With the short number of races this season and with the current restrictions many have opted to dip their wheel in the world of virtual racing on Zwift . With various races and social rides to choose from. Team IRL Cycling being well established having their own races with actual prizes, which makes it all the more enjoyable.
Banbridge CC has two teams in the newly introduced World Team Racing League.The Banbridge Aul Boys and One Gear full Beer. The categories on Zwift are much like their counterparts in real life. Cat A = A1 B= A2 C=A3 and so on.
If you were to think that because this was on a virtual gaming platform it was taken any less seriously you’d be well mistaken. After doing a race or a TTT it could take you all of 15 minutes to make your way from your garage to your house . Looking like you’ve been to hell and back and your partner gives you that look that basically says “there’s wiser eating grass” . Then there’s the serious matter of virtual doping wherein people adjust their weight to make themselves lighter .This is well stamped out with random checks done by videos of racers stepping onto scales . This makes this virtual world of racing fair and fun and highly competitive.
Tommy Evans continues to race in the top tier in the virtual world. So when Peter McBride thought it might be a good idea to enter a team into the upcoming WTRL and the Individual races in the IRL league he was the man to talk too. The advice Tommy give has been invaluable especially for riding in a team trial. Pete then contacted Alan Campbell from the Ireland race league to get all the finer details for joining the league and this information helped immensely .
The call went out for these virtual road warriors but never did he think it would be answered so vehemently. With 13 riders joining the ranks ,two team captains would be needed. Marty Duffy taking on the mantel and aptly naming his team “One Gear full Beer” and Pete’s Team “Banbridge Aul boys” .Team badges were designed by Marty and Ady and things started taking shape.
With a mixture of abilities the teams were selected on who was more capable of riding with whom by w/kg. This would mean that no one rider was going to be dancing up the road while everyone behind struggled to hold his wheel. Yes you guessed it ,drafting is as real in the virtual world as it is in the real world. The Individual races came up first in the Ireland league. All riders doing really well ,with Martin Fitzpatrick doing exceptionally well ,Marty’s currently sitting 15 on G.C. in the Ireland Cat c league.
Then on Tuesday past was the Team time trial and it did not fail to disappoint. Martin Duffy’s Team had a start time of 19.47. Using the app Discord the call from Marty came through “to drop the hammer the boys were off”. Trying to keep the team of 6 together can be hard in itself but remembering not to burn yourself out and to soft pedal to let your teammate through can be easier said than done. Pete’s team where off at 19.53 and they were also using the audio/video app to communicate with each other. After the first 2 mile I can assure you the audio was minimal unless you can count grunting and the battle cries from Richard McBride to push harder. Another nice aspect of Zwift is that you can get in the virtual team car which means although you’re not racing yourself you can watch each rider on that team and basically see how much pain there in, how fun lol!!! Davey Graham really seemed to have a good laugh at this . After Tuesdays TTT both teams did fantastic with the Aul Boys finishing a dizzy 6th place in the Cat B world Team race league and One Beer also getting a high placement. This Friday sees the boys all compete in the Irish cycling league and even Young Ryan McBride is going to give it a go in the D race. Best of luck guys.