Winter Is Coming: Stage One


Brad Hochstetler sure knows how to throw a party. Last weekend, the Winter Is Coming Zwift Stage race made a ferocious start on the three-week, seven-stage race that will bring us to our Christmas pudding. Check out his recap and the demonstrative win from John Burmeister to take yellow!

So. I thought that was a ton of fun. According to Zwift Power, I’ve done 377 races on Zwift since 2016. This Stage 1 meetup is easily in my Top 5 favorite events ever.

The fireworks started on the early Reverse Pave Sprint segment with Spencer blazing to score the first 10 points of the Tour (and Spencer would go on to grab the fastest sprint time on the third segment and stake an early claim to the Green Jersey). The field was quickly strung out in response to all the saber-rattling, but most riders were able to group back up with the field coming together after the Reverse Aqueduct segment. Dan M and Tom — fresh from screeching the vacation RV into the driveway just in time to race — were caught off the back and the thundering herd ahead was too fast to catch.

In defense of a Green Jersey from last year’s season, Carl stomped the Balloon Sprint for the top spot there. And true to his modus operandi, Dennis collected big-money on each sprint to land third in the Green Jersey standings after stage 1.

With few screenshots of the sprint time leaderboards (I forgot them, too), the data available to rank all the sprints were less than complete. We were able to piece together most of the top 10 for each sprint. If you think you got hosed out of big points, let me know. Also, I didn’t use the Aqueduct results — they were too complicated and I was bored.

Burmeister made an early break in the balloon fields but was reeled in by the peloton before turning up the decisive climb of the day. The long grind stretched the field into several break points with Dan Ellis and Jeff waving farewell to the groups ahead. Drew put in a huge dig to gap the rest of the front group partway up, shattering everyone left into clumps of 2s and 3s. Drew took command of the KOM standings with a 5-second gap on Burmeister and Ohio Doug over the top. Burmeister closed down Drew on the downhill and they stayed together until Burmeister opened a final gap over the Aqueduct. That gap would hold to the end and put Burmeister in Yellow, while Drew fell back to take advantage of the group behind that comprised Brad Pauly, Doug, Wes, and Cody.

The Group Sovis worked well to stay away from the hounds – Carl, Andy, Spencer, Jason, Brad H, and Chris stayed on the gas trying to close the gap, but to no avail. Drew edged out Doug at the line in a bunch sprint. Not far behind Carl pulled the pin on his group, attacking from 3km to go and drawing the others into some uncomfortable work they hadn’t expected. Having reformed barely before the final sprint, Spencer took the opportunity to slip out front, crossing the banner just ahead of Jason (repping the Intrepid squad and sporting the most well-coordinated avatar).

The results are now on the front page of the WIC spreadsheet. It’s not exactly optimized for mobile viewing — I’m working on that. The listed order is currently the GC time order, though that is not the same as the order of the overall points. The results are to the best of my knowledge based on some wonky data and first-hand accounts. So please let me know if something is glaringly wrong or inaccurate.

A few notable awards::
Spencer wins the Watts award this week, topping out at 1322 watts. Yikes.
The Sufferfest award goes to Jason for a suffer score of 282, followed closely by Burmeister at 278 and Cody at 248. If your HR zones are accurate….
Either way, my HR zones are pretty dialed and I hit numbers I haven’t seen in a while.

In a very twin-outcome, the Sovises are tied with the same GC time and point total. There’s likely to be a little more daylight between them after the iTT.

Best in race quote: ” This hard” – Dan Ellis

There was a Saturday AM and Sunday PM wave of riders doing the course for a variety of reasons. Brian, Josh K and Jonah snuck in some shots at the sprint segments. David Best learned that Iceman deadlines are important. And Jonah learned that even if you have Div 1 State Cross Country legs, it may not help if you haven’t been on a bike in 6 months.

For those of you near the top of GC, be aware: the King returns this week. Reigning Fake Tour Champion Brent Wiersema will be back on the bike. You’ve been warned.

For those joining after Stage 1, race directors have not finalized how to calculate a fair fake time for you. It may be calculated based on your Stage 2 performance. You’ve been given GC points as a start. So stand by. We’re glad to have you joining us.

In the next day or so, look for publication of team rosters for the remainder of the Tour (and future tours if it works well). Each stage, the combined team points (finish, sprint, KOM intermediate and others) will be ranked and we will award each team series points. These are the points that will accumulate for team glory over the tour. So every ride counts for every rider. Even if you’re not eyeing the GC podium, every race you’re scoring points and taking them from another team. And don’t worry, there will be some twists and surprises in the point structure execution that will be entirely arbitrary and hopefully lead to a really close team competition.

Stage 3 next weekend will likely be a Meetup once again. This time we’ll just race to the Hologram finish banner and let things fall where they may.

In the meantime — Godspeed, stay aero and Ride On!

A Website.

%d bloggers like this: