Top 5 Hardest Climbs On Zwift

Looking for a challenge on Zwift? Zwift featuring lots of climbs like Alpe Du Zwift, a replica of the IRL Alpe Du Huez, Ven-Top, the replica of the famous Mt. Ventoux. One of Zwift’s most popular climbs is Alpe Du Zwift, a popular climb for Veveresting, and daring races. Here are the 5 hardest climbs on Zwift.

Ven-Top

Ven-Top was added in the June 2020 update, and this climb is by far the hardest climb on Zwift. The climb was used for the virtual Tour De France, where riders climbed to the Chalet Reynard banner. The Ven-Top route takes you up 5,033 feet in 13 miles. This climb is a virtual replica of the Mt. Ventoux climb that the Tour De France sometimes goes through. The climb features some pro cyclists, or former pro cyclists names written on the roads to help push you to the finish. Once you crest the top you are going to do a small loop, which will then lead to the long descent. With an average gradient of 8%, this is an incredibly challenging climb, and you’re going to need those gears!

Alpe Du Zwift

Alpe Du Zwift was added back in 2018, and since then thousands of riders have done this climb. Alpe Du Zwift is known for the Yeti that can sometimes be spotted towards the top of the climb. There is also is spinning “wheel of fortune” where you can score a Lazer helmet, KOM gloves, or Lightweight Meilenstein wheels. The climb is 3,399 ft (1,036 m) over the course of 21 hairpin turns. The climb is 7.5 mi(12.2 km) long, and typically takes around 1-1:30 to complete the climb. The average grade is slightly more than Ven-top, with an average grade of 8.5%.

Innsbruck KOM Reverse

The Innsbruck KOM is another replica of a real life climb. The climb is not very long, and only slightly less steep than the other two climbs. This climb is an average grade of 6.9%, and is 3.5 miles long. This is not a very popular climb as only a few routes go through it, Lutcher(Lutcher CCW), and Achterbahn. This is still one of the harder climbs as the climb has a few steep bits that you really have to push through to get over the hump. The climb takes around 20-40 minutes depending on your ability.

Epic KOM Reverse

The Epic KOM reverse is a very popular climb. This side of the Epic KOM is shorter than the Epic KOM, which is a longer way up the climb. The Epic KOM reverse is however steeper than the other side. This climb is very similar to the Innsbruck KOM reverse. The climb is just slightly longer, but not as steep as the Innsbruck KOM reverse. The climb is 3.8 miles long, and an average grade of 5.9%. The climb typically takes around 20-40 minutes.

Bologna TT Climb

This is one of the most popular routes for time trials, the route is short, and includes a very steep climb at the end. This is a replica of the Bologna TT climb from the Giro. The beginning of this course is very flat and fast, but once you hit the final ~2 miles, the road will start going up… The average gradient of the climb portion of the climb is 9.6%, the grade hits over 15% at some points of the course, making it very hard to pedal. The climb is 1.3 miles long, and it ends at the upper lap banner. One way is approximately 15-40 minutes long depending on how fast you are going.

Bkool Vs Zwift

Riding through Makuri Islands

Overview

Bkool, Zwift, and Rouvy are all very good training platforms, they each have different things that stand out about each of them. Bkool and Rouvy are definitely more realistic, while Zwift is more for riders who are looking for gamifications, racing, and socialization. Rouvy and Bkool both have live events that riders can participate in, Bkool and Rouvy have only 1-2 events a day, while Zwift has hundreds. Zwift has a lot of routes, events, races, challenges, and customization for your avatar, but they do not have things like changing weather, custom routes, headwind and tailwinds, and even has night mode, which competitors like Bkool have. In Rouvy, there are hundreds of routes, you can create your own routes, create your own private events. 

Bkool

Bkool

Bkool is a much smaller platform than other training platforms such as Rouvy, RGT, and Zwift. Bkool features video instruction workouts, similar to Peloton workouts, custom route creation, ride videos, and hundreds of different routes from all around the world, that are available whenever you want. The routes include parts of the Paris Roubaix, Vuelta, Giro d’Italia, Velodromes, Tour of California, UCI World Championships. The downside to Bkool is that there are not many riders on each route consistently, this is partly because it isn’t as large of a platform, but also because of how many routes there are. Zwift limits riders to only 3 different worlds a day, and it rotates daily. Bkool, like RGT, also has wind, so some days the wind will be strong, and other days it may not. Bkool does not have many workouts that you can do on demand, there are currently around 20 in the workout section, while Zwift has hundreds. Bkool offers a 30 day free trial, then the price goes back to $9.99/month. This is the same price as RGT. Zwift charges $5 more a month. 

