E-Racing Q&A: Rebecca Dawes (RFDA cycling team)

Today’s E-Racing question and answer is with young Rebecca Dawes (RFDA cycling team) who loves the virtual racing

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E-Racing Q&A: Rebecca Dawes (RFDA cycling team)

Q: What are the essentials to have if you want to go on Zwift etc?
Rebecca: If I’m honest, you can use Zwift on most tablets or laptops and you don’t need to worry about having a power meter as long as your turbo has one as you can use that one though it’s not as accurate. With HR monitors, I only tend to use mine when racing as Zwift uses it as another way of ensuring people aren’t cheating and just to keep yourself more secure of the place you achieved.

Q: Why do you have to know how much you weigh?
Rebecca: I can’t put my actual weight in Zwift as the limit to how light you can be is 45kg and I weigh 42kg so mine would probably be including my clothing. You need to know to ensure it works best on the climbs and for the resistance. When Zwift first came out, I used it at school games and my weight was way to heavy, so I ended up grinding a huge gear and not been able to keep up.

Q: What is the best way to keep cool with e-racing?
Rebecca: I find the best way is limited kit so I only tend to only have my shorts and sports bra on but a fan and a towel to hand is also a huge saver.

Q: What is a typical distance/length of race online?
Rebecca: The typical distance is around 20km for me. I’ve been racing twice a week, once doing the BC TT on a Thursday which is 10 mile/16km and then Saturday doing a longer race doing 33km/19 mile though there’s a wide range of lengths on the different platforms.

Q: What is an ideal warmup for an e-race?
Rebecca: I find I don’t have to warm up as much for a Zwift race so I can jump on the turbo 10-15 minutes before and just throw a few sprints in and keep my cadence around 90 as being inside you warm up a lot quicker.

Q: Can you slipstream in a peloton in an e-race?
Rebecca: according to Zwift you do get a bonus in terms of drafting when in a bunch or behind someone while on the game and I find you do get a little bit of an extra boost compared to being on your own or on the front.

Q: How hard is the effort in an e-race – ie, on the limit the whole time …
Rebecca: Depends on the race really. I find in a Time Trial it is actually really good as you can practise managing your effort like you would on the road ready for when we can race again. Though with the longer races, it really depends on the type of course and others riding and the category you put yourself in.

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Q: Is e-racing like an egame and does it have different levels or categories?
Rebecca: In a way yes but at the same time it’s very different. You can earn points to get new equipment and get XP for levels to get new achievements. For example, when you hit certain levels, you get new courses on the wattopia course like at level 12 you can get the virtual alpe d’Huez. So there is motivation to move up levels. Me and my dad got very competitive over winter as to who could reach level 12 first for the alpe du zwift!

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?
Rebecca: I find I have to as a rider push a bigger gear than I usually would on the road to keep the speed high and power up. Though for racing, the problem is probably mainly the effort. You can’t just go off like a lunatic and hope for the best. You really have to manage your effort. Though when racing, you can get power ups to help racing and some of the pros may have found it difficult to remember what they all mean and when is best to use them like I did.

Q: Are the normal mass group rides on there like races (like sportives) or is it more steady..
Rebecca: I haven’t really done any of the mass group rides. I’ve done a couple with mates and team mates but there’s only been 4-5 of us and we find them great but the rides with loads of people I wouldn’t know really.

Q: Can riders find training sessions on there to help them get started with e-training
Rebecca: on Zwift there’s loads of training sessions to help you just train or for preparing for racing. There’s even an FTP test on there to help you see how much your improving and it does it automatically.

Q: Finally, do you find e-racing as much fun in a different way to normal racing?
Rebecca: I love it. It’s very different and less social than racing normally but it’s great for fitness and for helping me keep racing to help with mental health on people who are maybe down from not racing.

Thank you Rebecca, stay safe!


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