E-Racing Q&A: George Mills-Keeling (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling)

A keen rider with E-racing is George Mills-Keeling (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling)  who finds it a lot of fun and says he would still race on Zwift if Covid stopping normal racing as he finds e-racing  makes for super good training. 

E-Racing Q&A: George Mills-Keeling (Ribble Pro Cycling)

Q: What are the essentials you have to go Zwift racing?
George: I think the most important thing when it comes to Zwift races or any other indoor cycling for that matter, is to have a stable connection to the device you are using to run the game. This is because the most frustrating thing is having a ‘drop-out’. When the power number reads zero yet you are still pedalling! And good internet!

Q: What is the best estimate as to what a set up for e-racing would cost minus the bike of course?
George: You need a power meter of any kind (as long as it transmits ant+ or Bluetooth) and a device to run the game off – anything will do including your smart phone! I would recommend AppleTV 4K as a good solid device to run Zwift on and it’s very affordable. I think you could be up and racing on minimum £400 if you could find some good deals! This being said you can ride on Zwift with your smart phone and with a speed sensor, but you won’t be able to race.

Q: Why do you have to know how much you weigh and is that with all your clothing & shoes on?
George: Weight is very important to how the game determines your speed is via watts/kg, power to weight. If it’s wrong, you could be either going too fast on the game or too slow. So you will be ‘cheating’ or giving yourself a handicap.  For the invite only races, we have to do a weigh in video with kit on to just double check we are legit. I would suggest anyone who wants to get the most out of Zwift racing, should do a weigh in monthly. There is a Facebook group called “Zwift Transparency” where you can upload them.

George’s bling Ribble Cycles team bike on the direct drive turbo …

Q: What is the best way to keep cool with e-racing?
George: Fans, fans, fans, and of course a big window. I know some people who take the turbo outside and that would probably be the best option. Also don’t bother wearing a jersey!

Q: What is a typical distance/length of race online?
George: Anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours. Most races will fall in the 45-60 minutes category, very similar to a crit race. This being said, there is an amount of longer races that are starting to happen on Zwift.

Q: What is an ideal warmup for an e-race?
George: A ramp and a few sprints is just fine. Anyone who remembers the BC roller warm up from their youth, this is very good also.

Q: Can you slipstream in a peloton in an e-race?
George: Yes, you can slipstream in the peloton, but the drafting is not quite as great as in real life. This is down to the races being a lot faster!

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?
George: They are hard! Depending on what race you choose, the terrain will change how often you are on the pedals. Usually they are full gas out of the gate like a cyclocross race, then hold and squeeze. On hilly races, you might go a little easier from the start but you will be at max on the climb.

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Q: Is e-racing like an egame and does it have different levels or categories?
George: Yes there are different categories such as on the road. On Zwift, we are split based on our ftp. So there is A+,A,B,C and D. You could think of this as our system in the UK of E/1/2/3/4. Along side this there is an in game leveling system, you get XP by riding and completing different challenges. These unlock different bikes.

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?
George: It’s a discipline of racing in itself and should be treated with respect when giving it ago. For example you wouldn’t pick up a MTB for the first time and just race straight away – most people won’t get it up to start with. Main skills would be to know when to back off the pedals and when to put the gas on. Also course knowledge.

Q: Are the normal mass group rides on there like races (like sportives) or is it more steady..
George: Yes, there is everything, group rides, Fondos, race, TTs, hill climbs…

Q: Can riders find training sessions on there to help them get started with e-training
George: Zwift has some very good training plans that you get for free with the game! This will be great for anyone who is looking to get into E-Sport as they are different plans tailored to different weakness.

Q: Finally, do you find e-racing as much fun in a different way to normal racing?
George: Yes, I find it a lot of fun at the moment as there is nothing else on! I would still race on Zwift if Covid wasn’t a thing as I find it makes for super good training. There is no way in training I would be able to push my self that much. Although road racing would still be my favourite but Zwift has its place.

Thanks George and good luck in your Zwift races!

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