Bkool avatar customization

In Bkool you can also accumulate points and level up, this is similar to Zwift, but in Bkool you can only buy kits. The kits available for purchase are mainly pro team kits(ex, Bora, Canyon, Quickstep). Bkool is definitely more realistic than Zwift in many ways such as, the draft, the avatars, sprinting positions, wind, and routes/courses, so if you are looking for a realistic platform, then Bkool is a great option.

Zwift

Zwift

In Zwift there are thousands of riders on the platform at every hour  of the day, making it fun and engaging, and there is always someone you can draft behind ;). There are group rides and races every hour, different worlds for every day, and if a group ride doesn’t work for your time, just hop on with a Pace Partner, there is almost always a huge group with the bots. Zwift is by far the best out of the three of these gamification wise, you can buy bikes, wheels, unlock new kits, helmets, gloves, socks, shoes, and even glasses! You could sport your dream bike, or pick up the bike you ride IRL in the drop shop!

Zwift drop shop

Zwift has 9 worlds, that may not seem like a lot, but the worlds are very well designed, and have lots of hidden things in them. Zwift supports a ton of smart trainers, power meters, speed/cadence sensors, which makes it pretty easy to get started on the platform. In Zwift, you can chat to all the Zwifter’s around you in the virtual world, create meetups with your friends, and give riders a ride on to keep them going! In Zwift, you can level up, accumulate drops(Zwift’s in game currency, which you can spend on upgrading your ride), participate in races, earn route achievements, and complete challenges. When you go under each banner/arch in Zwift, you will get a power-up, which can help you in various ways, you could get some extra XP, or go invisible, this adds to the gamification and strategy of Zwift racing, which some appreciate, and some dislike. Zwift also has over 1000 workouts that are available for you whenever you’d like. Zwift costs $14.99/month and offers a 7-day free trial.

Zwift Pack Dynamics 3.0

Overview

After numerous test rides, Zwift has just opened up pack dynamics 3.0 to the public. This update to the pack dynamics is supposed to make the group roll smoother, and have less of the riding through other riders. This also helps with “sticky draft” but does not completely eliminate it. However, Zwift has only released the new pack dynamics in London, and the other worlds will eventually get it once Zwift verifies that this is bug free. To ensure that you are using the latest pack dynamics, make sure you are on the latest version of the app. As of 10/28/21, that is update 1.18.1. Update: Pack dynamics are activated in all worlds currently. For those interested in learning about how this affects your speed, draft efficiency, and TTT’s, head over to this article that Zwift Insider put together: https://zwiftinsider.com/speed-tests-ttt-pd3/.

The old pack dynamics

Here is a video of the “old” pack dynamics that are still being used in every world except London. See if you can notice the changes!

The test

Today I hopped onto a group ride in London to see what the pack dynamics were like. This was my first time with the new pack dynamics because I missed the test rides due to school. Zwift is aiming to make the draft more realistic like “a school of fish.” So far the pack dynamics are much smoother than previously and there is much less sticky draft. I found that it was much easier to move through the group, and it was easier for me to have a position in the middle of the pack, rather than always being dangling at the back. The pack dynamics have improved a ton since a few months ago. The updates are also supposed to make rider positions more accurate, so that everyone sees each other in the same position. I look forward to trying the pack dynamics more! Here is a video recording of the ride. So far I have done 2 group rides with the new pack dynamics and they have both been great. I did try a race with the new pack dynamics and this may not be related to the pack dynamics, but it was very hard to get a position in the lead group. This could have very well been because I am a average cat B and it was a mass start race with 500+ riders. My group ride experience has been great. There have been a few issues regarding using steering with the new pack dynamics enabled. This is an issue that Zwift is looking into.

How you can test it

The best way to test the new pack dynamics is to join a group ride in any of the worlds and see how it feels. You will still see a difference when just free riding, but it will not be as noticeable when there aren’t as many riders to draft behind. The new pack dynamics are currently only in Makuri Islands, London, and Watopia, but expect them to be rolled out to the other worlds once Zwift makes sure there are no issues.

To stay updated on the new pack dynamics, head to this forums post where you can catch up on all the latest comments about the pack dynamics: https://forums.zwift.com/t/pack-dynamics-3-0-update-october-2021/560239. Notice any bugs? Leave a comment on the forums post to let Zwift know! Thanks for reading and enjoy the new pack dynamics!

