E-Racing Q & A: Lance Childs

From the experience of TDF rider Adrian Timmis in the first of the series to a young talent from trainSharp, Lance Childs, who tells us about his E-Racing in the second in the series

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E-Racing Q & A: Lance Childs
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Q: What are the essentials have you got to go Zwift racing?
Lance: Firstly, the essentials to have for E-racing are: any turbo you have (standard turbo trainers will need a power meter or a speed and cadence sensor) smart trainers and stationary bikes such as a wattbike are also good choices.

Heart rate monitors will be needed for you to see how hard your working and they help the results as you can be marked down without a heart rate. You will need a display setup, this can be anything from a smart phone connected to you sensors connected via Bluetooth to a laptop with Ant+ dongles connected to a TV to give you a full heads up display. Use whatever you have at your disposal.
Finally you will need a subscription to Zwift or any other virtual cycling app. For Zwift this is around £12.99 a month.

Q: Why do you have to know how much you weigh and is that with all your clothing & shoes on?
Lance: Weight is a much talked about factor in virtual racing. It’s very important you are honest with yourself about your weight you put in. Many people have cheated virtual races with unrealistic weights and this is easily found out so don’t be the one who gets caught! I would recommend standing on the scales in your kit that you will ride races in and taking that as your weight in the virtual world.

Q: What is the best way to keep cool with e-racing?
Lance: Fans 100%. Hydrating will only get you so cool, a fan (especially indoors) is a perfect way to not drown in sweat every time you go for a virtual ride.

Q: What is a typical distance/length of a race online?
Lance: I’m using Zwift as the example here. Thanks to it’s vast map sizes and styles of courses, there are many different lengths and types of terrain. I’ve found a typical race distance is around 35-40km (20–25 miles) but you can find shorter or longer races.

Q: What is an ideal warmup for an e-race?
Lance: Personally, I tend to use the warm ups I use for real road races if I’m racing in the virtual world. I would recommend looking at the race distance and take it into consideration when planning your warm up. The shorter the race, the longer the warm up tends to be.

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Q: Can you slipstream in a peloton in an e-race?
Lance: Yes you can. In Zwift and other E-cycling apps, there is an element of drafting built in to make it as real as possible.

Q: 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?
Lance: Virtual racing is hard. Very hard. For most of the race you are working near or above your threshold power and it’s very intense. There are not many points for rest but if you have one take advantage of it.

Q: Is e-racing like an eGame and does it have different levels or categories?
Lance: E-Racing tries to break away from video games but Zwift have levels that you can pass through with your distance on the bike and you can unlock bikes, wheels, clothing and accessories as you go through. You can also ride all the routes and unlock badges for your efforts on the bike.

Lance knows what its like to celebrate a victory on the road and e-racing isn’t quite the same

Q: What is it about e-racing that is hard for pros even to get up to speed on straight away – what are the skills?
Lance: It’s difficult for pros and road racers to get started on virtual racing because the tactics are very different. The race start is the hardest part, you need to do a full sprint at the start to stay in contention for the win and this is why road racers find it hard.

Q: Are the normal mass group rides on there like races (like sportives) or is it more steady?
Lance: Yes, there are plenty of social rides and recovery easy rides out there. Some clubs such as VCL are organising club runs and races like they would in the real would. I had a look around and there will be some rides for everyone. My team trainSharp Junior Development Team has had our team rides moved to weekly rides on Zwift so we can train together and have a chat since lockdown started.

Q: Finally, do you find e-racing as much fun in a different way to normal racing?
Lance: To me, nothing will feel as good as raising your hands in the real world winning a bike race. But virtual racing is a lot of fun to play with and right now, it’s our only hope of racing for the foreseeable future. It’s strange times but E-racing has arrived at the right time to keep us entertained and exhausted!

Thank you Lance for another Q&A – you read the last Q&A with Lance here on VeloUK.


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