2021 Procycling Stats game launched

Regular readers of the site will know that I was a keen player of this game across 2020.

The purpose being you buy and trade pro riders with their price going up and down based on performance. You get money by their share price going up and from prizes, but of course there is the risk your rider tanks and their value goes down.

#RiderPurchase priceCurrent rider priceDays on teamAnalyze
1 VAN AERT Wout€ 955.000,-€ 955.000,-0Analyze
2 ALAPHILIPPE Julian€ 940.000,-€ 940.000,-0Analyze
3 VAN DER POEL Mathieu€ 910.000,-€ 910.000,-0Analyze
4 SAGAN Peter€ 800.000,-€ 800.000,-0Analyze
5 HIRSCHI Marc€ 680.000,-€ 680.000,-0Analyze
6 BARDET Romain€ 464.000,-€ 464.000,-0Analyze
7 DE GENDT Thomas€ 208.000,-€ 208.000,-0Analyze

Here are my riders for the early week of the season based on my initial EUR 5m outlay.

With the early part of the season (should it happen to plan) being week long stage races and one day classics I am looking at riders who have those skills to bring me in some cash.

My strategy being that once the Giro comes around I will be able to sell a couple of these for a profit or add to my line up with their prize money gains.

Its incredible to say it but Peter Sagan looks my biggest gamble at EUR 800k. He needs to get a spring classic win to justify my outlay on him or do something in a race like Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico.

Right, that’s enough clues as to how I am going to make some money, you can create your own teams here… https://www.procyclinggame.com/home

Tough day in Tier 4

Windy, flat and cold… it was a ride of 2 halves!

Having been consigned to the garage and the turbo for most of the festive period I took advantage of being in a single tier Covid area and headed out yesterday.

It’s very unusual to have any sort of northerly wind in this part of the world, even in the winter months. When they do arrive however, they are icy and strong with gusts that go through even the most costly of cycle clothing.

I set out at first light getting out of town before going alongside the A15 on the cycle way. It was like tacking out into the wind (as the chart above shows!) before the long straight through Tongue End to Pode Hole.

At this point I could see a sheet of some sort of precipiation coming across the fields to my left and as I made the most northerly point of my ride, it started to sleet.

I felt confident that once I got through Spalding and headed back down the farm tracks I would be able to outrun it.

Nice early season confidence!

As I cut onto Cradge bank to head for home the cold eased slightly and the back wind was most welcome.

I even got a Strava PB for the first stretch of the track !

The cold returned when I got close to the river bank and it was a real relief to get sight of home and head onto the cycle path back into the Deepings. There were a few big spots of something falling from the clouds for the last mile but I led a charmed life and avoided the biggest showers.

As usual at this time of year, it took almost as long to clean my bike as ride it, but I was happy to get a coffee and get “Wout” all shiny and sparkly.

Not the longest or hardest ride I will ever do, but it was nice to get 2021 off and running out on the roads.

GCN 2020 racing review

It’s been epic…

Whilst I am really into the current cyclo cross season, there is still time to reflect on the stop start road season.

GCN have thankfully saved us all the trouble of trawling through loads of highlights by putting it all together in one video which you can enjoy here…

You can also go back an enjoy our end of season top 3 riders podcast here.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the new year.

My first race on Rouvy

As you know I have been trialling Rouvy as an alternative to Tacx after some software issues.

It’s ok, Garmin karma got its own back on me when I whalloped my Forerunner on the kitchen door and the screen exploded. Sucks to be me.

How Rouvy looks in AR

We might come back and do a review on Amazons repair service at some point but that would need them to send the watch back… anyway consumer issues aside, I have been having some fun on Rouvy. The riding is fast and despite one or two people putting out over 10 watts per kilo and zooming past from 3km behind, it seems a decent community. So I am happy.

So much so that mid-week last week I entered a race on the Caves route course.

I downloaded the footage and despite only being on a mobile phone joined the race in augmented reality (AR).

I’d done some reading and knew that the racing on here was intense. I still wasn’t prepared for just how much despite a nice 10 minute warm up with a couple of hard sprints.

The timer on screen counted down and the 220 of us intrepid racers flew out of the car park at the start and on to the route. For the first 5 minutes or so I was totally unaware of what was happening as riders flew forward and back past me with the drafting indicator firing on and off repeatedly.

There were some graphical issues but these were soo resolved as the race settled down.

