I’ve been doing a lot of my bike training indoors this past season. I started off just doing my own thing, but as anyone who has done this knows… it can get really boring really quickly! So I got on Trainerroad for the winter and first part of the season. I loved how much it pushed you and added a great deal of structure to my workouts, but I just couldn’t justify the monthly fee with the weather getting nicer outside.
Then, along came Zwift! For those that are not familiar with Zwift, it is an online game that you control from the sensors on your bike. It is very life like with real bikes, gear, and jerseys you can select and actually exports a workout file with actual GPS information as if you were outside on a ride. I started with Zwift back in February when it was in restricted beta and the only course was a short 5km loop on an uninhabited island in the pacific. Since then it has grown tremendously to include two new courses including the UCI World Championship course in Richmond, VA.
After riding that course virtually for a month before the race, I could read the articles describing the action at the race and really know exactly where there were as if I had been there.
Zwift is right on the edge of coming out of Beta and they are adding new features quite rapidly (Update: they are now out of beta and have a subscription model and are still adding features all the time). I was happy to see them add a time trial bike last week and have been riding that ever since. Yesterday I did an FTP/LTHR test for my upcoming race at the end of the month. In 4 weeks I improved 4.4%! (They like to call that the “Zwift Effect“) But it’s true, If you want to get better on the bike, there is no better place than on an indoor trainer. Structured workouts are a whole lot easier without the distractions of the open road and the interruptions of cars and stoplights. I love riding outside, but recently it has only been my long weekend rides that are outside because I just can’t get the same fitness results from the open road that I can indoors. And hey, it’s hard to argue with a 4.4% increase!