The people behind Zwift landed in Sydney for a PR event to showcase where their product is up to, have some fun, a few drinks, some fierce competition and a few announcements.
The event was held upstairs in the Rapha Store/ Café, an establishment I hadn’t been to before and one I’m sure my wife hopes I don’t return to in a hurry, plenty of nice stuff on display.
Zwift has been available for a while in a “closed Beta” version while the developers ironed out any bugs and acted on feedback from users. One announcement from Friday night was that it has now moved to “Open Beta” so anyone can now get on and use Zwift for free.
For those that aren’t aware Zwift is a programme that is endeavouring to do what seems to be the impossible. Making indoor cycling FUN. There are plenty of options out there that value add to the trainer experience, they vary greatly in price, some are locked to trainer brands, some offer training plans that you can interact with, others offer videos to distract you. Zwift is like brining all these things together.
A view of part of the course.
It integrates with your trainer or power meter and with this feedback puts you in the virtual race around the newly rendered course of Watopia. The beauty of Zwift is that the gaming experience is totally immersive. The graphics are good, the scenery is varied and you can also choose to customise your “avatar” a feature that will ony get better as a some of cycling’s major brands clamber on board the juggernaut that is Zwift. You also have the ability to race others be they ghost riders or other avatars who are real people also using Zwift at the same time as you.
The iphone app interface.
What this means is that you can met up with your friends and ride and race each other online anytime no matter where you are located. (Transitions ride during the TDF anyone?).
Meet up with friends for a social ride or race to your hearts content.
Your power figure when added to a legitimate weight input will also give you live speed, power and watts per kg as you ride along. Currently Watopia is a hilly course that requires plenty of honest effort, but there is talk of a flat TT loop in the pipeline along with loads of new features such as training plans. Eventually Zwift will be moving (obviously) to a subscription model for a moderate monthly fee with extra features available as an additional add on, but for now it’s FREE so get on have a pedal and see what you think.
While here showcasing their product Zwift offered some primes for fastest male and female around their course in Sydney and Melbourne.
At the Melbourne event Transitions member Shane Miller “gplama” took the honours in the male category.
It wouldn't be a race without commentators, Paul Craft (Artson on Transitions) interviews Matt Keenan
Despite protestations, GPlama gives it plenty while being cheered on TDF Alpine stage style
Another incentive as GPlama tries to stve off a challenge from his better half Veronica
The generous folks at Zwift then flew him to Sydney to defend his title. Despite some scorching times being set early, and Shane being a typical cyclist and giving numerous reasons as to why he wasn’t “on” he managed to lap Watopia in 11.25 taking the Sydney title as well and in the process setting a worldwide record for the Watopia course.
Shane attempt to throw his arms in the air to celebrate the victory.
For more information and to see how to get on board check out Zwift.
© Transitions 2015
Images Transitions; Screenshots supplied by Zwift.