Virtual Dopers

The other day I was chugging away on my trainer, riding in the virtual world of Zwift. A rider popped up on the active riders list, and he was putting out some impressive numbers. One might say very impressive.
In Zwift, our "virtual speeds" are calculated using the amount of watts we can produce for our indicated weight- watts per kilogram (w/kg). When you set up your profile, you enter how much you weigh. For those of us using power meters, power is transmitted via ANT+ to the application. For those without power measuring devices, the resistance of their particular model of trainer is used to calculate "virtual power". Combine those numbers with your weight and you get the w/kg a given rider is putting out.
This particular rider was averaging over 7.5 w/kg for the hour I was riding, never dipping below 7 w/kg. To put this in perspective, Lance Armstrong's doping doctor, Michele Ferrari, calculated that a Tour de France contender would be required to crank out 6.7 w/kg at lactate threshold. I usually average up to 3.5 w/kg (give or take) for an hour, depending on the situation. Pushing it even a slight bit higher requires an exponential increase in effort that I'm fairly sure I can't achieve, which might be why the ProTour teams aren't filling up my answering machine with juicy offers.
Lance, a naturally gifted athlete from the start, doped to the gills to get to the levels of the random Zwift rider. USADA said he paid Ferrari over a million dollars to reach that level.
He was an idiot.
All he had to do is fudge his weight excessively on his Zwift profile and reduce the amount of resistance on his trainer, and he too could have hammered away at god-like power levels. No transfusions. No injections of random substances. No having his children grow unibrows from unintended cross-contaminations. Just pure virtual power. I've been told we're in the digital age, so virtual power has the potential to become the Bitcoin of cycling.
Somebody better call WADA and clue them in on this one, because I think the UCI is trying to cover up this latest performance enhancement revolution. If I could find a way to wrap this up into a whistle-blower suit, I could rake in the cash just like Floyd Landis.
Until then, I'll ride my bike around in virtual circles and watch the circus unfold on my TV screen. It certainly is an interesting distraction that makes the time on the trainer go faster.


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