I raced for 17 years, then stopped for 8. Zwift racing brought the fire back.

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“Dave, I’ve got a great idea. How about you do a Zwift race? It’ll be great for this weeks video.”

This was the text I got from Caley on Monday; you know that bloke who’s the editor-in-chief. The bright idea was backed up with two big old thumbs up from Phil, the video manager here at CyclingTips. Both knew all too well that I’d only turned the pedals a few times in the virtual world in the past four weeks of lockdown here in France.

I’ve not raced in almost seven years, I think. Up until I hung the racing wheels up I’d competed for over 17 years. And, loved every one of them. But life changes, and to be honest I enjoy the different take I have on cycling now. Cafe stops are more regular; there’s far less time spent worrying about how the form is and a few chocolate digestives a week doesn’t feel like I’m ruining a well planned season. But I suppose somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew I’d get back to it; back to making the lungs burn, the legs hurt and have that acidic metal taste in the back of the throat when you dig deep. What I certainly didn’t think would be the fact I’d get back to that state in the virtual world.

I’d say I agreed begrudgingly with Caley and Phils Idea, but I’d be telling a porky. I actually was pretty excited about it. That’s not to say I wasn’t nervous though, as I’d find out Thursday morning when I ‘line up”. Heart racing, coffee pumping through my body and all the feelings of what I use to get on race day (well, nearly all).

So what did I learn, what would be my takeaways? And more importantly, how did I get on. How had the many pain au chocolat I’d consumed without feeling bad over the last few years affect my form? All would be revealed in a race around the local territory, or what was once local. I’d signed on for a race around the 2019 World’scourse in sunny Yorkshire. Local roads, local knowledge and of course I would be used to the weather.

OK, now delve into that vid, go watch how I suffered, go see the pain face and eventually I’ll let you know my lessons from my first Zwift race.

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