To climb the Alpe in under an hour

I’m studying my Strava records of ascents up the Zwift Insider verified Alpe du Zwift segment. My times range between 1:29:54 and 1:07:54. My average power ranges between 177 and 227 Watts. My VAM ranges between 691.3 and 915.3 meters/hour. My rider height and weight are constant across all ascents, only the bike frame and wheel set changed from time to time.

What’s interesting is that my VAM/Average Power holds fairly steady at about 4 meters/hour/Watt. Knowing that the Zwift Insider verified Alpe segment has an elevation difference of 3398 ft (1035.71 meters), can I use VAM/Average Power to calculate the average power I would need to produce to climb the Alpe?

I would need a VAM of 1035.71 m/hr to climb 1035.71 meters in 1 hour. So I would need to produce (1035.71 m/hr) / (4 m/hr/W) = 259 Watts to climb the Alpe in an hour. That seems reasonable to me.

Is this a legitimate calculation to make?

I could be wrong, but I do not believe so since it is not a constant gradient. Also, there are power ups.

If you’re trying to estimate what it will take to break one hour, looking at my own data, I would estimate ~3.3 W/kg. I am 73kg. These are the times closest to 1hr for me:

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It sounds like I’m in the ballpark. 260 watts/81.6 kg would be about 3.2w/kg. I have some work to do to gain strength and stamina.

Intervals! Not sure how long you can ride at 260-270W now, but you can break it down into chunks and build up to breaking an hour on AdZ :mountain: 3x10min, 4x10min, 3x15min, 2x20min, etc… Also, dropping a kilo or two might help the cause. Watts :arrow_up: Kilos :arrow_down:



Not sure if this will be much help but its the table I used to get up under an hour. You can use it as a good guide on each bend.

If you can hit these times on each section you will come in 59 minutes.

My actual time varied… I was almost two minutes behind schedule after the first two bends. But i made it up again after the gradient decreased.

Distance % Mins Total
1 5.737704918 03:23
2 5.737704918 03:23
3 1.639344262 00:58
4 2.459016393 01:27
5 2.459016393 01:27
6 2.459016393 01:27
7 4.918032787 02:54
8 3.278688525 01:56
9 6.557377049 03:52
10 4.098360656 02:25
11 3.278688525 01:56
12 4.918032787 02:54
13 4.098360656 02:25
14 5.737704918 03:23
15 3.278688525 01:56
16 9.836065574 05:48
17 4.098360656 02:25
18 4.098360656 02:25
19 6.557377049 03:52
20 3.278688525 01:56
21 4.918032787 02:54
Finish 6.557377049 03:52

For me, the sub-1 hour average power-to-weight number is ~ 3.6 - 3.7 w/kg (see RP column in this table).

Note: these values are based on my weight in Strava at the time (62.6 kg). I need to update that. I’m closer to 61kg today… but anyway…

I think all of these efforts were on the same virtual bike. I haven’t switched bikes since unlocking the Cervelo S5 @ level 24.

Is the ZwiftPower Alp segment the same as the Strava segment?

Here’s a pull from ZwiftPower, for the last week on Alp segment, for riders 70-79kg, 73kg riders highlighted (all within 4 cms height), and all double draft events. I did the Alp segment sub 1 hour @ 2.8 w/kg. I hammered the switchbacks as much as I could and relaxed in between on that run.

Wow, there are some excellent resources for data analysis out there that I didn’t know existed. VeloViewer and ZwiftPower segment viewer. Who knew? Thanks, @Joe_Daknis_B and @_Pedals for those tips. I wonder now if my Strava premium subscription is worth it.

At any rate, looking at the ZwiftPower segment viewer, drilling down to my current weight and finishers at near 1 hour confirms what I was thinking. I will need to average around 250-260 watts to make it. The plan is to lose a bit of weight to help make it a little easier.

Thanks, also to @Lin_Alan and @Blane_O_Donnell for tips on breaking the climb down into bite-sized morsels. I can do this!

Oh man, I didn’t even think to sort by weight for my own viewing, we are all still learning how to extrapolate the Zwift data it seems.

I still remain a proponent of how and where you lay the power makes a good difference on segments like the Alp. I’ve been up the Alp over a dozen times and I believe laying power down on the switchbacks is the key to Alp efficiency. If you get a draft passing a rider on a switchback its like being shot out of a cannon, or there about in my experience, but I also tend to overplay insignificant events in an altered Zwift state. YMMV.

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Did this in RL. 66kg body weight, 8kg bike, 268w, 180bpm for 59.04

Interesting. And how do your Zwift times up the Alp compare to IRL?

The problem with comparison is twofold. Heat and the ability to cool even when using a good fan and the motivation effect.

LOl yes, that’s the problem.

For the record since fans have been mentioned, I use no fans because I’m carbon efficient. 4 towels are all I need for a 5 hour ride. This is also how I’m able to maintain 73kg, I’m sub 70kg after every ride, row, ski.

Right oh. Keep dreaming of the Alpe. IMHO, the real alpe requires 4w+ per kg to ascend in under an hour.

I do like to dream. And I appreciate your IRL experience. I only wish your IRL experience was backed with some Zwift Alp experience so I could see how far off I really am.

Hours and powers, the rest is make believe…

The hours and powers are the make believe. The rest is real.

OK Zwifters, here’s your ADZ challenge. stage 7 with double draft is still live. Finish sub 60 and with less than 2.8 w/kg verified on strava or ZP or it didn’t happen.

I only look at efficiency after rides and races and hope to instill the same efficiency effort in all.

@_Pedals If you want to compare the real Alpe du Huez vs AdZ, you cannot compare to the TdF course. IIRC, AdZ is based on a shorter (couple kilometers?) version of the TdF version. That is a huge difference. Assuming you compare to the correct course, I do not know how well the times would match for a given effort. When the AdZ course was released, I remember there were numerous articles making comparisions. A quick Google search will probably turn up something.

@Aaron_Zwanzig I forgot to mention in my original reply. For those times, I was riding solo (i.e., non event) on the Tron bike which at the time was considered quick on AdZ. Post Drop Shop, according to @Eric_Schlange_ZI (ZwiftInsider)the Tarmac Pro w/Lightweight Wheels is now 20s faster than the Tron bike. Note, the Tron bike is also faster than it was pre-Drop shop. That said, if you pick the right bike, do an event with double draft and lots of riders, use power-ups, you can probably save quite a few watts.

Regardless of the comparison to the the real course I stand by my methods of time efficiency on the Zwift ADZ segment. For real I’ve never been to Europe and my challenge stands true for those on Zwift exclusively.

FWIW I was running the Zwift Aero frame (quad color enabled) with Lightweight wheels to go sub 60 at 2.8 w/kg.