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The Virtual Challenge Tour

January 14, 2021

The Virtual Challenge Tour powered by Ful Gaz.

Yes, welcome to the 2020s where a cyclist can earn a World Tour Pro contract without ever have raced outdoors. Esports have taken the world by storm and cycling is onboard big time with online platforms like Ful Gaz and Zwift we can now virtually race the Tour de France or the TDU in the comfort of our own homes . I've curated a few top tips to survive some of these gruelling indoor sessions that can last anywhere from a few hours up to a few weeks. Think TDF and RAAM.

Hydration, hydration, hydration.

We are going to sweat many litres of fluid indoors far more than riding outdoors. So firstly I would suggest to workout your hourly fluid loss rate before entering virtual competitions. To do this weigh yourself before you hit a one hour session, hit the session as hard as you can. Weigh yourself after. The weight loss difference before and after is your hourly fluid loss rate typically anywhere from 1.5kg to 3.5kg (1.5ltr -3.5ltr), this can differ depending on how good the fan is that you use to cool yourself during those sessions. There are other factors to be mindful of such as workload and your general fitness, but this is a pretty good approximation.

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My fluid loss rate is high around 1.5ltrs an hr so I will aim to replace at least 1ltr of fluid p/h ideally 1.5ltrs if riding for longer durations. I rarely use a fan as I’m a real believer in heat acclimatisation training, there are many many benefits of indoor training sessions in a warm environment such as an increased blood plasma volume for activation of your sweat glands! You can find the other benefits of heat acclimatisation training easily online. I personally like to use electrolytes during my indoor sessions which are longer than 1hr, I think they are a must! My choice is Science in Sport hydration tablets. SIS have the perfect mixture of magnesium potassium and sodium plus they are very tasty which makes you want to drink more than you would if drinking just plain water.

Apparel

Clothing, what do I wear? Well not much. Think breathable cycling apparel. Santini have a brand new range of indoor specific training apparel named Forza, specially designed using fabric technology to actively aid your body’s process of thermoregulation, constructed to enable you to train and race effectively in a hot environment . The Knicks, I use the super lightweight Tono Freccia Bib Shorts with the super comfy NAT gel chamois. These Knicks feel like your wearing practically nothing and the materials are sweat wicking so keeping you drier for a little longer.

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Yes, I use a base layer - they're essential to indoor training! I would recommend the Santini Lieve Base layer as a staple, it wicks sweat away and helps to regulate your body temperature. Don’t forget a quality headband or sweat band so that you can keep the sweat out of your eyes and clearly see the iPad or computer screen in front of you, last thing you want is to overlap wheels and crash on a virtual ride.

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I hope you sign up and for the virtual challenge tour. Give it a go. Four stages. Four days. Plus, you can join scheduled hosted rides, including special interviews with past and present pros of the peloton including Fabian Cancellara and Simon Gerrans who will join you on the ride!

For more information and to join the ride head over to Festival of Cycling - Virtual Challenge Tour