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The eRace Chronicles: From the Real Handful Fuelled Virtual Cycling Team ‘LSDT’

Posted by Joe Taylor on
Virtual cycling

Instalment 2 of the eRace chronicles... 

It’s 5:30 on Thursday evening, and I am beginning to feel a familiar knot forming in my stomach. Initially I pass it off as wind, but soon realise with some sense of embarrassment that it is actually nerves. In a little over half an hour, I’ll be taking myself off to the shed, squeezing myself into tight lycra bib shorts, pulling on impossibly long socks and literally going no-where. Because Thursday night has become the new Sunday. The outdoors is out, the indoors is well, in! 

We’ve all had to find new ways to cope with our changing circumstances during these unprecedented times. Some have turned to “The Body Coach” for answers, some have been cheered by Matt Lucas and his baked Potato, some have challenged themselves to learn a new language or skill, for others escapism has come in the form of gardening, and some have just gotten fat! Every Thursday myself, three friends (and my brother!) escape to the distant Corona free land of Watopia to compete in the WTRL Team Time Trial event. 5 men (?) brought together by a strong, mutual love of cycling and an even stronger desire to escape home schooling, bath time and responsibility. For one hour a week, we “part time pros” become LSDT-Real Handful Racing. An unsightly melange of lanky, rangey, squat, bald and skinny, we form a peculiar sight in the half-light of our sheds - Thank God no-one can see us. Even the spiders turn their backs. 

Race day is a different beast for everybody - for some - up before the kids, it’s a gentle ‘primer’ spin, for others a ride-free morning.  For all of us, it’s off to work and then get the race faces on by early evening.

We launch the Discord app - ‘race radio’ channel for a pre-ride team talk and strategy discussion. Conversation is stunted. Tactics that we all thought were fairly straightforward take on surgical levels of intricacy. As we wait in the holding pens for our start time to tick round, there is just enough time to do a final pre race check. Water? Check. Towel? Check. Heart rate monitor switched on? Check. Window open? (edit - what window) Check. Favourite Pre, Mid and Post Ride snacks (Real Handful), within scoffable distance? Check. 5,4,3,2,1 - That’s us lads, lets GO! GO! GO! My voice barely audible over ‘Motivational Trance Volume 12’!!......Oh no! The fan!! I didn’t switch on the fan!! I resign myself to a long punishing sweat soaked hour in the saddle as I close the gap between myself and the perfectly rendered, pixelated backsides of my friends and teammates. Just another Thursday night in Watopia!

A new addition - plus technical point of failure - is our live stream!  You can find this at Steve’s channel: where we’ll post our weekly endeavours on the assorted zwift courses - all assuming Steve can overcome his various and ever evolving technical incompetencies…

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