I say settled down but these guys start fast and then don’t let up.

It was super hard and I was drifting outside of the top 100 riders despite putting down nearly 3 watts per kilo and over 200 watts total on the big climb of the race.

At the first split I was already over 5 minutes down on the leader but I was more focused on how the graphics neatly let you know where you were and did the time checks. I could see a group wasn’t too far ahead and set about staying close on the downhill before pulling as hard as I could in the valley road to get back on.

I did and it was nice to do some turns and have a little rest as well in the wheels.

By split 2 the leaders had increased their lead to 8 minute and it was clear that the climbs were proving too much for me to hang on.

My group was still working well together and we set about the flat roads and little lumps on the run in as hard as we could.

Every up hill metre was earned and hurt. This was despite my standard turbo and sensor set up as opposed to direct drive. I was tweaking the resistance up hill to make it more authentic even though it was costing me.

The flat was where I could really make a difference.

The last 2km were downhill having turned off a main road. I was sprinting as hard as I could but I was cooked. In the end I was 86th place at 11 minutes.

I was happy with the place and my ride, but gutted with the time gaps.

But the bug has bitten. When my Fenland Clarion CC racing season ended I never imagined I’d get my shorts and jersey on the race for my team again in 2020… I might squeeze one more in… any flat routes out there? ! 🙂

Cav to ride on in 2021

Britains most winningest ever pro cyclist Mark Cavendish will be riding on in 2021.

Cav has rejoined his old Deceuninck / Quickstep team after 5 years away from them. It was with that team he suffered Tour de France heartbreak in Harrogate, smashing down on the deck outside Betty’s tea room. But aside from that he had so many good days on this squad.

You can read the teams press release by clicking here.

It’s great to hear that he is going to carry on next season, so let’s hope that our last memories of him as a pro cyclist are successful ones rather than the tears he shed in the Flemish Classics (which prompted us to write this piece about his impending retirement!).

Is it too much to hope for one last big win?

Tacx-ing issues on the virtual road

Note before the main article – I don’t have a standard laptop so for me the likes of Zwift and RGT are non starters when it comes to virtual cycling.

When the virtual cycling craze started to take off a couple of winters ago I managed to get my regular, non-direct drive trainer to work with the Tacx training app and enjoyed using it.

My rides were top down view on Google maps showing me chugging up the roads (mostly alone) and it certainly helped pass the time in the garage.

Last winter one of their Android updates meant that mobile users had the added bonus of first person perspective videos and the experience became even more immersive. I even spent my hard earned cash on a Premium account which meant I had access to more videos and that I was able to sync my own riding routes from Strava to the app. You will have seen numerous screen prints of this in action in previous posts on here.

I was a happy man.

Then Garmin happened.

Their take over of Tacx left the app alone for a while but between the UK lockdowns there were a number of updates which left users with a basic set up like me feeling a bit let down.

One of the latter updates caused you to have to re-attach and configure all sensors. Suddenly from an FTP in the 260’s the app cut out at 236 watts. Who knew what my performance was or my limits were?

After fiddling with the set up numerous times I came to the conclusion that it was my speed and cadence sensor trainer set up that was the issue. Makes sense I suppose. Garmin will want everyone to trade up to direct drive, for sure.

This was backed up when I started the process back from scratch and followed the set up instructions for my model of turbo. “Inflate the tyre to X psi”, “have the wheel just touch the roller”, “turn the dial 5 times”…

I was putting the same amount of heart rate numbers out but the app was pausing as I had come to a standstill! I changed all the batteries and tried again. It was better but the app was still dropping out over Bluetooth quite regularly.

Reading about all of my friends with different and better hardware and computers racing each other on Zwift annoyed me.

There is little or no racing or interaction on Tacx and it was making me feel lonely having no-one to chase or hunt me down.

To be fair there were a number of occasions where there were other riders on the same course at the same time, but when Bluetooth dropped they vanished.

So I was coming into this winter feeling less than enthused about spending hours on the trainer.

Fortunately Rouvy captured my attention with a free 14 day trial. Fingers crossed this is the future for me as the roads seem a lot busier and the interaction between avatars is there in a way Tacx hadn’t achieved.

Maybe Garmin have big plans to relaunch the app and its going to be marvellous and interactive, but they wont be getting my money until that’s proven.

I will let you know how Rouvy goes…