Unlike football or rugby, it’s very rare, if not impossible, as amateur cyclists we get to experience our sport as a truly team effort.
Of course, we may represent our club in various forms of cycle racing, but this will almost always be as an individual points scorer towards a team total.
Only at a semi-pro, pro or on the track do cyclists actually work together tactically for the collective effort.
Yesterday evening more than 30 Bath CC members found out what it was like to enjoy their sport in a team competition. Each of their experiences were unique, with as many different tales to tell as people in the start pens. Most, if not, all will have great memories. Every single Bath CC member who took part in the WTRL TTT last night deserves a massive pat on the back. They all contributed in some way to their team’s result. A few didn’t make it to the finish, but put in massive turns allowing others who were in the scoring riders to finish in a good time. One or two suffered the frustration of technical or mechanical issues, just like any other form of bike racing. The likelihood is that without any of these riders their team wouldn’t have even made on the start list.
Indoor cycling races bring concentrated pain. Long before the start time, your head will be telling your body to expect a thrashing. There are nerves and doubts, just like any competition. The punishment, in cycling racing terms, is usually quite short, around an hour or less. But what an hour! This is another reason why the representatives of Bath CC deserve a hat-tip.
In Zwift terms Bath CC is tiny. To muster 5 teams across 4 of the 5 categories was incredible. The final results look really promising for future weeks. Our teams were in the top half of all the races we entered against worldwide opposition.
Some of the talent in this competition is of the highest level. Mads Pedersen, Current UCI Men’s World Champion rides the Espresso division. Many World Tour Pros, male and female, are in the starting line-ups of the elite teams.
This makes our performances in the top Men’s and Lady’s divisions outstanding. Sam Duffy martialed his team of top division riders (Bath CC Lansdown) around the 37.5km route in 50:34.
Kim Barfoot-Brace was the Bath CC Royal leader. She only had 4 riders (including herself) to lead whereas many other teams they were up against had the full quota of 8. The Royals still managed 20th place out of 72 in the Vienna Division. Their time was 58:54. The other ladies team Cavendish, with Julia Adamson at the helm, performed out of their skins to finish in 64th place.
The Frappe event featured an incredibly hotly contested set of races. Dave Stoyle led Camden to a top half finish out of almost 250 teams in 54:01
Finally, in the Latte division, Norfolk, with just 6 riders led by me, made it to 16th position out of just over 150 teams in 55:05. Brilliant!
In my opinion, this type of racing is about as much fun as you can have on a bike anywhere. It is not meant to replicate riding outdoors. It’s just a different strand of cycling. Of course, you turn pedals and there are other shared characteristics. Some people like to dismiss e-racing as fake. Try telling that to the 32 Bath CC riders taking part last night. Or the 4000 others in this huge, mass-participation event. They will reply, “It was real for me. And it was so much fun to ride with my team!”