Lesson Learned – Don’t Overdo Zwift Racing

Zwift Tour of New York

Zwift App Option

I enjoy Zwift racing, but I must caution you, don’t overdo it.  I learned that lesson the hard way.

For those unfamiliar with Zwift, it is an indoor training app that lets you cycle virtually with thousands of others sitting on trainers worldwide.

There are a few other cycling apps that aid and challenge you with indoor cycling workouts.  Sufferfest is full of workouts.  Peloton is suitable for spinning.  But, they are not gamified.  In Zwift, you ride with others in a pack or against them in races.

Training Events

Zwift is my go-to app for indoor riding.  The app’s workouts have added mileage to my yearly total and boosted my cycling fitness during the winter and rainy seasons.

Daily there are more than 50 events (Races and Workouts) scheduled over twenty-four hours.  Hundreds of cyclists take part in each of the events.

The courses are very enthralling real-world courses in locations from New York City to the Alps.  The virtual-course creators have designed some fascinating fantasy worlds as well.

I used to enjoy riding outside in the winter.  The older I get (now 72), the less I like riding in cold weather.

I began training with the app a couple of years ago during the winter months.  As I looked at the scores of events offered every day, I routinely chose a workout or just road the day’s route.

Zwift Races

Among the events, I always noticed the Zwift races.  I passed over them, thinking that everyone would leave me behind. However, I had never raced on the roads, so what made me think I could be competitive on this app?

Last week I made the plunge into Zwift racing.  I decided to enter the first stage of the Tour of New York.  To my surprise, I hung in there to finish in the first two-thirds of the field.  There were plenty of riders behind me.  I was pumped.  Don’t get me wrong.  It was a hard push, but I was able to stay in rhythm, my cadence high.

So, I entered and completed the last two stages in about the same position.  The experience motivated me to confidently join a time trial after only a one-day rest from the Tour of New York.  I surprised myself again.  I rode faster than I had ever recorded on or off the trainer.

Two days later, I confidently booted up Zwift on my phone and chose another race.  I  started hard.  It was my fifth race in five outings.  I found it very difficult to hang on as riders flew by me after about two miles.  My legs were sore.  I was breathing harder than I liked. Finally, five miles into the race, I could go no further. MONK!

Dejected and discouraged, I dropped out of the race and went over to Richmond (virtually, that is) and rode a few more miles, much slower.

Lesson learned: Racing five out of five outings is too much for this 72-year-old.

zwift races

I Continue with Zwift

I continue to jump on my trainer and load up the Zwift program several times a month.  It has made it much easier and enjoyable to ride indoors when I must.

Zwift racing is extremely helpful and can help you keep in shape and even make actual improvements in your fitness.

American, Professional cyclist Lawson Craddock credits Zwift workouts and racing to save his season after severe injuries from wiping out in a road race in Australia.

It used to be that inspiration was hard to come by on an indoor trainer. That’s why I vowed to never get on one of the things again. Zwift changed my entire mindset.

Whether it is recovery from a sickness or injury or bad weather that keeps you inside, don’t let your training suffer.  Zwift is a great aid.

Follow real-world, professional cycling race news on Cycling Seniors.



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