Go Zwift Impressions: Week 1

Go Zwift Watopia Route Map

Go Zwift:

Week 1 on Zwift complete – only had a chance to ride 23.8 virtual miles since setting up my Wahoo Kickr, but wanted to write up a first impressions post.

As an aside, we left NYC on Friday afternoon to head up to Boston for an extended business weekend.  I’ll be looking to hone in my ride distances relative to the amount of time I have after work each day, but it seems like 10-15 miles every other day is a good trade off between getting in an actual workout, yet not spending hours on the trainer (long rides for the weekend – outside, weather permitting).

Here’s what my current set up looks like, but now that I’ve received my HDMI converter for my macbook air, I’ll be connecting to our Samsung TV in the living room, which should prove to be a more immersive experience via Zwift than a small, 16 inch monitor.

Go Zwift Caadx

 

Profile view Go Zwift caadx

 

London Course:

 

As alluded to in a previous post, my very first test run with Zwift was on the London course. I literally had no idea what I was doing and why there was a (seemingly) flat section in an underground tunnel that all of a sudden had a 15% grade!

 

Go Zwift 15% grade on London Course

Nevertheless, I chalked up the somewhat neutral experience to not understanding the various nuances of the program. The next day, I set up for a quick 10-mile course after work. This time I had a much better experience on the London course and found it both fun and challenging.

 

Go Zwift London 2

 

Post-work: Zwift vs. Junk Miles:

 

As I previously mentioned, for me, getting outside for a 25 mile ride after work often takes longer than it needs to. All the stop lights in NYC certainly don’t help. For example, from where we live in Queens up to the George Washington Bridge helix, it takes me almost exactly 45 minutes. Those are more or less junk miles since it’s often stop and go. So 9W isn’t terribly feasible on a weekday evening. Central Park is a lot more reasonable, but still requires a good 2.5 hours door to door. For my weekday rides, Zwift is going to be the way to go! Unless I take a day off, or there’s a federal holiday the following day.

 

Watopia Route:

 

Note to self: I really do need to get a portable fan and remind myself to bring a hand towel to have nearby to absorb some of the sweat. One thing to remark is that my heart rate has consistently been lower than when I’m out on the road. A good 20 bpm lower than my typical steady state ride outdoors. Even though, I feel that I’ve gotten a good workout in – definitely sweat more than enough.

 

Go Zwift Watopia

 

Alas, time will tell, I need to take a longer, 40+ mile, route on the Kickr to compare apples-to-apples. Nevertheless, the Watopia Route. Very cool all around – I would say I liked it much better than the London Route. There was a great underwater tunnel where you could see fish swimming by, plenty of rolling hills, and everything in between. Definitely look forward to exploring more of this route in the coming weeks and months.

 

Go Zwift Watopia Route Map

 

Go Zwift Watopia Route

 

Zwift Mobile Link:

 

One aspect that I completely didn’t realize until afterwards was that you have the option to have your avatar take a turn every so often if there are cross roads on the course leading to different parts of the map. I finally noticed that there’s actually a lot that you can do via the Zwift Mobile Link, aside from making these program prompted turns.

You can cheer on another rider, send a chat message to other riders on the course, use one of the power ups that you receive throughout the ride (This really is Mario Cart: Cycling Edition), wave, etc… So for that reason, I definitely recommend keeping your phone within reach.

 

 

Overall, Zwift is a very dynamic program, I think it has truly set the stage for making indoor cycling not only bearable, but enjoyable! One aspect that I would really like to see is a more realistic simulation of a steep hill. I think the camera should adjust accordingly so that a 15% grade actually looks like a steep 15% grade, rather than looking back down at the Kickr wondering why the resistance suddenly feels so sluggish. Of course, that’s a very minor “complaint” and the way that they’ve set up the foundation for their program is likely to pay dividends for them well into the future.

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