When cycling superstar and Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas, announced that he was doing a fundraiser for the NHS this week, we were in. Geraint, (simply known as G), is one of the most down-to-earth, humble sporting superstars in this country.
I completed three Legs of #GSNHSZwiftShifts with each being a unique virtual experience. I've been riding on Zwift for around three months, but the online world has really come into its own with during this pandemic.
Leg 3 | Watopia | Wednesday 15th April 2020
Geraint seemed to be hanging back on this one. I then realised he was riding with the kids who'd signed up. My first mistake was to get off to a flying start and ride up front as I thought that would be where I'd stand the most change of riding with the big man. After over an hour at 200W average, I was spent and G came flying past. So, a few seconds and a flyby later.........G was gone.
Leg 4 | London | Thursday 16th April 2020
Thinking I'd learned from my mistake yesterday, I gently rolled off the start line on this one. Big mistake. G shot off like a rocket to lead from the front this time. I'd been rumbled again. With zero chance of catchup, this turned into a pleasant tour of the Zwift London course and a chance to rest the legs from yesterday's effort.
Leg 6 | New York | Friday 17th April 2020
The ride with the most emotion. It was G's final stretch with 2 hours remaining from his 36 hour stint in the virtual saddle. There was so much love and inspiration in the various chats on Zwift and Facebook Live and the donations were flying in. At one point, a Canadian rider offered to pay a dollar for every 'Ride On' (the equivalent of a Facebook Like) he received. It amounted to over 700 eventually. I timed the ride perfectly with a joint fast ride with a local Parkrun mate, to then slow down and cross the final finish line with G himself.
Overall, an amazing experience for an amazing cause. There's been some real positives to come out of COVID-19, this being one of them. My own personal respect for NHS and key workers has sky rocketed and it's become clear which sporting greats really do want to do something without a big pay cheque at the end of it.
You can learn all about Zwift by clicking here
You can donate to G's NHS Zwift Shifts by clicking here