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Sorella gets results at Tour de Boudicca e-race!

Saskia Hoppe | Published on 1/21/2021
Tour De Boudicca January 2021

Tour de Boudicca was presented by The Warrior Games and consisted of three virtual stage races over three days, January 8, 9 and 10 on Zwift.

Stage 1: Time Trial - 1 lap of Tempus Fugit 17.3km / 10.7 miles
Stage 2: Circuit Race - 5 laps of Seaside Sprint 34.5km / 21.4 miles
Stage 3: Queen Climbing Stage - 2 laps of Cass-Pattes 46km / 28.6 miles

The idea was posed in on the race team's group chat and after some back and forth it was clear that a Sorella category C (2.5 w/kg - 3.19 w/kg) was going to be the ticket with enough of us interested and meeting the power criteria. Unlike some real races, this e-race was going to keep all the categories separated so some of the virtual and real life power houses in the team would not be able to help us cat C folks!

The team for the weekend consisted of:
Darcy Grimes
Katie Potier
Saskia Hoppe
Sylvia Poulos

Sylvia upgrades at Tour de Boudicca
This stage was a flat time trial, so favored heavier rides with big watts as raw power is far more useful. Katie was going to be our star today and if we could have worked for her, we would, however, this being a time trial, drafting was disabled. Nice little feature you can do in real life! 

Time trials are hard - you just have to keep cranking out the watts and you have to pace carefully so you're on the cusp on throwing up at the end, knowing you have absolutely given it your all. And this is exactly what both Katie and Sylvia did, giving us a double win!

Katie took the stage win, but pocket rocket Sylvia managed to crank out so many watts she was forced to upgrade to cat B! Nice job on cranking out those watts!! 

Some wise words from Sylvia after her upgrade. "Similar to 'real life', riding, training, and racing are different in Zwift. Riding helps you know the route, training helps you learn what your strengths are, and racing helps you learn your limits. Racing isn’t going all out all the time as there are strategic times to ease up and times to push. I unexpectedly found myself upgraded to a stronger group after the first stage. It helped to have an experienced racer as my director to pace to my limits but it was mentally tough being in a stronger group and not being able to see how my teammates were doing until after the race. Now to keep training so we can expand the team’s virtual race presence."

Tour de Boudicca GC staging day 2 Jan 2021
Having won stage 1, Katie got to wear the GC jersey for the circuit sprint race stage. Katie's fantastic effort put her in the lead and was a huge contribution to getting the team to the top as well (the top two racer's times contributed to the team scores). With Sylvia out of the team part having been upgraded, it was up to myself (Saskia) and Darcy to step up each stage to keep Sorella on top! 

Stage 2 was in my wheelhouse, it being a sprint stage. It was a little different to other sprints, as it was the fastest through the sprint section rather than the first over the line. This meant that folks didn't have to be anywhere near the front in order to get sprint points and different strategies could work well. I tried to hide in the pack to make the most of drafting and hammered it through the sprint. As we were racing we had no idea how well (or poorly!) we were doing so we just had to keep with the pack and hope we finished close to the front to try to keep Sorella at the front!

Tour de Boudicca GC staging day 3 Jan 2021
I was able to finish 5th and picked up the most sprint bonus seconds overall and Katie had a strong finish with the pack as well as picking a couple of sprint points too! Katie sadly dropped in the GC, however, she was only handing the jersey over to me and we kept Sorella at the top as well. Darcy also skipped the scenic route today and finished strong!

Stage 3 - climbing stage. Katie and myself being the heavier riders would be at a disadvantage on the climbs where Darcy would be at an advantage, however, there were long periods of flat that would suit us heavier two better. It would be a tough race for all. With two days of racing in our legs, we were all tired but motivated to finish strong.

The race started thick and fast, and the first 8 or so miles were pancake flat and the speed was up. The first climb was a short one and started to pull the group apart. Katie and I managed to stay with the front pack as they headed to the second climb. This is where it got ugly. If I haven't mentioned it before, I don't like climbing. I race on the track and I complain about the slight incline on the finishing straight as it's a slight uphill to the line. The second climb was longer and really pulled the pack apart leaving us with a group of about 15 at the front. Katie and I were able to squeeze in and hang tight. The group did then slow down quite a bit which was nice for us to catch our breath before the next climbs (a repeat of the two we'd just done). Just before the climb, the front group was caught but again, the climb pulled it apart just a little. As we came to the final climb, it was all about emptying the tank. I found a light gear and spun my legs as hard as I could, got to the top, noticed I had a couple of seconds on the next person and decided to just keep hammering. I hadn't quite thought this through as there were another 4km (2.5 miles ish) to get to the finish. I hammered as much as I could and as the finish line approached I thought that maybe, just maybe I could make it. Someone was closing in fast (badass who had won the sprint stage the day before) and as the finish line was tantalizingly close, the whipped on by for the win.

Tour de Boudicca team GC final Jan 2021
The three days ended with a Sorella team win as well as I managed to somehow end up with some climbing points (did I mention I don't like climbing?) which helped with winning the individual GC. 

Katie tells us about her experience: "I really enjoy team racing in Zwift.  It provides a “greater purpose” for the suffering when it is to the benefit of the team.  The stage component allowed us to strategize and make use of individual riders’ strengths.  It was a great way to get to know new teammates better."

I want to give a big thank you to the experienced e-racing team members who provided us with all the hints, tips and tricks to help us be successful this weekend. Without those I'm certain we wouldn't have done as well! It was exciting to race with some teammates who I haven't raced with in the real world, and racing with some who I may never actually race with because they're badass mountain bikers!

Darcy to close us out: "This was my first Zwift stage race as I'm pretty new to the Zwift racing world. The weekend was tough, painful, and pushed me outside of my comfort zone but I would do another one as a team in a heartbeat!" Yes to all of that from me!