E-Racing: Adrian Timmis

A rider who knows how to finish a proper bike race, the Tour de France no less (1987), Adrian Timmis is still racing and in this first series feature on E-Racing, he takes the e-racing quiz…

E-Racing: Adrian Timmis

Another new series starting today is on E-Racing which may be all we see for a while now and to kick it off is a rider who knows how to finish a proper bike race – the Tour de France (1987) no less! Adrian Timmis. Adrian, who was bike fitting until recently, has had to stop due to the Covid 19 virus and so is coaching people again through his business www.cadencesport.co.uk

Adrian rode for many a famous British and French team; ANC-Halfords, Z-Peugeot and Raleigh Banana. Adrian was a British champion as a Junior and pretty handy in crits too with a win in 1983 in Nottingham.

In the Tour de France and a clipping from a magazine

A stage winner in the Milk Race, Adrian also won a stage in what was at the time one of the leading stage races of the time, the Midi Libre in France. A podium in the British road race championship and circuit race championships shows just what a classy rider Adrian was who had finished the Tour de France in his early 20s. He still races today and tells us he’s been on Zwift for 4 years.

Here’s the Q&A with Adrian on E-Racing …
1. What are the essentials to have if you want to have a go at Zwift (or others) racing
Adrian: It depends on your budget but top end direct driver trainers such as Wahoo Kickr or Tacx NEO2 cost between £1000-£1200, that’s the most you’ll spend on a trainer. Below that, there should be something for everyone’s budget. A HR strap cost £30-£60, you can connect to Zwift with a smart phone, tablet, computer or Apple TV.

2. Why do you have to know how much you weigh and is that with all your clothing & shoes on?
Adrian: Zwift works on watts/kg. This controls your speed, especially on the hills, so having an accurate weight helps, but let’s just say some people do get a bit creative with their weight. For the big races on Zwift, you’re expected now to do a video weigh in, this is done in full cycle kit. Also, you need to use something like a kettlebell to show your scales are accurate.

3. What is the best way to keep cool with e-racing?
Adrian: A well ventilated room, one or two fans and always be well hydrated.

4. What is a typical distance/length of race online?
Adrian: Most 30-60 minutes but there are shorter ones as well as ones 100km plus ones.

5. What is an ideal warmup for an e-race?
Adrian: Whatever’s best for you. I’ve tried progressive warms and just riding for 15 minutes and both seem to work.

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6. Can you slipstream in a peloton in an e-race?
Adrian: There is virtual drafting. You can’t feel the draft but you learn that when you’re in a group you can back off a bit, not stop pedalling but imagine your sat in the wheels in the real world and not out in the wind. In the wind you have to press on, in the wheels you can back off. In Zwift it’s something you really have to learn otherwise you’re constantly pressing on for no reason.

7. How hard is the effort in an e-race – ie, on the limit the whole time or can you back off and if so, how much?
Adrian: It’s all relative. Learning Zwift craft will make it easier and being fitter will make it easier, no different that the real world just different types of skill and fitness.

8. Is e-racing like an egame and does it have different levels or categories?
Adrian: Yes, there are categories, currently based on w/kg.

9. What is it about e-racing that is hard for pros even to get up to speed on straight away – what are the skills?
Adrian: There are more skills to Zwift racing than people think. Learning the draft is key. When you look at the best Zwift racers against newbie Pro racers, the Pros nearly always have a higher average power for the race because they don’t understand the draft.

Still climbing mountains is Adrian 

10. Are the normal mass group rides on there like races (like sportives) or is it more steady?
Adrian: It’s as steady as you want to make it. There are normally people ‘racing’ them at the front or you just settle into your own rhythm and you’ll nearly always have someone to ride with.

11. Can riders find training sessions on there to help them get started with e-training?
Adrian: Zwift do have some specific workouts but I find sessions I used to use for crits or cyclo-cross work well.

12. Finally, do you find e-racing as much fun in a different way to normal racing?
Adrian: Once you get used to the skills and tactics, they are great fun and they are easy to fit into a busy lifestyle around family and work commitments. There’s racing on 24/7 but a lot of the best races can be found mid week in the evening UK time.

My thanks to Adrian, one of the top riders of his generation from Britain and still pushing the pedals round hard.

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