Tag Archives: Ted King

How NOT to join a Zwift group ride

Most every Wednesday night my family and I head over to meet with members of our church for a time praying for one another and Bible study. Typically we will finish around 8 PM and then drive home. Sometimes (often)(okay about every time) the Beautiful Redhead will stay around to talk. I’ll admit that this time I was starting to get a little antsy. There was a ride on Zwift with Ted King.

We ended up arriving home about 8:45 PM. I jumped out of the vehicle and got changed hoping I could make it down to the Low Cadence Lair to catch a few moments riding with the group. Scottie Weiss was leading it and — using the new Zwift mobile app — I noticed a good number of other folks with which I would have enjoyed riding. They were still out there, but passing the 20 mile mark as 9 PM approached.

I made it onto the bike before the top of the hour. I could see Ted’s name on the list of riders out on the course. That is when I made my first error trying to join the group ride on Zwift.

The bad thing is that I knew better, but for some reason thought it wouldn’t be too bad. What was my mistake? I joined the group by clicking to “Ride with Ted.” Well, why not? Isn’t that what I wanted?

There was a great turnout for Ted's most excellent adventure

There was a great turnout for Ted’s most excellent adventure

The deal is that Ted was riding at least at a 20 mph pace. He was also surrounded by a number of other riders. If I made the choice to join a point on the course where Ted was, he wouldn’t be there by the time my avatar got mounted.

Yep, by the time I was pedaling, I could see the group disappearing into the distance just before you enter the town containing the sprint zone. Looking at Strava I see I went from a standstill to 335+ watts for over 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

Enter error number two. The other thing about joining a group ride in the middle of it (or near the end in this case) is that you don’t know the flow of the group. Once I made it into the peloton, I was in a guessing game to determine what effort I needed to hold. It meant that a couple of times I got gapped.

Once again Strava shows that I had three spikes in wattage — all over 1200 watts and the final effort at 1300. That happened during the rolling section just before long run down to the finish. Thankfully, by that time I figured out the pace and was starting to catch my breath.

Unfortunately, the banner was the finish of the ride. I didn’t even get in one lap with the group. It then began to splinter as some kept riding and others signed off. I decided to stay around to get in a 30 minute exercise workout so I could get the satisfaction of seeing my Apple Watch activity tracker fill up all the rings.

The problem is that I was hurting. I say I got stitches, but it was more like my kidney was bothering me. It is that sore spot you feel in the lower left portion of your back that makes you have shortness of breath. I knew I had started out a little too freneticly.

As I was climbing the KOM thinking I would just recover for a bit, Scottie came up behind me. So, I hooked up with him and another rider as we crested the hill. Even getting in Scottie’s draft, I was moving into the 4.0 wkg range here and there. The soreness wasn’t leaving.

Finally, just about the place where I joined the group initially, I let Scottie and the other rider go. I needed to back off. Even so, I felt good about completing a sub-15 minute lap. I continued spinning along to complete a second full lap before calling it a night.

So, what did I learn? 1) If you are joining a group and you want to ride with a certain person, choose a rider well up ahead of the person with whom you wish to ride. 2) Once your avatar is active, keep an eye on the watts per kilogram being put out by the riders coming up behind you. 3) Realize that because it is a group, you cannot expect to join into the ride at that same wattage. 4) Ride at a pace that exceeds the numbers in the group because the group effect will chase you down. 5) You can then merge into the group with less pain and have less of a chance of getting dropped immediately.

Ride On!

A crown for Ted

In Honor of Ted KingI am not even an acquaintance of Ted King. I’ve met him a couple of times. Only once did I have a conversation with him. However, it was long enough for me to realize that I like him.

It was back in the final race of the USA Cycling Professional Championships in Greenville, SC. A friend of mine, who was also a friend of Ted’s, asked me if I would be willing to help out with the “Greenville Militia.” This was a group of volunteers who would be the support crew for Ted, Timmy Duggan and a couple other riders without team support for the race.

