(This is a satire…no, not a flat tire….what, no I don’t want a Fat Tire….egad here hold my beer)
Ah the virtual world. There is nothing quite like it is there. That warm, ozone smelling land of ones and zeros where we can do or say whatever we want. Unfortunately, for the human species, that usually equates to being utter jerks. Throw in a selection of the human race already known for being particularly snippy, say elitist cyclists, an you get a virtual world that seems torn out of the pages of Dante’s Inferno.
As I have mentioned, I have been exploring the world of Zwift lately. 90% of the time, its been a wonderful experience filled with adventure, competition, sweat, mountains and valleys, incredible aquariums, and crotch pain….kind of like dinner with Donald Trump but in a good way. However, there are still some things that only happen in that virtual world that lead palm to face.
“Jumping the Front on Sub 2”
You know the people. Your setting off on that fun Sunday Sub 2 for a chill ride, and maybe even catch the game simultaneously when suddenly the front people launch off like Godzilla just joined the group. We’ve all done it once I’m sure, but there are some people who are pros at it…or at least it makes them feel like pros leaving the Sunday Church Ride equivalent in their dust.
Take the example to the real word to see the ridic.
“Good to see you guys. I’m looking forward to enjoying this fine California weather and smelling the grapes as we ride through Napa. I hear there is a wine stop just a few miles down that caters to the Lycra crowd. I say we stop there. Oh Chuck, I didn’t know your Grandma was coming too, so nice to meet you ma’am. Ok, last one to the first stop buys the bottle! Ha ha ha, I jest.”
4.0 w/kg and 15 miles later you catch up with polite jester sipping a 2013 Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon “Your g’ma gets social security right?”
The “You didn’t Use search button hard enough” Twat
This really needs no introduction. You’ve seen those posts on the Zwift Riders Facebook page, you know, that SOCIAL media website that’s all the rage these days. Ok, yes, many answers can be found by using the search function, but its not fool proof. But maybe someone is not very computer literate. Maybe its a 79 year old who is just happy to be back on the bike in a supposed welcoming community. Maybe it’s someone being lazy. But just maybe. In any case, why act like total jerk because you are online. If you are going to act like that online, why not apply the same philosophy to the real world:
“Doctor, what are the side effects of this medication?”
“Apparently laziness because you could have looked that up online.”
Think its different because you are paying the doc? How about this?
“Father, why do I feel I am going to hell?”
“Because you didn’t read the Bible enough. The answer is in there; why bother my Sunday with this?”
If your still on defense on this one, you should probably find a virtual Kentucky Derby program so you can race on your high horse.
“The Power Up Chump”
You’ve been at it. Racing ZTR B for the last hour. Gutting it out, looking at stems, dropping riders like dollar bills in a strip club. You can see that finish line racing towards you. Just you and this guy sucking your wheel for the past 15 minutes. You rear up to sprint and finish this right…..and then there it is. A shiny blue helmet. Your wheel leach rides off into victory.
Sure, we can say when power ups are allowed or not, but man don’t use that crap at the end. If that was real life, the last 2 miles of alp d’Huez would be littered with more syringes than a Staten Island biohazard disposal site.
Mr./Mrs 11w/kg for fifty minutes, you are not fooling anyone. If Lance cant pull one over us with his seven yellow jerseys, you have no hope with your 30 KOM jerseys. The usual argument is “who cares, let them do what they want.” I’m cool with that, but don’t expect any niceties from the peloton when you are zipping around Watopia on your apparent Suzuki motorcycle.
Video games and me have a long history. For better or worse, I can remember enjoying the feel of a controller in my hand, especially in my pajamas on Thanksgiving morning. This year, my Thanksgiving virtual tradition has not only involved Fallout 4, but a new player called Zwift.
I don’t really need to recount the numerous perks and nuances of this program; there are plenty of other blogs that have done that already. So let me just give you a take from the busy average triathlete. First of all, getting the program working with my bike involved something like 2 brain cells. It was super easy thanks to the onscreen prompts. I have a Quarq Elsa powermeter. When it comes to running a game on a computer versus a glorified power meter (TrainerRoad), I have had no problem with smooth play on a 2 year old low end Lenovo laptop. This is not Crysis. Oh, and yes you can run TrainerRoad at the same time, but you need a separate ANT+ stick just for that program.
Lets get beyond the technical. This is the best thing I have ever found to simulate real riding. An engaging and evolving course, and yes with hills. Group chatter via texting. Drafting. Even better, you can customize your character with various bikes, outfits, and wheels, some of which you get as an unlock for various achievements (distances covered, best virtual chamois). You can even ride without a helmet if you want to authentically simulate being a complete dumb ass.
The latest great change has been the addition of workouts with plans. I am doing the 12 week FTP builder plan to get back into riding. Also, there is a great schedule of groups rides already. My only beef is that a lot of the start times are based out of Australia, so some of the rides start at like 0500.
So why do I love it, besides my panache for virtual fun? Basically because it makes me completely forget about riding on an indoor trainer. You know I also love TrainerRoad but honestly, those awesome workouts can be pure pain and suffering. With Zwift, I can focus on chasing down a group of guys or getting a PR on a hill rather the eight more minutes of the interval. In fact, on the flip side, it also makes me practice my pacing. Hard to stick to my pace plan when a group goes by.
So, if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you give it a spin during these cool months. I love it so much I even picked up a new smart trainer from Trisports. So long 11 year old Travel Tracy Century V that I bought for 150 at Performance Bicycle. Hello Tacx Neo! (Of note, there is 25% off on the Tax Neo until tomorrow!!)
PS: No, this post wasn’t solicited at all. I pay the regular membership fee. However, if Zwift wants to give me something, I’ll take a few power ups.