VTTA Zwift '10' - Round 5 6/2/24

This was the fifth event in the VTTA's Zwift virtual 10 mile time trial series. Over the first four events, I'd seen a gradual improvement from 24:18 to 23:53. As far as I can tell, the improvement is mostly down to improved consistency in maintaining appropriate power levels, and this event saw my most consistent power so far.

My strategy for this was as follows.

  1. Decide ahead what power I was aiming for. Ideally this would be a level above my FTP as this race duration is only going to be 24 minutes maximum. I planned to aim for 252-262W.
  2. Decide the gearing/cadence to aim for. I'd based this on the TacxNeo/Assioma power comparison I did a week or so ago. I wanted to be pedalling at 80-85 rpm.
  3. Hold the target power for as long as possible, and where this level became difficult to drop back a bit, but not to coast. Coasting really hits the performance, and this was evident from last week's event.

In practice, a main problem is that despite the Zwift engineers' best efforts, the environment remains a bit abstract, and there's little to think about other than power levels. In real life there's weather, other (real) competitors, other road users plus course profile and corners to deal with. All these seem to me to impact on the effort I'm prepared or able to make.

Here are the data for the time trial, graphed in intervals.icu. I think I held a far steadier pace than in previous events. Power was very consistent for the first 16 minutes or so, then the effort was beginning to tell. But I avoided coasting and instead just dropped the power a shade before resuming. I also managed to lift my pace in the closing 30s or so.

VTTA Zwift 240206

How did this translate in performance?

This was the fastest of the five virtual time trials so far. Given there's no wind or other elements to contend with, and it's the same course each time everything is down to power, and probably average power. I improved to 23:33, which was good.

The ZwiftPower website records an average of 255W (Normalised Power 255W), and this was 3.9W/kg.

I'll probably be unable to ride next week's event (the sixth), but I should be back for the final two rounds of the series.

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