Professional and amateur cyclists around the world have been forced to move their training online. Big changes in how everyone trains have meant growing pains as well. Zwift, the online training software, already has a long list of professional athletes hosting virtual rides, and the company announces new events daily. More pros than ever have started racing in Zwift races, and the growing pains of the app are becoming apparent.
The transition to online riding and racing has not been without its hiccups. Zwift races are not the same as races IRL, as pros diving into the virtual platform were quick to learn.
Harder than expected
Cofidis’ Nathan Haas was participating in the UAE Tour when the race was cut short and riders were quarantined in their hotel. Part of the first group of pro cyclists to be confined to indoor trainers, Haas was surprised by how hard he had to work to get a KOM.
— Nathan Haas (@NathanPeterHaas) March 7, 2020
Legion of LA brothers Justin and Corey Williams had fun posting Instagram stories about how hard they were both working during Justin’s official Zwift workout, while Mitchelton-Scott rider Jack Haig has been struggling with sore legs from trainer riding. Haig reached out to his Twitter followers for some advice.
For everyone that uses @GoZwift @TrainerRoad @tacx training a lot, what are some tips, training ideas? I'm quite use to 20hrs+ outside per week. I actually have quite sore (doms) in my legs from riding the trainer, is that normal? #Covid_19 #cycling #indoor #training #bike
— Jack Haig (@jackhaig93) March 20, 2020
De Gendt gets kicked out
Racing stage 3 of the Tour of Watopia, Thomas De Gendt was helping teammate Tim Welleens how to use Zwift since Lotto Soudal will be entering online races. As he powered up a climb and hit he hit 550 watts, Zwift displayed a message: “Either you missed your calling as a pro, or there is something wrong with one of your devices.”
De Gendt was pretty sure he hadn’t missed his calling, and took to social media to ask the company to fix the issue.
“I got thrown out of a race because of my superhuman power. Can you fix the stats for me,” he joked.
The Lotto Soudal racer will get a chance for digital redemption this Sunday, April 5 at the Tour of Flanders: Lockdown Edition.
— Thomas De Gendt (@DeGendtThomas) March 31, 2020
The video game company replied saying they would look into it.
Not everyone is struggling
Although there have been some bumps in the road, overall the pros have made the transition to online cycling relatively simply.
Team such as Mitcellton-Scott and EF Pro Cycling already have full schedules of Zwift events led by their riders, Bahrain-McLaren just announced their ‘Ride As One Series’ hosted by Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas has been doing Zwift races since mid-March.
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) March 14, 2020
The ‘The Digital Swiss 5’, a project organized by Tour de Suisse and the ROUVY Indoor Cycling Reality platform, will see riders from teams such as Trek-Segafredo virtually racing the most challenging parts of the Tour de Suisse parcours. The five day event will take place Apr. 22 to Apr. 26.
Canadian Mike Woods has been recovering from a broken femur, and will be hosting accessible morning recovery rides every day from Apr. 2 to Apr. 8.
Tired of being dropped by pros on @gozwift ? Here’s your chance to exact your revenge. Starting today I will be riding at 8AM EST each day for 40min+ Come for a flattish cruise @ <100 watts or 0.9-1.4 watts/kg. Will post more deets daily. #recoveryrideswithmike #brokenfemur pic.twitter.com/e1Q5mnoiYu
— Michael Woods (@rusty_woods) April 2, 2020
As more races are cancelled, pros will be forced to spend more time racing and training indoors. Training software has already had to adapt to the influx of new riders, but it will be interesting to see the adaptations they have to make for pro-level cyclists and races.