My SRC Experience in Abu Dhabi

By Zach Nehr

An in-person view of the Sunday Race Club on MyWhoosh

I’ve always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. Whether it’s a million-dollar movie set, a popular cartoon, or a TV talk show, I’ve always loved taking a look behind the curtain. And that’s exactly what I did when I flew to Abu Dhabi to race the Sunday Race Club (SRC) on MyWhoosh.

Up until January 2024, I’d raced every SRC from either a bedroom or hotel room in America. I would get up at 3 am, have a coffee, and start warming up for 45km of the hardest virtual racing in the world.


But when I received an invite to the MyWhoosh x UCI Press Tour in Abu Dhabi, I looked at my calendar and thought, ‘Maybe I could race SRC while I’m there.’ A few emails and video calls later, my trip was booked – a week in Abu Dhabi, beginning with SRC just 24 hours after I landed in the UAE.

I arrived at the Abu Dhabi International Airport after a 13-hour direct flight, tired and hungry, but filled with adrenaline and wonder. The airport was only a short drive from the hotel I was staying at on Yas Island, which was just across the street from the famous Yas Marina Circuit.

It was two in the afternoon by the time I arrived at the hotel, but my brain thought it was midnight because of the jet lag. I had a coffee to try and stay awake for a while – probably the best espresso I’ve ever had – and I made it until 7 pm before I needed to go to sleep. I woke up at 3 am the next morning, with my body and mind still trying to figure out what time it was.

MyWhoosh and Masdar City

SRC wasn’t until 2 pm that day, so I had plenty of time to wake up and get ready for the race. I met the MyWhoosh team at their office in Masdar City, a community of businesses using renewable energy and eco-friendly buildings just a 10-minute drive from my hotel. The office was impressive, and I was led straight into the MyWhoosh studio, home of the videos and tutorials that you may have seen on MyWhoosh’s social media.

[Image – MyWhoosh studio]

I felt like a celebrity as I began warming up on the bike and trainer provided by MyWhoosh. Because of the long-haul travel, I opted not to bring my own bike, as MyWhoosh has access to world-class equipment in Abu Dhabi. I raced on an Elite Justo, the same smart trainer that I use at home and the same trainer that will be used at the UCI eSport World Championships Finals in October.

After a few minutes of tweaking the setup to match my saddle height and riding position, I was ready to warm up with 20 minutes to go until the start. Lights, cameras, and fans were pointed straight at me as I began to sweat before the race. I was nervous, but excited would be an understatement – I was more motivated than ever to show how strong I was in the MyWhoosh Sunday Race Club.

My Best SRC Result in Months

The SRC route that day was the Wollongong course, a punchy loop well-known to Whooshers. Each of the three laps ended with a brutally steep climb that hit gradients of 16%. Wollongong is course that suits me well, but I was a bit worried that I would have a classic case of ‘travel legs.’

[Image – SRC start]

As I was warming up, I noticed that my legs felt pretty good. The bike and trainer felt great, and I was more comfortable riding in the MyWhoosh studio than I thought. Being surrounded by lights, cameras, and the MyWhoosh broadcast brought my focus and motivation to a whole new level. As the race began, I was ready to give it my all.

After 60 minutes of full-gas racing, we began the final climb with 2km to go. My heart rate was already at 180 bpm, but I kept telling myself, ‘Don’t give up, don’t give up. Whatever you do, don’t give up.’

With 500 meters to go, my legs felt better than expected, and I had the finish line in sight. I decided to open up my sprint then and there, with no hesitation, and I emptied the tank all the way to the line. When I finally looked up after sprinting across the line, I saw my name in 3rd place, my best SRC result since March of last year.

[Image – SRC results]

It took me a few minutes to catch my breath, slumped over the handlebars after a massive effort where I hit a maximum heart rate of 189 bpm. Though I didn’t win, I couldn’t have been more proud of my effort. And that’s what I love about the MyWhoosh Sunday Race Club – week in and week out, I get to race against the best riders in the world on the hardest courses in the world. SRC is the best race series in eSport cycling, and I am lucky to be a part of it. The only thing better than racing SRC every week was getting to race SRC in person at the MyWhoosh studio in Abu Dhabi. It was truly an unforgettable experience.

 About the Author

Zach is a freelance writer, professional cyclist, and the owner of ZNehr Coaching. He writes about everything related to bikes and endurance sports, from product reviews and advertorials to feature articles and pro data analytics. You can find Zach racing the Sunday Race Club on MyWhoosh every weekend.

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