It’s Halloween on Zwift!

Note: This was a limited edition event and the Halloween fun is now gone, they will be back next year! Just a few hours ago Zwift added some new Halloween pace partners. There are three new pace partners, Mecha Masher, Darwin Dino, and Carly Cyclosaurus. Carly is paced at 2.5wpk, Mecha is paced at 1.3, and Darwin is at 1.2. Instead of getting drops from the progress bar, you will get pieces of the costume. The progress bar seems to move slower than usual, but this may be intentional. However, after the 31st of October, you will not get to keep these costumes. The usual pace partners are up, but keep an eye out for other spooky surprises. I have already noticed lightening in Watopia. Unlike last year, I do not think that the paces will be fluctuating. Last year there were also issues with the pace partners u turning randomly, I haven’t noticed that at all this year. Leave a comment below with what you find! Here are some images.

Best Zwift Rides Under 30 Minutes

Here is are the three best Zwift rides that you can do that are under 30 minutes. Zwift has quite a few workouts now that are under 30 minutes, there are also quite a few races everyday that are around 20-30 minutes long. You may not think that 30 minutes is a long time, it isn’t, but you can do a lot in only 30 minutes!

One of the best rides that you can do in under 30 minutes, is Jon’s short mix. This workout has a little bit of everything, Sweet Spot, Sprints, VO2, all in one workout. This workout is 29 minutes long. It consists of a 5 minute warm up, then two all out 1 min efforts with 30 seconds of rest in between. Then there will be three 10 second sprints with a minute of rest in between. The workout will finish with 10 minutes at high Zone 3, then a three minute cool down. This workout was made by the Co-Founder at Zwift, Jon Mayfield.

The next best ride that you can do in under 30 minutes, is Vault. Vault is an over under workout, but the overs slowly increase, starting at Zone 5, peaking at high Zone 6, then going back down to Zone 5. The under part is just below Zone 4, so around sweet spot. This workout is 20 minutes long, and has 26 stress points. This workout will definitely make the most of your time. This workout can be found under the less than 30 minutes to burn section.

The final best ride under 30 minutes long is Miracle. I have done this workout before and it was absolutely brutal. This workout is made up of 2 sets of ramping 1 minute efforts, but in between each minute is a 15 second rest. The first minute will be Zone 4, the next will be Zone 5, then high Zone 5, and topping it out with 1 minute of free ride where you go as hard as you possibly can. You will then get 2 minutes of rest, and then you do it all again. This is a solid 20 minute workout that will definitely leave you sweating. This workout is also found in the less than 30 minutes to burn section.

Best Zwift rides series…

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any questions leave a comment below!

Best Zwift Ride Under 45 Minutes

Got 45 minutes to burn? Why not hop on Zwift, there are tons of Zwift workouts that are under 45 minutes, and a lot of races that are under 45 minutes. Here are the three best Zwift rides that you can do in 45 minutes or less.

The best Zwift ride is likely the workout from the VOX women’s tour. The workout is called Tanja Erath – FTP Booster, it was actually designed by Tanja Erath. I have done this workout before and it was very hard. This workout is made to help improve your FTP a few weeks before races. This workout consists of some warm up and openers, then right into the main set. The main set is made up of three builds of 4 different amounts of power. In between each build is a 1 minute rest. This workout is great if you are really trying to maximize the effort that you put on in 45 minutes. This workout can be found under the Vox Women’s tour 2021 section.

The next best is likely a Crit City race. Crit City races last around 20-25 minutes depending on how many riders are in the race, and which category you race. Including a warm-up and cool down, it is around 45 minutes long. I would highly recommend doing a warm up workout, if you have one that works for you, or hopping on with a pace partner(I usually hop on with the one below the category that I am racing), then do a few openers to get the legs ready. For a cool down I just get to a high cadence and keep the legs spinning while I look at Zwift Power results, power numbers, and other stats. Here are the typical durations of the races based off of category. This is for a standard 9.8 mile Crit City race.

A – 20 min

B – 21 min

C – 23 min

D – 25 min

The last is the Wringer. The Wringer was the first workout that I ever did, and I suffered. This workout helps boost your VO2 and improve you 30 second power. This duration effort is great to simulate race finishes, where you will have to do a pretty long sprint. This workout is 43 minutes long, it consists of an 8 minute warm up, twelve 30 second efforts, 2:40 rest to start, then -5 seconds of rest for each of the intervals. In final rest is 2 minutes long. This workout can be found in the 60 minutes to burn section.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you try one of these workouts the next time you ride! If you have any questions or comments, leave a comment below!

