So you’ve spent the winter months hooked up to Zwift’s virtual reality cycling world, your FTP has grown and you’re feeling fitter than ever, so, what next? How about turning up the intensity and testing out this new found fitness with a few Zwift races.
Zwift racing is fast becoming one of the most popular aspects within Zwifts virtual reality cycling world. With over ten different community run races happening daily and different categories available within each, you’re sure to be able to find one to suit your current fitness level.
To get started simply head over to Zwiftpower, get signed up and take a look at the upcoming races.
Once you’ve found a suitable race, log on to Zwift, pair up, select to join your chosen event and hit ‘Ride’. Inside Zwift’s virtual world, you’ll see a ‘Join Event’ tab on the bottom right-hand side of your screen. Click this tab and you’re transported to the event start holding pen, spinning on a VR turbo trainer, warming up until the gun goes.
Zwift races are an intense affair so make sure you’ve got plenty of fluids to last the course and perhaps a carbohydrate gel on hand should you be found flagging and in need of a quick injection of energy. Also, it’s good protocol to edit your avatar’s name to include the race name and category you’re taking part in, making it clear to others you are racing and easier for race result classification.
On the gun and Go! Starts are always a hard, high-intensity affair as riders fight to get in the lead group, remember your capabilities though and that you’ll most likely have to hang this out for up to if not over an hour. Once in your groove take a closer look at the screen and you’ll see a progress bar telling you how far through the race you are and the distance left, giving you a better idea of how to pace yourself. Keep an eye on your power and think about your FTP, this gives you a rough idea if you’re over or under cooking it and reduces the risk of burning out too early on in the race. Also pay attention to who you’re riding with, if you’re FTP/KG value puts you as a ‘C’ class racer but 10 minutes into the race you find yourself surrounded by ‘B’s it may be time to re-evaluate things.
Upon crossing the finishing line Zwift’s race results will flash up on screen for a brief period before disappearing. If they disappear before having had a chance to properly analyse them don’t fret! The guys over at Zwiftpower.com do an excellent job at generating detailed race results and all Zwift race results are published and available for public view within 24hrs of the race finish.
Zwift races also offer up another unique benefit. The opportunity for riders to try out and test different race strategies they’re thinking of using in the upcoming season. Do you go out hard from the gun forcing a break or sit in the pack waiting for the right time to pounce? Well, the great thing is that with the huge number of races occurring on Zwift you can try out a whole host of different race strategies and see which ones play to your strengths, giving you a great competitive edge come the start of real life race season.
Races on Zwift are an immensely fun and fantastic way to boost motivation, build upon that winter base you’ve been cultivating and get yourself prepared for the upcoming season. Be warned though, they’re also strangely addictive too!