Tag Archives: Watopia

Watopia: First June Friday Training Race

I’m so tired from the last two days of riding, I’m afraid that my brain has suffered from oxygen debt. I hope I can remember what happened during the Friday Training Race. As usual, I’ll just let Chris Wiedmann give the extended race report.

I almost didn’t participate. My Six Jersey Challenge attempt on Thursday had only been finished about 16 hours before. However, as I walked down the stairs into the basement my legs didn’t have that stiff feel I had when I woke up that morning.

I had a muted excitement about this ride. It would be the first time I would race with the new Zwift update. This update allows us to connect both a power meter and a Kickr to the program. This is helpful to me because while I love the feedback the Kickr allows from the software, I have not always liked the way it sends data.

You can’t ride like you would on the road. For instance, going for a sprint you have to start well before you think you do because you have to get the wheel spun up before the wattage reaches the level you need. Then when you are finished it just continues releasing the power.

This also plays a factor when trying to ride in a nuanced manner. I have been suspicious that this delay has played a role in my inability to stay with a group. I just haven’t learned how to find the sweet spot.

Riding with the power meter solves that issue. The response from the crank based power meter to the computer is immediate. Now there is only the small delay as the software receives the data and processes it.

Even if I couldn’t finish strong in the race, at least I could test my theory. So after warming up with Chris Wiedmann I pulled into the “drop in” zone to await the start. I kept seeing more and more riders appear with FTR beside their names. This would be a big group.

Becker is the lone rider in the middle - putting a hurting on us!

Becker is the lone rider in the middle – putting a hurting on us!

We rolled off and I looked around to take stock of the FTR-A riders around me. There didn’t seem to be too many. Most riders were FTR-B or C. Well, at least I could count on having a top ten finish!

There was Wiedmann, of course. F. Garcia and M. Wardle were on board. C. Schumm was there as well as N. Law — the usual suspects. This might work out okay… then I saw H. Becker pop up nearby. Oh boy, this really changed everything.

We finished up the warmup and Wiedmann called the start. Immediately I knew things were going to be different. I found it easy to adjust with the ebb and flow of the pack. I was paying so much attention to sitting in I didn’t notice a move up front.

Suddenly, I saw Becker and Garcia with a 2 second gap. This was not normal. Typically there was no attempt to make a selection until the first climb. Here we were just getting started and two strong riders were testing us.

I knew then I had to cross the gap or they would be gone. I could see Wardle and Wiedmann responding the same way. However, by the time we reached the sprint zone Wardle, Garcia, and myself with Becker were holding a soft gap over the rest of the field.

The rollers grew the gap even more and then on the first climb we were over a minute over the closest following racer. I was just happy to hold with the other three riders. We went over the top together and I spent the rest of the second full lap trying to make Becker and company do as much of the work as possible.

It was working until we reached the rollers. This was when I started to feel fatigued. It wasn’t that my heart rate was over the top. It was up there, but manageable. It was simply a matter of my legs feeling fatigued.

However, I stayed with them to finish out that second lap. It was now time to take on the climb once more. We hit it and the other guys started up at a pace that would have me pushing up at over 400 watts. It was too much. I could do 350, but that was it. I was done trying to keep up with them.

That was the race. For the most part the finishing order was where each racer was at that point (though the time gaps continued to grow). I kept an okay pace, but to be honest, with over a minute lead on the next racer, I didn’t have a lot of motivation to push too hard. I would ride along and then pick up my pace if I saw him closing in.

I finished a distant fourth place, but I was happy! Finally, I had no instance where I found myself slipping off the back and having to push to get back on. Of course, with the very early move, there wasn’t much pack riding for me anyway!

One sad thing to note. I was followed by G. Christopher who was in the B group. He stayed about 40 seconds behind me and even closing into around 15 seconds as I would begin a climb. One time he messaged the group asking where the finish was… the alien statues?

