BIG Indoor Trainer Ride, Takeaway Lessons

I somewhat unknowingly subjected myself to much worse this weekend… and somewhat by accident. So I have a few lessons from the experience below.

I saw the Zwift World Championship events and they had one that was slated for 1/2 the distance the pros had planned for the real race. It sounded fun and I jumped in, and in the end found I made a few mistakes. These takeaways may help others for indoor, but also outdoor events in the future.

Here is the ride I did:


  1. Time & Effort: Looking at the ride listing in the Zwift events, I saw the 80 miles distance and over 9000 feet of climbing. I made a quick swag and guessed I would be about 3-4 hours on the trainer to make this event. I was thinking of making this a long and steady day for endurance riding.
    • As you can see, I missed that time and effort estimation… by more than a little. :stuck_out_tongue:
    • I ended up at 5 hours in the saddle and somewhere over 3000 calories burned, 0.8 IF and really, really smoked legs at the end.
    • This was my 3rd longest, but possibly the toughest indoor ride I have done, and it ranks in the top 10 of all rides (inside or outside).
    • I had intended to start a bit strong (Zwift events are effectively races, even when they are not), and settle in for a simple endurance ride after that. But I got sucked into a good group and was having fun working with them. So my pace stayed higher than intended.
  • Time & Effort Takeaway: Do a better job making estimates on your guesses for event time & effort. I should have reviewed the course more closely and gotten much more realistic expectation of the time and effort requirements. I ended up in rough shape on the last lap because I under-fueled (see more below).

  1. Fueling: I always make a habit to bring more than I need for rides. Inside is no different. I had 5 bottles (50/50 split of water and electrolyte drinks), and a bunch of bars, chews and gels.
    • At a quick glance, I had what I needed, but one of my bars was actually expired and had been partial punctured. It was inedible and hard as a rock, so it went in the trash and I lost some food. I had forgotten to get the other bars I had wanted, but still had some granola bars.
    • The other bars I had are fine food for me and work well, but I ended up dropping half of one after half way. So my “real” food ended up being far less than I probably needed. There was no chance to recover it, even though it was a foot away, because you get minimal coasting breaks on Zwift.
    • I used 2 packs of chews to cover the loss of real food. But I didn’t likely eat enough of them at the right time.
    • Those mistakes coupled with my higher power demands lead me into not fueling nearly enough. When I finally realized the impact, I tried to bail myself out with a gel, but it was too little, too late. It helped compared to nothing, but it was asking a lot to have that pull me out of the hole I made.
  • Fueling Takeaway: Make sure to evaluate the condition of any food planned for a ride before hand. I should have know the bar I had was bad. Plan to have extra (like I did) because you never know if you will have bad stuff or end up losing it along the way.

Overall it was a great event, but I kick myself for missing on the food as I had a chance to hang with the lead group and just fell short from my fueling. I did end up with power PR’s at the front and back end of the ride, so that shows I really pushed myself.

Pretty amazing that it’s possible to get a Fondo experience all while in my basement. The chatting and group work in the middle, coupled with the personal challenge to hold off the guy in 5th place, put me into a hard finish, but one I gained some internal strength and info for the future.

Thanks for reading.


Great write-up! I’d definitely be in recovery mode for a week after this

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