If being confined at home by the COVID-19 pandemic has caught you with a turbo trainer at home, you may feel lucky. Surely you have already tried it, you have created an account in Zwift or another virtual game and you have started pedaling inside the house. Who was going to tell you a month ago, when you had the forgotten roller in the storage room?
In this article we are going to focus on the main virtual environment in the market, Zwift, which stands out for its ease of interacting socially, making social rides, following training plans and compete in a very immersive virtual world: Watopia
But it is not the only option, there are other simulators available. For example, Bkool, which focuses on replicating real routes and locations in a 3D environment. With Rouvy it is also possible to train in real locations, although in this case we follow a real video of the route (with cars passing within 1.5m). If you are looking to focus on improving your fitness or preparing for a demanding test, and you don’t care too much about the video or virtual environment, then TrainerRoad is your option. It offers more than a thousand training plans that will help you achieve your goal.
Our favorite, for its ability to socialize, for its reward system, for having the option to train but also to compete and for an impressive virtual world, is Zwift. So we have decided to create a list of tricks, tips or simply recommendations that we think can help you if you are starting to shoot around Watopia. Ride on!
30 TIPS AND TRICKS FOR ZWIFT
1. Don’t spend it all on the roller, spend it on the bike
Most rollers do their job, all really. What you pay more in the most expensive are extra features or amenities. Is it necessary to spend more than € 5,000 on a treadmill for your bike? If money is not a problem for you, surely you will not mind spending it. Do you need to spend more than € 500 on a roller? If you want a direct transmission in which you only have to remove the wheel and anchor the bike (and listen to less noise), this is obviously a good option. But with a € 200- € 300 turbo trainer using a specific roller cover or a very cheap one it will be an excellent choice.
2. Get a Zwift compatible roller with integrated Bluetooth / ANT + connectivity
The most economical rollers will perfectly serve to keep you in shape, but to use it in Zwift you will need one that can transmit the data to the application. If you buy one that does not have these sensors you will need to buy a Bluetooth / ANT + sensor if your roller is compatible. Another option is to use the speed and cadence sensors of your bicycle on your bike and cheap standard rollers.
3. Get ready
This means having on hand water, mobile charger, music playlist, headphones (bluetooth ones may be better), and the window in the room wide open.
4. Get a towel
You’re going to sweat. A lot. While we roll on the street the air keeps us cool, but in a room you will notice your sweating from the first minute.
5. Install a fan
To reduce sweating a bit, install a fan in the room.
6. Put Zwift on a laptop, TV or tablet
This will free up your phone for the “Zwift Companion” app.
7. Obviously, download the “Zwift Companion” app
With it you can, in addition to following your training or race, chat with cyclists on your route, give a “Ride on”, take a photo, turn around or choose where to turn, pause the activity and many other things. This way you will have it more at hand and you will not have to get up from the bike and do whatever you need on the computer.
8. Dress as if you were going to bike to the street
This means putting on a bib to be comfortable on the saddle, and a sweat-absorbing jersey. The helmet is not necessary … or yes. As you like.
9. Plan what you are going to do
A predefined route by Watopia, a practice session, a race or a meetup. It’s okay to roll aimlessly a bit to warm up before an event, but to make the most of your time it’s best to sign up for events.
10. Put the bike and roller on a mat
You will prevent vibrations from disturbing your neighbors or your family too much.
11. Do trainings
As in real life, the best way to progress on the bike is to do it in a guided and planned way. At Zwift you can find training plans that last up to 12 weeks. You just have to choose your goal (lose weight, prepare for a race or a bike-packing trip, improve your FTP, etc …) and the days a week you have available to train and Zwift prepares a plan for you with various activities from which you can choose each week.
12. Don’t get frustrated in the races
There will always be someone better than you and someone worse than you. And there are also those who cheat by introducing a lower weight than the real one, thus generating the same watts the calculation of watts / kg is higher than the real one. This calculation of watts / kg is what determines the power you generate and the speed at which your character will go in Zwift. Two more variants have to be introduced: the degree of inclination and wind resistance. Generating 2.0 w / kg on flat ground you will go much faster than generating the same power on a 10% incline slope. And if you roll in the middle of a pelotón you will have less resistance than rolling alone.