I tried to reply to him to say the Start/Finish banner, but my iPhone was so covered with sweat, I couldn’t get the touch screen to work! I had also dropped my towel earlier and had nothing dry with which to wipe it off. Unfortunately, no one replied and he stopped at the statues.

It is sad that he was giving me, an A rider, pause for concern and had the B race wrapped up. He ended with a DNF. Good ride, Garry! Sorry I couldn’t warn you.

And now… for the real report from Chris Wiedmann:

FTR Race Report 2015-06-05

19 riders gathered for the start of today’s Friday Training Race. This week H.-G. Becker was the main engine in the grinder that chewed up and spit out the rest of the riders. He drove the pace hard and managed a solo victory over M. Wardle with F. Garcia following some distance back in third.

In the B race a miscommunication cost G. Christopher the victory when he finished 1/2 lap early leaving B. Greatrick to take the victory with M. R and J. Lemon rounding out the podium. In the C race, S. Carter held off R. Butler for the victory with S. Yeatts on the third step of the podium.

The race started out fast with immediate attacks over the rollers after the start. Only Becker, Wardle, Garcia and J. Pait made it to the first climb in the lead group. Becker immediately drove the pace up, pulling out a 5s gap over the other riders, but they regrouped shortly thereafter.

On the next big climb, however, Becker managed to split the field with Wardle the only rider able to stay in contact. Garcia and Pait followed solo with growing gaps between all riders. On the third climb Becker proved his superiority by dropping Wardle. The rest of the race was a time trial to the finish with Becker taking the win and the rest of the group following in order.

The fast start separated the B group from the As by the back climb. J. Lemon managed to get a small lead with G. Christopher, J. Curley and B. Greatrick chasing one-by-one further back. By the second climb, Lemon and Christopher had joined up with Greatrick and Curley chasing. On the third climb Greatrick opened a gap on Curley and started working to bridge to the leaders. Curley dropped back to the next chase group of M. R and I. Munro.

Christopher managed to get a gap on Lemon on the back climb of this lap. Christopher and Greatrick pushed on solo in front of the chasers while M.R managed to bridge up to Lemon at the base of the last climb. Christopher dropped out leaving Greatrick to solo to the victory. M.R managed to pull out a slim lead on Lemon and hold him off to the line for second. Lemon finished third.

In the C race, Carter and Butler managed to establish a lead group in front of the rest of the field. Carter managed to pull out a gap on the last lap that he held to the finish. Butler solo a short time after, with Yeatts following for third.

A Group
1. H.-G. Becker 1:00:59 (41.0 km/h)
2. M. Wardle 0:00:32
3 F. Garcia 0:02:54
4. J. Pait 0:05:41
5. C. Wiedmann 0:09:20
DNF N. Law (Pub emergency)

B Group
1. B. Greatrick 1:05:35 (37.0 km/h)
2. M. R 0:01:03
3. J. Lemon 0:01:08
4. J. Curley 0:03:53
5. R. Van Praet 0:04:03
DNF G. Christopher
DNF I. Munro (Pub emergency)

C Group
1. S. Carter 1:11:45 (34.9 km/h)
2. R. Butler 0:00:22
3. S. Yeatts 0:04:52
4. T. Marshall 0:11:35
-1 Lap
5. G. Raya -0:07:00

Note: Time gaps for entertainment purposes only. Corrections to placings and race narrative are welcome. I have skipped listing anybody whose Strava activity I could not find. If you wish to be included, let me know.

Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1410852035907353
Strava fly-by: http://labs.strava.com/flyby/viewer/…

Watopia: Six Jersey Challenge

It didn’t start out as an obsession. It started as just another opportunity to visit Watopia and check out the new update, but once you get the taste of the challenge it is hard not to go back for another serving. The question is, “Will you taste victory or will Watopia chew you up and spit you out?”

The new feature of being able to drive the Zwift engine from your power meter while allowing Zwift to control you smart trainer is a welcome addition. The setup was easy and I had my Quarq crank based power meter connected in no time. I then brought my Wahoo Fitness Kickr smart trainer online and I was ready to go.

