming up with Chris Wiedmann I pulled into the “drop in” zone to await the start. I kept seeing more and more riders appear with FTR beside their names. This would be a big group.

Becker is the lone rider in the middle - putting a hurting on us!

Becker is the lone rider in the middle – putting a hurting on us!

We rolled off and I looked around to take stock of the FTR-A riders around me. There didn’t seem to be too many. Most riders were FTR-B or C. Well, at least I could count on having a top ten finish!

There was Wiedmann, of course. F. Garcia and M. Wardle were on board. C. Schumm was there as well as N. Law — the usual suspects. This might work out okay… then I saw H. Becker pop up nearby. Oh boy, this really changed everything.

We finished up the warmup and Wiedmann called the start. Immediately I knew things were going to be different. I found it easy to adjust with the ebb and flow of the pack. I was paying so much attention to sitting in I didn’t notice a move up front.

Suddenly, I saw Becker and Garcia with a 2 second gap. This was not normal. Typically there was no attempt to make a selection until the first climb. Here we were just getting started and two strong riders were testing us.

I knew then I had to cross the gap or they would be gone. I could see Wardle and Wiedmann responding the same way. However, by the time we reached the sprint zone Wardle, Garcia, and myself with Becker were holding a soft gap over the rest of the field.

The rollers grew the gap even more and then on the first climb we were over a minute over the closest following racer. I was just happy to hold with the other three riders. We went over the top together and I spent the rest of the second full lap trying to make Becker and company do as much of the work as possible.

It was working until we reached the rollers. This was when I started to feel fatigued. It wasn’t that my heart rate was over the top. It was up there, but manageable. It was simply a matter of my legs feeling fatigued.

However, I stayed with them to finish out that second lap. It was now time to take on the climb once more. We hit it and the other guys started up at a pace that would have me pushing up at over 400 watts. It was too much. I could do 350, but that was it. I was done trying to keep up with them.

That was the race. For the most part the finishing order was where each racer was at that point (though the time gaps continued to grow). I kept an okay pace, but to be honest, with over a minute lead on the next racer, I didn’t have a lot of motivation to push too hard. I would ride along and then pick up my pace if I saw him closing in.

I finished a distant fourth place, but I was happy! Finally, I had no instance where I found myself slipping off the back and having to push to get back on. Of course, with the very early move, there wasn’t much pack riding for me anyway!

One sad thing to note. I was followed by G. Christopher who was in the B group. He stayed about 40 seconds behind me and even closing into around 15 seconds as I would begin a climb. One time he messaged the group asking where the finish was… the alien statues?

I tried to reply to him to say the Start/Finish banner, but my iPhone was so covered with sweat, I couldn’t get the touch screen to work! I had also dropped my towel earlier and had nothing dry with which to wipe it off. Unfortunately, no one replied and he stopped at the statues.

It is sad that he was giving me, an A rider, pause for concern and had the B race wrapped up. He ended with a DNF. Good ride, Garry! Sorry I couldn’t warn you.

And now… for the real report from Chris Wiedmann:

FTR Race Report 2015-06-05

19 riders gathered for the start of today’s Friday Training Race. This week H.-G. Becker was the main engine in the grinder that chewed up and spit out the rest of the riders. He drove the pace hard and managed a solo victory over M. Wardle with F. Garcia following some distance back in third.

In the B race a miscommunication cost G. Christopher the victory when he finished 1/2 lap early leaving B. Greatrick to take the victory with M. R and J. Lemon rounding out the podium. In the C race, S. Carter held off R. Butler for the victory with S. Yeatts on the third step of the podium.

The race started out fast with immediate attacks over the rollers after the start. Only Becker, Wardle, Garcia and J. Pait made it to the first climb in the lead group. Becker immediately drove the pace up, pulling out a 5s gap over the other riders, but they regrouped shortly thereafter.

On the next big climb, however, Becker managed to split the field with Wardle the only rider able to stay in contact. Garcia and Pait followed solo with growing gaps between all riders. On the third climb Becker proved his superiority by dropping Wardle. The rest of the race was a time trial to the finish with Becker taking the win and the rest of the group following in order.

The fast start separated the B group from the As by the back climb. J. Lemon managed to get a small lead with G. Christopher, J. Curley and B. Greatrick chasing one-by-one further back. By the second climb, Lemon and Christopher had joined up with Greatrick and Curley chasing. On the third climb Greatrick opened a gap on Curley and started working to bridge to the leaders. Curley dropped back to the next chase group of M. R and I. Munro.

Christopher managed to get a gap on Lemon on the back climb of this lap. Christopher and Greatrick pushed on solo in front of the chasers while M.R managed to bridge up to Lemon at the base of the last climb. Christopher dropped out leaving Greatrick to solo to the victory. M.R managed to pull out a slim lead on Lemon and hold him off to the line for second. Lemon finished third.

In the C race, Carter and Butler managed to establish a lead group in front of the rest of the field. Carter managed to pull out a gap on the last lap that he held to the finish. Butler solo a short time after, with Yeatts following for third.

A Group
1. H.-G. Becker 1:00:59 (41.0 km/h)
2. M. Wardle 0:00:32
3 F. Garcia 0:02:54
4. J. Pait 0:05:41
5. C. Wiedmann 0:09:20
DNF N. Law (Pub emergency)

B Group
1. B. Greatrick 1:05:35 (37.0 km/h)
2. M. R 0:01:03
3. J. Lemon 0:01:08
4. J. Curley 0:03:53
5. R. Van Praet 0:04:03
DNF G. Christopher
DNF I. Munro (Pub emergency)

C Group
1. S. Carter 1:11:45 (34.9 km/h)
2. R. Butler 0:00:22
3. S. Yeatts 0:04:52
4. T. Marshall 0:11:35
-1 Lap
5. G. Raya -0:07:00

Note: Time gaps for entertainment purposes only. Corrections to placings and race narrative are welcome. I have skipped listing anybody whose Strava activity I could not find. If you wish to be included, let me know.

Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1410852035907353
Strava fly-by: http://labs.strava.com/flyby/viewer/…

Watopia Friday Training Race

Enjoyed participating in the Watopia Friday Training Race that takes place each Friday afternoon at 1:30 PM EST. In this post I am going to tell you how to participate and then provide you with both text and video recaps of the event. This race I titled, “Attack of the Schumm.”

People often ask how they can participate. It is quite simple if you have the Zwift software and an account. If you find what you see here interesting, but you are not on Zwift; I would point you to their website at Zwift.com. It is in open beta. So no waiting line to play!

Once you have the software installed, your account set up, and your trainer configured; you are ready to race! I would suggest you follow the steps below in the order I give. It will keep you from freaking out at the last second realizing you are set up correctly.

  1. Go to your account and click on the Edit Profile button. Where you see your last name, add the following FTR-A, FTR-B, or FTR-C. Those letters represent the level at which you think you could be competitive. “A” racers typically are pretty fast. They are finishing a lap of Watopia in under 14 minutes. Of course, you can move up or down once you get in there and find how you match up with the pace.
  2. By the way, if you do not have an account on Strava. It is a great help to the race organizers to have you link your Zwift profile to Strava. This allows them to watch the race virtually and determine the finishing order.
  3. Hopefully, you do the above well before it is time to prepare for the actual race. I’d suggest you do it the morning of or at least an hour before the event. You’ll then be ready to warm up. I will log in about 25 to 30 minutes before the ride and do a lap at a reasonable pace. As time moves toward the start… say five minutes before, I then end my warmup.
  4. Ending your warmup will take you completely out of the program and you will need to start it again. When you do, you will notice the list pops up that asks if you want to “Just Ride” or “Join” someone on the list. I always look for C. Wiedmann and “Join” with him. If I don’t see him on the list, I click “Just Ride” which should put you in the general vicinity of all the other competitors.
  5. Watch the chatter and you’ll find out if Wiedmann is leading the ride or if someone else is heading up the race for the day. They will announce when to start rolling. You will see a bunch of FTR riders amassing. All you have to do is get in that group and follow the instructions given.
  6. Remember, the race does not start immediately. There is plenty of time for everyone to group before the race leader calls the GO! once the riders reach the weird looking statues of cyclist dudes (aliens?) and everyone goes from a rolling start. Take a look at this video… it shows how it works:

Of course, the video only covers the A race. Chris Wiedmann does an awesome job putting together reports following each race that covers all the categories. This is where the Strava account and proper use of the FTR abbreviation in the name you give the Strava activity becomes important. Be sure you name your Strava activity a name that includes FTR.

So, with no further ado… here is Chris’ report from the May 29, 2015 race.

20 riders showed up for the start of this week’s Friday Training Race. The A race was won in an exciting three-up sprint by F. Coppex with C. Schumm and M. Wardle rounding out the podium spots. The B race was taken by a small margin by N. Koenigstein (who was given a field promotion from the C category since he finished in front of all the B riders) over I. Munro with Mike Brew on the third step of the podium. R. Butler won the C race with S. Carter and W. Elvin following over the line.

The A race started with the usual contest of strength up the first climb. Six riders made it past the first selection: Coppex, Schumm, Wardle, F. Garcia, J. Pait and C. Wiedmann. In an effort to change the usual script, Schumm attempted an attack on the roller before the bicycle statues that held for a short time but was closed down by the sprint banner. The second climb took Garcia off the back, with the third climb claiming Wiedmann and Pait.

The three leaders worked together, quickly distancing Pait and Wiedmann who were riding solo in front of Garcia and Law who had combined efforts to chase. This situation held to the finish with the exception of Pait who sat up in the final lap to record video of the final sprint.

Wardle seemed content to lead out the sprint for the leaders. He left it late and jumped from the 100m sign. Coppex reacted quickly and managed to jump by with a strong acceleration with Schumm on his wheel. Schumm ran out road to come around giving Coppex the win.

The B race broke up in the early stages when the pace was pushed. Koenigstein was able to close the gap to the A group and ride with them for 1 1/2 laps. I. Munro and N. Law (from the A group) managed to work together for a lap before Law joined Garcia and Munro lost touch. Brew, J. Gill, G. Christopher and J. Denny chased solo further back.

The early effort took it’s toll on Koenigstein who drifted back behind Munro. He managed to find a second wind in the last lap to make up the deficit and take the win by 7 seconds over Munro. Brew followed less than a minute later to take the final podium spot.


A Group
1. F. Coppex 1:00:14 (41.6 km/h)
2. C. Schumm s.t.
3. M. Wardle s.t.
4. C. Wiedmann 0:02:57
5. F. Garcia 0:03:35
6. N. Law s.t.
7. J. Pait 0:08:10

B Group
1. N. Koenigstein 1:05:35 (38.1 km/h)
2. I. Munro 0:00:07
3. M. Brew 0:00:54
4. J. Gill 0:00:59
5. G. Christopher 0:02:04
6. J. Denny 0:04:37
DNF L. Ranicar (network problems)

C Group
1. R. Butler 1:06:32 (37.6 km/h)
2. S. Carter 0:07:03
3. W. Elvin 0:08:56
4. N. Pedersen 0:11:58

Note: Time gaps for entertainment purposes only. Corrections to placings and race narrative are welcome. I have skipped listing anybody whose Strava activity I could not find. If you wish to be included, let me know.

Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1451758121803123/
Strava fly-by: http://labs.strava.com/flyby/viewer/…

Make your plans to participate next week!