Lucianotes: My Dictionary of Zwift Terms & Acronyms

Lucianotes: My Dictionary of Zwift Terms & Acronyms

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.

Watopia

Official definition: The most extensive virtual world on Zwift.

Zwifter definition: Home or heaven. The place where all your fears disappear.

W/kg

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. 

ZP

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.

Tron Bike

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.

Sandbagging

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. 

PU

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????”

ADZ

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.

ZI

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. 

IRL 

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.

Smart trainer

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. 

ZADA

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 ?!?!!?

UPG

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.

Your Suggestions

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.

About The Author

Luciano Pollastri

Luciano is a French-Argentinian living in Madrid, Spain. He landed by mistake on Zwift in March 2020, and, according to his wife, staying there because of some strange variant of the Stockholm Syndrom yet to be diagnosed. Passionate about all the little things making us feel alive and together when being part of a team.

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Rick Goris
Rick Goris
4 months ago

Excellent work! I learned a few things and had a good chuckle to boot. 🙂

Wendy Lockner
Wendy Lockner
4 months ago

Nice! I feel my husband should read this too! I understand more than I did before and chuckled at all the things I relate to!

Tim Perkin
Tim Perkin (@tperkin)
4 months ago

This is brilliant. You forgot:

ZI – Official definition, Zwift Insider, the community led website that has useful information about Zwift.

Zwifter definition, the Zwift Bible, it’s the “go to” place to check things Zwift related, like routes, fastest bikes, latest stories. Whilst most people read the news in the morning, we read the latest article on ZI. It is probably the last thing we read at night too. It’s also the place to plan the weekend, now the “What’s on” articles are back.

Tim Perkin
Tim Perkin (@tperkin)
4 months ago

Sorry, I missed it, like I said, reading articles last thing before bed….

Stuart Lynne
Stuart Lynne (@sl)
4 months ago

Once, in a 150km Grand Fondo, I experienced the equivalent of a Van Powerup for the better part of 15-20 minutes! It was about 30-40km from the start and I was already well behind the first and second group on the road. I was (as the official time trialist in the group) leading an ever-expanding train of riders at about 40-42kph along a long and flat section of highway. After about 5 minutes a group of 4 young semi-pro riders caught up (they had apparently stopped to fix a flat), went to the front, and pushed the pace way up!… Read more »

Tim Perkin
Tim Perkin (@tperkin)
4 months ago

I got another: A drop. Official definition, a power drop, internet connection drop, or worst a Bluetooth or Ant plus dropped connection from you smart drainer to your device. Zwift definition, the single biggest thing feared, especially in a major event or race. They happen unexpectedly and can ruin your race and thus your entire day. A dropped connection of any kind, at any time can result in the air in the “pain cave” turning blue. When it happens, you just hope the noise of the fan is loud enough to mask the swearing. Also, trying to prevent a drop… Read more »

Samo
Samo
4 months ago
Reply to  Tim Perkin

Wait, aren’t drops those fun little things you can buy new gear with? I don’t know about this other “drop”. Sounds bad.

Mika Alén
Mika Alén
4 months ago
Reply to  Samo

You know you need a brake when you go to your LBS IRL and try to buy a new bike using those drops as currency.

Jude
Jude
4 months ago
Reply to  Tim Perkin

It’s a dropout.. the drop is the currency 😉🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️

Jim
Jim
4 months ago

Hilarious. True. Thanks.

Evan
Evan
4 months ago

What about “flier”?
Official Definition: A Zwifter who has been misplaced into the wrong category, or is just cheating.
Zwifter Definition: Demons from the pits of hell whose sole purpose is to create chaos and turmoil in races, often placed by Satan to destroy the Blob (yes, capital B) and tire everyone out.

Tim Perkin
Tim Perkin (@tperkin)
4 months ago
Reply to  Evan

Oh that is a good one. I had a super strong rider last week on this one event and it blew the group to pieces, man it spoilt the race, I pushed so deep to stay in the group, when I got dropped I had nothing left to even stay in the groups that caught me! Great entry!