Now my Quarq was telling Zwift how fast to take me along the course. Zwift was then telling the Kickr what resistance to provide my drivetrain. This allowed me to avoid the negatives of the Kickr (primarily due to how it deals with inertia) while enjoying its advantages in making the online experience more true to life. Combining the two really is the best of both worlds.

I started out the ride in social mode. However, when I reached the original Green Jersey sprint zone, I just had to give it a go. The 26 second leader’s time was just too tempting. I took on green with a 23 second time.

Then the thought began to creep into my mind… “What if I go for a Green/KOM reverse KOM/Green jersey combination?” I wasn’t thinking Orange at this point. That seemed too far out since I could see the Orange Jersey leader’s time was somewhere around 13:50.

So, I went for a second lap and gave the Polka Dot Jersey a good go. Yes! It wasn’t a PR, but at 107 seconds, it was pretty respectable. I now owned two of the jerseys. It was now time to turn around.

I went back to my black Century Jersey as I completed the turn. This was going to be a lap at speed. By this time, I was getting greedy. No longer was a quadruple jersey enough. I wanted more. I wanted five jerseys!

Everything went as planned. By the time I finished the reverse lap I had the Green Jersey at under 12 seconds, the Polka Dot Jersey at just over 4 minutes, and the Orange Jersey with a time of 14:34. Five jerseys were now mine.


You know what that means.

I just had to go for one last attempt at the Orange Jersey on the original direction course. It would mean a non-assisted PR for me, but if I didn’t at least try… So, I pushed the reverse button and lined up for my attempt.

I barely got rolling when a notification popped up on my screen. Someone had stolen my KOM jersey on the segment I was about to climb! What!?! How dare he take my jersey! To make matters worse, he crushed me by a full 7 seconds. Talk about adding insult to injury!

Well, no matter, I was probably going to have to land a fast time up the climb in order to obtain a sub-fourteen second full lap. I’d just have to go up there and wrestle it away from this interloper to what was rightfully mine! Who was he to stand in the way of my ambitions!?!

I hit the base of the climb “turning my pedals in anger.” I could recover on the other side, but this was do-or-die. If I didn’t get this jersey back, it wouldn’t make any difference if I got the Orange one.

I’ve done this one so many times, I know where I need to be at each little marker along the way. I could see that I was tracking for a very close one. At the final marker, my heart race increased… not just because of the effort, but also because I could see this would be success of failure by a hair!

I put my head down and gave all I had to the line. My Six Jersey Challenge attempt all rested on these last few meters. Would I make it?

You’ll have to watch the video.

Watopia: The Other Way Round

Here it is folks! Your world on Watopia has been turned around. But wait! There’s more! With the latest release you can choose the way you wish to ride… at any point on the route. Can you say Climbing Repeats?

I woke up this morning to find that the Aussies were already getting a shot at the new update. I was scheduled to ride with a business associate. We were going to use some time on the bicycle to talk through a joint project. So it didn’t look like I would get a chance to try it out until the evening.

However, the morning brought rain and we decided to take a raincheck on our meeting. Suddenly, I had about an hour to spare before I would need to be in the office. “Jonathan!” I heard the voice from my basement… “Jonathan! Come to the island… acheter cialis avec paypal.” Well, I was already kitted out for my outside ride… “Jonathan! Now is your chance… Come to the island….”

And so I did. Direct link to YouTube.

If you want to see Watopia in the other direction, check it out here.

Walloped on Watopia

When something isn’t working, you sometimes have to take a chance to try something different.  The problem is there is no guarantee that what you try will work. It’s the risk you take, but it doesn’t make you feel any better when you fail.

Well, that is what happened at last night’s Tuesday Night Worlds on Zwift’s Watopia Island.

My best ever finish on one of these Zwift races was third. Several of them were DNFs and the rest involved me finishing somewhere mid to back of the A group. All I know is that I am getting tired of getting several laps in and then getting gapped on the KOM climb and then being left to fight over scraps.

