National podium, a race win, a X-country win and riding with Dimension Data! November 2015

Equal 3rd in the BSCA National Best British All Rounder Competition, a few wins and a virtual ride with Dimension Data! One of the best Novembers I’ve had yet 🙂

Week 1

BSCA National Best British All Rounder Competition

What a way to start the week! I received a trophy and certificate confirming that I had finished Equal 3rd in the BSCA (British School’s Cycling Association) National Best British All Rounder Competition!!! I only did 1 race out of 8! A definite moral booster 🙂


I knocked out sessions on Zwift whilst watching fireworks illuminate the sky! Bonfire night was a good’un – The fireworks we had were better than last time, and it was definitely money well spent. The following evening, I unlocked the S-Works Tarmac which is a pretty sweet-looking bike! I held the Lap Jersey too. It looks as if there is going to be an ‘Ocean Road’ section added to the Watopia course on Zwift. It sounds like it will be pretty good – Hopefully something like Highway 1.

Rocking the Lap Jersey:Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 13.22.59My Strava Premium bonus also started – 2 free months of Zwift! Thanks Zwift 🙂Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 13.24.48I unlocked the S-Works Tarmac by completing the California Challenge. This challenge was created by Zwift, where a user had to ride the length of California to unlock a bike. A pretty cool challenge, the user can see how much of the challenge he/she has completed whilst on the go. As you can see in the top right of this image, I have completed the challenge!Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 13.30.43I also went out for a run on Saturday, because why not! Running at a pretty hard effort, I ran 3.8 miles at 6:19/mile, with parts of the course off-road. I soon went back to the sport that I’m better at, and went out for a spin with papa on Sunday – The ride started in dry weather, but this soon changed. The heavens opened and it began to rain so hard it felt as if I was being smacked in the face. For 30 minutes. Nevertheless, the rain subsided and riding with a backwind, the riding was cool 🙂

Mileage: 214 miles

Elevation gain: 10,627 ft

Time ridden: 10 hrs 32 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st September): 1,867.6 miles

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st September): 91,705 ft

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st September): 103 hours 10 mins

Week 2

After many hard weeks of training, I was starting to fatigue. I didn’t want to risk injury or illness, so I took it relatively easy.

I say relatively easy, it was still a pretty intense week. I began by running around some local fields as a part of my School X-Country practise, and covered the first mile in 5 minutes 30 seconds. The second mile was primarily off-road, and so my pace would not be as high. After 6 minutes and 20 seconds, I pretty much found myself back where I started. It was pretty clear that I was the fastest, with myself setting off last and catching everyone over each split of the course.

ZTR-EB Race!

Tuesday was a very good day. I raced in the ZTR-EB Race that are held weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. ZTR-EB stands for ‘Zwift Training Race – Early Birds’. ‘Early Birds’, because there is an event later on in the night where predominantly, Americans race (unless you want to race at 11:00 pm GMT!). These races draw a lot of riders from across the world, and I was pretty excited. It was my first ever Zwift race. I raced in the (B) category. There are 4 categories, based on your FTP. This is how you categorise yourself:

  • Category (A) – An FTP of 4.0 w/kg or higher.
  • Category (B) – An FTP of 3.2 – 3.9 w/kg.
  • Category (C) – An FTP of 2.5 – 3.1 w/kg.
  • Category (D) – An FTP of <2.5 w/kg.

Those who race as a Cat (A) or a Cat (B) set off together, 2 minutes ahead of the C’s and D’s who also set off together. After a short neutral rollout, the race began. I soon found out just how intense the racing was. In all honesty, it was one of the most intense exercises I have ever done. The pain was indescribable. We raced on the Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships course, which had a few short, sharp hills towards the end. The race is 3 laps long – Approximately 30 miles or 50km. This is where the peloton broke up.

Fortunately, I was able to stay with the leaders racing as Cat (A) up the final climb, and so I was in the leading group as we approached the second lap. However, I wasn’t the only B who was in this leading group. A few others had managed to survive the onslaught earlier on, and the racing was definitely not over. We approached the hills again on the second lap, and this time, the leading group broke apart. Most of the A’s separated from the B’s, including myself. Crossing the line with one lap to go, I felt that I would have to tire the B’s who were with me some more if I had a chance of winning. So, I attacked. I sprinted and began to ride away from the few B’s that were left. A few put in an effort to catch me, but I kept on spinning, and soon I created a gap. This gap extended over the next 7 miles, and I found myself only winning the B category, but finishing 8th overall!!!

I am in blue, with a green bike – This was taken whilst in the neutral rollout. As you can see to the right of the image, there is a list of names, mine highlighted in blue. The names are of those who are riding closely in front and behind me. Any name above my name, and they are ahead of me on the course, hence the – sign. Any name lower than mine on the list, and they are behind me, hence the + sign. Eric Min, the founder of Zwift, was racing too!Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 14.36.48Riders from across the world meet up and race online. There are a lot of riders too…Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 14.37.22Averaging 26.2 mph for well over an hour, I also improved my FTP (Functional Threshold Power)! It has now increased to 244 watts. Moreover, I was live on YouTube!!! Nathan Guerra, a pro US Mountain biker, commentates on most racing on Zwift. His commentary is sublime. Excellent. World-class. Quoting directly from Nathan: 

“No more sandbagging Durham”

Haha, I wasn’t sandbagging, trust me. Anyway, I have now moved up a Category. I am now a Cat (A) – The top Category!

