Dassi Bikes recruited droves of City workers with a passion for cycling to step up to the plate and prove they were hard enough. The challenge? To sprint for 650m uphill on a virtual track of both asphalt and cobbles to beat the time of Matteo Carrara, ex-pro cyclist and Tour of Luxemburg winner, who completed the course in 1 minute and 10 seconds.
Over the course of three months, passionate cyclists from companies such as Goldman Sachs, HSBC, RBS, UBS, Coutts, Linklaters and many others were sent on a bid to conquer the Dassi City Challenge first step of the podium.
Participants were tasked with virtually competing against each other along with Matteo Carrara, giving it their all to set the lowest time possible on a 900m hill climb and be crowned King or Queen of the mountain. The fastest climbers from each qualifying event were invited to the Grand Final held at the Oakley’s flagship London store in Covent Garden on Friday 11 December.
Three Dassi bikes were mounted on Wahoo Kickr turbo trainers and connected to the Zwift virtual software. Each pre-qualified competitor was placed into one of seven heats. Competitors then took on the Zwift Watopia hill climb, averaging 5% with a steep ramp maxing out at 11.8%. Former Tour De France rider Matteo Carrara set the pace at the start of the evening with a time of 1:35.9 to beat.
Charlie Webster hosted for the evening, delivering superb commentary as riders spun as fast as they could to get a place in the top three. Two of the thirteen men (Michael Gluckman 1:33.3 and Gunther Zechmann 1:34.3), beat Matteo Carrara’s qualifying time to gain a spot in the men’s final, closely followed by Ken Buckley (British land speed record holder for human powered vehicles), who pushed the watts to the max with a time of 1:36.6. Many women also took part in the challenge including ex-pro tennis player Senka Sofia, representing Goldman Sacks. Tani Burge, Siobhan and Emily Robinson put in excellent efforts which placed them into the top three.
The top six (three men, three women), then took on a full lap of the 9.1km Zwift Watopia course. The men's race came down to the wire: Michael lead from the start, with Ken close behind. However Goldman Sachs finest, Gunther, started to wind up the pace, first passing Ken, then Mike and pushing hard to take the win at the finish. Ken and Michael had a close battle for 2nd and 3 Ken passing Mike having only 10m to go.
In the women’s final, Tani lead from the start with an initial kick. It was a tight battle between Siobhan and Emily for second place, however Siobhan had the leading edge leaving Emily to dig deep to the finish in third place.
Not only did winners Gunther Zachmann and Tani Burge take home the pride and the glory, they also bagged themselves the winning prize pot of a handmade custom carbon road frame and forks from Dassi, a week's vacation at Tri-Topia, the latest pair of performance Oakley sunglasses and a year subscription to the Zwift software. Win-win.