So approaching last night’s race I decided to take a different approach. I would try to keep my power up by increasing my cadence instead of my usual mashing along. I also would do everything in my power to stay protected in the group. Finally, my plan included going as easy as possible up the KOM climb — even if it meant a slight gap at the top.

On Watopia, it is hard for me to get the power I need to pull my weight around when I am spinning at, say, 95 rpm. I’m typically hitting my power sweet spot when I am in the mid-seventies. In real life, I would typically be averaging low to mid-eighties.

My hope was that by getting in the field, I could allow them to pull me along and I would not need to produce as much power and I could spin along. Of course, this changed the dynamics of how I’ve raced on the island. I wasn’t prepared for what happened.

I knew I was going to be in trouble before we had even finished a half a mile. The start is on a decline and then onto a flat. At first things seemed fine. I was with the front part of the group. I was pedaling along at 90 rpm. I began to slip back in the group, but that was okay. I figured I just needed to find the right rhythm.

As I started slipping farther back, I started increasing my cadence to bring my power up. I was now well over 100 rpm. Then I dropped off the pack as we came onto the flat section.

Once that happened, it was as though someone had put one of the running parachutes on my back. I tried to ease my way back to the field, but they appeared to be getting farther away. Finally, I shifted to a harder gear and went after them. I finally caught them, but I was already feeling the burn and was mentally frustrated.

I tried again and this time with a little more success. Success, that is until I reached the rollers. I learned how to attack the rollers in my normal lower cadence approach. Now with this different method I found myself once again getting separated and fighting to get back to the group after making it through the rollers and onto the “finishing stretch.”

Twice on this first part of the race I had sustained periods of efforts over 500 watts. Worse, I was mentally starting to fight the “here we go again” attitude. Still, here I was with the group and the climb was next. This could be the place where my new approach would pay off.

At first things seemed to be going okay. I didn’t start on the front, but close enough that I figured I would be able to set my own pace. So, I aimed to keep my wattage at or just under 400 watts. This is about 50 watts less than I typically put out to stay with the front in these races.

I also noticed I had an aero power up. My thought was that I could allow a slight gap at the top and then use the power up to give me a slight advantage in a chase. Saving my average watts up the climb might leave more in the bank even if I had to do a short effort to get back on.

Experience should have told me this was not going to work. Here is the fact: if you are gapped by 4 seconds when you reach the top of the climb and the riders ahead are in a compact group, you are toast — or you are one strong rider! My plan fell apart right there.

I launched my power up right before I crested the KOM line. I shifted down to put in a dig. The 4 second gap coming up to the line suddenly was 12 seconds before I new it. It hung there taunting me for a bit and then started ticking up.

My plans of putting in a chasing effort fell apart. I just settled in trying to hold the gap. When it reached 20+ seconds, things did hold for awhile. I even noticed a couple of times that I gained a second or two. However, by the time we crossed the start finish banner, the gap was over 30 seconds.

I was done. Of course, I still had hopes that I would stay ahead of the riders behind and maybe I could get past some riders who might fall off ahead. I pushed along looking for drafting help. However, most riders I came upon were not riding at high enough speed to help me without causing me to lose more time.

Finally, with the gap ahead over one minute, I decided to just finish out the fourth lap and call it a night. It wasn’t fun anymore and I had no real objective to accomplish. No need to rub in the disappointment by slogging through that last lap.

It was one of those “why do I do this” kind of moments. I mean, I’m not a guy in the running for winning these things, but, come on, that was just awful! There were C group riders who finished in front of me.

Of course, you know, I will have to try again.

Fun times inside and out

It was a great day for riding right up until the time when I was free to ride. Rain started falling and I just don’t ride in the rain anymore if I can help it. It was time to visit Watopia.

Actually, I planned all along to ride on the island. The rain just sealed the deal. It had been sometime since I had visited my friends there. Rain or no rain, I wanted to see if any of my Zwifter pals were out.

