Whether you are an avid cyclist, a weekend warrior, trying to stay fit, a triathlete, a duathlete, or just like a good challenge, Zwift racing really does have something for everyone.
In many parts of the world, we are pushed indoors to train due to extreme weather (both hot and cold), unsafe roads, juggling life priorities (work, family, friends, health), or time constraints. For some, this might mean biking in the depths of a basement, a cold garage, or wherever one can find space for a setup.
In the past, this meant potentially spending hours alone. Then along comes Zwift and, in particular, Zwift racing!
Whether you are a seasoned Zwifter, or just getting started, here are our top 10 reasons to race on Zwift:
#1: Perfect Weather
Let’s face it, the weather is rarely perfect and especially in the cold and dark winter months, motivation to go out on our bikes is pretty much like the outside temperatures: below 0. Zwift allows you to ride regardless of the weather outside. And it’s much more fun to watch your avatar battle the elements than having freezing fingers and toes yourself!
#2: Use Your Own Equipment
You go to the gym, and there the dreaded spin bike awaits. Or worse, your parent’s fitness ergometer. As a multisport athlete you want to get used to your equipment and more specifically to your bike setup as much as possible. Zwift allows you to do just that. Whether you use a dumb or a smart trainer, you can ride your own bike and get used to where your bottles are and all those little things that may impact your race if you are not used to them.
#3: Don’t Be a One-Man Band
Triathletes and Duathletes are often independent individuals because in triathlon and duathlon, unlike in team sports, there aren’t ten other people around you that push you. But wait! On Zwift, there is a lively culture of Community Teams you can join and thus feel part of a team. Various team events (group rides, workouts, and races) take you away from always flying solo. When you join the merry band of riders, it’s easier to get on your bike and put in the work.
#4: Practice Race-Specific Skills
Whether you are a sprint distance or long-distance athlete, a draft legal racer, or a non-drafting athlete, Zwift allows you to hone your race-specific skills, even right down to transition practice. In the weekly Zwift Club iTT league, you can practice your time-trialing skills with routes each week getting longer. As a draft legal racer you can join the ZRacing Series or the regular Crit Club Races to practice your drafting and your sprints out of the corner. And if you fancy some transition practice, the weekly Zwift Duathlon league with a 30-minute cycle followed by a 20-minute run is the place to go.
#5: Test Your Limits
In the weekly Zwift Racing League you can truly test your limits. And it’s all down to being part of your six-women team fighting tooth and nail to score points to win your league. The various formats (scratch, points, and team time trial) offer plenty of variation, and the different courses please different rider types.
If eyeballs-out racing are not your thing, then maybe pushing your distance beyond your usual limit might be more appealing. On the weekends, you can join various Fondo-style group rides to enjoy a long Sunday ride with a group of like-minded people.
#6: Bang for Your Buck
With all that Zwift has to offer in terms of rides, workouts, and races, you get an incredible amount of value for your hard-earned pennies. At any time of day you can find a ride, a race, or access the substantial workout library. Workouts are updated and the library expanded regularly, so it’s never boring. Multi-week Training Plans target specific skills (for instance FTP Booster). And on a regular basis, well-known athletes invite the community for joint workouts. (On one particular occasion there were more than 3,000 Zwifters riding a workout with Jan Frodeno, with Jan happily chatting away on Zwift, responding to questions from the group.)
Community is at the heart of Zwift. Whether it’s through a team or through themed rides or rides hosted by specific interest groups, there’s something for almost everyone on Zwift – as long as you run or ride. This makes Zwift such a fantastic place to make new friends or stay in touch with old ones. When Christine moved from Scotland back to Germany, she regularly scheduled a meet-up with friends and they kept riding together on Sundays like they used to. There will always be someone with a similar interest who can answer questions or offer advice.
The best way to experience Zwift racing is by being part of a team. Yes, you are virtual and may have never met your teammates IRL, but the bonds and friendships that come out of racing on a team are just as strong as if you were right next to each other. Finding the right team is a game-changer for racing on Zwift. Your teammates get to know you, your strengths, and where you need to improve so they can encourage you every step of the way. The women racing in Zwift are so positive and encouraging – your teammates will be your best cheerleaders on and off Zwift and provide support and advice and push you to go that extra mile when you don’t think you have anything left.
#9: Strategies and Tactics
Just like IRL, racing with a team on Zwift gives you an opportunity to leverage the strengths of each individual and provides an opportunity to try out new strategies and tactics depending on the race, format, and even course. The best part is, if execution does not go exactly as planned, you are chatting online and can switch strategies on the fly.
Let’s face it: sitting on your trainer and pedaling away can become quite boring and, at worst, demotivating. With Zwift steering, your trainer adjusting resistance on hills, and the landscape changing constantly, there’s always something new to discover. Each world in Zwift has its unique Easter eggs waiting to be discovered. Have you spotted Jarvis the bear trying to grab his honey pot? Or the Yeti living up the Alpe de Zwift?
Written by Christine Bertram (WattFabrik) and Jen Panteluk (Coalition)
Looking for more women-specific Zwift racing content?
Visit our Women’s Racing on Zwift page.