That Guy.

The other day I got on the trainer and booted up Zwift. I wasn't paying attention and ended up in the middle of one of the Zwift Training Races (ZTR). These are regular events divided into A, B, C, and D groups by average watts per kilogram.
 
The theory is that if you can stay within those ranges, you should be able to hang with the group. Sure, there will be surges and lulls, but the average should fit into those ranges.
 
The reality is that averaging 2 w/kg above the advertised ranges gets you dropped at the start line. Thanks to sandbaggers, virtual dopers, and what I can only assume are genetic outliers, even the slower races have more than a few USAC Cat 1 racers gasping for air and struggling to finish.
 
However, despite missing the start by a little bit, not having the nomenclature on my profile as directed, and riding a TT bike in a group ride (I was that guy), I jumped into the ZTR-D pack for the first lap. I figured the odds of me taking out another rider with my sketchy aerobar riding was low and I wasn't going to hang around long enough to play a role in how the race was shaped. I was just riding in the same direction as they were for a while.
 
When the group got to the first sprint, I went to the front and began a long lead out, figuring somebody could come around me and take the early green jersey. Nobody did, and I ended up with the jersey for the remainder of the ride. I sat up for a while as the group swarmed around me, then started pedaling again.
 
I latched onto the back when we started climbing. Here or there a rider would explode, causing gaps to form, so I would move into them to create a bridge for the riders caught out. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Eventually I worked my way up to the front group, and as we crested the climb I let them ride away. I was doing my thing, and they were doing theirs.
 
Turns out I set a couple course PRs that I wasn't expecting, thanks to the pack's draft and the psychological boost the environment creates. I wasn't trying to do anything special, but at least I know there's other dynamics of Zwift to explore when I get bored.
 
The remainder of my laps I alternated course directions, trying to stay out of the ZTR clusters of riders. My power output decreased, likely because I burned more matches than I was intending while I was poaching the race. I tried and failed to take the other green jersey, but at least was in the mix.
 
Maybe one day I'll make the effort to legitimately join one of the races. I don't particularly like being seen as that guy, even if my intentions are more or less innocent. It might add another dynamic to the grind of the trainer. It might lead to new physical adaptations. It might lead to a complete physical collapse.
 
I guess we'll see.

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