Dan Sheremeto
Dan Sheremeto
4 months ago

Blob:

Official definition: The pack of riders that coalesce around one another because of draft dynamics.

Unofficial definition: We’d rather be using the word ‘peloton’, but don’t want to confuse and/or trigger people by referencing a competitor to Zwift.

Tim Perkin
Tim Perkin (@tperkin)
4 months ago

Another good one Dan.

M. D. S. Günther
M. D. S. Günther
4 months ago

What does Zpower mean?

I see that sometimes in event descriptions where it says for example “zpower riders on podium positions will get disqualified” or something along those lines. Are those people with dumb trainers?

Remon Lam
Remon Lam (@remon-lam)
4 months ago

Yup but zPower is also calculated/estimated power for none smart trainers (dumb trainers), see also https://support.zwift.com/zpower-setup-r1XjaXbxr

Rick
Rick
4 months ago

How about adding FTP.

FTP: Official Definition – Functional Threshold Power. The highest average power you can sustain for approximately one hour.

Zwifter Definition: A goal-post, rust-never-sleeps, number that can’t be fudged. It signifies either “Felt The Pain” (a new/higher FTP), “Funneled The Power” (matched your current FTP) or “Failed To Perform” (a ride you’d like to forget).

Cade
Cade (@caderiver)
4 months ago

How about bug? Official Definition: An in game glitch causing Zwift to behave in a way different than it was designed to. Zwifter Definition: The unavoidable absolute end of the world that comes around each month following an update. There are many different ways it can manifest but always strikes right in the middle of your superb ZRL* performance ending your race and leaving you wondering, “why isn’t there a way to postpone an update???” Which brings me to *ZRL… Official Definition: An acronym for Zwift Racing League, a weekly race series incorporating scratch races and TTTs in a format… Read more »

Cade
Cade (@caderiver)
4 months ago

Sounds good!

Samchek
Samchek
4 months ago

Definition of UPG: whenever I hear a friend of mine has been UPG’d, I think about that like he just got married. I don’t know whether to congratulate him or to feel sorry for him.

Drew
Drew
4 months ago

“but make sure you call it Tron Bike, otherwise you might be expelled from the game for being such a loser”. Is it possible to ride Zwift and not be a loser?

Konsti Dieterle
Konsti Dieterle
4 months ago

Read Team Bus:
people that are at the rear on group rides or that are dropped and need red beacon support. More often that not there are a few dropped riders and a few beacon helpers therefore the red beacon becomes a read team bus 😉

&
HUD: heads up display. Especially with the latest update 😉

Max Schemansky
Max Schemansky
4 months ago

The “BLUE HOUSE”
Anyone who has been ridden in Watopia has probably passed by it at some point. It’s located between the fishing village marina and the windmills near the wall painting. Legend says, if you call out “BLUE HOUSE” in game chat, you will have good luck throughout your ride, and you may also earn a few extra ride on’s. Calling out the “BLUE HOUSE” by any other color in the crayon box is obviously unlucky!

PRSboy
PRSboy
4 months ago

Is there a special abbreviation for the spinning wheel of fortune at the top of ADZ that keeps giving me pairs of gloves rather than the Lightweights?

Rick
Rick
4 months ago

How about “Boil” for the spinning wheel abbreviation? By the time you reach the summit of ADZ your core temperature is almost certainly higher than at the start, and since “Boil” stands for “Better Odds In Lottery”, it accurately captures the wizardry of the ADZ prize wheel.

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk)
4 months ago

IRL = LOL

Hilary Walker
Hilary Walker
4 months ago

In Zwift power there is the blue “punch” box on the righthand side of your profile screen. At the moment mine is reading 37% – any idea what that is about. By the way I love the article

Antony
Antony
4 months ago

What are sticky watters?

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