The road to Ventoux - Part 5

Zwift blog post

I have now been the proud owner of a nice shiny red and black Trek bike for the last month and I have managed to make some progress with training. It has been wonderful getting back to some regular exercise after I had to stop running as a result of my knee injury.

Over November, I have managed 14 cycle rides, covering a total of 285km, climbing 2,633m. I would have to say that I am quite chuffed at this. The great thing of moving to cycling (seriously) for the first time is that in almost every ride I am managing to break by previous best for distance, height climbed, average power and/or speed. This is only because my starting level is not very good, but it is nice seeing the numbers increasing!

Given the long dark nights and less than safe cycling conditions out on the roads at times, I have been doing a fair bit of my training indoors on the turbo trainer linked into Zwift. I must say that I am finding this great fun. Indeed, my longest ride so far (1st Dec) was on Zwift cycling 50km through their imaginary world, Watopia, climbing 573m. After the ride, there was a great puddle of sweat on the floor! I think I need to get a fan! I was pleased with the amount of climbing on the ride, but to put it into context, it is only around a third of one climb up Ventoux and about a 10th of the total climbing needed to become a ‘madman of Ventoux’, so quite a lot of work still to do……

Talking of challenges, Zwift has an “Alpe du Zwift” route based on the classic Tour de France climb “Alpe D’Huez”. Apparently, the metrics (distance, amount of climb, difficulty) is very closely matched between the real climb and the virtual one. So, this will be something I will aim to train on quite a bit. The only problem is that you have to achieve level 12 on Zwift to gain access to the climb. I am getting there having gained level 7 on my last ride, but still a way to go.

As a more immediate challenge and a way to try to get up a few levels on Zwift, I am hoping to take part in the Zwift Tour of London this month (9th – 19th Dec). This is a 5 stage event. The idea is that you ride a stage every other day, at set times in groups of people also doing the Tour. Sounds quite cool and I have not yet ridden in an ‘event’ on Zwift.

On the health side of things, my knee seems to be holding up. Seeing the surgeon next week. My heart also seems to be behaving itself even during rides when I have pushed my heart rate right up to its maximum. So, it seems like my new medication (flecainide) might just be helping. Fingers crossed…

If you want to sponsor me on my journey to become a “madman of Mont Ventoux”, then drop me an email at If you want to find out what this is all about, go to the first blog here.

Hamish McAllister-Williams