Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Zwift Game

Sometimes, you get to wear cool jerseys, like this one!

Let me first say this: I prefer to ride outside. But you probably won't hear too many tales of me on a fat bike in 10 degree weather, swaddled up like an Eskimo mummy, all red cheeks, watery eyes, and snotsickles. That ship has sailed, my friends, and I'm not too sad to see it go. Riding the trails on a CX bike in a fresh foot of snow in a nor'easter? Epic. Have at it. At some point, your frostbitten fingers and years of kidding yourself into thinking that this behavior is somehow 'fun' may catch up with you.

And when that happens, you can look to Zwift to ease the transition back to riding inside.

Zwift is an online 'game' that connects to your indoor cycling trainer. It converts you into an avatar,   sets you down in interesting virtual locations, and lets you ride with other people/avatars. It gives you a fairly realistic riding experience, especially if you have a 'smart' trainer (one that adjusts the resistance on your bike to match the terrain in the virtual program). It's the closest approximation of 'real' cycling that you can get on an indoor trainer. It has some faults and quirks, but it's worth trying out if you live in a climate that makes indoor training a practical necessity.

Lately, I've even found myself looking forward to indoor training sessions. Crazy, I know, but where else could I ride the Alps, or London, or inside a smoldering volcano, without ever having to leave the Pain Cave? And, just yesterday, I 'unlocked' a "Tour of Italy" virtual challenge, so now I get to spend the rest of winter riding through rolling vineyards destined to become second-rate* wines.

At least, that's where my mind will be as I pedal into spring in a few months. Ciao!

* Wine quality by region:
  1. France
  2. Napa/Sonoma
  3. Willamette Valley
  4. Argentina/Chile
  5. Other obscure places like New York and Greenland
  6. More of #5
  7. That country that gave us asti spumante