Timmy ended up winning the race. Unfortunately, I was not able to help the militia. I participated in the Stars and Stripes Challenge ride that morning and didn’t make it to the support spot in time. However, it did allow me to make it to the finish line to see the young rider win.

From that point on I followed Ted on social media and kept up with his progress as a rider. I enjoyed his cycling, but he is one of those characters that you find interesting even if he isn’t on the bicycle. He also quite regularly posted his ride files to Strava. This allowed me to get some insight into the ability it takes to be a pro cyclist. I appreciated that.

So, I was happy for him and looking forward to following him as he took part in his first Tour De France. If you are reading this blog, then you probably were following right along with me. You know the story of how and injured Ted King was cut from the race after missing the time cut (?) by seven seconds.

On Tuesday, I was pretty bummed about the whole thing. I decided to go out and blow off some steam. Just as Ted had gone out to attempt to participate in the Team Time Trial with his injuries knowing that it would be a challenge and painful, I decided to go out and give it a hard go to accomplish one of my most challenging Strava segments — Pait’s Place to Paris.

This is a seven mile ride from my home to the top of Paris Mountain.  I set a goal in June to make it to the top in under 30 minutes. My best ever time was 30:32 — and that was back in 2012. This year, my best time was 30:48.

The one issue with the segment is that it includes an intersection. It is just a few meters from the start. When I neared it this time, I saw I would get a red light. Knowing that would destroy any chance I had, I returned to the start and began again.

This time I hit the light perfectly. I was feeling pretty good and was letting out some frustration from the day. I reached the base of Paris Mountain in around 12 minutes. Though I was feeling winded from the push to that point, I was feeling pretty confident that I would make it to the top and reach my goal at best and get a PR at worse.

I tried not to look at the time and just ride as hard as I could up the grade. A couple of times, I felt the desire to let up. “Nope,” I thought to myself, “This is for Ted.” I kept it going and finally pushed the final meters to the line.

After pushing the lap button, I glanced down. Though my vision was a little blurred from sweat and my high heart rate, I could see 30:01. Could it be? Give or take a second or so, I could have reached my goal! Surely I had a PR and therefore a KOM on Strava.

I got home and uploaded the data to Strava. The page refreshed and I expected to see a notice that I had gotten an achievement. There was none.

Looking at the segment record, I saw that I was given the time of 31:28. What!?! How could that be?

I went back and followed my progress on the segment. Ahhhhh, that was the problem. Strava had counted my first attempt with its return to the start in the overall time.

Knowing how Strava has great personal customer support, I sent them the following email…

The Ride: http://app.strava.com/activities/64338433

The Segment: http://app.strava.com/activities/64338433#1220444745

The Request: Okay, so in honor of Ted King and his ride today in the Tour De France, I went out and pushed it on a segment on which I have come up short many times. Shortly after I started from the beginning of the segment, I came up on a traffic light. Seeing that I would get a red light and wanting to be safe, I stopped, turned around and went back to the beginning of the segment to start again.

From that point I can see I completed the segment in 30:15 (I got the green light). That would be my best ever time on the segment and only 15 seconds above my goal of 30:00. So, you can see that I was very disappointed to return and find that the segment was listed at 31:28. I wrongly assumed that the segment would start over if I returned back to the beginning and started again.

My request is to see if I can have the segment start from my second attempt rather than from the false start. If you wouldn’t normally do it for me, then do it for Ted!

Thanks for the great support you guys provide.

Within 24 hours, I received the reply…

And, also in honor of Ted King, here is your corrected segment time:


Strava Support Team

There it was… a crown. The “official” Strava time was 30:16. I wish the Tour De France officials were as willing to take a look at Ted’s situation as Strava customer support did for mine.

Liquigas teammates Ted King and Timmy Duggan share a laugh at the team introductions. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Liquigas teammates Ted King and Timmy Duggan share a laugh at the team introductions.
Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

So, Ted, that crown was for you. Already looking forward to seeing you in next year’s Tour. Right now I’m just looking forward to you getting back on the bike and joining us again on Strava.