The film “Kingsmen” is totally over the top, somehow still fun and you learn from it. For example what the hell brogues are. That you should know how a bulldog looks like when you want one. How you mix a proper Martini (Not that i could use this knowledge, as i’m a teetotaler. Yes i know … vegan, teetotaler, nonsmoker … where is the fun in my life ;) ) And there is a scene with an interesting quote:

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. True nobility is being superior to your previous self.

It’s a quite important quote for me for somewhat longer than the film as it’s a quite old one. I don’t remember who told me this quote or where i got it from. It’s attributed to Hemingway, however it’s much older … over 1900 years older. It’s attributed to Seneca as well. It’s unclear if it was the younger oder the older Seneca.

On the other side i’m reading about all the comments about cheating on Zwift. Zwift is a kind of computer game. Instead of using the keyboard or a mouse, you use powermeters and cadence sensors on a so called trainer (think about it as a device where you bolt your cycle on, which increased or decreased pedeling resistance based on computer input). You can do this with your threadmill as well for running but i have no experience with this.

What i’m talking about is “weight doping” I’m pretty sure that many people would pedal up more kilos up Alpe d´Huez (a famous stage at the Tour de France) than they pedal up Alpe Du Zwift (AdZ, which is a 1:1 replica of the first one).

Why is this important ? Well, on a flat route the absolute number of Watts you can pedal is important. If you can put 300 watts into your pedals you will be faster than someone able to put 150 watts into the pedals. However speed and by proxy the time you need to do a climb is pretty much a function of the watts you can pedal per kilogram. You need watts to propel your body against gravity to climb a hill and the more watts you can invest per kilo the faster you will go up. I don’t know how much watts per kilo i can do, as i have a self imposed limit of 2.5 watts per kilo and i never go over this out of reasons. At my limit i need roughly 1h10minutes up AdZ.

So … if you want to go up AdZ faster, you can do two things. You invest more watts. This is hard and it may take a long time as you have to train for this. Or you can go into the configuration screen and reduce your simulated weight. let’s say instead of 95kg (length comes most often with a certain inevitable weight) you have a weight 75 kg. Let’s assume you pedal 250 Watts, you have 3,3 W/kg instead of 2.6 W/kg. Obviously you go up much faster.

Or to express it differently : So in order to get the “AdZ in under one hour” badge with my real body weight of 95 kg plus 7kg of bike i need to invest 319 Watts all the time, if i’m going down with my weight to 75 kg i just need 257 watts.

As weight is so importance if you race on pro level in Zwift, you have to weight in yourself or you will be disqualfied to rule out this kind of “doping”. But i don’t talk about this on the pro-level. I’m writing obout the plain-vanilla garden variety cyclist on zwift. Because i fail to understand why the heck it matters if you are going up hills faster than you really could.

I suspect in order to impress others many cheat with the weight in order to get up the climbs in Zwift much faster as many people would need W/kg ratios putting them well into the range of world class athletes cycling at an well known event in France to have their alledged times for AdZ.

I have no problems with people doing that. I’n not racing on Zwift and most of the time i’m riding alone without draft. What others do there is not really important to me. But i would like to understand.

Others race in teams. riding in groups. I think there seems to be some peer pressure. I just don’t understand it and there we are back at the quote of the beginning. What is the point to reach a target you by cheating at the weight as one input parameter of the equation. You may feel superior to some other person, but you can’t feel superior to your self a few days ago. You cheated yourself, as your archievements are only by changing an input variable that doesn’t need any effort to change it.

I’m really happy if i shave of a few seconds of my AdZ time. If you just looking after all the people going up faster this hill, you will be just frustrated anyway.

But that is probably a consquence that many see only a point in something when competing with some else, not with themself. But especially the last one brings you forward from my point of view. It’s the way i takled my fear of flying, my weight, my health. I’m not feeling superior to anyone. Never felt this way. Only to my former self from 2018. And only that matters to me. And that’s what saved my ass.

And i see more fun in helping other people going up their hills much faster than going up my hill a little bit faster, knowing that they are standing on their hills in part because i helped a little bit.

Written by

Joerg Moellenkamp

Avid bicyclist, likes california, dreams to combine both.