Power Analysis: How To Win Sunday Race Club

By Zach Nehr

Sunday Race Club is the hardest racing in eSport Cycling. You won’t find tougher courses, faster competition, and higher power numbers than the weekly series on MyWhoosh. I’ve been racing the Sunday Race Club for more than two years, and I can remember when I wasn’t even close to making the front group.

It seemed like every Sunday was the hardest race I’d ever done. First, I was getting dropped after five minutes. Then, I made it ten minutes. After a few months of trying, I made it to the bottom of the final climb before getting dropped. Finishing in the Top 5 felt like a dream. Winning felt like an impossibility.

Fast-forward two years, and I’ve now competed in more than 100 races on MyWhoosh. After years of trying and countless 2:50 a.m. wakeups, I won my first-ever SRC this past weekend.

We’re going to take a closer look at my power output and examine what it takes to win the Cat 1 Sunday Race Club – Men on MyWhoosh.

The Course: Bruges in Belgium

As seasoned racers will know, the SRC course changes every Sunday. But there is a rotation of roughly 10 courses used for SRC, so you will race on the same course every month or two. This past weekend, the men raced on Bruges in Belgium, a punchy course unlike most in SRC.

Many SRC courses feature long and steep climbs that last 10-30 minutes, such as Jabel Hafeet or the Bogotoa Climb. The Bruges course, in contrast, features steep climbs of 1-3 minutes (in the Cat 1-Men’s races).

In fact, the longest climb on the Bruges course is the first one, the Kortekeer Climb. As a long-time SRC racer, I know exactly where to push on each climb. Attacks always seem to occur on the same spots of each course, which makes it a bit easier to mentally prepare yourself for the upcoming effort. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

The steepest section of the Kortekeer Climb is your first form checkpoint. If you’re feeling good, you’ll be able to get over the steep section in the front group. But if you’re not feeling good, or you had to skip your warmup, you might get spit out the back on the first climb of the day. Here is what it took to stay with the fastest Cat 1 riders.

[Image – Nehr – Kortekeer Climb]

Nehr – Kortekeer Climb

Time: 6:02

Average Power: 400w (4.9w/kg)

Normalized Power: 450w (6.6w/kg)

After the Kortekeer Climb, we enjoyed the only “easy” section of the entire race. After a long descent, there are four kilometers of flat road before the next climb. This was the only point in the race where my heart rate dropped below 130 bpm, as I held a Normalized Power of 290w for 10 minutes. Remember, this is the easiest part of the race.

The next two climbs were easier than normal since there weren’t any big attacks. But “easier than normal” still means 6-6.5w/kg for a few minutes.

Nehr – Volkegemberg Climb

Time: 2:19

Average Power: 429w (6.3w/kg)

Nehr – Eikenberg Hill

Time: 2:20

Average Power: 398w (6w/kg)

Next up was the Eikenberg Climb, which rises steadily at the beginning and steepens at the end. I was prepared for an all-out attack halfway up the climb because that’s what always happens on this climb. But before that, I made a huge mistake.

I eased off a bit too much while descending towards the Eikenberg Climb, and suddenly, I was on a gap. I pedaled furiously, pushing over 700w on the flats to regain contact with the front group. By the time I closed the gap, we had just started the Eikenberg Climb. I had just made a huge effort and burnt a big match, and now we were starting one of the hardest climbs in the race.

Just as I suspected, attacks began to fly 500 meters from the summit of the Eikenberg Climb, and I was put on a gap. I dug deep to hang in the wheels, but I was three seconds behind the leaders as we flew through the KOM/QOM banner. In my cross-eyed state of suffering, I eased off too much on the downhill and got gapped again. With less than 15km to go, I was emptying the tank just to regain contact with the front group.

Take a close look at my power file, and you can see where I was spiking my power both on the climbs and the descents.

[Image – Nehr – Eikenberg Climb and Descent]

Nehr – Eikenberg Climb and Descent

Time: 5:13

Average Power: 452w (6.6w/kg)

Eikenberg Climb: 3:23 at 478w (7w/kg)

I only had five kilometers to recover before we began the finale, a one-two punch of the Kwaremont and the Paterberg. Like most SRC courses, I knew exactly what to expect: massive attacks on the steepest part of the Kwaremont and a one-minute sprint up the Paterberg.

When the attacks came, I shifted into a bigger gear and pushed as hard as I could. For a few moments, I thought I was about to blow up, but I pushed through and made it over the Kwaremont in the front group. Continuing to push is one of the most important qualities a rider can have, especially on MyWhoosh.

There are countless times when you will be suffering, when you think you’re about to get dropped, or when you think of giving up—that is when you continue to push. The strongest and most resilient riders compete for the win week in and week out. That is the beauty of Sunday Race Club.

As we pedaled toward the Paterberg, I psyched myself up in every way I could. I sprinted into the base at a very high cadence, letting the gradient take over before I got out of the saddle and pushed 700w for as long as I could. To my surprise, my legs didn’t blow up during the 57-second effort, and I made it over the Paterberg with the front group.

All of a sudden, I realized that I was about to sprint for the win. A few months ago, I’d been in this exact position, but I messed it up by going too early and finishing 7th. In this race, I stayed patient, shifting into my sprint gear with 500 meters to go and waiting to launch. When we hit 300 meters to go, I sprinted as hard as I could, and my eyes grew wide when I saw my avatar cross the line first. I couldn’t believe it, and I woke up the entire house when I screamed, “YES!!”

[Image – Nehr – Final 8km of the Race]

Nehr – Final 8km of the Race

Time: 11:52

Average Power: 376w (5.5w/kg)

Normalized Power: 447w (6.6w/kg)

Kwaremont: 4:02 at 446w (6.6w/kg)

Paterberg: 57 seconds at 652w (9.6w/kg)

Final sprint: 55 seconds at 642w (9.4w/kg)

When you zoom out on the power file, you can see just how punchy the Bruges SRC course is. Every climb was 400-600w for a few minutes, with easy riding at 200-300w in between. My heart rate graph was a roller coaster, up and down between 130 bpm and 180 bpm. This goes to show the types of riders that do well on this course: punchy and anaerobic.

[Image – Nehr – SRC Qualifier #3 – April 21, 2024]

Nehr – SRC Qualifier #3 – April 21, 2024

Time: 54:52

Average Power: 325w (4.8w/kg)

Normalized Power: 388w (5.7w/kg)

Other courses and climbs, like the aforementioned Jabel Hafeet or Bogotoa Climb, require steady power outputs of 20+ minutes. There isn’t time for your heart rate to come down or to clear the lactate from your legs. Time trial-type riders, those with a high aerobic threshold, excel on those courses. But you don’t need to choose because SRC has it all.

If there’s anything that I learned from this race, it is this:

Never give up.

That is the #1 lesson I’ve learned from two years of racing on MyWhoosh. Everyone is hurting, everyone is tired, but those who continue to push will always come out on top. Even if you get dropped on a descent, keep pushing because you could come back and win the final sprint.


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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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