I was also curious to see the impact open beta was having on Watopia. Would there be more or fewer people? Would there be more issues with “fliers” — people with misconfigured equipment?


When I logged on there were around 50 people riding the course. I went through and looked at each one to get an idea of what types of people were utilizing the service. Most of the sampling were 40 – 50-year old males using power meters or smart trainers. Next largest group were 30 – 40-year old males. There was about the same number of female riders and male riders between 20 – 30-years old. Finally, I came upon a young rider aged 11.

There were only a few riders using ZPower. This is how Zwift calculates power for people who do not have a power meter or smart trainer. You input into the software the type of trainer you are using. Zwift then calculates your power based on how fast you are turning the trainer barrel against the known resistance of that device.

I guess I expected to see more of these riders on the island after open beta was announced. Of course, with only 50 people inhabiting the space it probably was not a good sampling of all the people who are now taking advantage of the program. You too can be one of them by going to Zwift.com and learning how to make your travel arrangements to Watopia.

Before my ride was over, the number of riders had dropped to around 30. Of course, with it being spring here in the northern hemisphere, I’m sure many of my Zwifter friends were out riding in the real world. I did see one Aussie, but for most of those guys the time zone would have put them at work.

As for the ride itself. It was a simple three lap affair. I took the first lap easy while sending “Ride On!” kudos to those riding with me. I checked out the various people and took stock of the times for the various jerseys.

Seeing those times, I decided to give it a go on the second lap. I eased into a 300 watt pace to start and then upped it to 500 watts on the climb. Boom! The KOM jersey was mine. It wasn’t even close to a PR, but I had the longer term goal in mind.

I settled the wattage back down to the upper 200 – lower 300 watts range and tried to recover for the sprint. Thankfully, I had noticed the time was 28s. I could do that easy. However, as I was headed toward the sprint zone, the jersey was stolen with a 25 second time. Still doable, but I was a little tired.

Going into the sprint, I couldn’t seem to get any power up. I don’t think I ever made it over 1000 watts. I watched the time tick down and knew it was going to be close! I instinctively did a bike throw (yes, I realize you can’t do that on a trainer) and thought I had missed it. However, the sprint jersey was mine by a fraction of a second.

Now I just had to suffer through the rollers and down to the finish. The time to beat was around 14:25. Again, that was a time I figured I could best if I could average in the lower 300 watts. Problem is, Zwift does not give you a way to see what you are averaging and when on Zwift, I don’t use a cycling computer. I was just riding in time trial mode — ride as fast as you can without blowing up.

Going all out on Watopia!

Going all out on Watopia!

I entered the final zone and was shocked to see that I was on pace for a sub-14 minute lap. Typically, a good lap for me is around 14:14. In races with people pushing me and being able to draft, I have made it down in the low 13 minute range (13:04 is my assisted PR). This news had me making a final push to see if I could nail down an unassisted sub-14 minute lap.

The clock stopped at 13:46 and the Orange jersey popped on my back. This meant I had a Triple Jersey lap. Granted, with fewer people it didn’t take as much for me to get it, but I was happy all the same — especially the Orange jersey.

I was feeling pretty smug about that time compared to all the others listed. I figured I would hold onto it until I finished my hour long ride. So, I easily pedaled along.

Take a drink. You deserve it. Triple Jersey. Woot!

Take a drink. You deserve it. Triple Jersey. Woot!

Finally, I saw the name of someone I “knew”. It was Nathan Guerra. Uh oh. My Orange jersey was now in danger! I could only hope Nathan would take some time to warm up before unleashing a hurting on all the rest of us.

What!?! Suddenly the smug feeling was wiped away. My Orange jersey was gone — and it wasn’t Mr. Guerra. The time was in the low 13 minute range. No. Not tonight. He could have it. I’d leave him for Nathan.

