Prioritization of distance over elevation gain

I really wish that Zwift would put more emphasis on encouraging climbing over just going a long way. Riders who want to advance in the game are heavily incentivized to skip climbs and go for longer rides.
For instance, Ven-Top in France is a short 20.9 km route with a lot of climbing (1534m). If you complete the route, you earn 420 XP. The first time you do it you also get 420 bonus XP. Compare that to Out and Back Again in Watopia. It is a super easy route by comparison. It has just 303m of climb but goes for 39.8 km. You earn 800 XP every time you do it and 840 bonus XP the first time you do it. I can do Out and Back in roughly a third of the time I would Ven-Top. The only incentive for putting in the effort to do a lot of climbing is to complete the Everest challenge then earn the Tron bike. This is a minor concern with a fantastic program. I was just curious if anyone else feels the same.

You’re not wrong though there is a workaround, just setup a free ride workout and you earn XP for time not distance and it works out much better

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I did not know that. Thank you for the top Ian!

Also, you do earn Drops at a faster rate while climbing, at least in general since you’re usually putting out more power. So, I guess it’s all about what your priorities are. More distance (XP) will advance you through the levels more quickly, but more climbing will earn you more Drops and allow you to get better equipment. Though, at some point, getting more of either becomes rather pointless.


Best to set the workout up in 5 minute chunks though, so that your earning stars and the XP regularly (the XP is awarded when the star is, i.e. when the block is complete). That way if you have to the abandon the effort before the end (because, you know, life happens), you don’t lose all the hard work.

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I only do workouts when I ride Zwift. The nice thing about that is workouts provide more exp over the same duration of time when you climb.


Let’s say you average 3 minutes to go 1 mile or 20mph. When you do a workout it doesn’t care what distance you go but generally gives 10exp per minute of your workout. This isn’t exact and there are exceptions but as a general statement its true.

this means if you’re doing your workout on a flat route and averaging 23mph our you’re getting less exp than you otherwise would. However if you’re climbing alp you’re getting way more than you normally would (unless you’re a monster that averages 20+mph up that thing) for the same amount of time plus you’re logging elevation.

Again this isn’t an exact science and its just a ball park on the numbers but as a general statement it works. Test it. Bonus, if you do this on alpe as a workout once you have all the items from the spin you will get an extra 250 or 1000 exp every time you ride it even in workout mode.