We watched Stage 2 this morning. If you’ve ever been curious about Zwift this is pretty realistic. Well, except for their watts per kilo. Wow!
STEEP CLIMBS AND FLAT SPRINTS
Stage 2, July 5
Racers start at sea level, breathing that salty oxygenated air before going under the sea via the Ocean Tunnel. After the competitors exit the ocean, keep an eye on the climbers. During the next 5.8 miles (9.4 km), they’ll ascend a 3.9% grade. And the final push, AKA the Radio Tower Climb, is brutal.
Here’s the stage winner, Lauren Stephens. And here’s commentary on the race.
And here she is, in world, crossing the line.
Thing 2 is Ontario Women’s Cycling Week.
I’m away next weekend but if I was at home with Zoom and Zwift nearby, here’s what I would do:
SATURDAY JULY 11TH AT 9:00AM ON ZWIFT
Zwift No-Drop Social Ride – Hosted by the Toronto Hustle Women
Join us for a social Zwift ride led by the Toronto Hustle Women from 9:00 – 9:45am.
“It has been rescheduled to run from August 29-September 20. For the virtual Tour de France, Zwift is set to build new race routes, including one in Nice for the opening stage and another in Paris to mimic the traditional finale of the Tour de France on the cobbled circuit of the Champs Elysées,” according to Cycling News. For more details see here.
And double wow, there’s also a women’s tour.
There are no details yet except that there will be both a men’s and a women’s race.
Regular blog readers know that the absence of a women’s tour has been bothering me for many years. In my optimistic moods I hope the Zwift race goes so well that we have an in real life version next year. In my grumpier moods I think that it’s only now that the Tour has been moved to the virtual world that there’s room for women. Like many of us, in these strange times, I’m moving pretty quickly between hope and optimism and grumpiness and despair for all things. I guess this is no different.
Here’s some of my past thoughts on the need for the Tour de France to include women riders:
I’ve long been an advocate for cycling infrastructure. Bike lanes, give us bike lanes. And bike boxes at intersections. And cycle paths that connect towns that don’t follow the road, that meander through fields and forests instead. I’ve thought “build it and they will come.” I’ve thought that women are key to cycling safety and that we care a lot about safety. Guess I still think all that.
But it was interesting this week in Northern England, Yorkshire to be precise, home of the Tour de France start for 2014, to see attitude overcome a lack of infrastructure. There are no bike lanes and very narrow roads, twisty and winding over hill and around dale. And not just no bike lane, no shoulder, paved or unpaved. And yet, and yet, lots of bikes.
In Sheffield this Sunday morning I watched loads of road cyclists out to play, some singly, others in large groups. There was no room for cars to pass and they seemed to wait patiently behind them. I’ve got two thoughts about how cycling culture thrives despite these roads.
First, the roads and their challenges (sheep crossing, anyone? ) mean that no one expects to go fast. Even without bikes traffic moves slowly on the back roads here. That’s different from North America where even in the city traffic can move very quickly.
Second, there seems to be more appreciation here in England for the sport of cycling. Lots of people are keen about the Tour de France start in Yorkshire.
So maybe a good attitude can overcome a lack infrastructure if the other conditions are right.