Yesterday I rode 100km. Kind of. Technically I went nowhere. You see I rode virtually around Amsterdam, clocking up over 100km on my Tacx NEO smart trainer in the process. Why? I’m still not sure. Mostly because I hadn’t done it before, plus all the cool kids were doing it.
I got up in the morning and thought to myself … “You know what, tempocyclist. I recon you can knock out 100km on the turbo today.” Then I did it – and that’s about as interesting as this story gets!
For anyone who hasn’t already stopped reading (I don’t blame you) I did actually have a half baked plan. I’d chosen a course on FulGaz, a 50-something kilometre loop that I could do twice to clock up the distance.I had two full bidons, some snacks and a pedal until you’re done mentality to get me through.
This ride was filmed during COVID-19 restrictions.
The course itself I can’t fault. Unlike the cartoon and often make-believe world of Zwift, FulGaz videos are all beautifully shot from the handlebars in full 1080p or 4K high definition. On a big screen TV this is very immersive. With a smart trainer replicating every climb and descent, it’s basically as real as you can get without being there. I chose Amsterdam because it was a new addition, fairly flat and a looped course (many are point to point routes).
Miles and miles of bike paths. The Dutch have nailed cycle infrastructure!
The ride itself was straightforward. Pedal, pedal some more. The first hour was a breeze as I’m used to doing hour long turbo sessions. The second hour I started to get a little bored. The scenery was ace, but I was still in my garage and there was no escaping that. I got off once at two hours thirty to make myself a coffee, then straight back on.
I started to get uncomfortable around the three hour mark. Sitting on the turbo can do that to you as there’s much less moving around than out on the road. Mentally I just wanted to climb off at that stage too. I chucked down a gel (yep, a gel on the turbo how lame) and soldiered on. I had a mini-celebration when I hit 100km, then soft pedalled the final 7km to complete the two laps.
I finally climbed off the bike with 107km on the, errrm, TV screen and hit save. That’s my 100km done! Or is it?
Does it even really count? Strava says so. Was it like an outdoor 100km? Yes and no. The effort was there for sure, I felt every gradient change and had to put out the power. I turned those pedals. Still though. It’s a tricky one. The big kicker for me was that I didn’t feel any real sense of achievement.
Afterwards I just got off, had a recovery meal, a shower and went about my day. It certainly wasn’t anything epic like riding 100km off-road on my mountain bike! I didn’t feel revitalised from the fresh air. I didn’t make any memories or immerse myself in nature. I didn’t crest a climb and take in the views. No “Instaworthy” photos. It simply was what it was. I pedalled, pedalled some more, then I got off.
You know what? I don’t think it really counts…
Virtual Distance: 107 km / 66.5 miles
Total virtual elevation gain: 440 m / 1440 feet