Once more Zwift made an hour on the trainer fly by. Once again I was sucked into the virtual world, not just because of the graphics and challenges, but because of the people there with me. I’m definitely going to make regular visits to Watopia no matter what the weather might be outside.

An invitation: If you live in the Greenville area, I’d like to invite you to ride with me on Saturday morning, May 30, 2015. I’ll be rolling out 8 AM sharp from Sunshine Cycle Shop. The ride will be a fun ride and any sprinting will always have a regroup. We’ll be out for about 2 hours and then anyone who wants to go longer can have at it!

Play-by-play of Friday Training Race

This will be a short blog post. I’m letting the video do the talking. After last Friday’s Zwift Training Race on Watopia, I wrote a post about it. This time, I figured it would be fun to let everyone see it. Of course, this isn’t like a Tour De France production! It is told completely from my point-of-view.

Won’t be able to join the guys next week. Have to travel on business. I’ve come to enjoy these competitions and though I’ve never met the guys with whom I’m racing, I’ve come to consider them riding buddies. It would be cool to someday have a Zwift Live Meetup.

Until then… I’ll see you guys on the island. Ride On!

Racing on Zwift is the real deal

Each week there are a couple of training races that take place on Watopia. The Tuesday Night Worlds and the Friday Training Race are the two I will typically attempt. It is somewhat of a challenge because the TNW takes place during the time of the “real life” ride with the same name here in Greenville. The Friday race takes place at 1:30 PM — when I am typically at work. Yesterday I was taking a long weekend, so I was able to join in the fun.

Special thanks to Chris Wiedmann who organizes the events. It is an interesting exercise to organize a “virtual race” and then to report on it afterwards. Chris does a good job, and I wanted to share his report from Friday so you can see what it is like. I’ll have some comments from my perspective at the end of his report.

FTR Race Report 2014-05-01

Fifteen riders took the start for what we’ll call “Rund um Watopia” in tribute to the pro race that was cancelled today. A strong international field with representation from South America, North America and Europe rolled out promptly at 17:30 UTC for the neutral promenade to the bicycle statues. As usual the first half lap at race pace was relatively quiet with only a brief testing of legs on the back climb.

The first climb was the first real test of strength. Matt Wardle (UK) initiated the acceleration with H-G Becker (GER) following suit to push the pace. The field showed considerable depth with 9 riders cresting the climb in the lead pack. A little later in the lap, Becker and Francois Coppex (CH) again tested the field with an acceleration on the back field that opened a small gap. The gap was only a few seconds but took ominously long to close, with the group only coming back together past the start/finish line.

The second main climb followed a script similar to the back climb with Becker initiating a move and Coppex following. The pair then started rolling away from the chasers. Jonathan Pait (US) tried a bridging move after the hairpin, but was unable to make the junction. Just after the KOM line he came back to the chase group consisting of Wardle, Casey Schumm (US), Robson Figueiredo Rodrigues (BR) and Christian Wiedmann (US). Unfortunately the bridging effort had taken a toll and he lost contact on the rollers before the bicycle statue.

Becker and Coppex worked together well, slowly opening up the gap. Wardle was clearly strongest of the chasers and after pulling the group for a lap decided to go on his own up climb 3. He got to within 30 seconds of the two leaders, but then got stuck in no-man’s-land 30 seconds in front of the chasers.

This situation held to the finish. Coppex and Becker sprinted for the win with Coppex leading out and barely holding off Becker for the win. Wardle finished solo in third. Schumm won the sprint for fourth over Rodrigues.

1. Francois Coppex 1:00:16 (41.6 km/h)
2. H-G Becker s.t.
3. Matt Wardle 0:00:37
4. Casey Schumm 0:01:37
5. Nelson Figueiredo Rodrigues s.t.
6. Christian Wiedmann 0:01:55
7. Jonathan Pait 0:04:43
8. Frank Garcia 0:05:42 (completed three more iterations of the full ride distance afterward – 20 laps total)
9. Mark Howard 0:05:45
10. Jonathan Lemon 0:07:01
11. John Greig 0:08:17
12. George Thomaidis 0:12:04
13. Johnny Bevan -1L 0:05:24
DNF M. Trudell
DNS J. Purtell (gender disfunction)

Note: Time gaps for entertainment purposes only. Corrections to placings and race narrative are welcome.