New Wahoo Rollr Rumoured

At this years 2021 UCI time trial world championships, riders were warming up on what looked like a new Wahoo trainer. One thing that I did notice about the images that I saw were that they were not like traditional rollers, instead, they had a piece that keeps your front wheel in place, preventing you from wobbling around. On the sides of the trainer it said Wahoo Rollr. Which makes sense as the Wahoo Kickr is also spelled without the e. I would expect Wahoo to release more information on this device soon. Once the new trainer is(if it is released) released, I will do a post with all of the details about the trainer. Some people have also reported that there were Bluetooth and Ant+ symbols on the trainer, which means it could be a smart roller system that has resistance ,power, and cadence, or it could just communicate power and cadence. Like usual, there will be the traditional Wahoo flywheel with the cool arrows at the back. Shane Miller, GPlama has also just done a Lama Lab test, which usually means something is on the way… One user also posted this image on Instagram.

Best Zwift Rides Under 60 Minutes

Got an hour to burn but not sure what to spend it on? Here are the top three rides that you can do in an hour or less. Almost all of the Zwift workouts are under an hour long, so there is a great selection of workouts to do in 60 minutes or less.

The best workout that you can do in this amount of time that will really get that intensity in is The McCarthy Special. The workout is made of up three builds of 3 minutes in zone 4,5, and 6. In between you will get 9 minutes of rest before the next effort. This workout works is exactly an hour long. It works on increasing your FTP and simulating a race. This workout is very tough, over the course of an hour you will have a total of 90 stress points. Everyone loves an FTP increase! You can find this workout under the less than an hour to burn section.

The next is the SST(Short). This workout works on improving your sweet spot power and increasing you FTP. The workout is made up of some over-unders. There will be 4 sets of 5 minutes at zone 4 and then 5 minutes at zone three. These blocks go on continuously, which means there is no rest in between each set. The workout lasts almost an hour, leaving time for you to cool down a bit more. This workout can also be found in the less than an hour to burn section.

The final ride is a race. Racing on Zwift is very fun and also gives you a great workout. Everyday there are probably around a hundred races to choose from. Most are under an hour, and some slightly over an hour depending on what category you race in. I would highly recommend joining a race 1-2 times a week(Depending on how much you normally ride) and just race and have fun! Unlike outdoor races, you didn’t pay anything(other than your Zwift subscription), so you have nothing to lose! Feeling like recovering? There are also tons of group rides throughout the day that are paced anywhere from 1-2.5 Wpk. I highly recommend a Pac ride or a Herd ride.

The best Zwift rides series…

The best Zwift rides under 45 minutes

The best Zwift rides under 30 minutes(Coming soon)

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this article interesting and helpful. If you have any questions or comments, leave a comment below!

Tips for Zwift Academy Road 2021

Here are a few tips I have for riders who are participating in Zwift Academy. If you want in on the event and are not already signed up, it is not too late! You can sign up through the companion app or the Zwift app. This is my 3rd year participating in the academy and every year it just keeps getting better.

My first tip is to use ERG mode. ERG mode helps you hit the correct cadence and power outage by increasing and decreasing the amount of resistance that Zwift gives you. For riders who are new to structured workouts, I highly recommend using ERG mode to ensure that you earn all of the stars. Remember, the more stars the more XP! I love everything about ERG mode except for the ERG spiral of death. That is when you are pedaling and it suddenly gets really hard to pedal. One work around that I have found for that issue is to just turn ERG off for about 5-10 seconds, and then turn it back on.

My second tip is to take rest days in between workouts. I found that these workouts are pretty hard for me, the next day my legs are usually dead. If I were to do the workouts back to back, I likely would not hit the power numbers and I wouldn’t get the full benefit. Now that the Zwift Academy recovery rides are scheduled, I would highly recommend joining one of those, turning the HUD off, and enjoying the scenery. Don’t worry about the leaders pace, just go at your own speed and keep the HR low.

My third and final tip is to do an FTP test/Ramp test/Max effort race. The reason why I included a max effort race is because that is how I do most of my “FTP” tests. I don’t like doing the actual test itself because it is less motivating and more boring. Instead I normally do a Crit Race and aim to hold a high power rather than trying to save energy to have a good position in the finishing sprint. For me racing is a lot more fun than FTP tests, and I am pretty sure most people do not enjoy FTP tests. Zwift will automatically detect if you set a new 20 minute power output, and increase your FTP if you do get a new FTP.