What does it take to become a professional cyclist? Years of training, racing and building your physical capabilities to almost superhuman levels? Or is it down to pure, natural talent that’s just waiting to be unleashed?
In attempting Zwift Academy, I’ve been banking on the latter. The virtual platform’s eight-week training programme has a couple of professional contracts on the line – one each with men’s UCI ProContinental team Alpecin-Fenix and Canyon//SRAM Women’s WorldTour team – and as well as being a great late-season tune up, its combination of 12 workouts and races are designed to reveal the diamonds in the Watopia rough.
Eight Zwift workouts into this year’s Academy, I appear to be slipping backwards – I’m now outside the top 10,000 and my shot at a pro contract is disappearing into the distance like Tao Geoghegan Hart on the Stelvio.
Like the first third of the challenge, the four training drills I’ve just completed individually focused on FTP, sprints, VO2 and anaerobic. Rather than being pure tests of ability though, they looked to build on the learnings from the earlier sessions, mixing blocks of efforts at various percentages of my FTP with free ride segments where, once again, the erg mode on my smart trainer would be turned off.
A couple of the workouts (VO2 Development and Anaerobic Depletion) were easily the hardest things I’ve ever put myself through on a bike, and after the pleasant surprises revealed in my second diary entry, the results of my latest workouts made for […]