Not placed because  I couldn’t locate the Strava activity
G. Christopher

I think it is easy for people to discount Zwift racing because you are not actually on the road. You definitely have a point in that the dangers or racing are not present. Road hazards, equipment failures, and close proximity with other riders are not an issue. However, when it comes to effort and strategy, this IS racing.

Consider the course. “Oh, you’re just spinning along on your trainer.” Nope. Here is the topographical map of the island. See that climbing? It is real. The data used to create this virtual course is sent to my Wahoo Kickr and the resistance on my drive train increases to match the incline.

So, all the tactics of when and where to attack are there. This climbing is real! Actually, I think the one place where the island really steps out of reality is on the downhill. I found that the group seemed to pull away from me on the downhills and at times I was putting out 400+ watts just to get back to the group. Then I would go shooting through them and then when I tried to find the sweet spot that would keep me in the group, I would immediately start fading back to repeat the process. Frankly, that worked to wear me out early.

Consider the data from my participation in the race which lasted 1:15 hours and covered 29 miles…

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 10.26.22 AM

Now, compare that to the most recent road race in which I participated that lasted for two hours and covered 43 miles…

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 10.29.13 AM

What about the work I put out? Here is the power breakdown from the above road race…

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 10.31.38 AM

Compare that with the breakdown from yesterday’s Zwift race…

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 10.36.27 AM

Keep in mind that the Zwift race data includes a cool down lap that lasted for about 20 minutes. So, the percentages above Active Recovery will be higher than what you see here. Even with that lap, the effort put out in the Zwift race exceeds that of the road race. Yes, the road race was longer, but I did not work as hard.

Now, you could say that I am comparing apples to oranges… maybe it is more like oranges to tangerines. The two activities are definitely NOT the same. Zwift racing puts the emphasis on effort and secondly on tactics. The software has some work to be done before you will see riders taking advantage of a pace line in a chase group.

However, it is cool to see the race develop. It is like having a TV monitor of your race as you are able to instantly see time gaps. You have the visual stimulus of seeing the riders ahead of you forming that gap or drawing closer as you chase them down. It isn’t like racing in a group, but it has its own camaraderie.

Zwift will never replace racing on the road. It will never match the thrill of racing on the road. However, as a means of competition in and of itself, it is a blast… and is the closest you are going to get to racing on the road while in your basement!

The main point I’m trying to make is don’t downplay the competitive nature and sheer workload of competing on Zwift… especially if you are using an intelligent trainer. It may not be the same as racing on the road, but I give testimony that it is RACING!


One lap of Zwift’s new island: Watopia

No secret that I love the indoor trainer software, Zwift. I’ve logged over 70 hours on my trainer since receiving a beta invite to the online community. That’s over 1200 miles and enough virtual climbing to have crested Mount Everest well over two times. So, I was excited when Zwift introduced a new course for us to ride called Watopia.

Watopia. Get it? I’ll say, it does require a good amount of wattage. There is a pretty good climb that was missing from Zwift’s prior island, Jarvis. There are also now rollers included in the topography and a longer sprint — around 20 seconds.

I’m certain my time on the island will begin to slow as the beautiful weather comes to Greenville. However, with my schedule I will certainly find my way into the basement over the the next months. Zwift also means that I won’t be riding in the rain unless I have to do it.

I assume the beta program will end before the next winter season rolls around. Of course, it is turning winter somewhere in the world and Zwift knows no boundaries. Just yesterday I was on with a number of riders from the UK.

So, enjoy the video and check out Zwift.com. I promise my next video won’t be a screen capture!

Want to see Watopia from the other direction? Check it out here.