Three days ago I understood my Zwift pathology had won over my real life when, while I was reporting on my last performance on Monday Massif Mountain Time Trial, my wife claimed she did not understand a single word I’d said in the previous five minutes.
This was the last sentence I had spoke before she interrupted me:
“I raised my FTP to 339w during the Monday Massif Mountain TT event so I have been UPG by ZP to A which means I can no longer compete with the Jerbos on EMEA E1 B division of ZRL”.
Instead of feeling embarrassed, I immediately launched myself into an exhaustive explanation and definition of each of the terms and acronyms. Easily ten minutes into my monologue, my wife’s stupefied face led me to realize that we, Zwifters, are definitely living in a parallel universe where words have a different meaning, and even the official definitions sometimes misrepresent their real significance. Guys, in case you didn’t notice, we live in a Cult (capital C on purpose).
To reestablish the link between the normal people (and by normal people I mean us, Zwifters) and the rest of humankind, and since I am utterly maniculous, I made the decision to start a Zwift jargon dictionary, with both the official definition of the terms and acronyms and the meaning that a Zwifter gives to them.
Official definition: The most extensive virtual world on Zwift.
Zwifter definition: Home or heaven. The place where all your fears disappear.
Official definition: stands for watts per kilogram, meaning the number of watts you generate divided by your weight in kilograms. This is certainly the most important performance indicator Zwift uses in its algorithm.
Zwifter definition: The main obligation for any orthodox racing Zwifter is to permanently deliver as many w/kg. At any time, in any circumstance. This is the first of the Ten Commandments. You dream, you live, you struggle, you cry, you shout, you breathe w/kg.
Official definition: stands for ZwiftPower, the website collecting the data from all your races and establishing the category you belong to.
Zwifter definition: the website you run to each time you finish an event to check how well or bad you have done and complain when it is overloaded or crashes. ZP is the final judge of your Zwifting life. The one determining where you stand compared to others: prey or predator.
Official definition: the bike you unlock once you complete 50,000 meters elevation having the Everest Challenge activated.
Zwifter definition: Its official name is Zwift Concept Z1, but make sure you call it Tron Bike, otherwise you might be expelled from the game for being such a loser. If w/kg is your performance obsession, the Tron Bike is your fantasy bike. The equivalent of a Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura Ace Di2, but on Zwift.
Official definition: voluntarily reducing your power output to cheat ZwiftPower categories.
Zwifter definition: the pandemic Satan has sent to Watopia to destroy our values as a community.
Official definition: stands for powerups, which are the special powers you are randomly given in a race or in a circuit making you faster, lighter, more aerodynamic, etc…
Zwifter definition: did it ever happen to you that you are on the road on your bike and all of a sudden the gradient goes close to 13% and you check your bike computer to activate the feather? Where is my feather??? Or with your Gravel bike on a dirt road “I could really use a steamroller now… where is it????”
Official definition: Stands for Alpe du Zwift, the replica of the legendary Alpe d’Huez within the game.
Zwifter definition: you are not a real Zwifter before you climb Alpe du Zwift. This is like a first communion, a Bar Mitzvah. You only become an adult once you cross the arch on the top of ADZ.
Scotty the Squirrel
Official definition: the Squirrel appearing anywhere in Zwift roads.
Zwifter definition: this thing you want to punch in the face when it smiles while you are suffering like hell. I am 100% positive the more I suffer the more it smiles.
Official definition: Acronym for Zwift Insider, number one source of information for all things related to Zwift and living fully the Zwift experience.
Zwifter definition: like in any religion or cult, you have the writings to disseminate the holy truth across the world. If it is not in ZI, it simply does not exist. ZI is the universal source of the Truth. ZI is our doctrine, our path to heaven.
Official definition: Stands for In Real Life, meaning your life out of Zwift.
Zwifter definition: for an authentic Zwifter, Zwift is your entire life, so there is no life beyond Zwift. Three months after joining Zwift, the boundaries between IRL and virtual become blurry. At one point things turn upside down and Zwift becomes IRL and the rest is the virtual/fake/nonsensical world. Most of the time, like in “Inception”, I need to flip a spinning top to figure out if it’s real (Zwift) or not.
Official definition: a trainer connecting to the device you run Zwift on, which adapts resistance to simulate the gradient of the game.
Zwifter Definition: your best friend, your lover, the only thing in the world you confess everything to. The one suffering your pains and relieving you from your stress, your ultimate companion in life. Your smart trainer is the best, full stop. Nobody, except you, can even think of criticizing it.
Official definition: stands for Zwift Accuracy and Data Analysis, the technical anti-performance-enhancement agency on Zwift.
Zwifter Definition: as powerful as Lord of the Rings’ Eye of Sauron. You cheat, you get ZADAd, and hopefully live forever on the wall of shame. Sandbaggers, sticky watters, height and weight cheaters, be aware that ZADA is here!! SO, WATCHA GONNA DO, BROTHER, WHEN ZADA RUNS WILD ON YOU ?!?!!?
Official definition: your Zwiftpower category is calculated averaging the 20-minute best w/kg from your best three races within the last 90 days and multiplied by 95%. UPG occurs when this average goes beyond one of the category thresholds as follows:
Zwifter definition: the day you go from being the king of the world in one category to becoming the absolute victim in the superior one. As a Zwifter, you experience a paradoxical state of mind where at the same time you are proud of your progression and feel miserable because you have to begin climbing the ladder from the beginning.
That’s it for today, but there will be more. Feel free to suggest any other term or acronym you use which makes you look like a total weirdo in front of your friends and relatives. The objective of this initiative is to avoid having us Zwifters be excluded from family dinners and celebrations just because they have not yet seen the light.