Zwift Island

by Mark Yeoman Coach's Corner

Today’s coaches corner looks once more at how to make those long rides on the training bike / turbo / WattBike more bearable.

In a previous coaches corner I gave you a number of ways to break up that long run alternate on the turbo trainer / WattBike when the weather means you can’t go outside. Yes you could ride outside in the wet conditions, but naturally there’s a greater risk of injury and therefore you might take the session too easy and negate the benefits of your endurance ride. At the moment you have to sign up and then wait for your invite. They are consistently adding new content and they have recently changed the island. Its free at the moment but I guess it will be subscription based at some point

A new program has recently taken the cycling world by storm and this is called ZWIFT. Zwift Island is a virtually island which links up to any bike which has ANT+ capabilities, so if you own a garmin on your bike you are ready to go. Wattbikes and kicker bikes that also support ant+ work perfectly.

What’s so great about that I hear you say? Well, once you have linked up your bike to your computer via the garmin or any other ant+ device you can cycle around the island against other cyclists from all over the world. Your avatar can be designed to your liking and as you cycle so does your avatar. As you go up a hill the speed of your avatar slows down so you then need to put in more effort to speed him or her up.

No need to steer as this is done for you. To keep you focused you can see the riders in front & behind from the numerous camera angles, you can see how far behind they are and if they are closing or whether you are dropping them. On the course you will have two sprints and a climb. You can see how your time compares to others around the island at that given time. If you win the sprint you get the jersey until someone else takes it off you - very cool.

As you ride, you get more experience points (gained by time / distance or unlocking the numerous achievements such as closing the gap on the rider in front of sprinting for a certain period of time). That then means you can unlock the other jerseys, bikes, wheels for your avatar to stand out.

I use it along side my set sessions to help me focus during those nasty effort and it keeps me motivated to not get caught or stop after a serious blast.

I’ve ridden with Lloyd and it made the session such fun as we chased each other around the island.

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