You can find the coverage of this race here, on Nathan Guerra’s Twitch channel:

A few sprints on Remembrance Day, with a cheeky sprint to win some race that was going on was pretty much my Wednesday. Like I said earlier, this week was kind of a chill week. I didn’t want to over do things. So, I rode with the lead group in the ZTR (A) Race for a bit, and then chilled with Vision Cycling. I held the Lap and the KOM Jersey! I also unlocked the Zipp 404s! 🙂

A cool shot of myself (I’m in black) with the Vision Cycling group.Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 14.43.23Saturday was velodrome day for me – I attended a British Cycling RSR (Regional School of Racing) Session. We looked at the Match Sprint. We covered a lot of techniques and skills required.

Mileage: 157.1 miles

Elevation gain: 5,630 ft

Time ridden: 7 hrs 50 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st September): 2,024.7 miles

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st September): 97,335 ft

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st September): 111 hrs 0 mins

Week 3

I began Week 3 by doing some more running! I did the Cooper Test, because we have to – It’s part of our School P.E. curriculum. The Cooper Test is a way of measuring your fitness. You run as far as you can over 12 minutes. We run round a 200m track on grass. It’s a good way to see improvement (if you’ve improved). I did. I managed to run 16.2 laps over the 12 minute period. 3.25km at 5:57/mile on grass. I’m pleased with that 🙂

I rode a fairly steady 60k in the evening, because I’m addicted to Zwift!

Tuesday is race day. Racing as Cat (A), I knew that I would finish lower down, but I didn’t mind. The fun of racing is a large bonus, but I race for the sheer intensity of the workout. I wouldn’t really be able to push myself as hard as I do in racing. The pace of the race was higher than last time, and we averaged 27.2 mph throughout. I came 10th – A top 10 😀

Spot me I’m in blue…Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 14.56.50You don’t get to ride with a pro often. But you can on Zwift – I rode with Ted King, who recently retired after the 2015 season, who rode for Cannondale. Pretty cool right? I also rode with Richie, a friend of mine, who isn’t a pro and no, he’s not Richie Porte 🙂

An aerial shot of the start/finish banner on Watopia. Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 14.59.21Riding with Ted King! The orange jersey beside a name indicates that rider is a pro. Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 15.12.34I held the Lap and the Sprinters Jersey on Thursday, whilst riding with the Vision Cycling crew!

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I completed my first ever virtual metric century on Saturday!

As well as riding 100+km, I also climbed over 4000ft in vertical elevation. After 2 hours and 44 minutes, I was done. I held all three Jerseys! The Lap Jersey, the KOM Jersey, and the Sprinters Jersey! 🙂

Green Jersey #BOOM

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 15.28.13Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 15.27.58KOM Jersey! #BOOMScreen Shot 2016-02-16 at 15.28.35Lap and KOM Jersey in one! Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 15.29.03100km and 4000ft in the bank 😉Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 15.29.37It was bro’s birthday on Sunday 🙂

Mileage: 207.0 miles

Elevation gain: 10,881 ft

Time ridden: 10 hrs 09 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st September): 2231.7 miles

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st September): 108,216 ft

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st September): 121 hrs 09 mins

Week 4

One of the best weeks ever so far. Wednesday was the first day of activity, and pretty intense activity too; School X-Country had arrived.

School X-Country

This would be my last year racing, and having won it every year since Year 7 (currently in Year 11), I wanted to win it for the fifth and final time. Lining up, we set off like it was a 400m race. The pace soon returned to ‘hard’, and we were running fast.

But then, my nearest competitor, Thomas Christie, ‘accidentally’ tripped me up as he ‘swerved’ to dodge a parked car. I quickly got up and I caught up with the front of the group. We pushed on as we descended down the A46, before turning right into the fields. I ran the first mile in 5 minutes 46 seconds. Catching the girls who had set off minutes before us, one of them accidentally slapped me in the face! She put her hand out to stabilise herself (because it was very muddy and slippery) and as soon as she did, she accidentally slapped me. In all honesty, I did find it pretty funny. But I didn’t have the time to laugh about it then – I was busy running flat-out.

Running through gates and LOADS of mud, I found that I had broken Tom. I had around 4-5 seconds on him as we approached the second-half of the course. I covered the second mile in 6 minutes and 41 seconds. By now, I had passed most girls who set off a good 5-10 minutes before us. I had a significant gap, and I cruised across the line in 1st! I won by a good 5-7 seconds. I was very pleased to have won it every year, and to have won it in some style – I didn’t expect to be tripped up or slapped in the face, yet alone both 😀

This photo was taken literally seconds before being myself being slapped in the face 😀Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 17.24.24I raced in the ZTR-EB (A) Race the following evening, and finished 4th!!! Breaking away with around 8 riders, I finished 4th in a sprint to the line 🙂

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I’m in blue – I’m wearing the Level 15 kit, that also represents my age 🙂Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 16.00.25I was diagnosed with Zwiftitus on Friday 😀 I unlocked the Fluoro kit!Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 16.03.03

Saturday was AWESOME!

I rode with a load of MTN-Qhubeka riders!!! I rode with Tyler Farrar, Steve Cummings, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Natnael Berhane, Youcef Reguigui, Adrien Niyonshuti, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Simon Yates from Orica GreenEDGE!!! 

I rode 71.3 miles and climbed 4500ft on a turbo whilst chilling with these pros. I raced Cummings a couple of times up the main hill – I was a few seconds behind him at the top 😀 I also sprinted with him down a hill, where I caught him and passed him! Durham 1 : Cummings 1 🙂

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A quick 50k spin around Richmond marked the end of November! 🙂

Mileage: 208.7 miles

Elevation gain: 12,204 ft

Time ridden: 10 hrs 12 mins

Cumulative mileage (since 1st September): 2440.4 miles

Cumulative elevation gain (since 1st September): 120,420 ft

Cumulative time ridden (since 1st September): 131 hrs 21 mins

Thanks for reading! 🙂

2 thoughts on “National podium, a race win, a X-country win and riding with Dimension Data! November 2015

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