The rise of the eFondo and eSportive

Riding a Sportive on your turbo trainer. Apparently that’s totally a thing now. With the success of their first eFondo, where over 1000 people signed up to “ride” the event, Zwift have this time partnered with Cycling Tips to run a whole series of eFondos over the coming months.

Yep that’s right folks, a virtual Sportive! Dust off your replica World Champs kit and get ready to litter the floor of your pain cave with discarded gel wrappers, because you can now have the whole Sportive experience without leaving the house.

They’ll be on a Sunday morning (for those down here in Australia at least, where winter is on the way) and consist of one full lap of the Watopia Pretzel route. That’s a virtual 72km with 1330m of virtual climbing. For those with smart trainers it can be quite a challenge as the route is almost entirely “uphill” from the gun all the way to the top of the Radio Tower climb. I rode the first half of the last eFondo and to be fair it was actually pretty motivating. Being surrounded by so many other Zwifters means you always had somebody to chase!

Get ready for the Zwift Cycling Tips eFondo Series!

If you complete one of the events you unlock the Zwift eFondo kit (virtual). Now if only they could incorporate virtual feed stations along the route and a virtual finisher’s goody bag when you cross the line… #RideOn

Zwift’s Watopian Landscape

Hats off to the programmers and developers at Zwift. They really have created a fully immersive and impressive landscape in “Watopia” for us to lose ourselves in. It sure beats staring at a garage wall or numbers on a screen! Paired with a smart trainer that changes resistance to simulate gradients, it’s the ultimate in indoor cycling.

From cruising along the Ocean Road boulevard to climbing through Swiss style villages into the Watopian Alps to circling an active volcano, there really is an abundance of highly detailed landscapes to amaze the rider. Of course it’s hard to soak it all in when pushing hard, but it does take your mind off being on the trainer! #RideOn

Winding roads through the virtual Alps.

Descending like a pro as the sun rises over the virtual ocean!

The “Zwift Me” is totally cool and calm when climbing hard, just like real me…

Watopian whale selfie though the underwater tunnels!

The Zwiftcast

If you’re into podcasts and are an avid (or even occasional) Zwift user, then you really should be checking out the Zwiftcast.

https://www.podbean.com/media/player/i5rtj-6815e8?skin=108

Released roughly every two weeks, it covers everything new or rumoured in the world of Zwift including map expansions, the racing scene, new trainers and training tech, troubleshooting, competitions and of course general Zwifting tips and talk. The contributors are big time Zwifters (obviously) as well as real world gamers and racers, plus there’s the occasional big name special guest. Well worth a listen to current and previous episodes!

How to Ride Indoors Like a Pro

Cody Beales (he’s a triathlete, but we won’t hold that against him) has written a fantastic piece on how he used a turbo trainer almost exclusively over the winter to bring his bike strength up from being his weakest event to world class. Whether you’re new to indoor training or a seasoned year-round turbo veteran, his article is well worth a read. He explains how he “not only made indoor training tolerable, but preferable and extremely effective.”

Cody Beals: How to Ride Indoors Like a Pro

cb_012415-170-1Image Credit: Ruddock Visuals

Late to the Zwift party!

Okay. I’ll admit it. I was wrong. Oh so wrong…

Zwift is pretty damn cool.

When it comes to indoor training I’ve always been in the “short sharp suffering in the pain cave with intense intervals and no distractions” type of guy, but after clocking up a few virtual rides in the virtual world of Zwift, I’m converted!

zwift_001An hour on the trainer usually feels like a whole day – but with Zwift everything flies by in a blur of smashing it up “hills” and chasing down breaks. You can even virtually “draft” other riders to save energy! Just this morning I spent over two hours on the trainer and you know what? It didn’t suck! I wish I’d had Zwift back during those grimy UK winters. Oh and check virtual me out in my virtual Sigma Sport kit!

I’ve got a pretty basic setup now using my power meter equipped bike, a set of Elite rollers, Zwift on the laptop and a floor fan. It works and does the job, but a new smart turbo trainer will automatically vary resistance to simulate climbs and descents.

zwiftmaplondon8A virtual ride around London including a re-located Box Hill climb!

If you haven’t tried Zwift yet, do so this month! As a bonus Strava Premium members get the rest of the year for FREE! This could get very addictive…

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Back on the Rollers

In an attempt to increase my saddle time and get back up to flying fitness I splurged on a new set of rollers. Last month we smashed our target at work, so what better way to spend some of that bonus money than on bike tech? :-)

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Back in the UK I had a set of Elite Arion rollers that I loved. Unfortunately I couldn’t take them or my turbo with me. This time around I plumped for the upgraded version with built-in resistance levels (picture below is me on the old set a few years ago).

RELATED: Indoor Training – Turbo vs Rollers

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The Elite Arion has parabolic rollers, meaning they are taller at the edges to help keep you centred. It’s not a fail safe though and it is still possible to ride over and off, trust me on that one!

Two other great features of the Elite rollers are the lighter plastic frame and the ability to fold it in half for storage. I haven’t given the resistance levels a thorough testing yet, but I’m sure it’ll stop me from spinning madly when trying to put down some wattage! Not that I have much wattage now (okay, I never had much). It’s going to be a tough slog back to finding my form. #keepcycling

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