So I had a great idea to ride 500km on Zwift, the equivalent of London to Barnard Castle (via Middlesbrough). Dave and Dan's Cummings and Goings, it was called, this virtual event. We raised some money for charity, and the story of the ride is up in that video just above these words you're reading here. But if you don't want to watch the vid and need some quick pointers about what 500km on Zwift is like, here they are...
Unsurprisingly, riding a long way on Zwift is hard, like riding a long way outdoors is hard. It's a different kind of hard. But it's still hard. Bits of you hurt, and the number of bits that hurt increases steadily over time, while the other number, corresponding to the amount of watts your legs can pump out, heads in the opposite direction.
Route plotting. Bike fettling. Spares choosing. Luggage packing. Cafe selecting. Spare clothes carrying. Personal hygiene worrying. Road danger mitigating. And so on. All things you don't need to worry about on a static bike in your spare room. You're never more than twenty feet from a sandwich or a hot shower, and generally there's a solid wall between you and the nearest Audi.
Riding a long way out of doors is normally a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions, with huge and memorable highs, some pretty bad lows (normally mine involve being sick in a hedge) and everything in between. Riding indoors is just a gradual descent into physical exhaustion, and there isn't much to look forward to, except the next break, and then it being over.
Five years ago it would have taken a very special sort of person to sit on a turbo trainer for 17 hours. Now any idiot can manage it, thanks to Zwift. So that's progress. Although I still wouldn't recommend it. And I'll never, ever do it again.
So there's that.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.