Zwift is the gift that keeps on giving.
If you are reading this, chances are I am preaching to the converted. But I feel I need to confess. You see, I am constantly finding things that keep me returning, day after day, hour after hour to the platform. To put it simply, I’m addicted. There we go, I’ve admitted it, “I’m addicted to Zwift.”
But, I’m not the only one addicted. Every time I enter Watopia, I am joined by fellow riders and runners who are finding themselves happily returning to the platform day after day.
The reason for this addiction is that there is always some event going on, some race, some badge to collect, some PB to smash. There is always a new experience to be had. And it’s for this reason why Zwift never gets boring.
Talking of new experiences, I was out cycling around Watopia and after several heavy days of racing, my legs were tired and in much need of a rest. Normal people would forgo the ride and take a day off, but we Zwifters, we don’t do that. We convince ourselves that an easy session is equivalent to a rest. So, I was gently cycling around Watopia on my rest day and I was approaching a runner. This was a little more unusual than normal as I was going up the Zwift KOM and I could see the pace of the runner being around the 4 min per km.
I quickly did the calculations and realised that this runner was running up hill in 40 minute 10km pace, which was quick. I appreciated there might not be gradients with the treadmill, but the person was still running at 16kph. Then I saw the runner’s name, ‘M. Farah’. Surely this wasn’t the legendary British runner Sir Mo Farah, the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history? So what did I do? I slowed and asked him. I didn’t get a response, but to be fair, I didn’t really expect one given he was now running at 3.30 min per km, uphill. I made sure I took a photo for posterity and off I cycled.
I later verified that this was the real Sir Mo Farah. What a unique experience, as for a brief moment, I cycled alongside the Olympic champion, Sir Mo Farah.
The miserable British weather must be bringing all the star athletes to the Zwift platform, because the following day I was cycling the Jungle loop when right in front of me was British professional cyclist and 2018 Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas (G). He was easily recognisable with his Ineos Grenadiers kit and his Pinarello bike. Conscious that just like me he was out for a morning ride, and not wanting to impose, I asked if I could join him. He obligingly and politely replied “Yes, but I am going slow” – that suited me because I was just doing an hour’s recovery ride and let’s be honest, I wouldn’t have stood a chance of keeping hold of his wheel under any other circumstances.
So for the next hour, I cycled with Tour de France champion and Olympic Gold medallist Geraint Thomas. I did try and engage in a bit of conversation on a couple of occasions, opening with a question about the weather (a favourite topic for us Brits), but that got no response, which I completely respect. Fundamentally, he was out for a morning ride and probably wanted to mind his own business. He was gracious enough to let me ride alongside him and I respected that by not bombarding him with messages. What an absolute superstar.
As we left the Jungle, we continued up the reverse Epic KOM. I have previouly written how my favourite race is the ZWC Hill Climb Battle which goes up the Epic KOM, so it was pretty special to be riding up my favourite mountain climb with G. What wasn’t lost on me either (which I stated to G, who is recovering from an injury sustained in the Giro D’Italia) was that I knew the effort recovery takes because I have been battling this never-ending journey to recover from cancer and it was 7 years to the day that I was first diagnosed. I have been fortunate and I appreciate special moments like today. It was very kind of G, for letting me ride with him.
I always enjoy the reverse Epic KOM route, but I enjoyed it that much more today. We cycled at a more relaxed 3 watts per kilo, as opposed to my usual lung busting 5. Like the day before with Sir Mo Farah, I was sure to take a photo of me alongside G as we cycled up the Epic KOM, as people would never believe me. I also took one just as we crested the climb.
As we descended, we were soon joined by a couple of additional riders and before long, our small bunch was at the bottom of the climb. As we entered the outskirts of town, I sensed this was a good time to leave my ride with G. I thanked him and he continued off up the road, minding his business as he went, an absolute gentleman, and I’ll repeat what I said earlier, a superstar.
Like I said, Zwift is the gift that keeps on giving – thank you G and Ride on!