2020 Resolution Ride #8 – Does a “virtual 100km” even count, bro?

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

12 Comments Add yours

  1. idlecyclist says:

    Kudos to you for sticking it out, that definitely is an achievement. I wouldn’t count it myself but it’s a personal challenge so it’s only your own opinion that counts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhh man, you mean I have to rely on my own opinion? 🤣 I’ll probably do another one outside, because it’s way more fun and that’s where bikes were made to be ridden!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder how long these routes will be kept for? Can you Imagine somebody riding this same course in 50 or even 100 years time. It will be a very interesting way of experiencing “history”. PS If your legs did it, I’m my view, it counts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How true! The video could actually be considered history in years to come if roads and countries change! FulGaz actually have a “sightseeing” video category for people who want to virtually ride through some well known tourist spots (such as around Sydney harbour).


  3. Anthony says:

    The best thing about popping a gel on a turbo is that you can use both hands to really squeeze the stuff out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anthony says:

      I should explain that on the road, I am not great at no hands riding (though as a teen I road everywhere like that–maybe my road bike is a little more squirrely)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Road bikes are definitely more twitchy – and as kids we had more confidence and less fear of crashing!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. John Hallas says:

    Actually I do feel I have completed a good ride once I have finished a FulGaz or Zwift ride. It is not as satisfying as being outdoors but offers lots of other advantages. Time efficient, weather independent, much safer, easier to refuel and have a toilet break etc.
    Which ride did you do?



    1. Escape from Amsterdam. I did feel good I guess. It was still exercise, but it didn’t feel like an achievement. Just a long time pedalling nowhere.


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