Jan. 28, 2019

On the last day of September in 2014, indoor cycling was changed forever. On this day, Zwift was launched in its beta, invitation-only form. There were over 13000 applications for a mere 1,000 beta slots, and yours truly was lucky enough to snag one. Since that time, I’ve ridden 6,466 miles and spent over 317 hours exploring the virtual landscape.

The winter season (for most of us) has transitioned our cycling indoors, and it’s hard to find a better training motivator than riding with and against others across the globe in our warm, dry, and safe homes. There are a variety of ways to enjoy the many miles Zwift offers. The goal of this piece is shed some light on getting yourself up and running while providing a few tips and best practices that have worked well for me.

First and foremost, you need to create an account. Head on over the www.zwift.com. Once you’re there, you simply add your name and email. After that, choose a password, check the boxes and click “NEXT”.
The “NEXT” button advances you to the personal information screen. Here you will enter you height, weight, gender, country, etc. Please note that you really want to enter your height and weight accurately. The combination of these metrics will influence the appearance of your avatar while weight has a large impact on the speed and which your avatar will move.

Once you have finalized your info, you move the following screen where you will be prompted to download the Zwift software onto your computer. If using a laptop or other computer, you will probably need to add an ANT+ stick (like the one that comes with some Garmin units) in order for Zwift to work.

This is probably a good time to mention that Zwift is also available as an IOS App and will run on most iPads, later model iPhones, and AppleTV (4th generation and later). If you running through a mobile device, then you can skip the download step below and grab download from the Apple App Store (Android is still in beta). Remember, IOS is a bluetooth only protocol, so your ant+ stick is not needed (and won’t work) here.
Let’s Get Ready to Ride!!!!!!
Ok—so you’ve signed up, downloaded the software and logged in. Now it’s time to pair your sensors and get your avatar ready to move. After logging in, you should see the screen below. If you are using a smart trainer (such as a Kickr, Neo, etc.) or a power meter (Quarq, Powertap pedals or hub, etc.) then you will tap the “Power Source” button on the left. Using a power meter is the most accurate way to interact with the game, but it is not the only way. If you haven’t made the jump to power-based training, you can simply add a Bluetooth speed/cadence sensor by tapping the button on the right. This will allow Zwift to take your transmitted speed and translate it into virtual power. While virtual power is not has accurate, it WILL allow you to ride (but you will not “feel” any hills—which may or may not be a good thing☺)!

The next screen takes the pairing process a bit further. By clicking on the appropriate button, you can pair your trainer and components. Note the “Controllable” button at the bottom right. If you’re on a smart trainer, you want to make sure you choose it in this box. Otherwise you will not “feel” the resistance of the hills and roadways.
Choose Your Route/Plan/Training Partners
Now that your equipment is paired, you are almost ready to go. The screen below is the next progression and this is where you will choose the type of course, with whom you will ride, or whether or not you will “Just Ride” or attempt a workout/training plan.

Also note the upcoming events on the top right corner. These consist of group rides and races that are lots of fun and serve as good motivators for those days when your training calls for you to mix it up a bit. There are actually tons of these events happening daily and the easiest way to browse them all is to download the Zwift Companion app (screen shot right). It’s available for Android and IOS and really enhances the Zwift experience when utilized simultaneously with the Zwift app. Through Companion, you can text to other riders, choose which turns to take on the roads, give Ride-Ons to others, and view session analytics once you are finished. One of the newest features allows you to organize meet-ups with friends and team members within the game. For those that joined the BSR ride a few weeks ago, this is the feature that Erik Greenfield used to get us all together at the start.
Now you’re pedaling! It’s pretty much second nature from here. The game interacts pretty closely with real life. Some key factors to understand:

Power against your weight (in KG) is THE key measure that determines your speed. That’s why it is so important to enter an accurate weight. In the list on the right of the picture, you can see the names of riders near you AND their respective WATTS/KG. The higher the number, the faster you will go.
As you ride, you accrue points for every mile (see that orange bar under the speed?). Once it’s full, you advance a level. For each level you achieve, you can outfit your avatar with new gear which includes kits, wheels, even bikes. And yes, some bikes and wheels are faster than others within the game. Please note, the TT bike is NOT the fastest ☺.

● The Zwift Riders Facebook group offers lots of good information as well as forum to ask

● www.zwiftpower.com is an analysis site that records all of your organized ride and race
data. It’s not affiliated with Zwift, but is a great way to see your results and how your
data stacked up with others in the same event.

● Use the Companion App! It’s a remote control while riding and a simple of way of browsing opportunities to ride when you’re not sitting on your trainer

● In my opinion, the IOS environment seems to work a bit better that others. Keep in mind that you are limited to Bluetooth, however, with this choice. While I rode for a few years with a laptop and ANT+ stick, connectivity was always spotty and very inconsistent. My preferred (and current) setup is an AppleTV 4K. It connects quickly every time and I have yet to miss a ride start (knock on wood). Understand that with Bluetooth, you can only have 2 simultaneous connections, so you cannot connect smart trainer, and bluetooth power meter (in case you don’t feel like your trainer is accurate enough), and a blue cadence sensor simultaneously. I use a Wahoo Kickr for power and a Wahoo TickrX HR strap that also transmits cadence—so only 2 connected devices for 3 metrics. I’m sure a dedicated cadence sensor is a bit more accurate, but as long as I’m close....

These are the basics (plus a smidge more) that will get you up and pedaling. If you get stuck or need a little help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me through the BSR group or a direct message. Happy training!


May 2nd


Thu 5/2 - Sun 5/5
9 a.m. - midnight
Masterclass camp hosted by Chris McDonald, Harold Wilson and Scott Horns. Special appearances by 3x Ironman Champ and 12 Hr TT world champion, Dede Griesbauer and other guests to be announced.


Jan. 27, 2019

Hola! My friends call me La Fabulosa, but most people in the triathlon world know me as Chris’s better half. I love food, I love to cook, and we love to entertain! In each BIG SEXY newsletter I’ll be sharing one of our favorite family recipes. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE


Jan. 27, 2019

Over 50 years of running and coaching has afforded me the luxury of knowing some can't fail, yet simple things for both success and longevity. Sometimes we try and overcomplicate things. "KISS" (Keep it Simple Stupid) and don't get stuck in a winter rut slogging out base miles! CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE


Jan. 27, 2019

Each month we will feature the nutrition plan of a BSR member in the hopes of providing ideas to those new to the discipline or struggling with nutrition issues. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE


Jan. 27, 2019

You may have noticed, it’s all over social media, a lot of triathletes are preparing for and attending early season training camps. Training camps can be beneficial on many levels. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE


23 Events

A running log of all of our team's racing pursuits and accomplishments. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE