|I hate this guy.|
I have a fundamental issue with Zwift, aside from it's unpredictable behavior, un-intuitive controls, sporadic ability to integrate with my CompuTrainer and Stages systems (especially after one of the frequent so-called 'upgrades'), etc. My real problem with Zwift is that it doesn't ever inherently fit with my training plan.
Zwift is a game. It was created by game people, presumably game people that also ride bikes. As a game, it's pretty cool, as described in my previous post.
The frustration is when you have an already well-thought out training plan, specific to your race and workout goals, and you try to mesh that intelligent training design with the game elements of Zwift. You know how hard it is to get 'your' workout in when you're riding with a group of wanna-be racers oozing testosterone on your local club ride? Zwift is that, to the nth degree. And now you have more incentive to stray from your training plan: achievement of 'levels' to unlock 'gifts', constant badgering to 'bridge the gap', sprint and KOM/QOM achievements. The most irritating thing (and I find a lot of things irritating) is that at the end of your ride, if Zwift determines you didn't work hard enough, you get the cartoon dude crying about your pathetic TSS score. Even if you set out to do an EZ ride, and you were able to blow off all of Zwift's distractions and perfectly execute your EZ ride, the dude-who-has-no-idea-who-you-are will weep cartoon tears for you anyway.
I'm guessing that the more you are into gaming or virtual reality, the stronger the pull will be to succumb to these Zwift temptations.
Years ago, when Strava became a 'thing' for everyday cyclists, I saw immediately how it had the power to turn every ride into a race. No longer could you just ride up Truxell; you now had to compare your times to everyone who rode up Truxell before you, and 'defend' your time against anyone who would contest you in the future. Fun stuff, for sure - but now you've given up control of your ride to some nondescript, faceless group mentality. Including people you don't know, and will never ride with in real life. No, thanks. I watched 'Black Mirror', and I'm not impressed by this vision of the future.
So be warned: treat Zwift like the game it is if you don't already have a coaching program or a training plan. It will make you stronger, and you might even turn into a good racer in Watopia (the Zwift universe).
But if you DO have a coaching program, particularly one that you're paying for, you might want to reconsider contesting that sprint when you should be recovering between intervals, or signing up for a virtual race on your 'Recovery Ride' day. Do you want to do well in your 'real' races, or are you OK with scoring high in the virtual racing world? That choice is yours.
* Dave has figured out when I'm riding Zwift: he hears a long string of non-stop cursing emanating from the Pain Cave. This is his signal to leave the house for a couple of hours.