13. Not only Watopia exists
Explore London, New York, Innsbruck, Yorkshire, Paris, France or Richmond. You will always have the option to ride in Watopia or one of the alternative real worlds. In the calendar that appears to the right in the main menu you have the days in which each stage is active.
14. Take an FTP test
It is not as exact as a test you can do in real life, since there are factors such as the swing of the bike, wind or type of resistance of the road that affects differently but to know what level you are, it works perfectly. It’s about giving maximum power over a 20-minute interval in a planned 75-minute workout. It begins with a warm-up, two or three intense efforts have to be made, then the intensity is lowered again, and after that the 20 minutes that determine your FTP enter. You must pedal as strong as possible. And finally, a cooling down phase comes in. The average power during the 20 minutes of maximum effort determines your FTP. That’s how you will know your FTP level. You can repeat the test after a few weeks to check if you have improved.
15. Choose the level that corresponds to you
Depending on the result of the FTP test, choose the level that corresponds to you in the event you are signing up for. Competing or riding with other cyclists of your level you will enjoy more. You will not be left behind nor will it be too soft for you.
16. Give “Ride ons”
We are in a social network, yes. Say hello to the cyclist who has accompanied you for a while on your route, or who passes by.
17. Upload your own route
You can recreate a real route that you have already done or that you are preparing to do by uploading the .gpx file in the custom training section.
18. Go to Zwift Power.com
On this unofficial website you can find an updated list of events, rankings, segment details, information on cyclists and teams, and even a forum where you can ask any questions you have.
19. Connect your Strava account
So you can upload all your activities at once. You will also unlock a kit. See how to do it here.
20. Take advantage of drafting
As in real life, the rider in front of the peloton must generate more power to maintain the same speed. If you approach a cyclist from behind you will be able to take advantage of drafting and lower the cadence a little while maintaining speed. But do not fall asleep, if the rider in front of you makes a gap you will see a message telling you to shorten the distance.
21. Customize your bike and avatar
As you add kilometers and experience points your level will go up, which will give you access to new jerseys, shoes, glasses, helmet, gloves and improvements for your bike.
22. Take advantage of Power-Ups
During your ride you will come across Power-ups, rewards that improve the performance of your avatar for a few seconds. For example, the pen will lower your weight by 9.5 kg for 15 seconds; the van allows you to take more advantage of drafting when you are in the middle of a platoon, in this case for 30 seconds; The aerodynamic helmet eliminates air resistance, making it perfect for attacking with a few extra watts of power for 15 seconds; the burrito will give you 10 seconds of margin in which nobody will be able to get on your wheel; and the ghost will make you invisible, nobody will know where you are. Well yes, ahead.
23. Flat routes improve your level faster
24. And hilly routes provide more “drops”
The routes with more elevation gains provide more drops, which you can use in improvements for your bike.
25. Choose the best bike for each route
The time trial bike will do better on the plains, and the climbing one will performance better in hilly rides, as well as mountain biking or gravel in off-road events.
26. Remember to warm up
Don’t show up for a race or meetup ride in cold. The starts are usually quite strong and then the rhythm is normalized, so it is advisable to warm up 15-20 minutes before the start and give everything at the exit so you won’t be left behind.
27. Cool down
Just as important is to cool down correctly and not get off the bike as soon as you finish. Stretching is important too.
28. Set goals and organize social rides with your friends
150 km in a month. 2000m drop, complete a training plan, whatever. But it will keep you motivated to keep going every day. It is very easy to create Meetups to shoot with your friends. You can also choose that you all be united in a platoon if there are different levels between the different members, and you will have a chat to comment.
29. Watch Netflix
If you have a quiet training activity where you just have to maintain power, use the Zwift mobile application and take the opportunity to watch something on TV.
30. Protect your bike from sweat, but drink plenty of water
Put a towel on the frame to avoid damaging the bike’s bearings, a sensor or the roller itself, and drink plenty of water.
And above all, enjoy.