Cycling in 2020 – Zwift

Cycling in 2020 – Zwift

I love my Kinetic bike trainer, but the accompanying app is not very good. It does have a multitude of workouts on it, but requires a subscription to unlock the majority of its features. However, given that it does a terrible job of linking up to my Apple Smart Watch I don’t see the point in paying for it. Measuring heart rate is an important function of triathlon training if you’re into this kind of thing, and logging a workout in Health without it kind of servers no purpose. I realize I’m splitting hairs here, and the data isn’t that important if you can “feel” your progress, but I’m by nature a very analytical person so yes, it does matter to me and I want to measure my gains.

I did some research and wanted to find another app that would link up with both my trainer and watch. A lot of the top ten lists of cycling apps started with Zwift, and given that so many professional cyclists mentioned it during the last Tour de France, I decided to give it a go. I love it.

Zwift lets you create an avatar that rides in a virtual world much like a video game, and your bike trainer becomes the game controller. There are plenty of different “lands” to explore, including some that go through underwater towers, futuristic cities, and volcanoes. Some others are modeled after actual cities like New York and London, but the majority of fun happens in “Watopia”.

To power yourself through Watopia you need to generate watts via your bike trainer. The more you generate, the faster you go. Admittedly, I am a progressive cyclist and my power meter is typically below 100 watts at a half hour (professional cyclists race at 300 watts for four hours or more) but when I use the app I do push myself harder. In fact I’m averaging in the 120s now, which is big progress for me. Zwift gives you motivation passing someone or “closing the gap”, or trying to see how fast you can sprint during a predetermined segment in the game, or even staying on the bike long enough so you can see what a “level” looks like. It’s motivated me, in its own little way, to stay on teh bike longer and more frequent.

Zwift does require a monthly subscription to use, which I am fine paying if there’s value to it. I don’t use the running feature or the training programs, I typically just free ride a random territory map, but I feel like what I use is worth the monthly fee. I have yet to come across a professional cyclist on the game, although I know many use it, but I have come across some very fast riders. I hope to be at their level someday.

Overall it’s just a ton of fun and I enjoy using the app.

Zwift Watopia Screen
Zwift Watopia Screen
Zwift Watopia Screen
Zwift Watopia Screen
Zwift Watopia Screen
Zwift Watopia Screen
Zwift Watopia Screen
Zwift Watopia Screen
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