The weather turned crap this week, rain, rain, cold, rain. It’s expected, but always a bummer when the fall goes and our typical wet and nasty winter takes it’s place. I know that all this water is just going to sit around all winter, but that’s the way it goes. So I’m back on trainer and I’m using Zwift to keep it from being mind numbing boring. Zwift is software that uses a wireless signal from your bike to turn your trainer rides into virtual rides. I was a beta tester for it last year and wrote about it then. The service just switched over to a pay model, now it costs ten dollars a month. As you may have noticed I don’t like paying for things, but I’ll make an exception for Zwift, I’ll probably only use it for 4 months and it’s really quite amazing.
So I’ve been riding the trainer this week and I discovered that I’m way out of road bike shape. Sure, I’ve been pretty active on the mountain bike, but it’s not the same. Mountain biking tends to require more power in shorter bursts. The road bike is all about generating steady power for a long time. It’s ironic but I train all winter and lose it all summer. I’m probably in my best shape early June after training all winter and being fired up for Spring road rides, but I completely stop any semblance of training and just ride for fun.
So what’s amazing about Zwift? Well it’s the closest experience to riding a bike outdoors with other people you can get while riding indoors by your self. Here’s an example, the other day I was riding and caught up to a large group ride that had just started. After hanging out in the back of this 20 rider group I found myself moving to the front. Before long I was pulling the group and then trying to break away from it. After a couple of attempts I got away from them and with some really hard efforts got maybe 30 seconds which I held to the first big climb on the Richmond course. I blew on the climb and the group rolled past me, I was too cracked to hang on.
I overestimated my ability and blew myself up early in a ride, just like real life. Really it’s neat though, every time I ride zwift now, there’s several hundred people on the course from all over the world. As you ride along you pick up stragglers and form groups just as you do on a real ride.