Pacing: can you find the climb?

Updated: Jan 24

Today I hopped in a Zwift race, one of the ones I like on the rolling Hilly Loop in Watopia where the terrain changes and you can get a moment's rest on the downhills.

Today though I messed up! I was complacent on one of the downhills, drifted off the back of the group and the next thing I knew they were riding away from me. Oops. That turned half of the race into a time trial, which lead to this post.

One thing many struggle with is pacing, in particular managing their efforts when climbing. It is important as a rider to learn to manage your wattage and effort. We don't want the terrain dictating our pace. If we let that happen we are likely to overdo things on the climbs and risk blowing up on our group ride or in a race.

With that in mind here is a screenshot from the race after I was dropped and had to time trial to the finish. Can you see where the climb is?

A trick question. You can't see the climb because power, heart rate and cadence are all stable regardless of the terrain. Here is the same graph with elevation.

Given that the race had turned into a time trial when I was dropped the goal became to do the max sustainable effort for the remainder of the event.

When I arrived at the climb I knew that I couldn't do more wattage than what I was already riding at. I had to manage my effort on the climb - I couldn't let the terrain dictate my effort or on the other side my effort would fade.

Watching my wattage, cadence, heart rate and paying attention to how my legs fe