Hack.

I can't seem to catch a break on Zwift lately.
 
The other day I saw Fairbanksian (Fairbanksan? Fairbanksizoid?) Chris Knott was on, so I tried to meet up with him. Unfortunately, my virtual self likely smells as bad as my actual self, so he was cranking away furiously to escape the foul odor. I finally caught up with him at the top of the biggest climb of the Richmond course, scoring a personal record for my efforts (that was still pitiful when compared to others), only to watch as he shut it down and disappeared from the screen. I could delude myself into believing he left because he had to attend his daughter's winter band concert, but I know the truth. It's the funk.
 
Shortly after Chris disappeared, my computer announced that it was bored and felt like doing an unannounced Windows update. I tried to fumble with the keyboard to delay the latest ill-conceived Microsoft virus, all applications were closed and I was left staring at a progress bar that had no conceivable relationship with time as it's understood by modern science. I kept grinding away at a steady pace, although it was probably elevated somewhat by my sense of frustration. Eventually I was able to log back on and try to resume my virtual wanderings.
 
When I finally reached the first sprint, I noticed the leaderboard was filled with a couple times that I would characterize as "suspicious". By "suspicious", I mean they were faster than my personal record by significant margins. Not that there aren't faster guys out there. There are much faster riders out there. I would say the majority of the industrial world is faster on a bike than I am. However, I don't think there are many that can reach nearly 60 MPH on a flat sprint. Mark Cavendish claims his fastest sprint is just under 50 MPH, and I would venture to say he's a far bigger douchebag than I am.
 
Usually these otherworldly-talented guys on Zwift don't own power meters and have some set-up issues with their trainers. It happens. A lot. It's amazing how fast you can go with a tiny bit of effort when there's no resistance on the wheel. Some guys fix the issue. Some guys like believing that they're super-human and do nothing. Some guys get caught by the admins and get flagged.
 
Then there's these guys.
 
I'm not sure about the physical adaptations you can achieve sitting on a couch playing with a drill connected to a speed sensor. Maybe I'm doing this training thing wrong.
 
Combine that with one of the "power simulator" applications out there, and you'd be putting out numbers that would make Bjarne Riis sit up and take notice. Your heart rate would barely crack 60 BPM as you watched the Real Housewives of Des Moines marathon and munched on plastic-wrapped delicacies from Hostess.
 
Crap. I am doing this wrong.
 
I gave the sprints a shot, ended up with a top-5 result, and figured that was good enough. Getting cheated out of a temporary virtual jersey isn't high on my list of injustices in the world. I do notice that my enthusiasm for putting out the effort is somewhat tempered when I see that sort of stuff, and that extra kick in the pants is why I'm there in the first place.
 
I could dwell on it or I can just do my thing for the prescribed duration and get off the trainer.
 
Then I'd be able to turn my attention to personal hygiene.

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