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Canadian’s Alpe du Zwift Strava KOM causes considerable internet controversy

Calgary cyclist says "Zwift is just a game" but the online community disagrees and takes serious beef with his Zwift KOM

Alpe du Zwift

Like many Canadians, Cameron Childs of Calgary rides inside over the year’s cold months. On March 29, like he often does over the winter, Childs rode for just over an hour on Zwift tackling the newly released Alpe du Zwift. The 12 km virtual climb mimics the 21 famous hairpin turns of Alpe d’Huez in France. After his ride, Childs uploaded the file to Strava calling the ride Watopia “Tour of Fire and Ice” and found out he had captured the KOM on the climb. That got the attention of the Strava and Zwift communities who took to the comments thread in force.

Childs who ascended the virtual climb in a time of 36:06 doesn’t train with a power meter instead relying on Zwift’s algorimth to allow him to move through the virtual training world. The algorimth relies on a calculation that takes into account the resistance on the rollers he uses and wheel speed. Childs also uses a heart rate monitor. The setup is much less accurate but more affordable than a complete smart trainer or power setup. Childs just wanted to do a bit of training in the virtual world and instead drew the ire of an online cycling community who took his virtual accomplishment perhaps a bit too seriously.

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“What’s your FTP?” one of the first commenters asked before another told Childs to get a new setup because the power numbers he was generating were off. Another said if he could hold the power required to ascent the virtual climb so quickly he should contact a professional team for a contract.

Childs, seemingly surprised by the attention the ride was getting commented in his defence. “Basically I just try to hold the rollers spinning the back wheel at a little over 50 kph for an hour? It’s nothing about lies, guys, and Zwift is just a game,” he wrote. “You’re taking it far too seriously, like many cyclists out there, and it ruins the fun of it. And I have no desire to “turn pro” but I do want to be the best person I can be.”

Childs explanation wasn’t enough and hundreds of Strava and Zwift users flocked to the comments section to call him out for cheating. “This is a bit of a joke” one wrote while another said, “I’m embarrassed for you.” The post attracted 158 comments and 80 kudos as of Wednesday afternoon. “Its a game not real life move on,” one person suggested to the hoards of angry users.

While many of the comments were in exasperation at the virtual time, one user just suggested everyone should focus on their own training. “Everyone’s setup is different. Pay attention to your own goals and time and you will all be fine. Or… go do a real OUTDOOR race so that you can accurately assess your level against REAL people in REAL life – not computers and error-prone setups.”

Childs for his part was just trying to ride his bike, “I appreciate your input. I never thought that my workout the other morning would generate such controversy! I don’t believe I’m a world-class athlete, and I’m not trying to cheat anything or anybody.”

Childs Strava result remains with him currently sitting fourth overall on Alpe du Zwift.