How to read the elevation profile while riding?

Hi all,

During rides and races I have trouble knowing when a hill is approaching. The elevation profile underneath the map seems to change randomly. Am I reading it wrong, or is there another way to know where you are on the course? How do you read it or is there somewhere else I should be getting info from?

You are probably reading it correctly. It changes as you progress through the route but I’m not sure of exact circumstances. You are the orange circle. Inside the circle is a triangle that points in the direction you are travelling (apologies, I dont have the best pic handy but when I beam Zwift to a 55inch tv, its a little more obvious).

It has been raised here before that this view and the elevation profile could be improved but you learn that routes fairly quickly like you would IRL and the odd time you need it for say a new map, it does the job.

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Ah I see! Thanks for pointing out the arrow direction, that’s a huge help! Thanks!

One more thing, once I was riding a race in London and I could see Box Hill in the elevation chart. This disappeared quite quickly after. The race route was a flat one so we did not climb Box Hill, so why did it appear rather than show me the elevation for where I was heading?

That happen from time to time, Zwift does not know where you are going to make a turn so it select a default section to show on the profile once you go past the intersection it will show the correct elevation.
Yes I know Zwift should know the route when you are in a event but at this point it sort of work like a free ride.

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Tom, I couldn’t agree more. I am new to ZWIFT and feel a complete profile of the ride and your position as you progress through would be a great addition. I am also wondering if there is anywhere to go to at least see the complete profile of a ride before riding it. My first ride was the Watopia Mountain loop and I had no idea what was in store. One long climb or multiple ups and downs? I was just pedaling blindly watching the ascent/descent%.

Hi Frank.

In the top right-hand corner on the map you should see the profile and your position.

Check out this website:

So true. Zwift is such a steep learning curve with very minimal covered in the game but most just outlined in multiple third party websites. It’s just not intuitive at all. Zwift may have the masses atm but if a competitor gets some VC funding and can put in a marketing effort similar to zwift with a more refined product they will win.


It may be a steep learning curve but it is not a long curve. So once you find everything then it is easy to navigate and not complicated to get on do training and get fit.

Most games these days use 3rd party sites or forums to support the game.

Look at this: Zwift on YouTube

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I think a lot of users would disagree with you here.

Try it, soon you will navigate with your eyes closed.

Ride On.

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Few examples:

  • drafting not intuitive
  • What does Average Power mean during a ramp test? (i now know but this is poorly done)
  • Average power in ramp test covers other text.
  • Initial ramp test too easy for many users. Why not in zwift 101 just include a slightly longer test?
  • No mention of race lead in’s anywhere.

There’s heaps more examples, just have a look here:

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Thanks Gerrie,
I did see the profile superimposed in the same screen as the ascent/descent%. However when I did the mountain loop, I reached the top of the hill in the profile and was expecting a long downhill. Suddenly that profile changed and I was climbing 14-17%.

Thanks for the link. Great info there. But do you know if there is anywhere I can go to view the route and the profile ahead of riding it? That would really help. Just giving the total ascent doesn’t really tell you what kind of route it is.

Hi Frank,

Yeah you can see route details here on this third party website:

Oh no, Zwift wouldn’t want to integrate route details into the actual game, why would the users want that?! That would be so unintuitive…

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Hi @Frank_Wilkes

That link has all the details you are looking for, just click on the route that you want to ride.

this is the Mountian route you rode.

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Awesome! That’s exactly what I was looking for! Just to show you what happened to me, this youtube video shows the same thing. Check out minute 20 mark of this video. It shows you reaching the top of the hill. This is where I thought I had a long downhill coming and got smacked in the face with a brutal 14-18% climb instead.

The profile on Zwift doesn’t show the route you’re doing, but the default direction. Not sure why.

Yes Frank this was brought up before. Zwift has a prescribed route profile that it think you will follow, this is usually the most popular route. I have hear that there is work underway to change this behavior, but like all good things it does take time.

I’ve been scratching my head to understand that profile for 2 months now. Sometimes it’s left-to-right, sometimes right-to-left, sometimes it just vanishes and resets - I’ve selected a route, I’ve not done a single deviation from that route, you know where I’m going, don’t you? Start doing the weirdo things if I deviate, ok?